This is a theatrical caricature I did for The Village Voice
in 1962. The play, a revival of Patrick Hamilton's Rope
, ran only eight performances before closing. So the Voice
printed the caricature with a caption headlined something like "Anatomy of a Flop".
The artist-novelist Kin Platt did regular theatrical caricatures for The Village Voice
, but I noticed several issues went by without a Platt drawing. Around the same time, I saw that a production of Rope
was due to open at the Actors' Playhouse in Sheridan Square. Looking at the opening date, I deduced when they were going to have a dress rehearsal.
That evening I went to the theater with my sketchpad. No one was in the lobby area, so I just walked in and took a seat. The theater was empty, except for a few people in the front row and the actors in costumes on stage.
The play was a shambles. The director had walked out on the production, so the actors were sitting on stage debating what to do, talking with the people in the front row. It was almost like they were posing for me, so I sketched them all. No one ever looked at me. No one even knew I was in the theater, and during the time I was there, they never rehearsed. I closed the sketchpad and walked out.
I went back to W. 10th Street and did the inked drawing on Strathmore paper, based on the poses in the sketches. In the morning, I went to the Voice
office in Sheridan Square and asked to see the editor Michael Smith. The receptionist said he was out to lunch. So I sat on the bench in front of the Sheridan Square park. When he came by, I said, "Hello," and showed him the drawing, indicating the theater across the street. He accepted the drawing while we were standing there.
We went up to his office and talked. He suggested I next do Shakespeare in the Park. Why didn't I do this? I don't know. Instead, I did a caricature of Robert Duvall and Rose Gregorio in The Days and Nights of Beebee Fenstermaker
. It opened September 17, 1962, at the Sheridan Square Playhouse. When the Voice
ran a photo of the play instead of the caricature, I moved on to other things.
The prolific Kin Platt
(1911-2003) was better known back then for his comic strip Mr. and Mrs.,
which ran from 1947 to 1963. Above is a Sunday strip from April 30, 1955.
Labels: bhob, kin platt