Tag Archives: Memoir

Remembering Marian Seldes

10 Oct

—N.Y. Times Obituary, October 8, 2014

This obit reminded me that a few years ago I took my play to Edward Albee’s Last Frontier Play Lab on Prince William Sound in Alaska. It was a chance to direct my own play, attend playwriting workshops, and mingle with other writers, but after sitting in on a discussion in which actress Marian Seldes took part, I, like a duckling imprinted with a stranger’s shape, followed her around tirelessly, crashing her lectures, listening in on her panel discussions, and even eavesdropping on her social moments. She was one of those people you’d never get enough of. At the end of the week I went to watch a scene prepared by two young actors for her critique. After they’d finished, she took them aside and talked to them, patting them on the back, stroking their necks, whispering in their ears. They came back and did the same scene again–only this time strangely different, with more wild energy, shouting, prodding, throwing themselves on the floor, and spending a long time tying their shoelaces. What on earth had changed?
I followed the two actors out and begged them to tell me what Seldes had said to them. They refused. I told them I would be discreet. “Just tell me what she whispered at the end.”
They looked at each other, nodded, and said:
“She said to play it as if we were five-year-olds.”
So that was the difference.

The E-pistles of St. Paul

7 Apr


The E-pistles of St Paul are issued weekly by journalist Paul Bannister, a Brit and an old friend.  Feel free to read his entertaining archives online; in a recent development, you can listen to him read them on a worldwide webcast from the UK.

I’m running part of a recent posting because he mentioned me; but he does go on and on, and it’s all extremely enjoyable, especially for sentimental Anglophiles.

E-piphany e-pistle  #129.   Posted on Jan 6 2013

First of the year, some new readers, and a whole lot of new listeners on radio, so here’s what’s what:  you are receiving the ramblings of a self-appointed and decidedly dodgy saint, in the e-pistles of St Paul.These email -pistles began 128 weeks ago, that’s more than two years in old money, when I realized that standard paper and envelope post was no longer tumbling through the letterbox in the way it once did. People had simply stopped writing to each other. They were texting, twittering, tweeting, Facebooking  and  photomailing, lots of BTWs, LMAOs and LOLs but they were not actually writing  or exchanging what I consider real information, news or ideas. And I missed that.  So I imitated Saul of Tarsus, whose revised name I share, and began sending evangelical epistles to the faithful, and to those who have not yet been caught.  But, I didn’t want to push them to seek a website or scroll through pages of Facebook entries about what kind of sprinkles I’d ordered on my moose saliva latte.  I wanted to keep it simple. So I began sending a weekly email. Want to read it? Click. Don’t want to read it? Click ‘Delete.’ No offence taken,  and it’s easy.

This saint does not suffer from delusions of adequacy, and knows that his written efforts wouldn’t keep anyone awake for long, so invited people to respond, however briefly, to the weekly e-chat. And people did. His illiterate rugby friends took up their crayons, the erudite journalist colleagues tapped their keyboards and the psychics all sent telepathic messages. That input of opinions, anecdotes and insights launched a discourse and suddenly we’re in week 128 and have a regular readership, all for free, all for entertainment and you don’t even have to be this tall to go on the ride. And, under the deal outlined below, your name goes worldwide, too.

This week launches something new. The saint, in full mellifluous voice,  is reading the epistles on ParamaniaRadio.com, on Alan Cox’s worldwide webcast  from the UK and he has set up a link on his CalmingThoughts.com site. You can read past e-pistles on www.BannisterBooks.com   and can email the saint directly at bannisterbooks@gmail.com if you’d like to share your own anecdotes or observations.