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It closes today.

Special thanks to Charlotte Moore, the director, who was kind to my family in small, direct ways and kinder still in the big gift of finding a way to produce this neglected show in a chamber scale. The Lincoln Center Archives videotaped the production, so “Donnybrook!” will never feel quite as lost as it did in the past.

I should also write a bit about “Good News!” at the Goodspeed and “Abundance” at the Hartford Stage.  I have no time right now. But they’re both worth a look.

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14 thoughts on ““Donnybrook!”

  1. BobD

    Thank you for that column. My parents are both gone, too. My father could have been a great opera singer, or artist. He sang in the chorus of the Connecticut Opera. His paintings hang in our house. But he had to feed his family of five boys by making his living as a plumber. A very good one, but his heart was in the arts. He would read us poetry as young boys and try to teach us to speak Italian. My Mom believed he was a great opera singer and artist, and do did we. All these years later, I still miss them both every day. The other night I watched the Live at Lincoln Center production of Carousel. He taught me to appreciate and seek out great music and great art. It always makes me think of him. Your column did, too.

  2. dom

    your last paragraph, “the paradox…” was wonderfully touching. Its something anyone who’s lost a parent can understand, and you said it so eloquently.

  3. Bill

    Nice story. It is always funny. In my family, my father had no interest in the arts. In fact, his Trinity College quote in the yearbook went something like, “if the search for truth in found in the lab, then all art is false.” That could be verbatim. I have his yearbook but I haven’t looked at it in awhile. I will later today.

    My father’s goal was to be a medical doctor. After Trinity, and with a letter of recommendation from the dean’s office, he was accepted to Columbia Medical School. A wealthy uncle had promised to put up $500.00 for his 1st year of studies. Can you imagine that: $500.00 for 1st year medical school. It was 1931. The Great Depression. For some unknown reason, his uncle pulled the promised funding. My father saved the letters from Columbia warning dad about making payment or loosing his position.

    He lost it. A dream deferred is sometimes lost. He never tried to rekindle that dream and because he sometimes pridefully pulled these letters of acceptance out of the draws in my childhood to show and remind his wife and kids of his great intentions, led me to believe that he never quite got over that deference of a youthful dream. He went into automotive fuels and stayed self-employed throughout his life.

    Today, I enjoy creative writing. And I am a self-employed art dealer. Ain’t that a twit of irony?

    So I rebelled.

    1. Bill

      Correction, LOL: My father’s Trinity College yearbook quote: “If the laboratory is your real test, then most philosophies and all art are no good.” I don’t think dad was feeling so lucid that day.

      And he wasn’t accepted to Columbia but to Bellevue Hospital Medical College. And to quote from the Trinity dean’s letter of recommendation: “…he comes from a Jewish background of handicaps from which only a young man of ambition and resource escapes; yet his manner as you will see is the very reverse of the unpleasantly aggressive.”

      The dean obviously didn’t know dad as I did.

      It is a perfect time right now to go out for a run. Again, thanks Colin, for your thoughts and mine.

      1. Cynical Susan

        ‘“…he comes from a Jewish background of handicaps from which only a young man of ambition and resource escapes; yet his manner as you will see is the very reverse of the unpleasantly aggressive.” ‘

        Wow. I guess this was acceptable in 1931.

  4. peter brush

    Trinity College
    I’m really at a loss in the 21st century as to why these institutions of higher learning retain their Christian names. The 21st century Board should consider getting rid of the old name, much as college sports franchises often have had to remove references to Indians, etc., because they are insensitive, racist, what have you. I suggest Trinity might consider changing its name to Threesome.

  5. peter brush

    When Florence King wrote her book in 1977 she distinguished between high and low WASPs. Apparently, at this point, 2013, the low WASP category has evaporated, and “WASP” refers to “a small restricted group whose family wealth and elite connections allow them (sic) a degree of privilege held by few others.” (Wikipedia) With that definition in mind, I’d say there’s not been a male WASP “stranglehold” on our politics in a long time. Since WWii I count two Presidents; the Bush ones. Maybe a third, if you want to include Jimmy Carter, son of a Georgia banker. Of course the WASPiest of them was JFK, except that he was Irish Catholic.

    King’s imagined example of the High Wasp housewife was Mrs. Jonesborough:

    “The way to know Mrs. Jonesborough is through her grocery list, where she stands revealed in the glare of her High Wasp priorities; Alpo, 9-Lives, ‘Harpers’, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco,vodka, food. Mrs. Jonesborough is the lady at the stove with a spatula in one hand and a Bloody Mary in the other. Thanks to her habit of cooking while three sheets to the wind, her standard dessert is an upside down cake. It didn’t start out that way, but she dropped it…
    Alex Portnoy thought his mother had magical powers because she could suspend fruit in mid-Jello. The Wasp son seldom has to wrestle with that kind of awe. Usually Mrs. Jonesborough forgets to add the fruit to the Jello. If she remembers the thought strikes her during happy hour. Muttering, ‘Oh, God,’ she struggles to her feet, weaves into the kitchen, opens a can of peaches, and throws the whole business, juice and all, into the mold.
    She likes recipes you don’t have to do anything to, meaning one-step dishes that obediently stew in their juice in a big pot that turns itself on and off while she reads Jaws.”


    1. Richard

      Reading Salk’s blog I was left wondering how anyone could come up with the ideas behind “The Stepford Wives”? No? OK.

  6. Bill

    Catharine, you are off topic and you have no right to diatribe on another person’s blog. I suggest that you open up a word press account and blog away.

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