Jerome Lawrence, co-author of such wonderful plays as “The Night Thoreau Spent In Jail” and “Inherit the Wind”, has died
In 1986, I got to meet Jerome Lawrence, while attending the International Thespian Society festival in Muncie, Indiana. He gave a wonderful speech about being an amateur theatre person, concluding with “Never forget that amateur means ‘lover’. So even if you decide to make a career out of theatre, never give up your status as an ‘amateur’ — never give up the love that brought you here.”
Got to shake his hand afterwards, and exchanged a few words. Very pleasent guy, and one of my happier memories of that week.
The year following that, I had a bit part in Martin Community Players’ production of “Inherit the Wind”, playing the Mayor. (I had secretly wanted the Hornbeck role, since I was already at that time a big H.R. Mencken fan, but I had a lot of fun with it anyway.)
If you’ve never read “Inherit the Wind”, do. Or, get the wonderful 1960 movie, starring Spencer Tracy, Gene Kelly, and Fredric March. You won’t regret it.
My high school in Virginia did “The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail” and I got a nice part (though it was so long ago and we did so many plays, I’d be guessing if I said it was a judge or a landowner hiring Thoreau to build walls) but I’ve still got the t-shirt.
I do remember it was an excellent play.
After a while you understand that wanting everyone to live forever is like trying to carry water in your cupped hands across a rock strewn desert … everything slips away and some goes long before you’re ready. Doesn’t make you regret their passing or their absense any less, but you learn to accept that that is “reality” (which does *not* come with a no-quibble guarantee)
A sad loss.
“But that’s the thing about losing your youth. All your touchstones start dropping away into dark water. And I live on a river.”
I’ve always loved that Inherit the Wind! (As people probably guessed, since I wrote a filk song inspired by a scene from it…*grin*) What a shame…I’ll have to check out some of his other plays.