Some ideas, themes, books, films get lodged in our heart’s memories for ages, and one such for me was a novel, The Leopard, by a brilliant Sicilian, Giuseppe Lampedusa, written in the 1880s. Much later, the material was filmed in Italian, with Burt Lancaster (probably dubbed) and happily faithful to Lampedusa’s painful vision.
The character understood he had little choice but to live with the societal changes which were developing, causing him great distress. However, his family, wife, mistress and even his servants accepted the inevitability of what was happening, adding to the Leopard’s pain. The work, oddly, foreshadowed the dire events of The Cherry Orchard.
Within the past few weeks, I wrote a much updated outline — my version of the story, taking into account how we, in our time, are accepting of our society’s immoral greed and lack of caring for those on whom we trod. Whether the material will become a play or a novel I don’t yet know, but I feel I have a date with the idea.
Elsa Rael wrote 9 plays produced off Broadway and at major regional theatres, and special material for Walter Cronkite, Kaye Ballard, Marsha Mason,and Beatrice Straight. As an arts advocate, she co-produced with Joseph Papp at the Public a festival of 30 plays by women with roles for women over 50. Gov. Mario Cuomo honored her with a special citation.