Timetable

It’s hard to say when this project began (for that matter, when anything begins). When I was 13, an older friend introduced me to George Bernard Shaw’s play, Don Juan in Hell. At the time, I was told by concerned adults that I was too young for Shaw. Nevertheless, I listened over and over to the recording of the play. I memorized passages. I thought the play was brilliant. And now, sixty years later, I feel as I did then.

For background, Don Juan in Hell is the third act in Shaw’s four-act play, Man and Superman. During the 1950s, four prominent actors (Charles Boyer, Charles Laughton, Agnes Morehead and Sir Cedric Hardwick) toured the United States performing Don Juan in Hell.

In the play, Don Juan, a former love of Don Juan’s (Dona Ana), her father (the Commander), and the Devil all meet in Hell where they discuss any number of topics related to the purpose of life. It is a remarkable play.

In 1979, I met Jeff Edelman (see Edelman exhibit). Jeff was a wonderful songwriter. He wrote in a number of genres (blues, jazz, rock, ballads) but, at base, his music was for the stage, music that belonged within a theatrical production. Though often discussed, a vehicle to showcase his music never evolved and sadly, Jeff died before turning fifty.

When I retired, I identified several projects that I thought would be worth the time and effort they might require. One was to help Jeff’s music find its audience; and beyond that, if possible, to create the play or theatrical production that would be a proper fit with Jeff’s music.

Finally, in recent years it’s been my good fortune to come across the work of philosopher Bruce Wilshire (see Wilshire exhibit). Wilshire’s scholarship focused largely on the work of William James and through Wilshire (and James) I gathered the concepts that allowed me to complete the project I had in mind.

Thus, Timetable, a play in which a young director struggles to create “Don Juan in Hell—the Musical”, and in so doing save both his family’s theater and himself.

I should mention that Timetable was Jeff’s choice for the title of the play he hoped would one day showcase his music.

For more on the central theme of Timetable, go to THE MUCH-AT-ONCE.

For rehearsal and staged-reading photographs, go to TIMETABLE PHOTOGRAPHS (July ’24)