Storyline: The barbed bard internalizes his various dualities, as a means of reintegrating himself around his unique wit and sense of self, while continuing to personalize his political convictions, rather than running on them for public office, as he has often done in the past.
Stephen Fry (1957) - English writer, actor and filmmaker. Outer: Father was an English physicist. Mother was of Austrian-Jewish descent, and had lost several relatives in the Auschwitz death camps during WW II. The middle of three, with an older brother, and a younger sister who became his agent. Wound up expelled from two of his secondary schools for mischief-making. Although a homophile, he harbored great guilt about his orientation, which caused him to act out instead, and he wound up celibate for much of his early life, rather than admitting his priapic preferences to himself. To compound his internal chemistry, he would also later be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Cemented his inabilty to take his education seriously by flunking out of the Norfolk College of Arts and Technology, despite a lifelong fascination and facility with the latter, and wound up in prison for fraud for three months, after stealing a credit card from a family friend. With his youthful rebelliousness tempered, he won a scholarship to Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he studied English Literature, and was a member of the Cambridge Footlights. Hooked up with his future partner in comedy, Hugh Laurie, while there, and together they would write a number of post-university Footlight Revues. 6’4” and large-bodied. Began his career on TV in 1982, with a series of series, along with Laurie, which led to “A Bit of Fry and Laurie” in 1986, as well as the extremely popular, “Blackadder” in which he assayed ongoing characters. Became a millionaire by the time he was 30, through a rewrite of the musical, “Me and My Girl.” Along with Laurie, he also starred in “Jeeves and Wooster,” a teleadaptation of the P.G. Wodehouse stories of an addled aristo and his perennial butler/savior. Both a frequent panelist and host of game shows, he has been a fairly ubiquitous presence on British telly since the 1980s, despite being relatively unknown in the United States. Made his film debut in 1985, and achieved his cinematic peak a dozen years later in Wilde, playing his boyhood hero, uberwit Oscar Wilde (Joe Orton), a role for which he felt destined. Made his directorial debut in 2003 with Bright Young Things, an adaptation he had made from Evelyn Waugh’s “Vile Bodies.” Has shown a preference for cult and literary classics in his filmwork, and pop fare in his TV oeuvre. A familiar voice on British radio, as well, he created an alter ago, Donald Trefusis to broadcast his take on a variety of issues, while also both penning and hosting several series for the solely vocal medium. Eventually added podcasting 2008 to his various electronic outlets, to complete his broadcasting c.v. In addition to his thick body of work in indirect media, he has also worked in the theater, as a performer, adapter and playwright, and as if all that were not enough to sate his enormous need to create, he is a novelist, as well as an autobioigrapher, while also doing newspaper and magazine ruminating, including a weekly technology column, and web blogging, making him a British institution of sorts, who has made no attempt to transliterate his peculiarly English sensibilities to an American audience. Active politically as a longtime supporter of the Labour Party, he has been a gadfly among both English show business royalty, and royalty itself, despite his proclivities for making fun of anything and everything that falls within his considerable reach. Suffered a breakdown in 1995, suddenly disappearing from a play he was in, while darkly contemplating suicide, before resurfacing in Belgium. After returning, he has been in a steady relationship since with Daniel Cohen, a dozen years his junior, and later would deal with his disorder through a BBC two-parter, along with other show business celebrities from both the U.S. and the U.K. Lost almost six stone (84 pounds) in 2009, and found himself, to his mock self-horror, suddenly becoming a gym enthusiast, which has helped in his long battle against manic-depression. Issued his self-deprecating memoir, “The Fry Chronicle” in 2012, fessing up to a host of peccadillos, including loathing the sight of his naked body, and being rather a clod in bed, in an entertaining and witty deflation of himself, contra most self-aggrandizing show business hagiographies. Later admtted to a suicide attempt the same year via vodka and pills which was halted when his producer discovered his unconscious body. In 2015, he wed stand-up comedian Elliot Spencer, some 30 years his junior. Afterwards blasphemed God as an evil, capricious, monstrous maniac on Irish TV because of the egregiously unjust world we live in. Inner: A technophile in extremis, he is also quite eclectic in his tastes, and quite charitable with his time for a number of organizations of need. Rabid cricket fan, and an amalgam of the silly and the serious, in his need to be always on, whether as host, performer, scribe or opinionator. Everywhere at once lifetime of extending his considerable reach into all media, while battling his own interior and sense of self, as a prince of the pen, who refuses to be penned into any singular literary category. George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) - Irish playwright, critic and socialist. Outer: Mother was headstrong and musically inclined. Father was a financial failure, first as a civil servant, then a grain merchant, thanks to a fondness for the sauce. Grew up in genteel poverty, as part of the Protestant gentry in Ireland. Rejected school, and began working for a land agent as a clerk, then as a cashier. His mother left his father when he was 16, and he eventually followed her and his 2 sisters to London, determined to be a writer. Suffered extreme poverty, lived on an apple a day, and became a vegetarian, while knocking out 5 novels, and finally seeing the last one published. Despite his total lack of literary success, he developed into an impressive orator, using language for extemporaneous exposition, while continuing to live with his mother. Read Karl Marx (Victor Serge) in French, and, in his late 20s, joined the Fabian Society for middle-class socialists, and was very active in it, incessantly lecturing, while editing their periodical. Despised the class system, but also mistrusted commonality, as a mixture of high-minded theory which was suspicious of practicality. Lost his virginity on his 29th birthday to a near contemporary close friend of his mother who initiated the seduction. Because of his late start in the sphere of carnality, he came to see passion as best expressed cerebrally, rather than physically, and created his highly independent female characters accordingly. A brilliant music critic, then an incisive theater critic, before finally finding his true metier on the stage, writing plays of ideas, beginning in the mid-1880s, that initially had more success on the continent than in England, when they began to be produced in the 1890s. Overwork caused him to collapse in 1898, and in his early 40s, he married his nurse, Charlotte Payne-Townshend, an Irish heiress, who was appalled at his living conditions in the flat he shared with his mother. The marriage was probably unconsummated, as his wife skirted him away to the country, and he made their union official in order to avoid scandal. Had strong emotional connections to several actresses, with whom he engaged in playful correspondence. Hit his theatrical stride after the turn of the century, combining dialectic dialogue, comedy and idea in a series of well-received pieces, including Man and Superman and Major Barbara. Became a strident anti-warmonger during WW I, writing pamphlets rather than plays, and incurring much criticism. Always on public display, he cut a dandyish figure with a cane, impish beard, and his rail thin figure. Won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925. Returned to the stage after the war, with a series of symbolic moral dramas, and was intellectually active for all of his ninety plus years. His wife died during WW II, and he moved from London afterwards to a longtime country home and died there from complications of a bladder infection after breaking his thigh in a garden fall. Inner: Extremely witty, opinionated, an astute critic. Intellectual gadfly, and most impressive political man-of-letters of his time. Great moral passion, brilliant sense of language, strong philosophic convictions. Fast-on-his-feet thinker, and never above displaying his wit at the expense of someone else. Gadfly lifetime of putting his full iconoclastic figure on display, creating a public stage for himself where he was always the star performer. Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816) - Anglo-Irish playwright and politician. Outer: Third son of literary and theatrical parents. Father was an actor/manager, as well as a scholar, and mother, Frances (Lillian Hellman), was a novelist and playwright. His parents were forced to flee Ireland in 1754 because of a theater riot, and he did not rejoin them until they returned to England 5 years later. Raised a Protestant, but bore the stigma of being an actor’s son while at Harrow in England and never returned to Ireland again. His parents fled England again because of creditors in 1764, and his father finally retrieved him in 1770, after his mother’s death. Began collaborations at an early age with a friend on plays. Fell in love with a beautiful singer, Elizabeth Linley (Kate Winslet) and fought two duels over her, in part to assure his gentleman’s status. Pursued her ardently and in his early 20s, married her over his father’s objections, throwing away a life in the law in the process, after beginning his studies at Middle Temple. Instead, he began a highly successful career in the theater. Initially with no money, but with an overabundance of confidence in his future, he outfitted a fashionable house, and soon realized his potential with The Rivals, which quickly became a theatrical standard, despite an indifferent initial reception its first night, largely due to the acting of one key part. Thanks to his successes, by 1776, he had become a manager and part owner of the Drury Lane Theater, with his father-in-law putting up the bulk of the money. Added A School for Scandal to his classic repertoire in 1777, and his reputation for the ages would be assured. His interest turned to politics in 1780 as a friend and ally of Charles James Fox (David Lloyd George) and he became a Whig member of Parliament before the age of 30, holding a seat for over three decades, as well as several cabinet posts. An extremely effective orator, he had an excellent command of language, although his propensity for intrigue and individual stands blunted his effectiveness as an eloquent member of the minority party, and adviser to the self-indulgent Prince of Wales, the future George IV (Warren Beatty). His shining hour would be the impeachment of Warren Hastings in which his oral brilliance and mental agility are clearly and impressively in evidence. After his wife’s death in 1792, he married Esther Jane Ogle, the daughter of the dean of Winchester in 1795. 2 children from the first union, including a son Thomas, who became a poet, one from the second. In 1806, he was made treasurer of the navy and a member of the Privy Council, and though he wanted to succeed Fox as head of the Whig Party, on the latter’s death, his way was blocked. His later life, saw him as a sexual profligate and an excessive drinker, and his end-life caught him in financial disarray, after losing his parliamentary seat and the destruction of his theater by fire in 1809. Gradually deteriorated into drink, decline and wretched excess, although was buried with great pomp in Westminster Abbey. Inner: Extravagant, highly individualistic, and, as always, a fast thinker on his feet. Chronic alcoholic, given to borrowing and not worrying about the future. Chameleonic, with a self-destructive drive that ultimately overwhelmed him. Improvident lifetime of trying to integrate the theatrical with the political, a continual theme of his, with alcohol and a devil-may-care attitude about the future as the mediating balance between the two. Richard Steele (1672-1729) - English playwright, journalist and politician. Outer: Grandfather of the same name had been an explorer in Persia and India, and raised the family to the Protestant gentry. Second child and only son of an ineffectual attorney who died when he was five. Along with his older sister, he was taken in by a maternal aunt, who married the secretary to the 1st Duke of Ormond (Duke of Wellington). Went to Charterhouse, where the latter was governor, and where he met Joseph Addison (Walter Lippmann). Wound up at Merton College, Oxford, but left suddenly and joined the army without taking a degree, enlisting in the Life Guards, which were commanded by Ormond. Published his first poem at his own expense in 1695, while transferring to the Coldstream Guards. Became a captain and company commander in 1697, as well as secretary to its commanding officer, which gave him access to London society. Fought a duel in 1700, almost killing his opponent, while continuing to write during his military years, before exiting in 1705 when his advancement was curtailed by lack of money. Despite his dissipated practices, he wrote in a high-toned fashion, to the derision of those who knew him, and found no success when he initially took the same starch stance as a playwright. Scored a big success with a comedic theatrical piece performed at Drury Lane Theater, and was brought to attention of King William III (Lyndon Johnson) and the Whig party. Continually struggled with his finances, thanks to his ongoing extravagance, despite his subsequent two stage triumphs. Married twice, the first time in 1705, to Margaret Stretch, an elderly widow with money, and then to a younger women, Mary Scurlock, he met at his wife’s funeral the following year. Both unions were for gain, although he genuinely loved his second wife. 3 children from his second marriage, as well as an illegitimate daughter, but he was ultimately left a double widower by both his spouses, when his second died in 1718. Held several positions, but his real eminence came from journalism. In 1709, he created The Tatler, then teamed with Addison on The Spectator, a nonpartisan endeavor of ethical judgments and principles rendered in highly readable style, and appearing 6 times a week. The latter lasted 555 issues, until 1712, while he spent the rest of the decade putting his political opinions into pamphlets. Eventually broke with Addison, but the duo created an impressive journalistic body of work, with The Tatler an immediate and lasting success, thanks to his attracting talented contributors including Jonathan Swift (James Joyce). Focused more on theatrical criticism in it than news or politics, while its essays would give it its lasting importance. Began The Guardian then, when his mother-in-law died and left him and his wife a substantial estate in Wales in 1713, he decided to actively enter politics as a Whig. Elected to and then expelled from Parliament for seditious sentiments in his early 40s, while continually courting controversy with his written opinions. Made governor of Drury Lane Theater soon after, knighted and re-elected to Parliament in a safe seat in 1715. Continued with his broadsheets, but long bothered by gout, his health finally declined, after being immobilized by a stroke. Recovered, only to have his beloved wife die from complications from pregnancy. Addison passed on the following annum, and after the production of his last play in 1722, he retired to his wife’s estate, where he died following another stroke of paralysis. Inner: Principled moralizer, although didn’t feel he should live by what he stood for. Sincere, generous, charming, impassioned and good-natured idealist. Impecunious, with a gift for both making and losing money. Lovable, improvident, ebullient, charming. Rogue lifetime of trying to integrate his own take on moral principles with his own impracticalities. Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1627) - Italian statesman and writer. Outer: Son of a doctor of laws, who nevertheless struggled financially. Largely self-educated because of his relative poverty, making him an original thinker. Worked in the chancellery of the republic of Florence, rising to its head before 30, just days after the execution of the reformist monk Girolamo Savonarola (Martin Heidigger), who became his archetype for “the unarmed prophet,” a prototype of taking on power without political means behind him. A diplomatic mission to France opened him up to the greater possibilities of his own republic. Worked with Cesare Borgia (Joseph Stalin), who became the model for his masterwork The Prince, written in 1513, which saw political ends justifying any means, and fear as far more inspirational than love in the public power realm. Also wrote plays, including Mandragola, perhaps the most important satire of the Italian Renaissance. Despised Borgia, but admired the resolute leadership he stood for. Married Marietta Corsini in his early 30s, 5 children from the union. Entwined his career with the chief magistrate of Florence, implementing his own ideas for a state militia. Traveled widely on diplomatic missions, always observing and employing what he perceived, while continually involving himself in affairs of state and intrigues. When the de’ Medici family returned from exile to take control of Florence in 1512, he was imprisoned, tortured and lost his influence and position, despite being proven innocent. Banished for a year, he was then forced to dwell nearby on his small ramshackle farm, where he remained the next 13 years, living simply. Impoverished, he turned to writing, meditating and reading. Eventually regained a semblance of position in 1525, first as official his/storiographer of the republic, then as adviser, but was not trusted by the de’ Medici, and his higher ambitions were curtailed. Fell ill with mysterious stomach ailments, possibly as the result of being poisoned, and died of both shock and frustration, surrounded by his children. Vilifed immediately afterwards, his Prince was not published until nearly 5 years after his death, at which point he was blamed for virtually every subsequent manifestation of political evil, and his name would still be invoked a half-millennium later for any and all manipulations around public power. Inner: Highly active, highly perceptive, playful, vigorous, ambitious and genuinely witty and ironic. Saw his/story as a process of cycles. Loved wordplay and boon companionship. Skilled writer, poet, and playwright who continually sought simplicity and clarity. His adjectivial name, Machiavellian, has become synonynous with political intrigue. Machiavellian lifetime of both original thought and excellent exposition, as well as actualizing his ongoing lust for power, only to fall from favor and be forced to go within for his ultimate sustenance. Guittone d’Arezzo (1225?-1293?) - Italian poet. Outer: Father was a city bursar. Grew up in an environment of fierce conflict between the opposing political parties and competing city-states, and was passionately involved in politics and the waves of enforced exiles it demanded. Forced to flee his native city in his mid-30s after rebuking the temporarily victorious party, he fled to Bologna and underwent a spiritual crisis, becoming a monk for 24 years. As in everything he did, he embraced his beliefs fervidly. Returned to his native Arrezo for the last decade of his life, after helping found a monastery. Took Seneca, an earlier life of his, as his writing model. First to use poetry to express political sentiments, rather than chivalric themes, although far more cerebral than emotional in his verse. Inner: Prideful, passionate, highly political. Intellectual lifetime of working as a bridge between the ancient rimers and thinkers and the coming High Renaissance, which would once again see him as an exemplar of the poet as passionate politico. Seneca (c4BZ-65AZ) - Roman philosopher, playwright and statesman. Outer: Son of a famous teacher of rhetoric, mother was also well-educated and from a noble family. Went to Rome as a child and was educated in philosophy and trained as an orator. An asthmatic, he was often ailing, which probably was instrumental to his many mood swings. After recuperating in Egypt from a bout of ill-health, he returned to Rome to begin political career. Dissuaded Emperor Caligula (Napoleon Bonaparte) from killing him, and was banished instead to Corsica in 41, on charges of adultery with the emperor’s niece. Studied and wrote in exile, before being recalled through the influence of the emperor’s wife, Agrippina (Unity Mitford) in 49. Became a praetor, married a wealthy wife, and had many influential friends, including the prefect of the guard, Burrus. Tutored the future emperor Nero (Adolf Hitler). After the murder of the emperor Claudius (Joseph Goebbels) in 54, he enjoyed supreme power with Burrus. Virtual ruler of Rome during Nero’s early reign. Introduced reforms, but was also complicitous in the murder of Agrippina. After the slaying of Burrus, he found his position untenable and retired to write stoic philosophy, essays and tragedies, the latter of which established his lasting reputation. Forced to commit suicide by Nero, he slashed his veins and met his death nobly. His tragedies, which were meant to be read, rather than acted, were a major influence on the development of Renaissance theater, with their all-out gloom-and-doom horrors. Inner: Greedy and corrupt as a politician, but noble and moral in his writings. Better stylist than innovator. Neurotic, and subject to stress. Nero-otic lifetime of employing an unintegrated lust for power to try to compensate for a failed body, while his true power, all along, lay in his innate abilities at articulate exposition.


Storyline: The satirical satyr proves his fecund genius over and over to become a continuing icon of the ages, despite his stage-center self-centeredness.

Charlie Chaplin (1889-1976) - English comedian and filmmaker. Outer: Mother was Hannah Chaplin (Amy Winehouse), a minor music hall star. Named after his father, Charlie Chaplin, Sr. (Russell Brand), a butcher’s son turned actor, although the duo separated when he was 1, after she had a child, Wheeler Dryden, with another performer. Onstage since the age of 5, when his mother’s voice broke in the middle of a performance. His sire died of alcoholism soon afterwards, while his mother became mentally unbalanced from syphilis and could not care for him. Her own mother had been similarly unbalanced. Later glossed over his beginnings in his 1964 “My Autobiography,” ascribing his mother’s condition to malnutrition due to self-sacrifice for her sons. Born within a few days of German dictator Adolph Hitler, whom he later lampooned on film. Spent his childhood in orphanages and boarding schools, while working a variety of jobs, before entering show business officially as a clog-dancer at the age of 8. His older half-brother Sydney (Eddie Murphy) got him a job with an English vaudeville troupe, where he remained for 7 years, touring America twice, until getting a movie contract with Keystone pictures there. 5’4”, 125 lbs. In 1914, he made his first film, Making a Living, which moviedom would more than provide for him. Developed a tramp character in his 2nd effort, which was an immediate sensation, embodying the power of the little man against a world grown increasingly warlike and unkind. Began directing his own silent comedies the same year, and became Hollywood’s highest paid comedian and the greatest celluloid star of his time in very short time. Habitually took dozens upon dozens of takes of himself, driving his crews and casts into exhaustion with his self-absorption. In 1918, he married 16 year-old former child star Mildred Harris (Helen Mirren), one son from the union who died after a few days, as did the marriage, which ended in 1920. Subject during this period to deep bouts of melancholia and despair, despite his funny man reputation. Formed United Artists with fellow luminaries Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks (Robert Downey, Jr.) and director D.W. Griffith (Alfonso Cuaron) in 1919. Toured post-war Europe afterwards, and basked in the universal adulation he received, penning a book in appreciation of it, after writing, producing and starring in over 60 shorts and full-length features. Able to bring his non compos mentos mother to California, where she died in a home towards the end of the decade. In 1924, he married another 16 year old, Lolita McMurray, who had Hollywoodized her name to Lita Grey, and the duo were also divorced 2 years later. Two actor sons from union, whom she gained custody of, after bringing him to court, and wringing a million out of him. Never applied for U.S. citizenship in hopes of getting a knighthood. Shot what many consider his masterpiece, The Gold Rush in 1925, and then mightily resisted the coming of sound several years later, continuing in the silent vein well into the 1930s. After being involved with numerous actresses, in 1933 he secretly married 19 year old actress Paulette Goddard, although their union was not revealed for another 3 years. During that time, he was brought to sensational trial on a paternity suit, involving yet another teenager, for which he was acquitted, while his divorces all caused headlines. The duo were divorced in 1942, and his final marriage, at 54, was to the 18 year old daughter of disapproving playwright Eugene O’Neill, Oona O’Neill. 8 children, including actress Geraldine Chaplin. Despite his widespread popularity, he also morally offended many people with his priapic antics. His Monsieur Verdoux in 1947 had the audacity to compare the mass murderer he played as an amateur in comparison with nations who indulge in the same behavior. This non-too-subtle indictment of the U.S. proved extremely threatening to cold war America, as did his refusal to become an official citizen of his adopted country, as well as his longtime support for members of the Communist Party, despite his never having joined himself. When he left for Europe in 1952, to the jeers of both the State Dept. and the INS, he was refused re-entry to the country. Ultimately had a 2,000+ page file with the FBI. His earlier movies had a natural sweetness to them, but as he became more self-important, society became far more malevolent, and his cinematic character became a liberal, albeit sentimental, preacher, growing ever more egomaniacal. A total misanthrope in his last works, he lost the center of his everyman tramp-character to vacant self-importance. Given a special award by Hollywood in 1972, after earlier vowing never to return to America, and three years later, he was finally bestowed with his coveted knighthood. Confined to a wheelchair at life’s end, he died of old age, a few hours before his family’s annual Christmas celebration. Reputedly, a priest asked at his deathbed, “May the Lord have mercy on his soul,” to which he replied, “Why not, it belongs to him.” His body was later stolen from its grave and recovered in a cornfield, as emblem of his earthiness. Inner: Pan figure, with a great desire to mirror commonality, despite his own regal sense of self. Possessor of a legendary sexuality, although was always aware of his mother’s affliction, and took extreme precautions not to be similarly affected. Naive politically, cold, selfish, perennially betrayed associates, stingy, petty and angry, despite his ample gifts to amuse. Legendary lifetime of self-creation and experiencing the love and the hate of an alternating audience, while transforming himself from everyman to a self-important divinity of the screen and losing his perspective in the process. Alexandre Dumas (Davy de la Pailleterie) (1802-1870) - French playwright and novelist. Outer: Father was a mulatto Napoleonic general, whose own parents had been a Norman noble and a Dominican slave. Mother was the beautiful daughter of an innkeeper. Revered the memory of his courageous father, who fought heroically, but was broken by imprisonment and died when he was four, also adored his mother. Raised in the latter’s parents’ house, while showing far greater interest in outdoor activity than study. At fifteen, he participated in a secret mission to aid two imprisoned Bonaparte generals. Adopted a shortened version of his father’s name and became an apprentice to a notary, taking on the first of many mistresses a year later. A skilled storyteller, he decided to become a playwright, went to Paris, became a copyist and began to read widely in the classics. Collaborated on a mediocre play, and sired a son, Alexandre Dumas, fils (Tennessee Williams), by a mistress, Marie Labay, a dressmaker, although soon left them. Handsome and large, he had continuous affairs, counting some 28 mistresses all told. His first huge success in the theater was in his late 20s, and he went on to revolutionize theater by anticipating more modern social drama via his/storical storytelling. Frequented the company of literati and actresses, while flamboyantly flaunting his popularity and modeling himself on the libertine poet Byron. Had a daughter by an actress with whom he lived for three years, and belatedly recognized his son, who adored him despite his benign neglectfulness. His republican sympathies and an adventure in their behalf in 1830 caused him to leave the country for a brief exile, which produced the first of several works on travel, all highly colorful. Continued penning plays, some ninety all told, as well as many other works, acting as a virtual writing machine, then began to use collaborators to do the research and frame them, while being accused of producing industrial literature. After his mother died in 1836, he briefly married the latest in his string of mistresses, Ida Ferrer (Paulette Goddard), an actress, and went through her dowry, as he did with all his fortunes, before dumping her. After several theatrical failures, he turned to cloak and sword novels, preferring atmosphere and romance to fact in his romantic retelling of times past. Best remembered for his Three Musketeers trilogy. Splurged on a magnificent chateau named after one of his epic tales, The Count of Monte Cristo, and had to flee to Belgium in 1851 to escape his creditors, where a 2nd son was born. Continued his lavish lifestyle and prolific output, piling up a huge debt, until he declared himself bankrupt at 50. Ran guns for the Italian republicans abroad his schooner, then returned to Paris, wrote his memoirs, and at 60, sired another daughter, who was to be the delight of his old age. After a life of joyous excess in everything, he died of a stroke. On his deathbed, he asked his son if he would be remembered. Inner: Lighthearted sensualist, who combined an unending pursuit of pleasure and adventure with an extraordinarily thick outpouring of his imagination on paper. Incredible memory, clever wit, politically ardent. Wrote 10 hours a day for twenty years. Sensitive to prejudicial remarks against his having black blood. Larger-than-life lifetime of taking a sheer joy in living and leaving an equally joyous legacy of his own rich interior in return, before returning in far darker circumstances to live out his darker side in a far darker age. Moliere (Jean Baptiste Poquelin) (1622-1673) - French playwright, actor and director. Outer: From an old bourgeois family that may have originally been of Scottish descent. Father was a successful upholstery dealer who became a royal upholsterer. Mother died when he was 10. Studied law with the Jesuits at the College de Clermont, and practiced for a few months before choosing the scandalous stage as his career in 1643. Helped found the Illustre Theater, where he changed his name to Moliere, and became associated with the Bejart family. Spent a few months in jail for debt after its collapse three years later. Along with a troupe that included Madeleine Bejart (Mary Pickford), as well as her brothers, he toured the provinces for 13 years, then tore the curtain down in Paris in 1659, winning the plaudits and patronage of the king. Given the Palais-Royal theater, in recognition of his skill as a playwright, he won universal acclaim for his comic acting skills, with a particular deftness for mime and expressing character through physical gesture. Thick-featured and stout, with a tendency towards consumption. At 40, he married the 17 year old sister of Madeleine Bejart, Armande (Frances Marion), making for an unhappy union, thanks to his jealousy and her flirtatiousness, three children from the union. Nevertheless, she served as his muse, in his writing specifically for her in several of his long-standing classics. Despite the king’s protection, he was a constant figure of attack and controversy because of his religious and moral satires, most notably, Tartuffe and Le Misanthrope. Particularly upset rival authors with his unsparing ridicule, but managed, despite all the controversy surrounding his oeuvre, to give a serious foundation to the French comic theater, which had been farcical and situational, and based on other country’s models, up until that time. More into types than characters, but able to extract their humorous essences, with a focus on hypocrisy and affectation. Chronically ill the last part of his life. Died from the hemorrhage of a ruptured blood vessel after collapsing on stage while performing the title role in The Imaginary Invalid. Two priests refused to dispense last rites on him because of his irreligious reputation, and he had to be given a semi-secret religious funeral. Despite the resistance of his contemporaries, his reputation as a comic genius has continued unabated over the centuries. Inner: Morose, quiet, capable of both vengeance and forgiveness. Loved luxury and high society, but was also relatively modest and honorable. Strong addiction to his own sexuality. Visionary comedian and champion of commonality. Laughmaster’s lifetime of exploring his capacity to transcend a failing body by creating the universal antidote of merriment and joy for most everyone else. Francois Rabelais (c1494-1554?) - French writer. Outer: Son of a successful lawyer. His early teachers remain unknown. Either instructed by his father or at a Benedictine monastery. Learned Latin and had a traditional scholastic education. In 1520, he became a monk in a Franciscan monastery and soon found stimulating company with a group of lawyers who were hot on the new humanism then prevalent in Europe. The church authorities in Paris, however, became frightened by the new independence of thought and banned all Greek texts, although they were later returned to him when he moved on to a new monastery through a cleric’s intervention, to whom he became secretary and traveling companion. Trace of him disappears for three years, where he probably was sating his ongoing curiosity amidst various university folk, before he enrolled as a medical student at the Univ. of Montpellier, quickly earning his degree in 1530. Moved to Lyons, wrote several scholarly treatises on medicine and joined the staff at a city hospital there. During this time, he wrote the two satires for which he is famous, Pantagruel and Gargantua, and for which the adjective Rabelaisian has come to mean lusty, good-humored and earthy. Both works were extremely popular at the time and have gone on to achieve gargantuan proportion in the world’s collective nose-thumbing canon. Became the personal secretary to the bishop of Paris, and went with him to Rome twice in the mid-1530s, where he developed a strong interest in classical architecture. Received papal absolution for his apostasies, and was allowed to practice medicine in any monastery, which he had been doing anyway, and for the next decade, he both taught and doctored. Revised the first two books of his satires in hopes of making them more acceptable to Church authorities in Paris, but was censured by both them and the Paris Parlement, since he maintained his derision towards Scriptures and religious practices of the time. Probably went to western France afterwards, and continued with his ongoing satires at behest of the king. After the condemnation of Book III of this series, he fled to Metz in 1546, working as a doctor there for two years, while composing Book IV. Made a vicar by his former employer, and then disappeared again after Book IV was condemned, and the rest of his life becomes a question mark. Book V came out nearly a decade after his death, but its tone suggests it was edited by others with a stronger anti-Catholic bent. Inner: Earthy, lusty, filled with a great love for learning and life, as well as the pleasures of the flesh. Freethinker and thoroughly independent, a humanist to the core. Rabelesian lifetime of acting out the old adage that laughter is the best medicine. Lucian (125-200) - Greek satirist. Outer: From a poor family. Apprenticed to an uncle who was a sculptor, a discipline he didn’t care for, and became a traveling student instead, visiting all the centers of Ionian civilization, and acquiring a mastery of the Greek language in the process. Settled in Antioch in his mid-30s, where he practiced the law, and wrote a flattering panegyric for the emperor Lucius Verus (Aneurin Bevan) on his mistress. Became a widely known public entertainer, giving discourses on social and cultural matters as a popular satirist, while continuing his travels in Asia Minor, Greece, where he studied philosophy in Athens, Gaul and Italy. Ended his career as a minor governmental official in Egypt, having made the full sweep of the ancient civilized world of his time. In the course of his nomadic existence, he served as a major figure of reviving Greek literary traditions in the Roman empire. A master of a variety of prose forms, his most enduring pieces were satires in the form of dialogues, as well as a parody on travel writing, How History Should be Written, and The True History, which influenced later satirists, including himself in his Rabelais life. Inner: Deliberately evasive and contradictory in cataloguing himself, despite his voluminous writings. Cynical, worldly, extremely witty, albeit no moralist, and far more the entertainer than the elucidator. Verbal pyrotechnical lifetime of employing his mastery of language to extremely entertaining effect while serving as a wandering commentator on the ongoing foibles and follies of the human comedy. Terence (Publius Terentius Afer) (c190-c159BZ) - Roman playwright. Outer. Of North African origin, possibly a Berber who became a Carthaginian slave to Roman senator Scipio Aemilianus, who was so impressed by his wit that he brought him to Rome, educated him, gave him his freedom, and introduced him to the literati of the day. Six of his comedies survive, showing realistic characters, broad humor and polished dialogue. Often combined elements from plays to create a new work, with double plots. Never appreciated by his contemporaries, since his works demanded a sophisticated audience, in what would later be termed ‘drawing-room comedies,’ and his rise from humble origins caused much resentment by other established playwrights. Wrote in a lucid and elegant style, with no concession to popular tastes. Far more popular in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Inner: Witty and uncompromising, despite his powerless origins. Out-of-place, out-of-time lifetime of recreating himself from a humble birth to a successful artisan through the easy grace of his tongue, and in an inordinate skill to entertain.


Storyline: The brooding bard acts as both master and prey of his unintegrated inner workings, while producing high art in his search for both God and self.

Ingmar Bergman (Ernst Ingmar Bergman) (1918-2007) - Swedish filmmaker and theatrical director. Outer: Son of an austere pastor, who eventually became Lutheran chaplain to the Swedish royal family. One brother and a sister. His mother was moody and unpredictable, while his sire was a stern disciplinarian, often locking his children in the closet and caning them. At the age of 9, he traded a set of tin soldiers for a battered magic lantern, which he used to create a puppet theater, putting on August Strindberg plays, in an unconscious tapping into his past, which allowed him refuge from his father’s unbending ethical code, and also opened him up to his own highly fertile imagination. Influenced by the religious art around his home, which gave him a strong visual sense of morality. Also held a lifelong fascination with both light and death. Despised his father and had a love/hate relationship with his alternately warm and forbidding mother. Eventually broke with his parents at 19, and remained aloof from them, although made an effort to understand them much later in life. 5’10”. Attended Stockholm Univ., as a literature major, but his real interest was in the theater, writing and acting in plays, and directing student productions. Became a director trainee, although his debut of a Strindberg play was a disaster, reflecting on his own disastrous prior go-round as saidsame. Married actress and writer Else Fisher in 1943, divorced two years later. Given the opportunity to write an original screenplay, which was highly successful, he became a filmmaker, which proved his true metier. After an apprenticeship with conventional fare, he began exploring his own concerns on film, making his directorial debut in 1945, after an award-winning writing stint the previous year with Torment. The same year he remarried, 3 children from the union, which also ended in divorce in 1950. The following year, he married writer Gun Grut, and divorced at the end of the decade, at which point he married actress Kabi Laretai. A son from the union, which also ended in divorce a decade later, was director Daniel Bergman. Established himself by the end of the 1950s as a serious, brooding artist with an exceptional eye for symbol and imagery, and a particular fascination with the inner life of women. Films such as The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries, a study of old age, gave him an international reputation and license to investigate more of his raging interior. Formed his own stock company of actors and technicians, including cinematographer Sven Nyquist. Although a difficult taskmaster at times, he inspired great loyalty from his company, while often becoming involved with his leading women. Lived with one of his actresses, Liv Ullman, for many years and had a daughter with her, Linn, who became a novelist. Also was director for a municipal theater and eventually ventured into TV. The 1960s saw less of an interest in his work because of an obsession with metaphysics, despite the Oscar-winning The Virgin Spring in 1960 and Through a Glass Darkly in 1961, although his reputation rebounded with more universal psychological probes starting in mid-decade, thanks in part to awakening from anesthesia in a hospital, and realizing he no longer feared death, allowing him to put his hope for human salvation in love instead. His 5th and final marriage in 1971 to Ingrid van Rosen, was a stabilizing influence for him, and lasted until her death in 1995. One child from the union, and 9 all told from his various relationships. In 1976, he was arrested and charged with income tax fraud while symbolically directing Strindberg’s Dance of Death for the stage. Had a nervous breakdown and had to be hospitalized, feeling he could never direct again. Closed down his studio and went into voluntary exile, making several movies in Germany and the United States before returning home 2 years later, to resume his career. Made one of his finest films in 1983, the multiple Oscar-winning Fanny and Alexander, reassessing his youth from a far more accepting overview, before retiring from film directing, although continued to write for the screen, while devoting himself to penning his memoirs, as well as directing for the stage, regularly mounting new productions. Able to come to terms with his excesses in later life, as well as his hatred for his father and dualistic feelings towards his mother. Retired from stage direction in 2002, then returned to the screen in 2005, with one last brilliant effort, shot in digital video, Saraband, a look at the characters he had created in Scenes from a Marriage. Never recovered from hip surgery in 2006, and died peacefully in his sleep the following year, on the chilly and desolate isle of Faro, where he had long made his home. Passed away the same day as 94 year old Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni. Made about 50 films all told, and was one of the few true masters of the twentieth century cinema, having used it to come to terms with himself and enthrall a worldwide audience with the incandescent magic of that medium’s ability to probe into the depths of human experience. Wrote 2 autobiographies, The Magic Lantern and Images: My Life in Film. Inner: Obsessed with the truth as he saw it, through his two favorite vehicles, God and sex. Had a serious eye and ear for the foibles, anguish and godliness of humanity. Plagued his entire life by his own draw towards madness, suicide, illnesses and breakdowns. Had a passionate hatred of injustice, with a reverence for the child in everyone. Once quipped film was his mistress, but theater was his wife. Obsessed with the truth, with an all-out commitment to art as the ultimate expression of verity. Saw himself as highly dualistic, with one side under control, and the other moody and highly emotional, which he felt gave him his creativity. Extremely attuned to the oeuvre of Strindberg, finding a complete freedom in directing his stage-works. Split-screen lifetime of exploring the depths of his own brittle and fragile humanity through the stark eye of the camera and the haunting platform of the stage, to eventually find relative peace with his unintegrated self. August Strindberg (Johan August Strindberg) (1849-1912) - Swedish dramatist and novelist. Outer: Third son of a merchant and steamship agent. His mother had been a servant to her husband, who later married her. Felt he wasn’t wanted and had a dark childhood, evincing a strong sensitivity and inferiority complex, as well as revulsion for his pietistic environment. Later wrote about it in the autobiographical novel, “The Son of a Servant,” although his own self-view was deeply prejudiced by his overwhelming subjectivity. Feared and loathed his father. His mother died of consumption when he was 13, and he was able to give her heart in dying and death, although his great neediness for love made him extremely neurotic later on in life. Felt school was equally restrictive, and he became a freethinker, and eventually an atheist. Attended the Univ. of Uppsala, but left after a semester to become a substitute teacher and tutor. Also worked as a pharmacist’s assistant. Developed a drinking habit and ran up considerable debts, the start of a lifelong dance with creditors. Became a tutor in the home of a Jewish doctor who aroused an interest in medicine, but after failing a premed exam, he turned to the Royal Theater to become an actor. That failure elicited a night of despair and drinking and then a flurry of creativity in which he wrote a drama in four days. Returned to the Univ. of Uppsala, where he formed a literary club with its members taking their names from Norse mythology. Chose Fro, the god of fertility for himself, and finally had a play produced, a biographical study of sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (Michael Heizer). Despite support from the king of Sweden, he once again left school without graduating, and worked as a journalist before producing one of his masterworks for the stage in 1872, Master Olof, about a clash between idealism and reality. The Paris Commune of the previous year, had opened him up to the possibilities of socialism, and he began viewing society in terms of class struggle. His lack of success with journalism, however, brought more despair, starvation, debts and his continued profound pessimism. Became an assistant librarian and learned to read Chinese. In his late 20s, he married Siri von Essen, a baroness who wished to be an actress, but like all his relationships with women, the union soon deteriorated, after producing two daughters. Extremely productive during his 30s, writing plays, poetry, novels, criticism and short stories. Prosecuted for blasphemy for some of the latter, but defended himself and was acquitted. Also employed painting and photography as a further means of expressing himself. His marriage ended corrosively, while his output continued, as he worked in a realistic vein in order to purge himself of many of his earlier memories, while also evincing a persecution mania and paranoia, which was influenced by a correspondence with the equally out-to-lunch philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche (Bob Dylan). Moved to Berlin in 1892, where he led a wild bohemian life, then married Frida Uhl, an aristocratic Austrian. The duo lived unhappily together in England, Germany and France, before bitterly divorcing. In Paris, he suffered more mental crises and delved into black magic and alchemy, describing this period of mysticism and rejection and absorption of religion in two books. Emerged as a freethinking Christian with the pessimistic sense that the real world exists outside human reality. Through much introspection, he produced a series of magnificent plays, and yet another marriage in 1901 which soon ended in divorce, to a young actress, Harriet Bosse (Alicia Vikander), one daughter from the union, who lived to 105 years. Despite being a jealous and controlling husband, he was a doting father, with his ex-wife often leaving their child with him, while she frequently traveled. Spent the last decade of his life writing angry social criticism, more plays and engaging in a journalistic feud, before dying of stomach cancer with a Bible on his heart. His subsequent funeral procession attracted thousands. Inner: Deeply pessimistic, melancholic and hyper-neurotic, with a profound antipathy towards women, religion and the world-at-large. Unbent lifetime of working out his extreme unhappiness through his literary efforts, turning his negative passion into a memorable body of work, as byproduct of an unsatisfactory, and thoroughly unintegrated inner life. Aleksandr Sumarokov (1718-1777) - Russian playwright and poet. Outer: Son of an old boyar ruling family living in Finland. Attended the Military Cadet Academy in St. Petersburg, where he began writing verse, quickly becoming the nation’s most popular young poet. Felt that he was the great Russian genius of his day. Facilely churned out a varied outpouring in a determined effort to create a distinctly Russian literature, becoming, in the process, the first eminent man of letters in that country’s cultural his/story. Wrote both tragedies and comedies for the stage, as well as poetry and fables. In addition, he was an accomplished and vigorous journalist, championing a classicism that was modeled on the French prototype, although it was uniquely Russian in his accomplished hands. Highly intolerant in his social opinions, particularly of what he felt was ignoble in Russian society, and in the process, managed to antagonize virtually everyone. After being appointed director of the first permanent Russian public theater in 1756, he was relieved of his post 5 years later after a quarrel with the authorities, and ultimately wound up in disgrace, spending the last part of his life in poverty and drunken misery, while being mercilessly harassed by his enemies. His reputation suffered after his death, although it was resurrected in later centuries as he came to be seen as a genuine artist with an unfortunate personality. Inner: Extremely self-assured, vain, authoritarian and temperamental. Broken mirror lifetime of tasting power in the creative arts, only to throw it all away through an overbearing sense of his own self-importance, a theme he would continue to explore in opposing fashion in his next existence as well, as part of a continuing process of highly public self-exorcism. Jean Racine (1639-1699) - French playwright. Outer: Father was a functionary in a local tax office. Mother was the daughter of a government official and died in childbirth when her son was a year old. His sire passed on two years later, and he was taken in by his grandparents, who became Jansenists, a sect that emphasized strict self-control and denied free will. Probably began his schooling at five or six in a Jansenist convent where an aunt was a nun. Profited from the experience, although showed little real religiosity. Studied philosophy for a year in his late teens at the College d’Harcourt in Paris. His early attempts at getting two tragedies produced failed and he left Paris to live in the south of France in order to study theology in preparation for a career in the priesthood. When a promised benefice did not materialize, he returned to Paris and began his true writing career, under the encouragement of France’s leading playwright, Moliere (Charlie Chaplin), who successfully produced his second play. The friendship, however, was permanently ruptured through his having a rival company also produce it. Got into a literary battle with the Jansenists and wound up antagonizing a good deal of the public. Had a series of leading ladies for mistresses and began producing a new play annually. By his early 30s, he was considered France’s best living tragedian, although his scornful and combative nature won him many enemies, and he and his partisans were involved in numerous competitive controversies. His works were particularly noted for their strong female roles, in which his women were conduits for social decay. His last play Phedre, is considered his masterpiece. Wrote simply and naturally, often using Greek themes, and was criticized for the crude realism of his characters and situations. Converted back to Jansenism, cut all ties with the commercial stage and in his late 30s, he married Catherine de Romanet, the pious 16 year old daughter of a rich Parisian bourgeois, 5 daughters and 2 sons from the union. One son, Louis, became a writer, while most of the rest either entered the priesthood or nunneries. Elected to the French Academy in his early 30s, and five years later, he was named historiographer to Louis XIV (Charles de Gaulle), along with Nicholas Boileau (Gore Vidal), but was ordered to quit the theater completely in order to devote himself entirely to his new position, which he did so for his last 22 years, save for two Biblical plays he wrote for his daughters for their school. Accompanied the king, who had no idea of his real reputation, on his military campaigns and duly recorded his exploits. Died after a long illness, either of an ulcer or an abscess on the liver, indicating deep-seated and ancient unpurged anger. Inner: Unscrupulous with unrestrained ambition, and willing to step on anyone in his way. Cold, insincere, extremely bitter, with a great difficulty in giving and expressing love. Asocial lifetime, as always, of evincing his genius for the theater, and a throughly unintegrated and unpleasant character behind it. Euripides (484-406BZ) - Greek playwright. Outer: From a middle-class land-owning Athenian family. Spent most his childhood in seclusion, showing little interest in the social or cultural life of his time. Later on, he would sit in a cave, staring out to sea, and was considered highly eccentric by his contemporaries. Competed in the dramatic festival of Dionysus, beginning in 455 B.Z., finally winning his first victory 14 years later. Won five times all told. Wrote 92 plays, of which 17 tragedies survive, in which he took legendary characters from Greek myth, among them, Phaedra, and made them into accessible contemporaries. Especially notable are his Medea and Trojan Women. Deeply interested in female psychology, which shocked his contemporaries. A highly controversial figure, and the first realist and recognizer of the power of language of the Greek stage, although his works went largely unheralded during his lifetime. Spent his last days at the court of king of Macedon, a noted art patron, after becoming disgusted with his lack of reception in Athens. His genius was finally recognized at his death, and a great tomb was built for him at Pella. Inner: Austere and unfriendly. Cerebral rather than emotional, with a passion for ideas. Realist, with an acute psychological view of humanity. Religiously skeptical and highly innovative. Democrat at heart, who hated war, and was capable of creating great lyrical beauty in his poems, despite his own unloving heart. Curmudgeonly lifetime of serving art on his own terms, while evincing the same unintegrated interior that has made him an exemplar of the stage down through the millennia as a master of the tragic, but an extremely difficult human being behind the scenes, and subject to his own self-induced tragedies because of it.


Storyline: The wondrous wilde-man is diverting on stage, but continually undoes himself by refusing to integrate his various internal Others into his otherwise penetrating interior.

Joe Orton (John Orton) (1933-1967) - English playwright. Outer: From a working-class background. Eldest of 4 children, with one younger brother and two sisters. His domineering mother had genteel pretensions and worked as a machinist, but sank to scrubbing as a charwoman when her eyesight failed, and wound up losing a lung to TB. Father was a frail, hen-pecked gardener. Had a loveless upbringing, and was a failed student, despite reading all of Shakespeare by the time he was 15. Eventually took a secretarial course, at his mother’s behest, and worked as a clerk. Became interested in amateur dramatics and self-improvement, both physically and mentally, and after losing his job, paid for elocution lessons to lessen his east midlands accent. Won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1951, where he met his longtime lover and lifelong companion, Kenneth Halliwell, who was 7 years his senior. The latter served as his teacher and suggested he pursue writing rather than acting, which he had found too restricting, particularly after a dismal 4 month stint as an assistant stage manager. Living off of odd jobs and Halliwell’s small inheritance, the duo eventually wound up in a claustrophobic one-room apartment where they collaborated on 5 unpublished novels, while he produced two of his own. Two of their collaborations and two of his own would appear posthumously, although only one, “Between Us Girls,” a would-be actress’s diary, would show the spark of his plays. His turning point came in 1962, when he and his roommate were arrested and imprisoned for 6 months for stealing and defacing library books, with obscene re-renderings of authors and text via pasted on pictures. Although Halliwell attempted suicide from the experience, he emerged from prison with a sense he had nothing to lose, as well as realizing he needed to detach himself from his work in order to make it work. Ironically, after his death, the defaced property would be exhibited in the very library that had prosecuted him. A frequenter of the fleshpots of Tangiers, his promiscuity always held the promise and fear of rearrest, particularly his proclivity for private behavior in public lavatories. Chronicled his various exploits in his diaries, which were posthumously published, and wound upthreatening to overwhelm his satirical reputation with his satyrical shenanigans. After 6 years of rejections, his first radio play, Ruffian on the Stair, was transmitted over the airwaves in 1963. It and The Boy Hairdresser, which was broadcast in 1964, proved popular. Followed them up with an unbroken series of stage successes of macabre satires and black farce that explored heretofore taboo subjects, including Entertaining Mr. Sloan, Loot and the posthumously produced, What the Butler Saw. Changed his name to Joe, so as not to be confused with fellow playwright John Osborne, and as such, enjoyed three years of acclaim. In a pique of jealousy over his more talented roommate, Halliwell eventually hammered his head in with a shoe, delivering nine blows while he was asleep, and then committed suicide via sleeping tablets afterwards. His dramatic death was probably an attempt at destroying his celebrated cerebral gifts in favor of pursuing a more integrated emotionality in future lives. His life story was later made into a film, Prick Up Your Ears in 1987, with Gary Oldman assaying him. Inner: Obsessed with language, meticulous writer, despite his overboard lifestyle. Randy, unconventional, and highly promiscuous with a wicked wit. Also insecure and defensive, with an unkind word for everything. Brazenly nonchalant, continually hid his own feelings behind a lacerating sense of humor. Unlike his previous go-round in this series, he put his genius in his works, and his talent into his life. Looted lifetime of displaying his wit from the vantage of no advantage at birth, and ultimately self-destructing through the projected competitive other side of himself that Halliwell represented. Oscar Wilde (Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde) (1854-1900) - Irish playwright and noted wit. Outer: Father was Ireland’s most successful ear and eye surgeon, who sired a number of children outside his marriage, despite being short and ugly. Mother was an authority on Celtic myth. Tall and beautiful, with a taste for the melodramatic, she wrote bad verse on Irish nationalism under the pen name Speranza. His sire, who was later accused of raping a patient, became a knight, and entertained liberally and lavishly, with their children in attendance, absorbing everything. As their second son, with one more daughter to go, he was educated at home until he was 9 and grew to be 6’4” and extremely strong, with an imposing figure. At 13, he lot his beloved younger sister, Isola, and kept a lock of her hair with him the rest of his life. At 16, an osculatory encounter with another young lad showed him that his own gender offered sexual possibilities, a belief he would slowly and tentatively begin to explore, despite having mixed feelings about his orientation. Won scholarships to Trinity College in Dublin and Magdalen College, Oxford, garnering the coveted poetry prize at the latter, and a gold medal at the former, the highest award possible for a classics student. During this time he became an enthusiast of the Aesthetic Movement, which placed art on a central pedestal in life. A wit, dandy and classical scholar at both schools, he let his hair grow long at Magdalen, affected unmanly dress and decorated his rooms with peacock feathers, among other effeminate effluvia, which did not sit well with certain segments of the school, who retaliated with great umbrage against him. After graduating, he returned to Dublin, where he fell in love with Florence Balcombe, who chose writer Bram Stoker (Clive Barker) over him. Her rejection ended his association with his native country, and save for two brief visits, he left permanently for London, to become a social lion there. In 1882, he went on a lecture tour of the U.S. promoting aesthetics, supposedly announcing, “I have nothing to declare but my genius,” to customs. Despite negative press for his fop outfits, he proved a success, then lectured in England on America. At 30, he married Constance Lloyd, the daughter of a prominent Irish barrister, whose generous allowance allowed them to live in relative luxury. 2 sons from the union, including Vivyan, who became an author and translator, while his brother Cyril was killed in WW I. Around 1885, he overcame his earlier resistances and plunged into his predilection for workingclass boys, which opened him up to his deeper literary sensibilities, after he was repulsed by his wife’s physicality during pregnancy. His singular novel was The Portrait of Dorian Gray, a tale of decadence and self-destruction published in 1891, where the protagonist’s portrait aged, while he did not, perhaps a fantasy of his own. Worked as a reviewer, then had a huge success with his comic plays, with Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest, among them. Introduced by writer Lionel Johnson (Truman Capote) to young Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas (David Sedaris) in 1891, who was an Oxford undergraduate at the time, and he became his primary infatuation, although the two probably remained relatively chaste. Nevertheless, they lived together openly in several locations, while he began speaking out more openly about anti-same-sex laws. The the 9th Marquess of Queensberry, who was the obsessive father of his inamorata, publicly accused him of, as he called it, somdomy. Countersued him for libel in 1895, but dropped the suit when the case went against him, thanks to far too much publicity about his sensational salacious private life, replete with cross-dressers, rent boys and raging ‘somdomites.’ Refused to flee to France, and instead was tried and then retried, found guilty and sentenced to two years hard labor, during which time his wife died, following spinal surgery. Released from jail, he was a broken and bankrupt man. Went to Paris under the name of Sebastian Melmoth, a literary character who sells his soul to the devil for a longer life, with the intention of letting his pen gain him restitution. Wrote “The Ballad of Reading Gaol,” about his experience, and pursued the pleasures of the flesh denied him in England. Lived in wretched misery, however, and died in self-imposed exile from an acute brain inflammation brought on by an ear infection. Received into the Catholic Church the day before he died. One of his last recorded sentiments was, “either that wallpaper goes or I do.” The subsequent subject of numerous novels, plays and films, as one of the more outrageous characters of his time. Inner: Highly social and flamboyant, with a flaming tongue, and an exhibitionist’s desire to flaunt convention. Self-acclaimed, “lord of language.” Also proclaimed he could resist anything but temptation. Unable to countenance his rejection by traditional society, but unable to draw on any inner resource for his resurrection. Lambent moth-to-flame lifetime of challenging convention only to be astonished when convention turned around and conventionally broke him. Pierre Beaumarchais (Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais) (1732-1799) - French dramatist, watchmaker, intriguer and spy. Outer: Grandson and son of watchmakers named Caron. Also had two brilliant, witty sisters, along with three other female siblings, so that he was spoiled by one and all as a singular son. Received little formal education and entered his father’s trade, claiming to have invented a watch escapement, which brought him to the attention of the Royal Academy of Sciences. Married Madeleine Aubertin, a wealthy widow, in his mid-20s, and took his name from a property she owned, but she died soon after, and he quickly went through her fortune. Bought a minor post in the royal household with it in 1755, with the office of the royal watchmaker. Musically gifted, he taught harp to the daughters of Louis XV (Mikhail Gorbachev), and obtained a patent of nobility. Remarried a decade following his first wife’s death to a second wealthy widow, Genevieve Leveque, but she, too, also quickly died, after producing a son and a short-lived daughter. Plunged into a series of political and financial intrigues, landing him in prison, and then making a familiar figure in the courts. His financial speculations and improper activities involved him in numerous lawsuits, and his witty written rejoinder to one of them gained him fame, despite losing the case. Showed himself to be a master of extrication from his difficulties through his facility for language. Wrote two masterly comic works which insured his reputation, The Marriage of Figaro and The Barber of Seville, both of which were made into operas by Wolfgang Mozart (Stevie Wonder). Never put much effort into his literary creations, seeing them as a relaxation, while he pursued his other interests. His oeuvre shows a sloppy verbosity, that, accordingly, has not translated well with the ages. Became a secret agent to kings Louis XV and XVI (Lex Barker), and married a third time in his mid-50s, to Marie-Therses Willermawlaz, one daughter from the union. Compulsively speculative, he bought arms, supplies and ships for American revolutionaries, while continuing to involve himself in numerous intrigues, with the express interest of adding to his coffers. Imprisoned during the French Revolution because of his wealth, he was freed through the intervention of his former mistress. His property was confiscated, and he fled the country to England and Holland, returned, but produced no more works of importance, and died impoverished. Inner: Witty, charming, compulsive. Renowned, but not respected, because of his penchant for turning his life into an ongoing melodrama. Conniving lifetime of high adventure in service to his own dramatic sense of self-importance, with a predictable unhappy ending as his final curtain fell. vWilliam Wycherly (c1640-1716) - English playwright. Outer: Son of the chief steward of a marquis. Educated at home and then in France for 5 years, where he converted to Roman Catholicism, although he reconverted to Protestantism on his return to England. Left Queen’s College, Oxford without degree, to study law in London. Received his law degree, but preferred court society to practice. Became a protege and lover of the king’s mistress, Barbara Villiers, the Duchess of Cleveland (Bette Davis), who called him a ‘son of a whore,’ upon passing him in a carriage, which he realized was a theatrical allusion, and he quickly became entwined with her. The latter gained him admittance to the circle of wits of the court, and he began writing plays in the Restoration comic style, replete with fops, rakes and romantic intrigues. Fashionably dissolute, which affected his health. In his early 40s, he secretly married Letitia Isabella Robartes, Countess of Drogheda, a widow and puritanical countess, who restricted his behavior, and helped lose him his position at court. She died a year later, and litigation over her contested will cost him seven years in debtor’s prison. Eventually rescued by James II (Martin Sheen), who paid his debts. Wrote little save verse afterwards. Married a young girl eleven days before his death to spite his nephew and heir and reconverted to Roman Catholicism on his deathbed. Inner: Brilliant, witty, inventive, with his usual penchant for prison in order to examine himself under the most oppressive circumstances. Gay and witty as a youth, cynical and self-seeking in old age. Melodramatic lifetime, once again, of flaunting convention and suffering imprisonment, while continuing to display his mastery of the language of both the stage and social intercourse. George Peele (c1558-c1597) - English playwright. Outer: Father was the head bookkeeper at Christ’s Hospital, an orphanage, where his son was raised. His sire went on to wrote the first two works in English on book/keeping. Went to Christ Church, Oxford, receiving degrees and staying for a decade, earning a reputation for being dissolute, while writing and translating plays. In 1579, his father was ordered by the governors of Christ’s Hospital to rid his house of his son, although the improprieties leading to his edict remain unrecorded. Married Anne Cooke in his early 20s, several children from the union. Improvident, he finally went to London with his wife, where he continued to lead a dissipated existence, struggling as both an actor and playwright, despite a bold, inventive gift for the latter. His progenitor died when he was in his late 20s, leaving him impoverished. His works are noted for their charming lyrics, while much of the rest of his life is obscured. Eventually died destitute of syphilis before he turned 40. Considered an important predecessor of William Shakespeare (William Butler Yeats), who benefited from his passionate well-formed oeuvre. Inner: Witty, licentious, pleasure-loving and debauched. Imprisoned by poverty, rather than his actions, otherwise his melodramatic sense of self remained consistent with all the other go-rounds in this series. Licentious lifetime of giving in to his thirst for self-destruction, despite his enormous talent for creation. Gaius Valerius Catullus (c84-54BZ) - Roman poet. Outer: From a wealthy family, father was a friend and host of Julius Caesar (Charles de Gaulle), whom his son nevertheless lampooned, although without lasting damage to his paternal relationship. Went to Rome in his late teens and joined fashionable and literary society. Bi-sexual, with a need to reinvest his erotic triumphs with the written word. Owned property in the outlying districts, although preferred Roman society. Wrote a moving elegy after visiting brother’s grave. Had an intense but unhappy affair with Clodia, sister of Cicero’s (Abraham Lincoln) enemy, who ultimately rejected him and inspired his famous Lesbia poems. Wrote in a highly personal style on the Greek model to forcefully express his passions, and influenced a whole host of Augustan Roman poets who came after him, as well as later English masters of the written word. A member of the staff of the governor of Bythnia, which he visited, and died soon after his return. Inner: Passionate, witty, learned, a poet’s poet, who wrote to amuse the literati and his amours. Heartsong lifetime of exercising his wit and privilege, and allowing his emotions full flower through verse and love, before finding the Christian far more stultifying for his sense of uninhibited esprit.


Storyline: The underground man finds his true home in the French netherworld and becomes its unregenerate chronicler over the centuries.

Jean Genet (1910-1986) - French playwright, novelist and poet. Outer: Bastard son of a penniless seamstress, who abandoned him as an infant. Father was a laborer. Raised in state institutions, and then in the country by a loving family of hard-working peasants, who hoped he would become a priest. Spent a great deal of time in their outhouse, reading and daydreaming. Poorly educated, he left school at 12, was caught stealing from a blind man and thrown into reformatories as a teenager, where his sexual obsessions with rough trade and his idealization of all-male societies began. Served several enlistments in the army, including the French Foreign Legion, and finally deserted, after spending the only conventional period of his life there. Held ordinary society in contempt, and relished lawless companionship, spending the bulk of his time incarcerated after the age of 20. Wandered around Europe om the 1930s and briefly lived in Nazi Germany, before leaving in a huff, feeling it was such a criminal environment, that to engage in life of crime there was to be a conformist. Worked as a hustler on the streets of Paris, and was in and out of prison, where he began writing in 1939 and immersing himself in French literature. During the 1940s, he produced several autobiographical novels, and became famous as a limner of the low life, but continued his criminal activities, trafficking in stolen goods, and beating up on and robbing homosexual tricks. His autobiography, Journal du voleur, or “Thief’s Journal,” written in 1948, is a celebration of the vice and violence of an unrepentant thief, who views theft as a holy vocation. The same year he was convicted of burglary for a 10th time, and received an automatic life sentence. The support of Jean Paul Sartre and Jean Cocteau, however, eventually won him pardon by the president of France. In the late 1940s, he turned to the theater, writing sado-masochistic plays, most notably “The Balcony,” in his continued self-defined role as a voice of the dispossessed. Made one failed suicide attempt during this period, because he was unable to countenance his popularity. Gave up writing in 1966 to become a lecturer and a supporter of radical causes, as a left-wing champion of the violently disenfranchised, including America’s Black Panthers, who didn’t know how to take him, and his blatant advocacy of same-sex man-love. Continued as the darling of the intelligentsia, who admired his unrepentant bravado and nose-thumbing chic, while becoming more and more of a caricature of himself. Formed and supported families from his many lovers, and continued on as a flamboyant public character until his death from throat cancer. Inner: Demonically alienated, anarchic, deliberately contrary, passionately individualistic. Had an astute eye and ear for art and poesy, with the ability to effortlessly turn low life into high literature and theater. Hardcore lifetime deliberately lived on the debased edge, to bring out the darkness from within and turn it into stirring, provocative art, an ongoing theme of his, as an eternal self-professed thief of fire. Restif de La Bretonne (Nicolas Restif de La Bretonne) (1734-1806) - French novelist. Outer: Son of well-off farmers, he took his name from the family farm. His formal education was totally neglected, and he learned instead from the peasant milieu in which he grew up. When he was 13, his father took him to Paris to make up for his lack of schooling, but he went to Auxerre instead and studied the classics there at a Jansenist grammar school for two years. Short, thick, with a hooked nose and brilliant black eyes. Became a printer’s apprentice and began a series of affairs that would punctuate his loosely-lived life. Moved to Paris in his early 20s, and lost both his mistress and their child while briefly considering an ecclesiastical career in compensation. Several years later, he married Agnes Lebegue, who was related to his former master. Highly abusive to his wife, but she remained faithful to him. Although his first novel was unsuccessful, it launched him on an extremely productive career, and he became well-known for his portraits of both country and city people he had known. Tried to reform language, spelling, education, law and theater in an ambitious work called “The Pornographer,” a word he supposedly coined, but was accused of overstepping moral bounds, despite claiming to be a reformer. Known as “the poet of the gutter,” for his many forays into lower-class society, which he immortalized in “Les Nuits de Paris,” using a documentary method to limn the degradations of those scraping away at the bottom of the social barrel. Arrested during the French Revolution and released, he managed to stay away from politics afterwards. Wrote of his own manias, hallucinations and lack of inhibition in his multi-volume autobiography, which was first released in 1794. After the revolution, he suffered poverty, but managed to recoup his position through a printing enterprise. Enjoyed some protection under the Emperor Napoleon, despite severe criticism for his obsession with the underlife. There was little real literary merit to his works, since he was far more the journalist than the artist. Ultimately produced some 240 volumes, while also racking up large numbers in his libidinous liaisons, claiming some 700 seductions. Eventually died in obscurity. Inner: Great curiosity, restless energy and a highly perceptive nature. Strong moralist with an acute awareness of everything that happened around him. Extremely sloppy writer, particularly after he began writing directly in a print case to save time. Keen-eyed lifetime of observing, enjoining and detailing the grotesqueries of French life, in preparation, perhaps, of completely and uninhibitedly diving into the same criminal milieu the following century, as France’s ongoing poet of the perverse. Theophile de Viau (1590-1626) - French poet. Outer: Son of a former lawyer of the Parlement of Bordeaux. During his schooling, he showed libertine tendencies which were probably of an irreligious nature. Began to write poetry and in his early 20s, he joined an itinerant troupe of actors and traveled with them. Went to Holland and studied at the Univ. of Leiden before entering the service of a French duke, where he began associating with freethinkers and fellow libertines. Exiled because of his amatory and irreligious verse, but achieved success with a play and a volume of serious poetry. Abjured his earlier disrespectful beliefs, but suffered a final disgrace because of a licentious novel attributed to him. Hid with the duke, and was condemned to death in absentia and burned in effigy. Betrayed by his friends, he was arrested and imprisoned in Paris, while being abandoned by the entire literary community. After a protracted legal battle, his death sentence was commuted in 1625, but he was banished from Paris, although the duke continued to protect him and he was able to remain in the city. The effects of privation that he suffered in prison hastened his relatively early death at 36 from a fever. Highly talented writer with a gift for lyric poetry. Inner: Licentious libertine with a determined propensity for causing trouble for himself. J’accuse lifetime of being undone by his ongoing exploration of both liberating and imprisoning existences. Francois Villon (Francois de Montcorbier) (1431-1463?) - French poet. Outer: Born into poverty, around the time of the death of Jeanne d’Arc (Petra Kelly). Little is known of his father, and his mother was totally uneducated. Received degrees from the Univ. of Paris, in 1450 and 1452, although was far more interested in truancy and mischiefmaking, as well as the roisterous companionship of bad company. Took his name from a chaplain who befriended him, housed him and sent him to school. Continued his reprobate ways, while also putting quill to paper, and, in 1455, he killed a priest in a brawl and was forced to flee the city. Subsequently fell in with a small band of renegades, who plagued France with their thievery and criminal acts. After being pardoned, he returned, and then fled again after a burglary. Caught for another crime and imprisoned, and returned to Paris after his release. Recognized for his earlier burglary, but his friends payed his fine and saved him from further incarceration. Imprisoned again for a brawl, he was tortured and sentenced to execution by hanging. While in prison, he wrote the verse for which he would later become famous, Ballade des pendus, in which he sees himself swinging from a gibbet and asking God for justice for humankind. Saved again, he was sentenced to ten years’ banishment and disappeared, never to be heard from again. Later regarded as the pre-eminent poet of his time, despite his small output, a bare 3000 lines. Inner: Criminal and rogue, yet with an extraordinary poetic sensibility. Violent, bitter, melancholic and passionate, but also high-humored. Harbored deep envy for those richer than himself, and respect for little, save for death. Thief in the night lifetime of living on the edge, as is his usual modus, and turning that edge into a sensibility that still burns bright centuries later.


Storyline: The contentious craftsman explores his unresolved interior through an incandescent wit and a brooding sense of the melodramatic while ping-ponging back and forth between being a highly public and highly private figure.

Harold Pinter (1930-2008) - English playwright, actor and director. Outer: Father was a Jewish tailor born in Portugal, mother was a homemaker, only offspring of the pair. Experienced anti-Semitism as a child, which would inform his later work. During WW II, he was shipped to rural England for his safety, where he immersed himself in reading as an escape from the trauma of loneliness and separation from his family. Returned home at 13, in time to see his house struck by a bomb. Became interested in the theater through the works of John Webster, an earlier life of his, and began writing poetry and prose as a teen, after he returned from Cornwall in 1944. 5’11”, 170 lbs. As a teenager, he appeared before a magistrate for refusing to participate in national service as a conscientious objector, and remained politically engaged the rest of his life. Studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art for 2 years, and penned his first short play in 1957, “The Room,” which was performed at Bristol University. Began his career as an actor under the name of David Baron with provincial repertory companies. In his mid-20s, he married actress Vivien Merchant, one son from the union, later divorced after nearly a quarter of a century, despite his wife’s starring in many of his plays. In 1975, he began a longtime affair with writer Antonia Frazier, whom he eventually married in 1980, after she divorced her conservative MP husband. Wrote his first full-length play, The Birthday Party, in his late 20s, although it folded within a week, before being fully recognized later on, as emblematic of his gift for highly provocative fare. At 30, he achieved his first success with The Caretaker, a linguistic exploration of power revolving around a pair of brothers in seedy circumstances who invite a homeless man in to serve as their nasty foil. Followed that up with The Homecoming, a drama of family tensions exacerbated by the singular outsider female in the cast, which would win a Tony on Broadway in 1967. Fashioned a well-received career out of enigmatic, cryptic, menacing works, with the colloquial, and seemingly meandering dialogue, replete with numerous pregnant pauses, undercutting the true and ominous, dramatic intent. Wrote for the screen as well at TV, often adapting his own oeuvre. His later career focused on directing, acting, adapting novels to the screen and writing short political plays. Also hosted liberal seminars at his townhouse with his wife under the sobriquet of the the June 20th Society, while viewing the main conflicts of his times as the struggle between primitive rage and liberal generosity. Deliberately evasive about his own life, preferring to allow his works to speak for himself. Developed cancer of the esophagus in 2002, and 3 years later, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, just days after his 75th birthday. Blistered U.S. foreign policy, a longtime obsession of his, in his acceptance speech, delivered via video, since he was too ill to attend. Announced his retirement from writing and in 2006, gave his last public performance in Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape. Died of cancer two years later. Added Pinteresque to the vocabulary of the stage, as an adjective of amorphous menace. Inner: Enigmatic, prickly and forbidding with strangers, even-tempered and calm with friends. Overtly political, with a fascination with powerlessness, domination and the faceless tyranny of the state, with pared down prose dedicated at getting to the very essence of all interactions. Viewed himself as a realist in all his works. Deliberately cryptic lifetime of allowing his work to publicly speak for him, and his privacy to remain private, while creating a public literary character that would elicit quite the opposite reaction. William S. Gilbert (William Schwenck Gilbert) (1836-1911) - English playwright and lyricist. Outer: Eldest child and only son of a naval surgeon who became a writer. His father had an extremely crotchety and oppressive nature, creating an unpleasant household, causing his mother, who was his second wife, to eventually separate from him. Had 3 younger sisters, two of whom never married. Traveled extensively as a youth with his family in France, Germany and Italy and was kidnapped at the age of 2 by Italian brigands in Naples where he was ransomed for £25. Had a deep resentment of his mother because of her unsympathetic nature, causing an absence of genuine feeling in all his work, because of his oppressive/repressive upbringing. Was fluent in French, since he started his schooling in Boulogne, before returning to England. Showed a talent for both art and writing as a youth, as well as a well-honed wit. Went to King’s College in London, gaining his B.A. in 1857, and became a clerk in the Education Department of the Privy Council Office, toiling for 4 years there, while joining several volunteer regiments, eventually retiring in 1878, with the rank of major. A small inheritance enabled him to quit his job, and he used the money to go to law school, although the legal profession proved not to his liking. Began contributing articles to a periodical named i, a rival of the more famous Punch, and continued doing so for a dozen years. Also illustrated works by his father, who had begun publishing. Drawn to the theater, he was so prolific in his sketches, farces and burlesques that theater managers thought he was a syndicate. In his early 30s, he happily married Lucy Turner, the posthumous daughter of an Indian Army officer, no children from the union, but the two often opened their home to the offspring of others. Continued his theater career, alternating between comedy and drama, and showing himself to be a taskmaster and perfectionist, quarreling with everyone from actors to producers. Also loved to act, and occasionally appeared in one of his pieces. Wrote less after the 1870s, concentrating instead on librettos for the Savoy operas of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company. In his mid-30s, he was introduced to Arthur Sullivan (Elton John), and though completely opposite in personality, the duo would go on to rewrite the light operetta canon, including The Mikado, H.M.S. Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance, after one initial failure. Although the two quarreled, they stayed together for fourteen operettas, until a petty argument about the cost of new carpets in the Savoy theater created an irreparable breech, following two more collaborations. Also worked with others, and became proprietor of the Garrick theater, while buying a pseudo-Tudor house in the country, called Grim’s Dyke. Suffered gout most of his life, which turned to rheumatic arthritis. Made Justice of the Peace, proving himself extremely strict on the bench. Knighted in 1907, as the first dramatist ever to receive that honor, he continued his active social life, as well as playwrighting, while trying to mend some of his broken friendships from the past. Had a heart attack while trying to rescue a young woman out of her depth in the water, and drowned, dying of heart failure, symbol of his own shaky moorings in his own deep waters. Cremated afterwards with his ashes buried in a churchyard. Inner: Witty, volatile, and vainly quarrelsome perfectionist, with a great thirst for power, money and prestige. Highly litigious, although charitable, usually giving of himself anonymously. The very model of a major pain lifetime of displaying a distinct inability at integrating his emotions with his work, and therefore constantly dealing with them in his interrelationships. William Congreve (1670-1729) - English playwright. Outer: Son of an army officer. Taken as a boy to Ireland, where his father was a garrison commander. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, then studied law at Middle Temple, despite showing little interest in the field. After writing a weak novel and doing translations, he found his true metier on the stage, doing Restoration comedies. Wrote for actress Anne Bracegirdle (Greta Garbo), who was probably his mistress. Enjoyed early success, wrote only one tragedy, and reached his peak with his last work in 1700, The Way of the World, which was coolly received, despite its inventiveness, characterizations and cleverness. Rebuked the audience afterwards, and gave up writing for the stage. Never married. Suffered from gout and produced virtually nothing after he turned 30, preferring to spend most of his time hanging out in the homes of the wealthy. Held a number of political posts which were sinecures, and enjoyed the friendships of various cultural and political figures of his era, one of the few wits of his time who offended no one. Blind from cataracts at life’s end. Died as a result of a carriage accident. Left the bulk of his estate to the duchess of Marlborough with the understanding it would be passed down to her, and presumably his, daughter. Supreme stylist of the comedy of manners. Inner: Great wit, ironic, apolitical and brilliant sense of language. Gallant, tactful, diplomatic, dissipated, and a natural aristocrat, with an affinity for the high life. Kindly and courageous in the face of long illness, and even-tempered, probably as the result of a more temperate upbringing than the other lives in this series. Even-keeled lifetime of spending his cultural coin early in life, and then living off of it for the rest of his days. John Webster (c1575-c1634) - English playwright. Outer: Little known of his life. Born a freeman of the Merchant Taylors’ Company, probably pursued a career as an actor, before becoming a playwright. Worked in collaboration with several of the leading theater figures of the day, initially writing comedies. His reputation, however, rests on two horror-filled tragedies, which, next to Shakespeare, were considered the finest of his time, The White Devil and The Duchess of Malfi. His later works were inferior and he eventually disappeared totally from record. Inner: Probably beset by his own demons, which he exorcised by his works, before completely vanishing into himself. Enigmatic lifetime of familiarizing himself with the conventions of modern drama in the extraordinary theatrical era of Shakespearean England, while keeping himself otherwise extremely well hidden. Menander (c342-291BZ) - Greek playwright. Outer: Father was a well-known Athenian general and governor. Grew up in privilege in the house of his uncle and was influenced by him in his taste for drama. Either the associate or the pupil of the scientific philosopher Theophrastus, who grounded him in philosophy and poetry. Well-threaded into the elite of Athenian society, he produced his first comedy at the age of 21. Seen as an effeminate voluptuary, and an Epicurean, he was a longtime consort of the courtesan Glycera, whom he chose to live with over a court appointment. Became one of the primary exponents of the New Comedy, employing mundane daily life and commonplace characters in his works, rather than the political satires of earlier Greek writers, prior to the Macedonian conquest of Greece. Wrote more than 100 comedies of manners, but won first prize at only 8 festivals, a modest achievement, since his delicate and subtle wit was not to the liking of everyone. Greatly admired his predecessor Euripides (Ingmar Bergman), and used him as a model to limn his own acute observations on the human condition. Like him, he loved to moralize in maxims as well. Moved comedy into a more realistic, recognizable direction, eschewing the myths of Greek tradition for everyday realities confronting his fellow Athenians. Less interested in plot than character, often using the same archetypes. Extremely competitive, particularly with the poet and playwright Philomen (Saul Bellow), who was clearly his inferior, and with whom he also shared his mistress. After feeling he was unfairly judged in comparison with his competitor, he committed suicide by drowning in the harbor of Piraeus, although some sources mitigate his death to an accidental one while bathing there. Revered by later Roman writers, and had many of his works rediscovered at the beginning of century 20. Inner: Deft wit, with a great facility for language, a reverence for nature, and an independent character. Dramatis persona lifetime of setting his own unusual stage as a voice for the ages, before exiting in dramatic submerged fashion, in his ongoing unintegrated inability to literally fathom his own emotions.


Storyline: The eternal adolescent prefers growing old to growing up, and continually winds up dwelling in the never-never land of his imagination.

Donovan (Donovan Leitch) (1946) - Scottish singer and musician. Outer: Raised in Glascow, before his family moved to the outskirts of London when he was 10. Contracted polio as a child, which left him lame. Took up the guitar at the age of 14, thanks to his family’s love for Scottish and English folk music. Finished his schooling at 16, after one year of college, and with a partner, became a busker. Made his first public appearance at the Cock Club in St. Albans, and then waited on tables, while traveling around Britain playing in folk clubs. Arrested for stealing 5000 cigarettes and some chocolate from a movie theater, he spent two weeks on remand in prison for it in 1964. Began recording his songs at the same time, and became a regular on a British rock TV show, enjoying his first transAtlantic hit with “Sunshine Superman,” when he was 20. Became an icon of the 1960s, a Peter Pan flower child, with producer Mickie Most, whom he met mid-decade, guiding him through all of his hits. Had two children with an American girlfriend, Enid Stulberger, Ione Skye, who became an actress, and a son of the same name who became a musician and model. Originally a folkie, cut in the Bob Dylan mode, he stretched himself musically into eastern and jazz influences, although legal wrangles would create different release of the same albums in the U.S. and the U.K. In 1966, he became the first of the high profilers to be busted for marijuana use, despite his extremely moderate use compared with his stoned-out compeers. Studied with a popular Indian yogi, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and publicly renounced all drug use, despite the psychedelic flavor to his work, so that by the end of the decade, his outer career as a global entertainer had largely ended as well. Split with Mickie Most in 1969, and disappear for a while to Greece, before issuing several ill-received recordings. Married Linda Lawrence, who had born a child to and been abandoned by Brian Jones, and they would have two children together. Did some film scoring and was commissioned occasionally by the National Theater to compose incidental music for their Shakespearean productions, in an unconscious nod to his longtime association with the English stage. Spent time in seclusion in Ireland, did some scoring work for movies, then tried to resume his performing career, with modest public response. Continued touring and issuing albums into the 1990s, as a relic of a gentler time. In 2005, he issued his autobiography, “The Hurdy Gurdy Man,” evincing a disgruntlement with the lack of credit he received for his contributions to 60s culture, but also the same genuine fey sensibilities that made him a unique figure of a unique time. Inner: Gentle, mystical, otherworldly. Enchanted lifetime of translating his magical vision and sense of self into music and performance, without the grounding to truly capture the minds and hearts of his audience for an extended period. James M. Barrie (1860-1937) - Scottish playwright and novelist. Outer: Son of the daughter of a stonemason and an impoverished Scottish hand-loom weaver, 9th of 10 children, most of whom did not survive infancy. 3rd and youngest son. Very close to his mother. An older brother died when he was six, while his mother never really recovered from the loss, and sought to replace him with her younger son. Through this dynamic, his mother helped keep him an eternal adolescent in a fairy world where time and death did not exist. A poor student, but an avid reader, his mother helped secure an education for him, while infusing him with tales of their Scottish region’s past. Under 5’ tall. Received an M.A. from Edinburgh Univ. then became a journalist, moved to London and wrote a column on bachelorhood under the name of Gavin Oglivy. Began publishing novels, using friends as the bases for his characters, as well as heroic projections of himself, before permanently turning to playwriting, as his sentimental perspective won a huge following. Best known for Peter Pan, a tale of a boy who refused to grow up, which was first performed in 1904 and later given a longlived stage and film life. Disastrously married a young actress, Mary Ansell, in his mid-30s, but was ill-suited for matrimony and they divorced a decade and a half later. Thanks to his impotency, his marriage was never consummated, while his wife had an ongoing affair with a continued house/guest whom she eventually married. Cared for five boys after their parents had died, although one of them accidentally drowned, and they became the basis for Peter Pan. Continued with his whimsical, sentimental successes, but was subject to chronic migraines. Became lord rector of St. Andrews and a chancellor of Edinburgh Univ. in 1930. Made a baronet in his mid-50s. Last words were, “I can’t sleep,” before drifting off into eternal repose, after dying of pneumonia, the result in part of a longtime nicotine habit. Inner: Childlike, looked to his own fantasies for inspiration. Saw love only in terms of motherly affection. Shy, taciturn, although doted on making public speeches and being in the public eye. Had a good business sense, despite his immaturity, while always choosing to charm rather than elucidate in his works. Despite his inner failings, responsible, and willing to take on the care of others. Continunually attracted to independent women, while becoming more and more melancholic as he aged. Always attended all rehearsals of his works, employing the actors to help amend his texts, although rarely came to opening night for fear of audience rejection. Peter pan lifetime of working out a perennially adolescent view through popular literary endeavors, rather than mature interrelationships. Thomas Moore (1779-1852) - Irish poet and songwriter. Outer. Father was a grocer. A precocious child, he was admitted to Trinity College in Dublin after publishing a poem in an Irish periodical. Also an enthusiastic Irish patriot, he moved to England, and was accepted by the English aristocrats because of his fine voice and his musical abilities. Appointed admiralty registrar at Bermuda in 1803, he held the post a short time, then left it to a deputy and traveled to the United States and Canada, before returning to England the following year. Gained a reputation as Ireland’s national singer, with Irish Melodies, which appeared in installments over a 27 year period, while writing lampoons in verse on Catholic Emancipation for which he became famous. Married in his early 30s, to Bessie Dyke, an Irish actress of lowly birth, and proved to be a tender husband and father, several children from the union. In 1818, his Bermuda deputy absconded with the post’s official funds, causing him to go bankrupt. Forced to spend several years aboard, during which time, he developed a strong friendship with the libertine poet Lord Byron (Bernardo Bertolucci), despite their obvious differences. Wrote a biography of him and after that poet’s death, sold Byron’s memoirs to a publisher, before taking them back and burning them. His last work was a his/story of Ireland. Ultimately his mind gave way and he lived as an imbecile for several years before dying. Extremely popular at home, although later viewed as shallow, mediocre and insincere in his verse. Inner: Great personal charm, high strung and highly affectionate. Amiable, childlike, with a host of friends, and a legion of adoring female fans. Scrupulous with money, despite being undone by an unscrupulous cohort. Unmoored lifetime of enjoying a long childhood, filled with adulation and reward, before disappearing into the never-never land of his own mind. John Gay (1685-1732) - English playwright, songwriter and poet. Outer: Orphaned at the age of 10, and brought up by an uncle. Apprenticed to a London silk mercer, but his ready social skills gave him access to London literary circles and patronage, enabling him to live as a private gentleman. Wrote some minor poetry, while becoming secretary to the duchess of Monmouth for two years. Began composing for the theater, collaborating with Alexander Pope (Evelyn Waugh) but was thwarted in his career ambitions by the return of the Hanover line to the throne in 1714. Made a considerable sum from a publication of his poems, thanks to his patrons and supporters, but suffered a financial disaster with the collapse of his speculative investments in the crash of the South Sea Company in 1720, then was ironically appointed Lottery Commissioner. Never married, but became an intimate of the household of the duke and duchess of Queensberry, spending his last years in their home, and began to enjoy wide-spread popularity through his works in his early 40s. Best known for The Beggar’s Opera, a musical comedy of London’s underworld and political over-world, for which it was said, it made Gay rich, and the producer, John Rich (Anthony Hopkins), gay. The sequel Polly was banned from the stage, but enjoyed popularity in print. Held several aristocratic posts, but never stayed long in any of them. Wrote librettos and ballads, as well as two series of fables. His epitaph reads “Life is a jest, and all things show it; I thought so once, and now I know it.” Inner: Highly social, well-liked, witty and carefree. Jest-filled lifetime of ultimately being supported by the strength of his gifts for songs, stories and socializing after an abrupt childhood’s end, allowing him to wind up as a symbolic, adored progeny of the aristocracy. John Lyly (1554?-1606) - English playwright and prose writer. Outer: From a scholarly family, which had close connections to the humanist movement. Educated at Magdalen College, Oxford. Identified with a group of university wits, and was best remembered for two of his earlier works, Euphues: the Anatomy of Wit and its sequel, in which he introduced the term, ‘euphuism’ to the language, describing an ornate, mannered, artificial style which reflects a humanistic education. These romantic intrigues were largely educational in nature and introduced a new sense of novelistic form to English literature. Turned to playwrighting afterwards, and during the 1580s, he taught at St. Paul’s choir school, which was a theatrical company made up of boys that performed at the royal court. Penned entertainments and revels for the company, while also gaining control of the first Blackfriars theater, as well as scrivening for an amalgamated children’s company that performed there. Wrote mostly comedies for court audiences, many of which had songs, which may or may not also have been written by him. Also composed blank verse, which again showed his ingenious literary nature. Eventually, he was eclipsed by the rising theatrical stars of his incredibly fertile era. Member of Parliament from 1597 to 1601, but in considerable financial difficulties when he died. Inner: Witty, clever and highly inventive, but without much sense of the material world. Innovative lifetime of using a scholarly springboard to give form and style to the ongoing evolution of the English language, while immersing himself in the theatrical world of his time with child performers, to give underlying resonance to the child he continues to be at heart.


Storyline: The anarchic party animal relearns how to preserve his body in order to bring his unusual social sensibilities to full maturity, after several short go-rounds of burning his creative candle at both ends.

Pedro Almodovar (1949) - Spanish filmmaker. Outer: Mother ran the household, while his father did odd jobs, and eventually became a failed winemaker, although their son felt little connection to him. One of 4 children, with a younger brother and two sisters. Raised in an isolated Spanish village, to which the family had moved when he was 8. Alienated by his progenitor’s machismo, he grew up listening to women talk and entertain one another, giving their lives significance through dramatizing the smallest of events, which would deeply affect his own artistic development. Sent to a Catholic boarding school at 9, with the intention of training for the Church, he was sexually abused by priest/teachers, which destroyed his faith in Catholicism, and wound up seeing movies as an alternative to religion. Fled home at 17, against his father’s wishes, and sold handicrafts in Madrid, before working for the telephone company and contributing to underground magazines and comic books. Began his career in film in his early 20s with an amateur production. Sang in a rock band, acted in avant-garde plays and published the fictional confession of a porn star named Patty Diphuysa. In his 30s, he established himself as one of Spain’s most provocative and controversial directors, beginning with his first feature in 1980, Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls from the Heap. By mid-decade, he had become an artistic symbol of Spain. Openly and unabashedly homophile, he often features gay or bisexual characters in his works, which are meant to shock, provoke, stimulate and break as many taboos as they can. Working from his own scripts, he celebrates both artifice and vice, in bold colors, lurid melodrama, and high camp comedy, with a particular affinity for milking Spanish sacred cows such as machismo, the Roman Catholic Church, the family and masculine authority. Formed his own production company, El Deseo (Desire) with his brother Augustin in the late 1980s, allowing him to produce whatever he wanted. Particularly adept in working with actresses,Particularly adept in working with actresses, with a loyal coterie continually appearing in his films, many playing severe deviants from the social norm. Won the Best Director award at Cannes in 1999 for his 13th film, All About My Mother, a transsexual tale. A high-living party-goer in his early career, he eventually slowed down his drug intake and became more reclusive, while at the same time, evinced a far greater maturity to his work. Viewed as a national hero in Spain, with an oeuvre crafted to stand up to any of his contemporaries’ output anywhere in the world. Has a net worth of $20 million in American dollars. Inner: Extremely self-confident, bordering on arrogance, often burning out his friendships. Voluble talker, with the ability to switch languages in mid-sentence. Gleeful icon-smasher with an irreverent sense of humor. Always watching and observing people, while evincing a strong sense of redemption in many of his works. Free-at-last lifetime of enjoying absolute license in his work in order to celebrate his serio-comic vision of life without the censorship of his earlier filmic existence. Jean Vigo (1905-1934) - French filmmaker. Outer: Son of a famous French anarchist who ultimately died in prison, changing his name to Miguel Almereyda as a political gesture, which would later be reflected in his son’s follow-up life surname. Father was strangled by a pair of shoelaces that his son had bought him just before his arrest on suspicions of having received payments from the German government during WW I. The shadow of his sire would literally hang over his son his entire brief existence. Grew up in poverty, spending an unhappy childhood at a number of boarding schools. Contracted tuberculosis from his early life on the streets, and went to the south of France as a young adult for his delicate health. Began his brief but memorable film career in his mid-20s, directing a satiric social documentary, before moving to Paris to direct the two films by which he is known, Zero de Conduite and the legendary L’Atlante. The first, based on his experiences in boarding school, was removed from distribution several months after its release under the censorial admonition it was anti-French, although it was re-released after WW II. The second was totally mutilated by its producers, who feared the repercussions of its searing indictment of the French bourgeoisie. Contracted leukemia and died at the age of 29, leaving a brief legacy of film that would later canonize him as a master. Inner: Thoroughly alienated from social norms, with a visionary ability to transfer his acute perceptions to film. Anarchic lifetime of exploring a new medium without the requisite body to allow him to bring his keen aesthetic sensibilities to complete maturity. Jean de Tinan (1874-1898) - French novelist. Outer: Son of a baron who was an art collector. Suffered from heart trouble all his life. An avid reader of the classics, with an early weight problem, he eventually grew into a tall, stooped, delicate figure. Noted for his sparkling conversation. Studied at the Ecole Nationale d’Agriculture, pursuing a dual interest in science and literature. Began writing poetry, but realized it was not his medium, and turned to the novel. His first work was based on a devastating early love affair. Founded a short-lived journal, then contributed to several periodicals as a writer and reviewer, working in the symbolist vein. As an entertainment critic, he was a frequenter of dance-halls and bars, leading a highly social and actively sexual life with numerous literary companions. Greatly admired by his contemporaries, he managed to produce a number of impressive works, before he became exhausted from the combination of a frenetic pace and frail constitution, and died at the tender age of 24. Inner: Introspective, intellectual sensualist with a gift for both friendship and philosophic observation. Burnt out candle on both ends lifetime of trying to cram in as much as he could in a body that could not contain his great exuberance for the sheer sensual and cerebral pleasures of existence. Carlo Gozzi (1720-1806) - Italian poet and playwright. Outer: Parents were high-born, but impoverished aristocrats. Cousin of artist Giovanni Tiepolo (Pablo Picasso). One of 11 sons. Learned how to be wily, through his parents constantly dodging creditors, and leaving him to his own devices surrounding his education. Began writing poetry at 9, and, along with his brothers mimicked neighbors and family, which gave him a theatrical foundation. Joined the army at 16, and served for 3 years, becoming a cadet of cavalry. His family splintered afterwards, and he and his older brother Gasparo turned to their pens for self-support as satirists, with the latter becoming famous as a poet and essayist. Became a leading wit of the reactionary Accademia dei Granelleschi Society, which was dedicated to preserving the language and style of earlier literary masters, particularly the commedia dell’arte. Held a particular vehemence against popular playwright Carlo Goldoni (Frank Capra) for his modernistic comedies, which, in turn, led him to bet he could create theatrical gold out of childish dross, and his subsequent spectacular success launched him on his dramatic career. Became famous through his fiabe, or fantastic plays, based on nursery tales, popular fables, and magical stories, which enjoyed a huge, but brief vogue, particularly later on in Germany. Afterwards, he turned towards more serious subjects, translating Spanish dramatists, including an earlier version of himself, Calderon de la Barca, as well as showing his equal ability at more traditional forms of theater. Used his ferocious wit to undo a rival, the Secretary of the Senate, for an actress’s affections, which forced the latter to resign his position and flee the city, because of the mockery he made of him. Published his autobiography, “Useless Memoirs Written in Humility,” which were the exact opposite of its title. His end-life was marked by nervous disorders and a total breakdown. Inner: Arrogant, vindictive, competitive and wickedly witty. Scorching tongued lifetime of finding his metier in the fantastic, while using his pen as a sword to puncture perceived enemies, only to ultimately undo himself with his out-of-balance sense of himself. Pedro Calderon de la Barca (1600-1681) - Spanish playwright. Outer: From a wealthy family. Father was an accountant employed in the royal treasury, and mother was of Flemish descent. One of 4 children. Educated at the Jesuit Collegio Imperial in Madrid, and at 14, he went to Alcala to pursue a Church career, but when his sire died the following year, he moved to Salamanca, and studied canon law for the next 4 years. Spent several years letting loose in the company of his 2 brothers, living riotously, then took part in a poetical contest in 1620 to glorify St. Isidore, where he won 3rd prize, and began to pursue his literary interests in further contests. Had his first play produced in 1623. Suffered a brief imprisonment for satirical jibes against a preacher who had rebuked him for his scandalous behavior, but managed to charm his way into the inner court circles of Felipe IV (Walt Disney). Became court dramatist in 1635, and 2 years later was made a knight of the Order of Santiago, serving them in a subsequent Catalan revolt against Spain in 1640 and 1641, where he was wounded in battle. Returned to Madrid the following year and was given a monthly pension, while continuing his prolific and varied output of secular plays, writing over 120 all told, covering manners, social mores, mythology and tragedy. Not above borrowing whole scenes, as well as dialogue from hid predecessors, despite a unique talent on his own, for which he was well-honored. Had a son by a mistress in 1647. In 1651, following the death of his 2 brothers and his mistress, he renounced the world of pleasure and was ordained a priest, eventually becoming chaplain to the king. His literary activities were now restricted to court dramas and religious pieces for the city of Madrid, where he proved himself to be a master of the sacred theatrical traditions of Spain. Continued his productive output to the end of his long life, and although his reputation would suffer after his death, it would be periodically resurrected and he remains on one of the high tiers of early Spanish dramatists. Inner: Equally tuned into the realms of the flesh and the spirit. Charming, lusty and spiritual, dividing his life in twain twixt the twin spheres of the body and soul. Dualistic lifetime of exploring the pleasures of the secular world and the mysticism of the sacred domain in his works and in his life, leaving a rich legacy of going for baroque in whatever he did. Titus Plautus (c254-184BZ) - Roman comic poet and playwright. Outer: From an extremely humble background, he came to Rome and accepted meager employment, before showing his skills as a poet, then playwright. Little really known of his life, much of his biography is speculation based on his plays. Wrote vigorous and coarse representations of middle and lower-class life, with a wonderful eye for situation and an equally adept ear for humor. Employed stock comic figures and both his plots and characters had enormous influence on the development of later literature. All of his works, some 130 plays, of which 21 survive, were an imitation of Greek comedy, although re-rendered for Roman public tastes. Extremely popular in his time. Inner: Lusty, impertinent and outrageous wit and punster. Self-inventing and celebrating lifetime of directly experiencing his coarse subject matter and retranslating it onto the stage.


Storyline: The boisterous, roisterous free spirit looks through a glass lightly to both act out his violent, volatile interior and turn it into challenging art.

Brendan Behan (1923-1964) - Irish playwright and actor. Outer: Family on both sides were anti-British. Father was a house painter, who was in prison at his son’s birth because of his involvement in the Irish uprising. Older brother of writer Brian Behan, duo were not close. Reared in the slums of Dublin. Attended Catholic schools, was expelled at 13, and became a house painter. Served from the age of 9 on the Fianna Eirann, a youth organization of the IRA, and at 14, he became a messenger for them, as well as writing prose and poetry for their journal. Arrested for carrying explosives to blow up a battleship in 1939, he wound up spending 3 years in an English borstal reform school. Later wrote about it in Borstal Boy, which was banned in England. Released in 1942, he was soon sentenced to 14 years for the attempted murder of two detectives, but was released in 1946 under a general amnesty. Arrested again for allegedly trying to help an IRA prisoner escape. Deported to France in 1952 following his next collar, and pursued a career of pub crawling, freelance journalism and house painting. Bisexual, he lived a broad, ebullient life, hanging out with roisterers, putting his unusual personality to paper and challenging authority, while self-destructing in highly public manner. Regularly heckled his own plays, becoming part of the performance with his tirades from the audience. Loved the sea, and worked intermittently on ships, becoming a certified seaman. In 1955, after courting her in pubs, he married Beatrice Salkeld, an artist who was the daughter of a noted Dublin painter. Died in a hospital of drink-related ailments and diabetes four months after a daughter was born. Also wrote for the stage, using the Irish/English conflict as his dramatic metaphor. His wife limned their stormy relationship in My Life with Brendan Behan nearly a decade after his death. Inner: Uninhibited alcoholic, with a preference for the company of tough men. Boisterous, brimming with life and death, but somehow disciplined enough to put his considerable talent on paper. Loved both his country and his Catholicism, and not adverse to eating himself alive for his personal merry-making audiences. Free-spirited lifetime of giving uninhibited expression on all fronts to the violently roistering part of himself, while opening himself up to the poetry of politics and the politics of self-consumption. Colley Cibber (1671-1757) - English playwright and actor. Outer: Son of a well-known Danish sculptor. Failed to get into Winchester College, and joined a company of volunteers fighting for William of Orange (Lyndon Johnson). Became an actor at 19, but because of frustrations at getting large parts, he began writing for the stage. Married soon afterwards to Katherine Shore, 12 children from the union, including actor Theophilus and actress Charlotte Clarke (Drew Barrymore) which forced him to continue writing in order to support his growing brood. A conventional dramatist, and good adaptor, as well as an ardent Whig. Far better suited for comedy than tragedy, he became a leading actor of eccentric characters throughout his long career on the stage. Showed a ready wit in his plays, although his output, some 30 works for the stage, had no real lasting merit because of his interest in theatrical effect over literary merit, although his sentimental comedies contributed to the evolution of the 18th century stage. Made many enemies, quarreled publicly with some of his fellow literary lights and was imprisoned for gambling debts, and later released. For reasons unknown, he was made Poet Laureate in his late 50s, an extremely unpopular choice among his fellow scribes. In 1740, he wrote his autobiography, An Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber, Comedian for which he is best known. The work proved to be invaluable record of the theater of his time, with striking portraits of some of its renowned denizens. Died of heart disease. Inner: Bibulous, vain, rude, boisterous and unsavory. Understood his limitations as an artist, but rarely limited himself in acting out his free-wheeling persona. Uninhibited lifetime of giving full expression to his exuberant character and comic buoyancy, while proving to have a keen eye for the various components of the dramatic milieu of his time. Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac (1619-1655) - French playwright. Outer: Son of a French lord. Educated by a country priest, while a close childhood friend would later become his biographer. Studied at the College de Beauvais, then led a wild life in Paris, exhibiting both extreme libertinism and disciplined academic study. Had a legendary long nose, and was extremely ugly, but with a fast wit. Joined the guard regiment in his late teens and became noted for his bravado, although his extreme individualism did not sit well with the rote and ritual of martial discipline. Wounded in several battles, including being hit in the neck with a sword from which he never fully recovered, he eventually retired from military life three years later. Studied under the libertine philosopher and mathematician Pierre Gassendi, who sent his literary imagination soaring off the Earth. Had numerous quarrels, fights and duels, crossing swords with a number of theater and literary people. Entered the service of a French duke as his secretary in his early 30s, but was injured a year later by a piece of falling timber. Asked to leave, when the duke feared his stance as a freethinker, and went to live in Paris with friends, where he died shortly afterwards, after making a last minute conversion to Catholicism at the behest of a relative. Wrote philosophic satires and composed chimerical journeys, and is best known for his fantastic projection of a voyage to the moon, Histoire Comique des Etats et Empires de la Lune. Influenced numerous writers with his visionary works, and ironically died when a plank fell on his head, as a victim of gravity, which he refused to acknowledge, both metaphorically and literally. Later immortalized in the play that bears his name by Edmond Rostand (Eric Rohmer). Inner: Highly volatile, virile and argumentative, with a dual nature that was equally aggressive and imaginative. The nose knows lifetime of trying to channel his contentiousness into art, while deliberately provoking one and all who crossed his path. Edward de Vere, 17th earl of Oxford (1550-1604) - English poet, playwright and patron. Outer: Only son of the 16th earl. Attended Queens’ and St. John’s colleges, Cambridge, and in 1562, on the death of his father, succeeded him. Made a royal ward in William Cecil’s (Hubert Humphrey) household, where he accidentally killed a pastry chef, although was exonerated at a subsequent trial, where the victim’s death was labeled a suicide. Despite, or perhaps because of his volatility, he became a prominent figure at court, beginning in 1564. In 1571, he married Cecil’s daughter, Anne, although his capricious and quarrelsome character soon came to the fore. Peeved at the prosecution of Thomas Howard, 4th duke of Norfolk (Richard Nixon) in 1572, he withdrew to Flanders, but was brought back to court and subsequently traveled in France and Italy, then foppishly introduced the Italianate style of dress at court. Became patron of a company of players, as well as several poets, and despite his temperament, was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth (Mae West), who, beginning in 1586, paid him £1000 a year, which was renewed by her successor. Quarreled with Philip Sidney (Winston Churchill), and may have planned to kill him, but instead suffered disgrace at court because of his violent temper. Sat as a judge on Mary, Queen of Scots (Marguerite Duras) in 1586, then served against the Spanish Armada 2 years later. His last position was a lord great chamberlain, where he oversaw the coronation of James I (Kenneth Tynan). May have taken his own life. Since nobles could not publish verse as such, his works were included in poetic miscellanies, and he probably served as an editor as well. In 1920, one T.J. Looney identified him as the author of his contemporary William Shakespeare’s (Vikram Seth) plays, and he has had his champions since then, including Sigmund Freud, although the claim is probably quite spurious, given his very unlyrical character, and the surrounding lives each went on to live. Inner: Contentious, difficult, but with a genuine talent for lyrical verse. Used the emblem of the boar’s head. Scoundrel lifetime of curtailing what could have been a far richer career through his inability to reign in his capricious, muddied nature, only to be ironically elevated century’s later to the genius level of William Shakespeare, one of the clearest writing channels ever to wield a pen.


Storyline: The choleric chronicler vents his venomous scorn on the world-at-large, only to do himself in with the sheer vituperation of his uncontrolled anger.

John Osborne (1929-1994) - English playwright. Outer: Father was a copywriter and commercial artist, who died of tuberculosis in 1941, which devastated him. Mother was a former barmaid, whom he came to despise with a passion, although he would later bring her to parties in order to exploit her ridicule-inducing presence. One older sister who also succumbed to TB, when he was quite young. Later idealized his familial losses, while mocking the singular survivor other than himself. The family moved 30 times in less than 20 years. Went to Belmont College via an insurance settlement, but left as a teenager, after belting the headmaster, and tried trade journalism before becoming an actor, after tutoring a touring company of junior thespians. Wrote his first play at 19, but it wasn’t until he was 26 that he scored his most memorable success, Look Back in Anger, a bitter testament to his post-WW II generation, which he wrote in less than a month. A heavy drinker and smoker, filled with a never-ending fount of unrelieved bile. Married four times before he was 40, including actress Mary Ure in 1957, writer Penelope Gilliat from 1963 to 1968, and actress Jill Bennett, with one daughter from the middle union. Ure died of an overdose in a semi-suicide, and Bennett ultimately committed suicide in 1990 after their divorce because of his rejection of her, while only his first wife, Penny Lane, reached the age of 65. His fifth and final marriage was with critic Helen Dawson, was the single union he found satisfactory. His career was punctuated by frequent and highly public outbursts of wrath and contumely, against other dramatists, columnists, homosexuals, England, and while he was at it, his mother and daughter as well, with the latter never speaking to him again after he expelled her from home for a minor offense when she was 16. Became an Oscar-winner in 1963 for the screenplay for Tom Jones, which he also co-produced, allowing him to become wealthy from his plays transposed into film. By the 1970s, he was consuming a bottle of vodka and several bottles of wine a day, as well as codeine, Champagne and methamphetamines, having already spent himself of his creative gift by the mid-1960s, with The Entertainer, Luther, and Inadmissible Evidence completing his quartet of memorable works. Walked out of a ceremony honoring him shortly before he died. Wrote a two-part autobiography, filled with contumely. His last years saw his health worsen through diabetes, and occasionally slipping into comas, before he eventually died of the disease on Christmas Eve, as one last angry present to himself. Inner: The most directly confrontational English dramatist of this century. Angry, obsessive, profoundly alienated, filled with rage and disillusionment. Great skill in creating great roles for actors, having been one himself. Also generous financially, if not emotionally, and largely terrified of life, which he hid behind his dark exterior. Cruelest to those closest to him, and viciously self-pitying. Looking every which way in anger lifetime of trying to work out his profound rage through his theatrical works, while finding his success only further fuel for his unrelieved ire, while symbolically becoming undone by an uncontrolled amount of sugar, or sweetness, in his bloodstream. Henry Arthur Jones (1851-1929) - English playwright. Outer: Eldest son of a farmer. Went to work at the age of 12 as a draper, then became a traveling salesman for drapers. Read widely in his leisure hours, wrote several one act plays, all of which were rejected, as well as an unsuccessful novel. After his first production, he concentrated solely on being a playwright. His first success led to acrimonious claims and counterclaims over who actually shaped the play, which ended in arbitration and ultimately vindicated him. In his mid-20s, he married Jane Seeley, the daughter of a manufacturer of artificial flowers, 3 sons and 4 daughters from the union. Uncompromisingly refused to alter his plays to suit actors or audiences. Best known for The Liars. Proved to be a very commanding and prolific playwright, 83 plays in all. Frittered away his time during WW I with ill-tempered and often incoherent political controversies. Vigorous controversialist, contributing many articles to periodicals, some savaging well-known personalities of the day. Also railed against all forms of censorship. During his last years, he suffered ill health, declining popularity and unproductivity. Died of pneumonia. Along with Arthur Wing Pinero (David Hare), he initiated the renaissance of dramatic art in England in the latter part of the 19th century. Inner: Shrewd observer, rather than a deep thinker. Had a genuine sense of comedy, but was best known as a tragedian. Sincere, passionate, obsessive, violently opinionated. Tory and militant patriot. Choleric lifetime of humble origins to give him an extended time of self-education, before pursuing his longtime vocation of extracting power from the written word, while using it to vent his ongoing contumely at any and all within his range. John Ford (1586-c1640) - English playwright. Outer: From a land-owning family. His mother was the sister of the Lord chief justice. Probably matriculated at Exeter College, Oxford, then was admitted to the Middle Temple. Not dependent on the stage for his livelihood, and therefore only wrote when it suited him. Best known for Tis A Pity She’s a Whore, an incestuous tragedy. Four of his unpublished works were later destroyed by a bishop’s cook. Considered the last great dramatist of the Elizabethan era, most notably in the realm of tragedy. Presumably retired to Devonshire and disappeared from the record-books of the time. His works were filled with morbidity and despair. Inner: Largely hidden character, although presumably an asocial pessimist, who was both passionate and obsessive, judging by his works. Criticized for excessive gloominess, although had both the insight and sense of language to make his melodramas live on stage. Hidden lifetime of privileged origins in order to give him the time and the leisure to indulge in his own ongoing sense of angry remove as a literary artist.


Storyline: The alienated alien transcends troubled childhoods but never rises above his own eternal adolescence.

xRoman Polanski (Rajmund Roman Thierry Polański) (1933) - Polish filmmaker, actor. writer, producer and convicted statutory rapist. Born in Paris to Polish-Jewish parents who returned to Cracow when he was 3. Father worked for a phonograph record company. At 8, his parents were taken to a Nazi concentration camp, where his mother died. Escaped from the Cracow ghetto just before it was liquidated and wandered the Polish countryside, living with a succession of Catholic families. Used as target practice by German soldiers, who took sadistic delight in his ducking bullets. Witnessed many horrors in an extremely dark childhood played out against a war-torn landscape. Returned to Cracow near the end of WW II and sold newspapers on the street, while becoming addicted to the cinema, viewing a movie a day. Reunited with his father at 12, who sent him to technical school for his first formal education. Began performing in kiddie-hour radio shows, and became a stage actor two years later, continuing as such for 6 years. Although turned down from the state’s acting school, he was accepted at the Polish Film School in Lodz, where he spent another 5 years. 5’4”, with light brown hair and dark brown eyes. Both acted in and directed several documentaries. Spent two years in Paris after graduation, and then returned to Poland to make his first feature film, Knife in the Water, which won the critics’ prize at the Venice Film festival. Returned to Paris and then went on to London and Hollywood. From his early 30s, his subsequent films would all be made in English, specializing in mental horrors and aberrant sexuality. Known for abusing actors and actresses on the set, viewing them as pawns for his own excessive imagination. Shaped actress Sharon Tate (Carmen Electra) into his muse in The Fearless Vampire Killers, and, in 1968, he married her, as the two became the focus for a free-swinging Los Angeles scene of uninhibited celebrities. While 8 months pregnant, she would be murdered a year later by followers of Charles Manson, along with several others, as the totem of a race war they wished to start. Disappeared for 2 years, then resumed his career with a hyper-violent version of MacBeth, while abandoning Hollywood to reside permanently in Paris. Visited America and had several well-received films, before making headlines once again for drugging and sodomizing Samantha Gailey, a 13 year old, at the home of actor Jack Nicholson. Denied the charge, then, freed on bail after 6 months in prison under psychiatric observation, fled the United States to avoid charges there and never returned, despite a later desire to. Wrote his autobiography, Roman, in 1984. Continued working in Europe, and married a young French actress, Emmanuelle Seigner, who starred in several of his films, 2 children from union. Extremely youthful looking even into late middle-age, symbol perhaps of never having risen above the cauldron of his childhood. Won an Oscar for Best Director in 2003 for a WW II drama, The Pianist, but did not come to Hollywood to collect it. Two years later he won a libel lawsuit against the canard he had tried to pick up a model on his way to Sharon Tate’s funeral. After a 2008 documentary called “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” uncovered judicial mischief in his case, he put in a request that it be dismissed. The request was denied because he remains a fugitive, and could only be adjudicated if he turned himself in, a ploy he absolutely refuses to do. In 2009, he was finally arrested at a Swiss airport and taken into custody, 31 years following the issuance of a warrant on him, and he subsequently lost an appeal for release, although 2 months later, he was allowed house arrest in his Swiss chalet. In the interim, he won Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival for The Ghost Writer, although was unable to attend. Finally freed by the Swiss in the summer of 2010, after they refused to extradite him to America, as did the Polish courts 5 years later. In 2017, French women’s groups called for a boycott of the César awards, the country’s equivalent of the Oscars, after he was asked to preside over the ceremony, which forced him to pull out from them. At the same time, he tried to end his conviction in an LA court, but failed to do so.Has not acted in a films since 2008, although has directed several while charges of rape keep piling up including a 9 year old.. Has a net worth of $45 million. Inner: Gnomish, perennial adolescent, with a lifelong resistance to growing up. Ebullient sensualist, pleasure-seeker, prankster and control freak in most of his relationships with beautiful women who don’t challenge him. Eternal adolescent lifetime of exploring the darkness of humanity through both direct experience and the artifice of cinema. xGuy de Maupassant (1850-1893) - French novelist and short-story writer. Outer: Mother was a brilliant and domineering neurotic, who exerted a strong influence over him most of his life. Father was a dandy who was also an amateur painter. His mother and her brother had been intimate friends and neighbors of Gustav Flaubert (William Faulkner) who would also prove crucial to his development. His parents separated when their son was 11, and he went to live with his mother. Spent 3 unhappy years in a seminary near Rouen, before being expelled and transferring to a public school there. Passed his entire youth in Normandy, which would become the setting for many of his stories and novels. After getting his diploma, he saw service in the Franco-Prussian war, and then spent ten years at a government clerk in Paris, living precariously because of a decline in his family’s fortunes. Determined to become a writer to escape the bureaucratic drudgery of his existence, despite his conscientious approach to his work. Introduced to French literary circles by Flaubert, and published his first work shortly before the death of his mentor, after having served a long apprenticeship under him, discarding practically everything he wrote until he felt he had mastered his craft, as a simple, direct realist. His last decade saw nearly 300 short stories and a half-dozen novels. Fascinated by prostitutes, themes of the mysterious and supernatural tales of love. Although a confirmed bachelor, he continually chased after women. Contracted syphilis when he was young, and was suffering severely from it by the time he first gained recognition. Subject to intense migraines which would render him incapable of reading or writing for days at a time. Made and squandered a great deal of money. Enjoyed outdoor pursuits, and traveled on his yacht to escape his suffering, as well as used drugs, but knew he was fated to live a relatively short life. After his brother died in an insane asylum, he attempted suicide twice, and was finally interned in the same state, dying stark raving mad a year and a half later. Inner: Doomed and pleasure-loving, albeit disciplined and observant. Realistic, dispassionate, and a superb craftsman, continually reducing his art to its essence. Jaded about everything, with an overweening pessimism and melancholia, as well as a revulsion to life itself and its endless patterns of repetition. Felt that the dread of being alone was at heart of all negative things human, while openly pursuing that precise state. Cursed lifetime of mastering the form of the short story, only to internalize his great rage, which would need another act-out lifetime to view it from an externalized vantagepoint. xErnst T. A. Hoffman (Wilhelm Hoffman) (1776-1822) - German writer, composer and caricaturist. Outer: Son of a prominent attorney. His parents separated when he was four, and he had an unhappy childhood, living with his sickly grandmother and hysterical mother, who largely ignored him. His early education was supplied by a pedantic uncle who thoroughly alienated him, despite his facility for quickly absorbing everything he was taught. Eventually found his escape from the dreariness around him through music. By the age of 13, he had mastered several instruments and began composing. Gnomelike, with bushy hair and a long crooked nose. Entered the Univ. of Konigsberg to study law, but preferred pursuing his own artistic interests, while having an affair with a merchant’s wife who had been his music pupil. After his mother’s death, he went to live with an uncle to prepare himself for the Prussian civil service. Engaged to a cousin but he broke it off after several years. Passed his exams and went to Berlin with his uncle, where he was employed by the Prussian higher courts. Spent his free time frequenting theaters and cafes, before being transferred to Posen. After some caricatures he had done were passed around at a ball, he was transferred as punishment to Plock, where, in his mid-20s, he married Michalina Rohrer-Tryzynska, an official’s daughter, and, despite his erratic social habits, remained with her in relative domestic peace. During this time, he both painted and continued with his music. In his late 20s, he effected a transfer to Warsaw, and immediately returned to the cultural life there, founding a music academy, conducting concerts, and holding court at a local inn. Came back to Berlin three years later following the French occupation of the city in 1807. By this time, he had become familiar with the writings of the German romantics, although he had not yet put pen to paper himself. In financial need, he got the position as musical director of the theater and opera in Bamberg, creating one of the outstanding theaters in Germany. Also became enamored of a twelve year old who served as his idealization of spiritual love. Started his literary career in Bamberg, showing an interest in magnetism and somnambulism, as well as romantic philosophy. Wrote essays on music and became an influential critic, stressing the irrational element in music. Served as the conductor of an opera company which played Dresden and Leipzig, and published a collection of his tales, upon which his later reputation would rest. At the end of the Napoleonic wars, he resumed his civil service post, and remained in Berlin the rest of his life, proving a dutiful official, despite his contempt for middle-class life. Entertained lavishly at home and spent most of his nights in cafes, drinking and telling tales. His health failed him and he was threatened with demotion for ridiculing the local Prussian police of chief. Extremely popular in France after his death from progressive paralysis, he was celebrated for his tales throughout Europe, which were were musically immortalized in Jacques Offenbach’s (Cole Porter) Tales of Hoffman. Inner: Extremely influential through his astute critical facilities. Alienated but able to maintain a measure of inner peace through artistic creations, while balancing off his need for carousing with a stable domestic life. Dualistic lifetime of using all of the arts in order to escape a confining middle-class existence which he alternately ridiculed and embraced. xJohann Mattheson (1681-1764) - German composer and musical theorist. Outer: Third and only surviving son of a tax collector. Showed an early talent for the arts, before focusing on music as his mainstay. Had a broad education, and entered the Hamburg opera chorus at 9, where he sang tenor there from his mid-teens to his mid-20s. During that time, he produced five operas of his own. Dueled with Georg Handel (Alban Berg), but later befriended him and was a brief supporter of his. Married the daughter of an English minister in 1719. Served as a tutor, then secretary of legation to the English envoy, before being appointed cantor and musical director of the Hamburg Cathedral in his mid-30s. Forced to resign 13 years later because of deafness, and thereafter turned his attention to writing musical theory, which attacked the antiquated and supported the liberal and progressive in the music of his time. His texts later served as his/storical standards for his contemporary musical milieus, and are filled with many constructive ideas and ideals, as well as biographies of contemporary notables. On his wife’s death in 1753, he donated the bulk of his fortune to a church in Hamburg whose organ was destroyed by a fire. Inner: Feisty temperament, strongly opinionated. Difficult, prolix writer. His deafness also symbolized an inability to listen to others, and was a spur to bring out his critical facilities, which he would continue to explore in his next bridge life. Hard-of-hearing lifetime of using music and writing as his primary means of expression, in an ongoing series of go-rounds that feature the full range of artistic expression, with some physical disability or digression to change his creative pathway.


Storyline: The troubled troubador unconsciously seeks out early death in order to embody the Spanish duality between pagan passion and Christian control and their reverse states, while giving sublime voice to the underlying tensions of his cultural and political milieu.

Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990) - Cuban writer. Outer: Father abandoned the family soon after his son’s birth. Grew up in a household of 11 aunts, a religious fanatic of a grandmother and an ineffectual alcoholic grandfather who often threatened suicide in his drunken rages. In his rural, impoverished isolation, he was taught to read and write by his mother. Only met his father once, when his mother threw stones at a dark, handsome man who gave him 2 pesos, before fleeing. Had sexual relations with animals, and enjoyed the absolute freedom that absolute poverty can bring, with only his creativity at his material behest. At 15, he joined Fidel Castro’s guerrilla forces and after the revolution, won a scholarship to study agricultural accounting at the Univ. of Havana. Sent to a poultry farm and then returned to Havana and began studying economic planning, but grew bored with it and became a librarian. Began writing as a teen. His first book on rural poverty was the only one published in Cuba. His resistance to oppression antagonized the Cuban government and he was expelled from the Univ. of Havana, although his writings found favor elsewhere. In 1973, he was charged with the apostasy of same-sex love, while suffering an inordinate amount of indignities, including betrayal, savage beatings by both lovers and jailers, and being coerced into reforming. Accused of being a rapist and a C.I.A. agent, he barely escaped a lynching by a mob, and wound up in jail for over a year, beginning in late 1974. Forced to confess on a false moral’s charge, he was sent to a rehabilitation camp, and wound up doing menial labor in the sugar cane fields on his release. Exited Cuba in 1980 with the Marisol exodus and came to NYC. Worked as a visiting professor in the U.S., although was ill-suited for academic life with his slipshod education, and was further galled to find comfortable leftists supporting the Castro government without any idea of its true oppressive nature. Contracted the HIV virus and died of a suicidal drug overdose, blaming Castro for all that had befallen him. Cremated with his ashes scattered at sea. Extremely prolific, although half his oeuvre was destroyed or confiscated. Best remembered for his autobiographical, Before Night Falls. Inner: Perennial escape artist. Felt “all writing is revenge.” Fascinated by the infinite, and testing the boundaries of acceptable behavior, seeing his sexuality as his ultimate escape from all limits imposed on him. Pariah lifetime of playing the political, sexual martyr in his ongoing revolutionary quest for libertad for the mind, heart and soul. Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936) - Spanish playwright, musician, poet and artist. Outer: Mother had been a schoolteacher, father was a wealthy landowner. Held a deep respect for the former, who was his sire’s second wife, and to whom he later attributed his sexual preference for men. His progenitor indulged him, and he had a pampered upbringing. One of 4 children, his sister Isabel would later become his archivist. His mother taught him the piano, after recognizing his early musical gifts, while he also developed a lifelong fascination with marionettes. The family moved to Granada, and he attended the university there, although he preferred the pursuit of music to his studies. In 1919, he transferred to Madrid Univ., and spent the next decade in that city, ultimately winning a law degree in 1923 at the behest of his father, although he abandoned it to pursue his main interests in literature, painting and music, taking particular delight in performing. Published his first prose in 1918 and first volume of verse in 1921, while becoming friends with both the culturati of his own generation, like Salvador Dali, who fascinated him, and those of the preceding one. Gave oral readings of his poems and plays, much like a medieval troubador, and became known throughout Spain, even though his performances preceded the bulk of his publications. Collaborated with the composer Manuel de Falla in a folk music festival in 1922, and discovered his true foundations in the Spanish traditions of Andalusian folklore and gypsy music, which gave him his unusual poetic voice. Enjoyed his first theatrical success in 1927, the same year he published his first book of drawings. The following year, he earned an international reputation with his Gypsy Ballads, which disturbed him deeply because of being identified as a gypsy, causing an emotional crisis. Traveled to NYC, although his inability to speak English coupled with the corrupting influence of the frenetic city, made him feel suicidal, and he subsequently escaped to Cuba, as well as South America, in 1929 and 1930, which gave him a more worldly view. In 1931, he returned to Spain, and focused on playwrighting, while continuing his poetic output. Became the founder and director of a traveling theater, La Barraca, in the early 1930s, bringing classical Spanish drama to peasant audiences, most of whom were seeing plays for the first time. Best known for his tragic theatrical trilogy Blood Wedding, Yerma and The House of Bernardo Alba, which were explorations into passion and fate. In 1936, he returned home to Granada from Madrid, to wait out the incipient Civil War, but was rounded up by the Nationalist forces in a purge of intellectuals and was executed. His body was never found, in an ironic commentary on his overweening concerns with his own flesh, although it was said he dug his own grave before being shot. Subsequently viewed as one of the great poetic voices of the 20th century, a voluptuous writer of primordial passion. Inner: Childlike, refused to age. Preoccupied with violence, cruelty and death, while exhibiting a love of life and a deep compassion for the dispossessed. Deeply disturbed by technological civilization, which he equated with living in a dead state. Martyred lifetime of taking on the whole cultural span of Spain in his exquisite sensibilities, only to be swallowed alive by a divided country that could not countenance its rich traditions of self-expression with the authoritarian overlay that long had sought to suppress them. Jose Marti (1853-1895) - Cuban poet and patriot. Outer: Father was a low-level Spanish officer who retired to become a watchman. One of 4 children. Published several poems by the time he was 15, then studied at the Instituto de Havana. By 16, he had founded an underground political newspaper, The Free Fatherland. Given 6 months at hard labor for his support of an uprising in 1868, then was rearrested and given 6 years, before being deported to Spain 3 years later. Continued his education at the Universities of Madrid and Zaragoza, from which he received his law degree, while writing political essays. Traveled in France, Mexico and Guatemala, where he both wrote and taught, before returning to Cuba in 1878. The following year, he was forced into exile again because of his continued political activities and he returned to Spain, then France, then NYC and Venezuela, where he found himself persona non grata and he became a permanent expatriate in NYC. Put his nationalistic fervor into his writing, producing poetry, articles, translations and essays, and also contributed a regular column in La Nacion, a Buenos Aires journal that made him famous throughout South America. Wrote in Spanish and English, and occasionally French, acting as a syndicated columnist for the Americas with his over/riding concern to liberate Cuba from its oppressive overlords. Political to the core, his poetry centered around the notions of freedom, and showed him to be a unique voice, who felt that the Americas’ multi-racial identity was key to understanding the many lands of the Western Hemisphere. It was in his essays, however, that his lasting value as a master of Spanish prose resides. In 1892, he was elected a delegate of the Cuban Revolutionary Party, after refusing to take on the title of president, despite helping to form the organization. Began planning an invasion of Cuba from his NY base. Left NY for Santo Domingo with the revolutionary leader Maximo Gomez (Fidel Castro), as well as a small band, and began the invasion in April of 1895, with the rank of major general. Died a few months later in battle, after disobeying Gomez’s orders and riding out in front, only to be struck down by 3 bullets, 7 years before his lifelong dream of a Cuba libre was finally realized. One of his poems, "Guantanamera," was turned into a popular song, and would become his lasting cultural legacy. Inner: Extremely sensitive, with a highly personalized view of politics. Flag-waving lifetime of focusing his considerable abilities at self-expression on a larger goal of national freedom as a way of freeing himself from the past, and opening himself up to being an uninhibited channel for the rich traditions of Hispanic culture. Felix Lope de Vega y Carpio (1562-1635) - Portuguese dramatist. Outer: Son of Spanish peasants who had moved to Madrid the year he was born, after his father had taken up with another woman, and his mother followed to successfully retrieve him. His sire had a gift for poetry, a sentimental sense of piety and an amatory instinct, all of which he passed on to his son. By five, he read not only Spanish, but Latin as well, and was soon writing poetry, then bartering it at school with his classmates, for toys and prints. Claimed to have written his first play at 12, although he never was much of a student. After his father died, he ran away from home with a friend but was brought back by a police escort. Attended the Univ. of Alcala, and then joined the army. By his mid-20s, he had established himself as a playwright, but when an affair with actress Elena Osorio was thwarted by the theater manager father of his lover, he spread canards about the family and was imprisoned for libel and then exiled. During that time, he was forced to marry in his mid-20s, by proxy, Isabel de Urbina, the daughter of a nobleman in service to the king, whose family had opposed the marriage because of his lowborn status. A few weeks later he took part in the disastrous Spanish Armada, losing his brother on that ill-fated campaign. After his discharge, he resumed his theatrical career in Valencia, before becoming secretary to the brutal Duke of Alba (Reinhard Heydrich). Following other affairs and another lawsuit, in 1598, 3 years after his wife died in childbirth, he married Juana de Guardo, the daughter of a wealthy butcher, although continued his many liaisons with actresses, while fathering a host of illegitimate offspring. Returned to Madrid some 17 years after having been banished, following the expiration of his exile, and continued to write in all literary genres, although his plays were by far his best works, often treating the theme of honor. Delivered a treatise on playwrighting to the Academy of Madrid, in which he outlined the importance of pleasing an audience, which he invariably always did, winning public adulation his entire life. Following the death of his 2nd wife, when he was in his early 50s, he took religious orders, although simultaneously entered into an adulterous affair with the wife of a merchant. Nevertheless, he became Priest and Familiar of the Holy Inquisition, as well as a Doctor of Theology. Decorated by the pope for his verse epic on Mary Stuart (Marguerite Duras). Several of his children serially died, and he spent his last years in his house and garden, as his mistress grew blind and his beloved daughter eloped with a courtier, leaving him totally alone. Died from a chill caught while watering his garden, as well as from physical debilitation through his habit of religious flagellation. A virtual pauper at the time, he was, nevertheless, accorded a state funeral. Produced some 1800 plays, according to some records, of which nearly 500 are extant. Called “a monster of nature,” by Cervantes (Alexander Solzhenitsyn). Inner: Incredibly prolific, although, by and large a superficial thinker, more interested in pleasing than provoking an audience. Lusty and spiritual, with both sides of his nature at war with one another. Horned and heavenly lifetime of rising from a lack of privilege and allowing his unintegrated dualities equal play so as to give his creativity full channel without inhibition.



Storyline: The self-involved sensualist dips ever deeper into his uncontrolled appetites only to ultimately eat himself alive.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1946-1982) - German filmmaker. Outer: Born a month after the fall of the Third Reich and all its attendant chaos. Had a particularly unsettling childhood. Left at three months with an aunt and uncle, for survival sake, and did not see his mother until he was a year old. The single issue of a cultured doctor who had two older sons, and cared little for his youngest. His mother was also largely disinterested in him, and the family had so many rdisplaced relatives living with them in their Munich apartment, he wasn’t sure who his parents were. Prostitutes used to frquent his father’s offices, giving him a lifelong fascination with the sexual underworld. After his parent’s divorced when he was 5, he lost contact with his sire for many years. His tubercular mother evinced little real interest in him, and was also gone for periods trying to recover, so that he described his growing up as, “an almost murderous puberty.” Addicted to films from the age of 7, he spent all his free time watching them, showing the same obsessive nature that he would display in all his undertakings. Felt unloved and unloveable from his childhood experiences, which were largely unsupervised. Continually ran away from boarding school, before moving in with his father in Cologne, for a tense coulple of years attending night school and working at a series of odd jobs, while exploring his burgeoning same-sex sexuality. Returned to Munich in 1963 and joined its avant-garde theater scene where he got some training as an actor. At 19, he helped form Anti-theater, from where many of his roster of actors and actresses came. The following year, he started making amateur shorts. Made his first film at age 23, then began churning out three or four features a year, most notably Fox and His Friends, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, and the 15 hour Berlin Alexanderplatz, originally a TV multi-parter based on a novel by Alfred Doblin. Explored human sexuality in his works, using a tight crew of actors and technicians, all under his tyrannical control. Although often static visually with monotonous dialogue, his movies confronted social institutions and were uncompromising in their overview, making for highly provocative cinema with the recurrent theme of misuse of power and the consequences of oppression. Briefly married to one of his leading ladies, despite his open preference for men. Appeared in some of his productions, but eventually flamed out because of cocaine and other stimulants. Died of a drug overdose at the age of 36. Inner: Aggressively sexual, with a desire to experience everything he could, sex, drugs, and the rocky road of self-destruction. Probably had a frantic sense of an early death, spurring him to work and play as hard as he could. Excessive lifetime of deliberately overdoing it in the name of art and pure sensual experience in order to give some sort of order to the non-stop chaos of his existence. Frank Wedekind (Benjamin Franklin Wedekind) (1864-1918) - German actor and dramatist. Outer: Son of a German father and Swiss mother, he was conceived in the U.S., and born in Germany. His sire was a physician to the sultan of Turkey for a decade, while his mother was an actress half his age. Grew up in a castle, and was rebellious from childhood on. Moved to Munich from Switzerland when he was 20, and spent the rest of his life there. Had a checkered early career as an advertising manager for a soup company, publicist for a circus, journalist for a satirical weekly, cabaret performer and producer of his own plays. Employed sexual themes as a counterpoint to society’s rejection of artistic and intellectual values, which shocked contemporary audiences. Broke up his scenes, and fragmented his dialogue, while using distortion and caricature to underline his contempt for the mores and morals of his time. His personification of the elemental female force in two of his works was named Lulu, whom composer Alban Berg later used as subject of an opera. Acted in his own plays and kept a diary of his erotic conquests. Compulsively sexual, in his mid-40s, he married Tilly Newes, a young German actress, 22 years his junior, then was obsessed with his ability to satiate her. Monogamous, but extremely jealous and possessive, so that his wife tried both separation and suicide to get away from him. Began acting strenuously before fully recovering from an appendectomy, only to develop a hernia, which led to his demise from its complications. Best remembered for his ‘Lulu’ cycle and The Awakening of Spring, which caused a scandal through its exploration of teenage sexuality. Inner: Jealous, competitive, obsessive, provocative and totally self-involved. Excessive lifetime, as always, of deliberately overdoing it in the name of art and pure sensual experience, his two ongoing manias. Christian Grabbe (1801-1836) - German playwright. Outer: Son of an officer in a house of corrections. Both parents were uneducated and erratic. A precocious student, he wrote his first drama at the age of 15. Homely, with a handsome upper part of his face and an ugly lower half, signaling an unintegrated esthetic. Went to Leipzig to study law, then two years later moved to Berlin, where he became involved with the Romantic movement. Unsuccessfully tried to become an actor, before returning home to start practicing law. Fell under the increasing spell of alcohol, but managed to write several dramas, showing a cynical pro-proletariat view, while introducing the masses as action-bearers to German literary tradition. Penned one comedy, the rest were dramas, taking his/storical figures and playing them against the tensions of their times. Only lived to see one of of them performed. In 1833, he unhappily married Luise Clostermeyer, a writer a decade his senior, and became a military auditor, a position he was later forced to give up. In 1836, he returned to Frankfurt, then Dusseldorf, before coming back to his native city, where his wife refused to take him in. Died from a spinal malady shortly after at the age of 34. Inner: Industrious, intelligent, and anti-idealistic with a strong streak of self-destruction through alcohol abuse. Had fantasies of superseding Shakespeare as a dramatist. Excessive lifetime, per usual, of acting out the German romantic impulse of Sturm und Drang und self-destruction, his continual obsessive life themes.


Storyline: The problem-solving playwright deals with his own quandaries by challenging, rather than accommodating himself to accepted precepts, and in so doing, strengthens and lengthens his artistic life.

rDavid Hare (1947) - English playwright, screenwriter and director. Outer: Father was a purser on a passenger liner, who returned home once a year. Mother was tragically unfulfilled, and wound up with Alzheimer’s, ultimately walking naked into the English channel to drown herself. One of 2 children. 6'1 1/2", handsome with a rich, resonant voice. Received a master’s degree from Jesus College, Cambridge in 1968, which he found feudal, and in reaction, he launched an experimental touring group, the Portable Theater, some of whose productions he directed. Began writing for the group, and soon established himself as an astute critic of British political foibles, with works that evoked strong reactions, whether taking on the laborious left or the tory right. Moved out of the experimental fringe and into mainstream theater, most notably with Plenty, about post-war British disillusionment. Because of their specific British contexts, his plays have proved less successful on the American stage. A stickler for adhering to his text .In 1970, he married TV producer Margaret Matheson, one daughter and two sons from the union, including a pair of twins. Divorced a decade later, and went through a deep period of self-question, before resolving to make the theater his primary venue of expression, rather than TV or films. Happily married a successful French fashion designer, Nicole Farhi, in 1992, which allowed him to deepen his sense of form and character through a more complete relationship. Received a knighthood from the labor party in 1998, and was able to accept it. By century’s end, he had 5 plays running simultaneously in England, as well as a one-man show, Via Dolorosa, a multi-character monologue on the Mid-East. The winner of numerous awards, as well as nominations, he has remained prolific, and in 2015, published his engrossing memoirs, “The Blue Touch Papers,” covering the years between 1947 and 1979, stating his family religion was judgement and he was far more the voyeur than participant in his early life. Inner: More self-assured as he’s aged, deeply political, largely leftist, but with a growing sense of humanity behind his work. Romantic at heart, despite being an intellectual, with a love of debate and ideas. Deep sense of the power of the theater, viewing his own work as musical pieces. Prickly and protected, bristles at criticism, although has managed to temper his temper as he’s aged. Politicized lifetime of redressing his earlier go-round’s preoccupation with approval, by challenging the precepts of his time, and in doing so, learning to tame his own sensitivity to acceptance and rejection. rArthur Wing Pinero (1855-1934) - English playwright. Outer: Son of a well-to-do Portuguese solicitor, and destined for that career. After a foreshortened education in private schools, he started working as a teenager in his father’s office after his sire’s practice began to deteriorate. Then worked for a solicitor, and at 15, took elocution classes, where he began his love for the theater. When his father died, he became an actor at 19, serving several companies. In his mid-20s, he started writing for the stage, beginning with farces, and gradually working up to problem plays, particularly about the tragically corseted role of women in Victorian society. Extremely prolific, he wrote 54 plays over a 55 year period, and is best remembered for The Second Mrs. Tanqueray. Always a stickler for adhering to his text, even when it was performed in America, with a strong sense of his own work, although had difficulty attending first nights. Married Myra Emily wood, a widow who had been an actress, in 1883, one stepdaughter, to whom he became deeply attached. His wife would predecade him in 1919. Began by writing farces, then serious dramas, after being strongly influenced by Henrik Ibsen (Arthur Miller), although he was more skilled as a farceur. Became the first English dramatist to cast plays to type, helping uplift the level of English theater. Knighted in his mid-50s, although the latter part of his life saw him eclipsed by the new theater of his time, and his last decades were spent in disillusion, as his reputation dwindled. Inner: Prickly and protected, probably had a sense of being not quite English, and therefore was motivated to accommodate himself to public tastes rather than challenge them. Compromised lifetime of hiding himself behind his skills, and working through his own inner processes in unrecorded secret. George Colman the Younger (1762-1836) - English playwright and theater manager. Outer: Father of the same name (Barry Levinson) was a successful playwright. Enjoyed a stimulating youth in the latter’s London home, among the wits and writers of the day, which gave him a taste of contemporary literature, rather than the classics. Educated initially at a seminary and then, following his mother’s death at Westminster School. When he was 15, his sire purchased the Haymarket Theater, although clearly wished his son to pursue law as his chosen profession. Followed the same educational ark as his father attending Christ-Church at Oxford, although showed a clear preference for frivolous play over study, much to his father’s consternation. As a result, he was removed to King’s College in Scotland, where he spent two years, penning a poem, then a farce, which was ill-received. Returned to London in 1784, and continued his writing, which his father now approved of. The same year, he secretly married Catherine Morris, performing a second ceremony when it was finally revealed to his sire, who now wished him to be a barrister. Eventually separated from his wife, no children from the union. Studied at Lincoln’s Inn without enthusiasm and penned a poorly received musical comedy. At this juncture, his progenitor became paralyzed, and he took over management of the Haymarket Theater from him, while dutifully caring for him during his last near decade. Forced to write now for money because of the financial straits in which the family had sunk, and quickly gained game from his opera “Inkle and Yarico.” Proved a clever manager, albeit not without contentious controversies, while also penning a series of popular farces and plays, hitting his stride after century’s turn. A companion of wealthy and powerful, he proved delightfully witty company, despite personally doing battle with poverty. Forced to take on partners for the Haymarket, and was finally relieved of his ongoing impecunious state when the King appointed him Licenser and Examiner of Plays, at a highly livable salary. Married a scone time to a celebrated actress, although his offspring, two sons, were illegitimate. Suffered from the gout, as well as corpulency, and his ashes were buried in the family vault alongside his father’s and grandfather’s. Inner: Witty, fashionable, well-liked, and largely a writer reflecting his time, rather than one of the ages. His father’s son lifetime of proving himself to be both ept and inept in the financial realm, a boon companion in the social realm, and an entertaining scrivener of modest but prolific abilities.


Storyline: The unerring eye eschews an earlier sense of optimistic romanticism for a far more gritty take on the mysteries of the disempowered female heart, and in so doing, elevates herself from a channel for sheer fantasy to a portrayer of the truisms of being female in a largely male world.

Dame Jane Campion (Elizabeth Jane Campion) (1954) - New Zealand/Australian filmmaker. Outer: From a theatrical family. Mother, Edith, was an actress and born the same day as her father, Richard, who was a theater and opera director. One of 3 children, sister, Anna Campion, became a director and screenwriter as well. Her parents founded New Zealand’s first theatrical touring company. Blonde-haired and blue-eyed. Received a BA in anthropology from Victoria Univ. of Wellington in 1975, and a BA from the Sydney College of the Arts, with a major in painting in 1979. Attended the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, where she was a friend of actress Nicole Kidman, and won the Palme d’Or award at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival for a 9 minute student short, Peel, that she had shot several years earlier. Continued making shorts and tele-features for the rest of the decade, before her first feature in 1989, Sweetie, a multiple award-winner on several continents, about a misfit woman who was anything but a sweetie, which she co-wrote and directed. Married Colin Englert, an Australian TV producer and director, in 1992, son who only lived ten days, and a daughter Alice, who became an actress from the union, which ended in divorce in 2001. Pursued the idea of transformation of alienated women in her subsequent oeuvre, winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1993 for The Piano, the first woman director so honored. Also garnered an Oscar the same year for best original screenplay, in her ongoing explorations of the unmated hidden female heart. Despite disclaiming the politically sobriquet of feminist, she remains an adventurous explorer of women searching out their darker edges, as she steadily builds an impressive and unique body of work of character studies in an age that prefers its entertainments lightheaded and lighthearted. Her well-received 2013 small screen series, “Top of the Lake”, was renewed for an eagerly awaited second season in 2017. Snuck into brothels to get stories of sex workers as part of her research for the detective drama. Made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2016. Has a net worth of $10 million. Inner: Easy-going, candid and down-to-earth. Extremely direct, and the possessor of a loud laugh. Always chooses her cast carefully, and works with them closely, making her films mutual collaborations. Denies being a feminist in her work, seeing herself, rather as a truth-teller. Clear lens lifetime of getting at the essence of not only her fictional characters, but her own as well, after shedding an earlier life’s irreal romanticism, for the nitty gritty of women rediscovering themselves in an unkind world dedicated to their ongoing suppression and oppression. Elinor Glyn (Elinor Sutherland) (1864-1943) - English writer and scenarist. Outer: Father was a Scottish civil engineer who died when she was three months old. Mother of the same name was from an Anglo-French family who had emigrated to Canada. Her older sister, Lady Duff Gordon, survived the sinking of the Titanic, then redubbed herself from Lucy to Lucile, to become a well-known couturiere. Spent her first few years in Canada with her mother and aristocratic French grandmother, whose tales of court life and the nobility deeply impressed her. Her mother remarried a tyrant when she was 7, and the family returned to Jersey, much to her regret, causing her to retreat into reading to escape both the governesses overseeing her and her highly unpleasant stepsire. Originally thought of herself as an ugly duckling, but grew into a striking red-haired, green-eyed beauty with no lack of attention from the opposite sex. Did not marry, however, until her late 20s, thanks to a desire to find an upper-tier mate. In 1892, she wed Clayton Glyn, a well-to-do landowner, 2 daughters from union. The two, however, would prove incompatible, ultimately causing her to stray elsewhere for her romantic needs. Began writing beauty and fashion articles for periodicals in 1897, then published her first novel in 1900, showing herself to be a keen observer of her social milieu, before descending into improbably plotted potboilers of the romance novel genre, with breathless heroines and fantastical heroes. In 1907, she spent 6 weeks writing “Three Weeks,” a torrid tale of an affair between a young upper crust Englishman and a much older Balkan queen, which caused a sensation, and ultimately made her quite wealthy, after being initially banned in the U.S. and Great Britain. Her family lived extremely well but well beyond their means, and because of her husband’s debts, she was forced to prostitute her pen after 1908. Her husband also lost interest in the marriage, when she could not produce a male heir. In 1910, they lived at the St. Petersburg court for a winter, while her romantic projections on dynamic well-known public figures figured in her novels of this period. Her spouse died in 1915, but by this time, she had become a highly successful novelist. Involved with Lord Curzon (Chris Patten), although he spurned her for a better-born mate, much to her chagrin. During WW I, she went to France as a war correspondent and was one of the two women present at the signing of the Versailles Peace treaty in 1919. In 1920, she moved to Hollywood where she enjoyed a second career as a scriptwriter, turning one of her novels, “It,” into the vehicle which launched the career of the “It Girl,” Clara Bow (Courtney Love). Added directing to her resume, while Tinseltown embraced her as one of its favorite social butterflies. Returned to England after the advent of sound, and tried to form her own production company, before resuming her writing career. Published her autobiography, Romantic Adventures, in 1936, although later destroyed all her correspondence. Remained vital to the nearend of her life, and died in a nursing home, after a short illness, having achieved living legend status. Inner: Witty, aristocratic, highly social and highly romantic, as well as a confirmed cat lover, she used the dynamic between men and women as the basis for her somewhat uneven writing career. Rejected Christianity, and ultimately became a firm believer in reincarnation later in life. Rose-colored glasses lifetime of employing her pen to excellent financial advantage, while showing flashes of insight amidst the dross, in preparation for allowing her full artistic expression loose in the next go-round in this series. John Cleveland (1613-1658) - English poet. Outer: Father was a rector’s assistant who eventually became a vicar. 2nd of 11 children, and eldest son. Matriculated at Christ ’s College, Cambridge, where he flourished academically and was well-liked for his wit. Plump with dark brown curly hair. Got his BA in 1632, and was elected to a fellowship at St. John’s College, in 1634, gaining his MA the following year. Did not take holy orders within six years of his election, per standard practice, and instead pursued a law degree, while becoming a popular rhetoric lecturer, while writing orations and letters on behalf of St. John’s. A staunch Royalist, he opposed Oliver Cromwell’s election as member of Cambridge in 1645, and lost his post. Made judge advocate of the royal garrison, by the king, Charles I (Prince George) the following year, but lost that position, too, forcing him to wander the country, living off the beneficence of fellow royalists, so that not much is known of his life during this period. In 1655, he was imprisoned at Yarmouth for three months, but was released after appealing to Cromwell, and spent the rest of his life in London with no fixed address. Never married and died of an intermittent fever.Best known as a political satirist, with most of his work unable to stand the true test of time. Inner: Witty, well-liked, highly traditional and unwilling to bend in his beliefs. Loyalist royalist lifetime of using his wit in service of both art and his political beliefs, to be a voice of his time but not the ages.


Storyline: The highly visual visionary finally dispenses with politics as a cramp to his wonderful sense of stylistics in order to explore the purely optical without anyone breathing over his shoulder about its social correctness.

Wong Kar-wai (1958) - Chinese filmmaker. Outer: Father was a hotel director. One older brother and one sister. Moved to Hong Kong with his mother when he was 5, leaving the others, who got caught up in the closed borders of the Cultural Revolution, behind. His childhood was difficult because of a language barrier, between of his native Mandarin, and the colony’s Cantonese, which he did not begin speaking until he was 13. Spent many hours in movie theaters with his mother in recompense for his sense of alienation, with their visuals serving as his true sense of language, although also corresponded regularly with his family, which served as his apprenticeship in writing. Studied graphic design at Hong Kong Polytechnic College, and graduated in 1980 before joining a screenwriter’s program, after which, he became a TV scriptwriter. Hooked up with a couple of production houses as a screenwriter/director, and served an apprenticeship with actor/producer Alan Tang Kwong-Wing, with whom he shared a taste for florid stylistics. The latter invested in his feature debut, As Tears Go By in 1988, and two years later, he began making a name for himself with Days of Being Wild. Turned out a number of scripts in the 1980s which covered all genres, while also toiling anonymously on dozens more, although on his own films, he prefers to etch in the story, rather than go into detail. Married, with one son. Has appeared in small parts in a number of his films, with Fallen Angels as one of his most noted works, in his signature arch visual style, which features odd angles, distorted close-ups and a nonlinear approach to storytelling. In 1997, he became the first Chinese director to win Best Director at Cannes. In addition to features, he has also directed shorts, TV commercials and music videos. Viewed as a visionary by film cognoscenti, with his focus on the artifice of film, rather than its social realism. Inner: Sports sunglasses, and is rarely seen in public without them, in a symbol of needed protectiveness after earlier having been undone by being far too public with his beliefs. Pursues themes of rejection, and the transitory nature of life. Encourages improvisation Circumscribed lifetime of reducing his artistic essence to the realm of storytelling, after earlier suffering for his fascination and identification with the larger political world. Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948) - Latvian/Russian filmmaker and theorist. Outer: Father was an architect of German/Jewish and Swedish descent, who was a domestic tyrant and neurotically obsessed with order. Mother was elegant and bourgeois, and the daughter of a prosperous Russian Orthodox hauling contractor. Docile and sensitive as a child, he had a Christian upbringing, while his illiterate nurse gave him the peasant superstitions he would retain his entire life. Moved frequently during his childhood, which would become a lifelong pattern. Left Riga, Latvia, where he had been born, for St. Petersburg with his mother, following the 1905 uprising, not to be joined by his father until 1910. The long separation caused his parents to divorce, and his mother abandoned the family, and moved to France. Studied architecture and engineering at the Petrograd Institute of Civil Engineering, to try to follow in his progenitor’s t-squared footsteps, although he joined the army to fight for the Reds, while his father remained a supporter of the Whites. Following the defeat of the latter, his sire fled to Germany, while he continued with the army, as a propagandist. Studied Japanese, and was introduced to Kabuki, which would influence his later visual style. In 1920, he moved to Moscow and began working in the theater as a designer. His initial interest in films was as a theorist, before directing his first feature, Glumov’s Diary. Preferred not using professional actors, and eschewed film stars, while employing stock characters to explore his larger social themes. Reached an early peak in 1925 with The Battleship Potemkin, which won worldwide acclaim. Although his subject matter would always be politically correct, his artistic use of camera angles and montage, for which he was a pioneer, and his focus on structural form would draw heavy criticism from the censors, since he did not conform to the edicts of social realism that informed all Soviet art and literature at the time. Forced to make public mea culpas for his artistic apostasies, he toured Europe in 1928, accompanied by his collaborator Grigori Aleksandrov and his cinematographer Eduard Tisse, and spent the next two years lecturing and seeing the larger landscape of the continent. In 1930, he was given the opportunity to make a film in the U.S. by Jesse Lasky (Garth Brooks) for Paramount Pictures, although his artistry clashed with the commercialism of the American film industry and nothing came of it, despite a host of ideas on his part on subject matter. The anti-communist head of the Hollywood Technical Director’s Institute took it upon himself to hound him, and he and his party were given one-way tickets back to Moscow, only to see his works attacked as ideological failures, as he became victim of the small-mindedness of both the left and the right. Signed a contract with leftist author Upton Sinclair to shoot a nonpolitical film he would later entitle ¡Que viva México! Enjoyed the company of artists Diego Rivera (Robert Rodriguez) and Frida Kahlo (Eva Aridjis), while steeping himself in Mexican visual culture. His absence, however, led Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin to accuse him of possible desertion, thereby leaving the film largely unfinished, and a subsequent search of his possessions at the American border revealed material in his possession deemed far too anticlerical and obscene for reentry. After a month’s stay there, he was finally let in, and then sent on his way back to Moscow, after touring the American South. The final result of his Mexican misadventures were two short features and a brief short, which he was not allowed to edit. His extended stay in the West made him suspicious to his increasingly more paranoid mother country, and he wound up in a mental hospital in 1933, suffering from acute depression. Given a teaching position afterwards at a film school, where he had earlier taught, and was put in charge of its writing curriculum. Married filmmaker and writer Pera Atasheva, although he was probably a bisexual at heart. Ran into more difficulties with his next project, whose executive producer took the blame for it, and was tried, convicted and shot as a traitor. His Alexander Nevsky in 1938 rehabilitated him, as a politically correct feature, which was made with the best that the Soviet film industry had at the time. Its allegorical anti-Nazi theme, however, conflicted with Stalin’s subsequent pact with dictator Adolf Hitler, and it was quickly pulled from distribution, although as soon as Germany invaded Russia several years later, it was re-released. Continued teaching and then began working on a trilogy based on the life of Ivan the Terrible (Joseph Stalin). The first segment won the dictator’s thumbs-up, as well as the Stalin Prize, although the second did not. Suffered a heart attack during filming, while dancing with an actress, and died of a fatal one afterwards, after being told by a gypsy fortuneteller his time would be up at 50. Inner: Enthusiastic communist, although his view of the artist as a beneficiary of the system did not sit well with authorities, who saw artists as servants of the system, and little more. Continually fascinated by the artifice of film, and all its visual possibilities. Celebrated cineaste lifetime of giving the world some wondrous work to watch, only to be undone by the blind eyes of authority, who could not see beyond their rigid need for absolute conformity in all things artistic. Fabre D’Eglantine (Philippe Francois Nazaire Fabre) (1750-1794) - French playwright, actor and revolutionary. Outer: Added the d’Eglantine to his name from a silver dog rose (eglantine) award he received at school. Married Marie Godin in 1778. Served an apprenticeship in the provinces as an actor, while also penning poetry, before coming to Paris. His first comedy failed to find an audience, as did his first tragedy, although as soon as the French Revolution began, his works became a popular reflection of it. Best known for a sequel of Moliere’s (Charlie Chaplin) “Misanthrope,” despite changing the character completely. Threw himself into revolutionary activity, and became president and secretary of the club of the Cordeliers, while also belonging to the Jacobins, the most radical of the various groups. Served as private secretary to Georges Danton (V. Lenin), and was a delegate to the National Convention between 1792 and his demise. Voted for the regicide of the king, and was an intransigent opponent of the moderates. Continued his political writing and playwriting during this period, and was a member of the committee that created the new revolutionary calendar that began French time all over again with the coming of the revolution. Invented the names of the months, while wholeheartedly supporting the abolition of Sunday as a sacred day, and in its stead, a ten day week. In early 1794, he was arrested by order of the Committee of Public Safety, as a counterrevolutionary, in a trumped-up charge over forgery in connection with the French East India Company. Defended himself at his trial, although his conviction was a foregone conclusion. Went to the guillotine calmly, handing out his poems to bystanders along the way, although he complained bitterly about the injustice of it all. Inner: Rabid revolutionary, putting his sense of artistry at the service of larger political concerns. To the barricades lifetime of having his head separated from his body in his ongoing lessons about separating art from politics and true vision from the nearsighted concerns of powermongers and rousers of the rabble.



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