17 December 2009

"they've forgotten me"

that plaintive phrase is part of the final speech in The Cherry Orchard. it's spoken by the old butler Firs. altho I didn't see that production he was playd in 2006 by Lee Kissman.

while I was still on my 1st cuppa (& shortly after the morning news announcd that Tiger Woods had been named Ho of the Decade or something like that) I saw on Facebook that playwright Robert Patrick calld Kissman a "superstar."

I think the only time I ever saw Kissman was in "The Hawk" more than 40 years ago. O-Lan Jones & her mother were also in the cast. & I think I went to the play with Jean-Claude van Itallie.

reading that Kissman is/was a superstar has me cogitating. what exactly is fame? I've been contemplating this theme in my work for many a year. & I still have no clear answer. even if a poll were taken & Kissman came out as one of the dozen best actors in the history of off-Broadway does that kind of fame put him in the same category as one of the current famous-for-no reason folk like Paris Hilton. indeed in 50 years how many will remember either Kissman or Hilton?

perhaps all this is on my mind because last nite I sent Mike Busam a response to his e-mail suggesting a possible publisher for Making Circles. I wrote: I have the feeling that after my death my career will go one of 2 ways: either I'll be completely forgotten or I'll be "rediscoverd" & become another famous dead writer.

I really don't spend much time at all considering my own spec in the writing firmament. but I know I always will find intrigue in the theme of fame in the lives of others. it's especially poignant in my focus on film. I have always been a major fan of the silent era. & time after time I feel so sad when I see one of the great stars of that era playing a bit part in some forgotten talkie.

when I startd this ramble I had no idea where I was going. I suspect that by beginning with Lee Kissman I shd end with him. so if that philandering golfer is getting some kind of award this morning let me make Lee Kissman "Star of the Day." that won't make him any more famous to the universe but it makes me feel good to recognize someone who has given us a life in art.

1 comment:

John Burroughs said...

But you're unforgettable...