Monday, September 14, 2015


Went to the Hirschfield exhibit at the New York Historical Society, which happens to be the closest museum to where I'm staying.  Hirschfield is the  illustrator/caricaturist  who was a fixture in the New York theater scene with his lively and exaggerated line drawings of Broadway plays and stars.  He captured the ENERGY of the actor. 

 Below are drawings of the first production of THE GLASS MENAGERIE by Tennessee Williams, the Marx Brothers, and a production of a play at the Moscow Art Theater in the Soviet Union. If the Marx Bros. drawing looks like he copied it from someone else, that's because this BECAME the iconic image of the crazy M Brothers.  In fact, Groucho, upon seeing the artist's exaggeration of his hairdo, told the movie studio that he wanted his hair to look exactly like that in his next movie!

Hirschfield lived a happy, productive and LOOONG life.  He lived to 99, did his last published drawing --  of Tommy Tune for the NY Times --  six months before he died.

In an interview, he said, "I have absolutely no interest in landscapes, in drawing nature.  I want to sit in a cafe and observe PEOPLE, watch a play and capture the actors.  Nature doesn't interest me.  The Grand Canyon just looks like a decayed molar, magnified a million times.   PEOPLE -- that's what I love."

His favorite subjects where what he called "GLANDULAR actors -- with bulging eyes and thick lips, the ones who are bigger than life."  He bemoaned the more realistic "arid" style of of today's actors.  

It made me think about making Hick bigger, even bigger than life.  I've been going in that direction anyway.  After all, her STORY is bigger than life.  A secret yet not-so-secret romance with the First Lady in tumultuous times.  I have to keep reminding myself that the context of the story I'm telling is BIG!  I'd like to create a performance that Hirschfield would find inspiring to draw.  I ain't no decayed molar.

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