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I guess I’m looking forward to “On The Road” opening in the US

“On The Road”, Jack Kerouac‘s 50s novel brought to the screen by Walter Salles (director of “The Motorcycle Diaries“), opened at Cannes to moderate response. The NY Times felt it was a “muted take on Jack Kerouac’s ecstatic American story” and the audience apparently gave it a polite applause.

From left, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Garrett Hedlund in “On the Road.”

The film appears more than five decades after the novel’s publication caused a literary sensation and launched a thousand road trips, not to mention innumerable road movies. Earlier directors had attempted to create a film from the work, including Francis Ford Coppola (listed as Executive Producer on the credits… and I believe the one with control of the film rights.)

Salles interviewed poets Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Diane di Prima and Amiri Baraka, who were Kerouac contemporaries. He also interviewed the Kerouac biographers Gerald Nicosia and Barry Gifford, who served as consultants on the film.

Salles spent eight years on the project, five on research alone… including taking the Kerouac/Neil Cassady road trip (the film uses Kerouac’s character names Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty). Characters based on Alan Ginsberg and William S.Boroughs also show up.

I think this is one of those films where I’ll ignore reviews and see for myself.

If I were still living in New England, I’d be heading for the Kerouac Literary Festival…

…more precisely to the Merrimac Repertory Theatre in Kerouac’s hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts, where Beat Generation, a three-act play rediscovered in a New Jersey warehouse in 2005, will be staged for the first time this October.

Kerouac in 1967

 

Kerouac is an author I have followed since reading On The Road when I was a teenager. Beat Generation was written around the same time as a commission from off-Broadway producer Leo Gavin, but it was never produced or published.

Kerouac tried to get Marlon Brando and several producers’ interest in a production, but failed. After that the script was shelved.

It was rediscovered in 2005 and Kerouac’s then agent, Sterling Lord commented:

“It conveys the mood of the time extraordinarily well, and also the characters are authentically drawn.”

The play was apparently written in one night in 1957 and draws on his own life and those of other Beat writers including Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg, who subsequently starred in the film Pull My Daisy, which was based in part on  Beat Generation.

The Merrimack Repertory Theatre and the University of Massachusetts Lowell will deliver the World Premiere as eight staged readings –  the centrepiece of this year’s Jack Kerouac Literary Festival.

If you’re a Kerouac fan and near Lowell, MA, in October, this is something to see.

Something my Theatre Friends may find very interesting… a play by Jack Kerouac!

This discovery of a previously unpublished and certainly unproduced Kerouac play, written at the height of his literary power, is something of interest to those of us who are interested in the Beat Generation. This article from the Guardian has more in it… I suggest that those interested read it all:
clipped from www.guardian.co.uk

‘Lost’ Kerouac play resurfaces after 50 years

Beat Generation ‘conveys the mood of the time extraordinarily well’

It is the sort of irony that would not have been lost on the notoriously hard-living writer. Excerpts from an unpublished play by Jack Kerouac are to be published in the July edition of a men’s lifestyle magazine.

Beat Generation, written in the autumn of 1957, the same year as the publication of Kerouac’s breakthrough work On the Road, was unearthed in a New Jersey warehouse six months ago. An excerpt will appear in the July issue of Best Life magazine.

The play recounts a day in the life of the hard-drinking, drug-fuelled life of Jack Duluoz, Kerouac’s alter-ego.

Although the play was never published or performed, the third act became the basis for a film, Pull My Daisy, starring Allen Ginsberg.
Kerouac’s agent, Sterling Lord, said Kerouac had sent it to several producers but it was turned down.
Kerouac even sent the play to Marlon Brando, Mr Lord said.
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