…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 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.
If you’re a Kerouac fan and near Lowell, MA, in October, this is something to see.
- Hit the Road, Jack (mohighlibrary.wordpress.com)
- Jazz and Jack – Celebrating Jack Kerouac’s 90th Birthday (communicatingacrossboundariesblog.com)
- Jerry Cimino: ‘On the Road’ Movie Trailer Promises an Adaptation Worthy of Kerouac (huffingtonpost.com)
- Jack Kerouac, meet Kristen Stewart: ‘On the Road’ movie debuts trailer (insidemovies.ew.com)
He was once heralded as the greatest British actor of his generation. Nicol Williamson was known for stormy onstage behavior- including calling off a 1969 performance of “Hamlet” mid-speech because he was too tired to go on.
“I’ll pay for the seats, but I won’t shortchange you by not giving my best.” said Williamson. And then he walked off stage.
At age 26 when he auditioned for “Inadmissible Evidence,” playwright John Osborne wrote in his diary that this “pouting, delinquent cherub produced the face to match the torment below the surface. He is much too young, 26, to the character’s 39, but no matter. He is old within.” The playwright called Williamson “the greatest actor since Marlon Brando.”
After appearing in films, television productions and plays on the English and Broadway stages, he retreated to Amsterdam about two decades ago and focused on playing country music. Before he died, he was able to finish recording the CD he had been working on, said his son, Williamson’s only immediate survivor. “He didn’t want any fuss made over his passing. He was not interested in publicity,” said Luke Williamson.
Nicol Williamson was known for being hard to get along with, especially by directors and producers (he once punched David Merrick during a rehearsal), and he commentd on his own personality:
“I think the only valuable thing you can do as an actor is to make people recognize in themselves what is also there in you, and what you see in them. Then they’ll hate you because they don’t want you to do that to them. That’s why I’m hated a lot of the time. They don’t want you to show these things in you because it makes them uncomfortable. It makes them frightened. But I think you must show these things in order to be true to yourself.”
- They Bared Their Brains to Heaven: Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg (observer.com)
- Book Review: Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters edited by Bill Morgan and David Stanford (blogcritics.org)
- Last-minute plan: Kerouac in Queens (timeoutny.com)
- Would Kerouac Have Blogged? (globalneighbourhoods.net)