While on a golf course in rural Warner Springs CA, an anonymous playwright soliloquizes to hypothetical audiences in Pittsburgh PA, New York NY, Galway IR, Hannover DE, St. Gallen CH and San Diego CA. The odyssey which has led him to the wilderness is recounted in 18 stages.
His prompter/doppelgänger fills the 18 breaks between stages with a post-mortem on the fateful evening when the road rose to meet them in the shape of The Wooster Group’s Hamlet (dir. Elizabeth LeCompte).
The playing partners/competitors circulate the course into the night.
Playwright. My earliest theater memories begin with Shakespeare. I was 12 in 1972 for Two Gentlemen of Verona on Broadway as a rock musical.
Prompter. What do you remember about it?
Playwright. The balcony of a large, dark theater. The distant light of the stage. After Two Gentlemen came A Midsummer’s Night Dream or Romeo and Juliet or both.
Prompter. What do you remember about them?
Playwright.. They brought some light into Miss Stroyd’s high school English class.
Prompter. They made you join the drama club?
Playwright. My peer group did not recognize the drama club.
Prompter. What about Hamlet?
Playwright. Around 1980 I saw the 1948 film with Laurence Olivier.
Prompter. Let’s fast forward.
Playwright. After Shakespeare came –
Prompter. Skip to your epiphany.
Playwright. Skip decades?
Prompter. It’s 2008. It’s LA. There is a full house for The Wooster Group’s HAMLET, Shakespeare’s classic tragedy –
Playwright. “…re-imagined by mixing and repurposing Richard Burton’s 1964 Broadway production, directed by John Gielgud. The Burton production was recorded in live performance from 17 camera angles and edited into a film that was shown as a special event for only two days in nearly 1,000 movie houses across the U.S. The idea of bringing a live theater experience to thousands of simultaneous viewers in different cities was trumpeted as a new form called ‘Theatrofilm,’ made possible through ‘the miracle of Electronovision.’ The Wooster Group attempts to reverse the process, reconstructing a hypothetical theater piece from the fragmentary evidence of the edited film. We channel the ghost of the legendary 1964 performance, descending into a kind of madness, intentionally replacing our own spirit with the spirit of another.”
Prompter. After becoming a Wooster groupie, you gave up writing plays, right?
Playwright. Yes and no.
Playwright: Expecting Castles, performance, The Burren, Ireland, 1987
Prompter: Final Cut
Playwright: To the Four Courts
Playwright: The Dust-Up
Prompter: Enter Ghost
Playwright: Theft in the Abstract
Playwright: The Country House
Playwright: The Undertow, performance, San Diego CA, 1996
Playwright: This Night We Come A-Souling
Playwright: Shareholder Value (auf Deutsch)
Prompter: The Players
Playwright: The Unauthorized Autobiography of King Lear
Prompter: Table and Chair
Playwright: Play in the Dark
Prompter: I the matter will re-word
Playwright: Play in the Dark, performance, San Diego, 2003
Playwright: Set in Venice, reading of first version, San Diego, 2005
Playwright: Euronevada (Djerassi Resident Artists Program, 2006)
Prompter: And will ’a not come again?
Playwright: MFA Material
Prompter: This grave shall have a living monument
Prompter: Take up the bodies
Playwright: Kampf um die Sonne/Battle for the Sun
Playwright: No Loitering/No Vagancia
Prompter: Is’t not possible to understand in another tongue?
Playwright: Green Producer
Hamlet, The Wooster Group (dir. Elizabeth LeCompte)
The Collected Playbills of an Anonymous Playwright
The Collected Rejection Letters of an Anonymous Playwright
The Collected Unproduced Plays of an Anonymous Playwright