The plays and productions that chiefly inspired my theatrical passion were GB Shaw’s Heartbreak House, where I played Hesione Hushabye when I was 19,and The Barretts of Wimpole Street where Ii played Elizabeth at 20. (Both were college productions, with such professionals as a young Barnard Hughes, doing the men.)
I played featured roles in Joe Papp’s Shakespeare in the Park in earlier days, and acted in several Off Broadway theatres – and Fringe Theaters in London – as well as the “Play of the Week” on TV, and a few other TV shows.
I still participate in readings, the latest being at Jonathan Bank’s Mint Theater in a short DH Lawrence drama.
I was fortunate in growing up in Manhattan in a very intellectual and artistic household, as well as in having an uncle who was the Music and Drama critic of a NY newspaper From the age of 4, I was taken to theater, opera, ballet and concerts – in press seats – till I was a late teenager. As I always say, I’m the only person I know who went from the best seats to the gods, instead of vice-versa, as in the normal course of events!
I still hope to have some success in playwriting. I translated Alfred de Musset’s Lorenzaccio from the French, and Harold Clurman, at the end of his life, liked it so much that he opted to direct it but died before this could happen. The Guthrie also was interested in producing it, but it never materialized. As a lyricist, I wrote the lyrics for a projected musical version of Chekhov’s Cherry Orchard – which I retitled The Trees of Silence. (Some famous composers were interested – George Kleinsinger, John Duffy – but considered it too operatic, being on the cusp of Sondheim’s capitalizing and popularizing of that form.)
The theater still beckons and remains a passion.
My biography of “Eleanor of Aquitaine”- a most dramatic lady-was published in the late 1980s.
Zoe (Corell) Kaplan, native New Yorker, attended Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London; has acted here in and in London. PhD in Dramatic Literature, History and Criticism from CUNY; taught for many years at CUNY, NYU and Marymount Manhattan College. Published poetry, short stories, lyrics, and working on plays.