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Serena, Grandpa Samuel, and A Moon for the Misbegotten

Yes, I have a background in theater, and so when people compare Serena to Blanche DuBois from A Streetcar Named Desire, I have to chuckle.  Yes, Serena has some of Blanche’s affectations.  But the relationship I had in mind while I was writing was that between Josie and her father in Eugene O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten.  The idea of a father and a daughter trapped in a house…  It’s a great play.  And I’m not just saying that because I once worked on a cruise ship as a stage manager while Colleen Dewhurst performed!  (Yes, I met her!)

When I lived in New York, I saw the 1984 Broadway revival starring Kate Nelligan.  I bought a student rush ticket and was sitting in the mezzanine by myself, when an usher helped an older woman into the seat next to me.  “Very good, Ms. Tandy,” the usher said with great deference.  “If there’s anything you need, Ms. Tandy, you just let me know.”  I looked over and realized I was sitting next to Jessica Tandy, the famous actress.  I was 19 years old and was too afraid to tell her how much I admired her work.

Check out this clip from the filmed version of the 1973 Broadway revival, directed by Jose Quintero, and starring Jason Robards, Colleen Dewhurst, and Ed Flanders. It’s really quite brilliant.  (And tell me if you don’t see a little of Serena and Samuel in their exchanges.)

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