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Williamstown Theatre Festival

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Gurney’s Perspective

A.R. Gurney, playwright of CHILDREN, on the matriarch character in his play

The part of, Mother, has attracted many good actors over the years here and elsewhere: Constance Cummings in England, Lili Palmer in Germany, and Michelle Morgan in France. In the U.S., Sada Thompson took the play on a summer tour, and Katharine Hepburn toyed with bringing it to Broadway, but asked for many changes. She wanted me to bring on stage a character I had purposely kept off, and she proposed a different ending: “I can see myself,” she said, “alone on stage, for a very long time.” We talked back and forth for several months until finally she announced, “Mr. Gurney, you have written an ensemble play. I happen to be a start.” So we shook hands and parted congenially. The play was subsequently option for television but never produced.

[photo] Sam Hough for © WTF ’09 [pictured] Judith Light in CHILDREN, Dir. John Tillinger

© [Scenic Design | James Noon, Costume Design | Jane Greenwood, Lighting Design | Rui Rita] 2009

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