Saturday, October 17, 2009

"I did not like heaven for a long time because I expected to get famouser and famouser and that did not happen!" Noel Coward

GERRY: Noel, I hope I can quote you. Folks, Noel is saying such delightfully witty and insightful things to me I had to get up and start writing them down even though it is only 2:30 am. I was afraid I would not remember them in the morning. I do need to get this blog written, too, because my son Dan called and asked me if I wanted to go to the matinee movies today before noon, if he could get my grandson Dante over here. His back has been bothering him, but it is much better now I am glad to say.
NOEL: Oh, don't let me interrupt any family thing. You see, that is why heaven seemed so dull to me for so long, because everyone was busy doing family things and were not trying to get into the spotlight at all. I finally realized I had been such a publicity hound for so many yaars I didn't think I could be happy unless my name was in the paper every five minutes. I did not know what to do with myself.
GERRY: What finally happened?
NOEL: People are more disciplined over here, and that is what you eventually must be, more disciplined in order to like what is good for you. They realized of course that mankind does not develop unless everyone gets attention, so it must be spread out in order to create a healthier society. I see that you are quite comfortably unfamous but now at the end of your life you are wondering if you might do with a little fame for your writing, atleast in this big city where you reside.
GERRY: Is that selfish of me? I even wonder if I don't blog too often. I am better than I used to be, when I would get so excited I would write three entries a day. A friend of mine told me not long ago that if she read everything I wrote she would not get anything else done.
NOEL: Exactly. I thought people should make a life time occupation of going to see the latest play by Noel Coward, starring him preferably. Of course there are people who are your peers who are getting far more attention than you are. I do think if a person writes all the plays you have written, one should at least be seen once in a while. That is what we theater people aim for. Because people don't cooperate at all. It is very hard to divest them of the idea that only a handful of people can write plays. That is what I wanted to think when I was the most famous playwright in the world. Naturally. I would contantly tell myself how incredibly good I was. The only thing I couldn't explain was when so many of my plays, especially in the later part of my career, came out half cooked I was in such a hurry to write them, so I could stay perpetually on the stage. Trying to stay so famous actually led to a lot of strain and an earlier death.
GERRY: So you do think I deserve a little fame.
NOEL: Of course, why would anyone strive to become a good playwright without the hope of the plays being seen at one point. But I can see why the problem is severe in your case. You are a woman for one thing. As you know there are few famous women playwrights, theater not being kind to mothers who have children at home. The world of children does not run that way. They have to get up and go to school, and mummy must be on hand to get the little darlings up and eating their breakfast. That is a ittle hard to do after you have spent the night acting in some theater or you are otherwise engaged there with a play running.
GERRY: Raising my four children took years, especially since I spread them out for health purposes. The oldest is 21 years older than the youngest. But that was better for me, not necessarily for being in the theater. I saw my children as my most important productions in those years.
NOEL: As indeed you should have done. I have known some actresses who badly neglected their children once they got star struck. Their children were lucky they ever saw them. I strongly disapproved of such mothers and even fathers could become distracted with their aim for fame and be very neglectful of their families. But you should not be penalized for being an attentive mother. Even though reporters will use almost anything as an excuse to keep some ambitious unknown in oblivion, because it is much easier to write about someone perpetually in the limelight. A reporter does not have to work at all in comparison. So if you do the right thing in this world, you are apt to be punished for it. But not in heaven I might add where things are a little more fair or it could not rightfully be called heaven. I would for example sponsor your plays in heaven. There would be no problem. But I would not necessarily have done it when on earth. I would have found some excuse not to.
GERRY: I just don't know if I can do it here at all, but I have worked so hard to bring new theater to this town. I have lobbied for it for years. I have tried to convince whoever I could that doing local playwrights would eventually revitalize the theater once the public realized what was about. But there is so much inertia, so much difficulty in getting things going.
NOEL: I can see that. I am certainly interested in helping because that is what I would like to stand for now. I know that local playwrights would be just like home grown farm produce, better for you. People have gotten used to having their plays shipped in from far away places. They never even see the playwright. That's no fun. I much prefer the idea of everyone being a star, slowly getting recognition for the work they do somewhere besides New York and London. They only have room for a few playwrights, so they like to perpetuate the myth that only London and New York can produce good playwrights. They are trying to keep the tourist trade coming as much as possible and don't care a fig what a wasteland that leaves in the outlying cities, where it is thought no real playwright can ever flourish. Because everyone has talent and needs to be recognized, things must change, but people are afraid to bank on locals. It will be so tough to sell them at first to an unwilling public. Somebody has to lose money. Somebody's job could be lost, but that is what change requires, those very risks. This is what I came to understand in 'heaven.' You must act on principle to make a better world, so the self centered Noel Cowards must give way to the development of the many. I learned to be content with a good deal less attention I will tell you. And a lot more work helping others to shine. I must thank you for reading the book about me. I like that book since it is as much about the letter writers as it is about me. Some lovely letters in it.
GERRY: The letters attracted me to it, since my life in letters has been extensive. Well, thank you, Noel, I must go back to bed now and get a little sleep before I am off to the farmer's market to buy some local produce!


Connie said...

I knew that heaven was a learning experience,but was not of the understanding that we would be watching plays and such.
Enjoy your matinee today...

salemslot9 said...

enjoying all your interviews
from the other side, Gerry


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