delanceyplace.com 1/02/09 - porgy and bess
During this holiday week, we are reaching back into our archives to bring you a few of the excerpts from the past that have elicited the most comments and requests. In today's excerpt—a tale of optimism to ring in the New Year from Academy Award-winning screenwriter William Goldman. Here Goldman recounts his first trip as a young boy to Broadway, where he attended the Gershwin 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.
"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.' "