Saturday, May 23, 2009

alone is not an option

when we listened to john lennon singing 'whatever gets you through the night,' we all thought john knew just how we felt, but to focus on the cure just keeps the real problem at bay and one day, voila, there it is again. the great playwright tennessee williams knew a thing or two about john's sentiments, as he alone did more as a writer in the name of characters dealing with the long day's journey into night than anyone.
in 1950 tennessee wrote a novella called, 'the roman spring of mrs. stone.' of course i loved it as tennessee is my guy. the story is beautifully simple: wealthy and newly widowed and retired american stage actress settles into life in rome. befriended by an older woman who procures young men for lonely women, your heart leaps into your mouth from the first cup of tea they share. you wish 'karen' would just get up from the table with her pride in hand and walk away from this bloodsucker (beautifully played in the later version by anne bancroft.) alas, there would be no story if she had. twice this tale of descent has been filmed. once in 1961 starring vivien leigh and warren beatty and again in 2003 when it was filmed for hbo with helen mirren and olivier martinez. both films are wonderful as the acting is great. warren as an italian gigolo is a stretch but olivier? as my friend gianni once said, 'does that guy do anything besides be cute?'

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