porgy and bess -- 1/24/19
Today's selection -- from Which Lie Did I Tell?: More Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman. William Goldman, the Academy Award winning screenwriter for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, comments on the concepts of courage and relentlessness by recounting the first time he went to Broadway and saw the Gerschwin play Porgy and Bess:
"My family went and we sat there and if you don't know the story, it's about this cripple, Porgy, who can't walk, and he gets around on this pathetic goat cart, towed by a scrawny goat, and we're someplace in the Deep South. Porgy is hopelessly in love with Bess, a beauty but weak. Toward the end, Porgy is sent to jail (he murdered the village monster) and while he is there, Bess is wooed by a pusher, Sportin' Life, who, using drugs as a lure, steals her away, takes her to New York City, the other end of the universe as far as anyone in this town is concerned.
|Todd Duncan, Anne Brown " Bess, You is My Woman" Original Porgy and Bess (1940)|
"Porgy gets out of jail, and I am dreading the moment when he finds out Bess is gone. I mean, cripples don't win beauties in this world, not unless they are very rich indeed, and Porgy is a beggar. So he is out of jail and I am so scared for him, his life is over, how is he going to survive his loss, and he chitchats with the villagers, and then he says it—where's Bess?
"No one wants to answer but finally he finds out—Bess is gone, she is gone forever, gone to New York City.
"Silence in the theatre. Then Porgy says these three amazing words:
"'Bring my goat.' "