ONLINE ISSUE
no. 5

A Partial Index of the
American Theatre for Poets, Inc.
1961–1965

Event Staff
14 February-27 March 1964
One-act plays by Diane DiPrima, Frank O'Hara and Wallace Stevens
The New Bowery Theatre
John Dodd (Lighting Director)
Harriet Rohmer (House Manager)
Michael Malce (Props)
Alan Marlowe (Program Director)
John Herbert McDowell (Music Director)
Bret Rohmer (Technical Director)

"Our first program (true to our formula of only doing one-act plays by poets) consisted of Loves Labor, an eclogue by Frank O'Hara, Three Travellers Watch a Sunrise by Wallace Stevens (which nobody bothered to get permission for) and Murder Cake by me.

Jimmy Waring had already directed a version of Murder Cake at the Judson Poets Theatre while I was in California, and he still had most of this cast an a pretty good idea of what he wanted to do. (My plays have no plot, or stage directions--they are "word scores" for a director to do with as s/he wills.) It had to be re-blocked, of course, needed a new set, and a new "Dante" character. [...]

In Three Travellers Watch a Sunrise Alan made the mistake of both directing and acting in the same work. The play's simplicity and genius was emphasized by a set by Peter Agostini--an elegant sculpture of a tree with a hanged man in the branches. The sculpture, and the words, carried the piece in spite of forgotten lines and other disasters.

But the pièce de résistance was Loves Labor by Frank O'Hara. In contrast to the small cast in my play and in Wallace Stevens', Frank seemed to require a cast of thousands. There was a screaming queen in a tiger skin playing a shpherd, with many dancers for his sheep; Freddie Herko in a black cape was Paris; John Vaccaro, slim and monocled, with a top hat, played Metternich, and no less a personage than the "great" freak show artist and drag queen Frankie Francine portrayed Venus. Alan cast and directed the play, and he did himself proud. There were moments when twenty or more people were cavorting separately on that little stage--a great demonstration of the harmony of chaos. And Frank had given us the entire Decline of the West in less than four typewritten pages of hilarious poetry.

Of course, many folks who had come along with us this far absolutely hated Loves Labor. Jimmy Waring was one. I had long, and earnest arguments with Jimmy about the merit of Frankie Francine's performance: Frankie could never remember a line, and whenever he had to speak he'd whip open his fan with a great flourish, his wig and tiara atremble, peer shortsightedly at the spot where he'd written those particular lines, and read them in a 1930s radio voice, pausing portentously after each line to refind his place." -- Diane di Prima. Recollections of My Life as a Woman: The New York Years. New York: Viking, 2001.

Program, One-act plays by Diane DiPrima, Frank O'Hara and Wallace Stevens, 1964
Program, One-act plays by Diane DiPrima, Frank O'Hara and Wallace Stevens, 1964
Program, One-act plays by Diane DiPrima, Frank O'Hara and Wallace Stevens, 1964
Program, One-act plays by Diane DiPrima, Frank O'Hara and Wallace Stevens, 1964
Flyer, One-act plays by Diane DiPrima, Frank O'Hara and Wallace Stevens, 1964
Flyer, One-act plays by Diane DiPrima, Frank O'Hara and Wallace Stevens, 1964
Flyer, March Events, 1964
Performances Participants
Three Travelers Watch a Sunrise (Play)

Wallace Stevens (Playwright)
Nicola Cernovich (Director, Lighting Designer, Actor: Second Chinese)
Peter Agostini (Set Designer)
Albert M. Fine (Composer, Actor: First Chinese)
Alan Marlowe (Actor: Third Chinese)
Kenneth Hill (Actor: First Negro)
Eddie Barton (Actor: Second Negro)
Gloria Pages (Actor: Anna)
Murder Cake (Play)

Diane DiPrima (Playwright)
James Waring (Director)
Charles Stanley (Set Designer)
John Dodd (Lighting Designer)
Garnett Smith (Actor: Richard Lovelace)
Alan Marlowe (Actor: Dante)
Kenneth Hill (Actor: Mr. Knightley)
Valda Setterfield (Actor: Olimpia)
Frank Cotner (Actor: Childe Harold)
Ann Linden (Actor: Emma)
Frédéric Chopin (Composer)
Love's Labor, an eclogue (Play)

Frank O'Hara (Playwright)
Alan Marlowe (Director)
Bret Rohmer (Set Designer)
Jack Smith (Costume Designer)
Fred Herko (Choreographer, Actor: Paris)
Gloria Pages (Composer, Actor: Minerva)
John Dodd (Lighting Designer)
Eddie Barton (Actor: Sheep)
Deborah Lee (Actor: Sheep)
Elsene Sorrentino (Actor: Sheep)
Arthur Williams (Actor: Shepherd)
Francis Francine (Actor: Venus)
Kenneth Hill (Actor: Alsatian Guide)
Susan Kaufman (Actor: Visitor)
Linda Sidon (Actor: Visitor)
Aileen Passloff (Actor: Film Star)
Betty Brownsweater (Actor: Nurse)
John Vaccaro (Actor: Metternich)
Ann Linden (Actor: Juno)
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