What play or production changed your life?
The Eternal Road, a monumental historical morality play, written by Franz Werfel, directed by the famous Austrian director, Max Reinhardt, with music by Kurt Weill.
As a very small child I often accompanied my mother when she went to see a play my father (Roger DeKoven) was appearing in or went to meet him backstage after the matinee to go to dinner. This epic production was the very first one I remember visiting and it was particularly significant because one of the members of a huge and impressive cast of men and women was a small, nice looking boy of about eight or nine. The play was a Biblical spectacle with an impressive set of risers and shifting drops, together with odd, colorful costumes and haunting music. The storyline held little interest for me, but what did impress me was the boy. How clever he seemed. How much fun he seemed to be having!
Backstage, while waiting for my father to change, I was allowed to play on the steps of the risers on stage and I actually remember trying to duplicate the moves of the boy who in my eyes was so lucky to be able to do this every night and have such a good time. The stage seemed huge to my small body and surely a better playground than any I had ever visited. The combination of light, color and sound had created a magical world that I wanted to make my home. So this is where Daddy went when he wasn’t home with us. I was told that the boy’s father was also an actor in the play and I made a secret promise to myself that I was going to figure out a way to go to the magical world every night with my father. Dad brought me to the boy’s dressing room so I could meet him. It was awkward. I was very shy and didn’t know what to say, but I found out that his name was Sidney Lumet.
Lenore DeKoven has produced and directed on both coasts in theatre, film and TV and has been on the film and theatre faculties of UCLA, NYU and Columbia University. She has had two books published: Changing Direction: A Practical Approach to Directing Actors in Film and Theatre, and Twilight Man. Artistic Director: Our Workshop East.