I picked up the above title, a new play by Robert Smallwood, at the Monterey (California) Public Library, for several reasons.
First, Brando's always interesting, and so's Tennessee Williams, so a play about them and `Me' struck me as intriguing.
And, it's generally acknowledged that Williams casting Brando as Stanley Kowalski in the Broadway production of ``A Streetcar Named Desire'' was Brando's first big break.
But more than the above, I was interested in the publishing history of this play, in Smallwood, and how in the heck did the play end up in the Monterey Public Library, because . . . according to information printed about the play:
The type was ``Set in New Orleans, March 2007. Font: Garamond.
``100 copies in the first print run, March 2007.
``26 copies of `Brando, Tennessee & Me' are signed and lettered by the playwright.
``This copy is letter _ _ _ ''
So, yes, this got my attention, because if there were only 100 copies out there, and it had been published in New Orleans, how did one of those 100 get to Monterey, although there has always been some sort of strong artistic connection between the Monterey Peninsula and New Orleans, maybe the romance of these places.
In fact, in one scene in his play Smallwood has a gathering of actors and writers, including Truman Capote, getting together in a Monterey restaurant, and it emphasizes the Monterey-New Orleans connection. The character Henry tells another character about the dinner at ``a restaurant in Monterey, on Cannery Row. The great John Steinbeck _ did you know he was married here in New Orleans?'' etc. See _ another Monterey Peninsula-New Orleans connection.
Smallwood is originally from Davenport, Iowa but ``moved down the Mighty Mississippi River to New Orleans in 1982.'' There he met a man named Henry Hood Jr. (the Henry quoted above), a New Orleans actor, director and playwright who had rubbed shoulders with Williams, Capote and Brando. It was Hood's stories that informed Smallwood's play.
To my knowledge, it has not yet been produced, but it is a provocative work and certainly should be given a chance. It has been published by Bacchus Books of New Orleans and the sale of it benefits the Louisiana Writers Foundation and a planned New Orleans Writers Museum.
Smallwood has also written on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: ``The Five People You Meet in Hell: Surviving Katrina.'' It's gotten good reviews and Rex Reed writes of this work: ``This is the sort of literary `You Are There' you can't put down. Unique and gutsy and what I call writing without a net.''
And publishing on a small and unique scale _ gutsy.
Causes Steve Hauk Supports
City of Pacific Grove Public Library, Pacific Grove, California; Animal Friends Rescue Project, Pacific Grove; Animal Welfare Information and Assistance,...