I didn’t see it happen – I wasn’t there – but the scene was described to me in loving detail.
He is a movie and theatre critic for the local press, with a handful of books published with a variety of houses, and one staged play to his name. Let us call him Mr. C.
She is a very good director I know and work with. We’ll call her Nina.
One day Mr. C. approaches Nina and tells her he is writing a play about Joseph Conrad.
“Are you?” says Nina, whose company is currently rehearsing a play of mine about Joseph Conrad.
Mr. C. proceeds to explain how he means to stage a very philosophical dialogue between Conrad and Bertrand Russell. The two shared a very deep friendship, does Nina know, and so he conceives this one-act play with just two characters…
It hardly looks like my (already finished, mind) play could be construed as plagiarism by any stretch of the imagination, but the man isn’t known for his equanimity. Anxious to avoid future complications, Nina jumps in.
“What a coincidence!” she chirps at her most cheerful. “Clara just wrote us a play about Conrad. Clara Giuliani, you know her.”
Mr. C. chews the notion the way he would a green lemon. He does know me – and is not amused. He twists his mouth this way and that for a while, and then…
“Did she now,” he says. “I think I might give her some advice.”
“Oh, but the play is finished.” Nina shows him my title on the season’s poster. “Actually, we started rehearsals in Semptember.”
“Ah.” Mr. C. has grown icy. He glares at my title. “Very well,” he says. “Reserve a seat for me, will you?”
And, Nina says, he has this look, you know. The look of one who is going to shred my play to ribbons in print – just on principle.
First night still four weeks away, and I have a hostile review already. Ain’t it just great?
Davide Mana said:
I have on good authority that green is the color of envy – maybe you should find some green token to mark this gentleman’s reserved chair.
But anyway, look at the bright side – you will not be surprised by any bad review.
la Clarina said:
🙂 Ah, yes – that’s supposing nobody else will give it a bad review… You know, I might be entirely wrong, and the company too, and Nina, and the play a dreadful fiasco, and this would not make Mr. C. right, but he could be wrong with good reason, and, and…
Oh… is this a bout of pre-first-night nerves that I see before me?
Davide Mana said:
It does sound like classic authorial pre-show tension.
Take it easy – you’re good, your are in good company, hostile reviewers are meaningless.