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DescriptionMost fans of the artist Edward Gorey know him as the author of lavishly drawn, sparely plotted little books in which hapless characters come to unpleasant ends. But if you happened to be in the right place at the right time, you might know him as a dramatist. From Boston's Poets' Theatre to New York's Broadway, and from Bourne to Provincetown on Cape Cod, Edward Gorey applied his distinctive wit to writing and directing plays for actors and puppets--occasionally including himself. This short memoir is an affectionate chronicle of Gorey's theatrical experiments by the friend and neighbor who produced most of them. Illustrated with color photographs, film stills and links, script and review excerpts, and sketches and drawings Gorey created for his twenty-odd "entertainments."
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From MGBA must have for every follower of the late theatrical artist Edward Gorey, this book is a compilation by Carol Verburg, his dear friend and producer of most of his plays. The book describes his work on his 20-plus plays: odd, sweet, cruel, sad, nostalgic, incomprehensible and enchanting all at once. Full of photographs both of Gorey himself and the posters, programs and very simple but extraordinarily effective finger puppets he manipulated in many of the 'entertainments', this should should be in the library of all Gorey enthusiasts.
From Paul MThis book was a joy to read and a great flashback to Edward Gorey's plays on Cape Cod. I especially loved the multimedia links delivered with glyphs that you can scan with your phone- it's like getting a second multimedia companion volume. It's a must have for fans of Gorey's work but it's also a fantastic example of the "in the trenches" process of developing theater pieces which really makes it a great read for anyone interested in the performing arts.
From http://goreyana.blogspot.com/2012/07/new-book-on-ea thoroughly enjoyable publication chronicling Edward Gorey's theatrical career. Written in an informative conversational style, Ms. Verburg recounts Mr. Gorey's interest in theater, beginning in his youth and continuing throughout his life. Her main focus is on Mr. Gorey's productions on and around Cape Cod in the 1980's and '90s. Ms. Verburg was a hands-on participant (or co-conspirator) in most of these endeavors, and she has many stories to delight the Gorey enthusiast. She reports on Mr. Gorey's creative process, directorial style, and very occasional forays into acting. She includes snippets of reviews and audience reactions to Mr. Gorey's sometimes less than linear plots.
From Carol A. CostelloThis multimedia book is delightful in many ways. It offers an immediate experience of Edward Gorey's art, his passions, and his life from someone who knew him well. EGOS brought Edward Gorey to the chair next to me and kept bringing a smile to my face. The author manages to capture both the spirit and the movement of an extraordinary life in the arts. It is a joy to read, whether or not you know much about the subject.
How to categorize Edward Gorey? A writer with a flair for drawing? An artist who also told stories? A distinctive book designer and illustrator? A maker of odd ephemera, from beady-eyed beanbag animals to esoteric playing cards? A godfather of Goth? A sine qua non for Tim Burton, Lemony Snicket, and other macabre-minded line-straddlers?
Twelve years after his death, booksellers still debate whether to shelve Gorey’s elusively plotted, obsessively penned little books under Art, Humor, or Children’s.
One label that’s rarely proposed is dramatist. Yet ever since he arrived at Harvard University after World War II, Gorey’s stories have popped up persistently onstage. Starting in the late 1980s, when he moved full-time to Cape Cod, theater encroached on his creative life to the point of engulfing it.
In person—over lunch at Jack’s Outback, for instance—Edward Gorey was as hard to pin down as his work. He had a staggering ability to shift focus from a film he saw thirty years ago to today’s menu to last night’s episode of “Third Rock from the Sun” to Schubert’s repetitions to Roman coins under Trebonianus Gallus. Every subject seemed to fascinate him, although you couldn’t be sure, since he talked about each of them with the same acuity of perception and utter nonchalance of tone.
Being hard to pin down extended to new projects. Edward hated to say no. Rather than refuse a job, he’d either ignore it or claim some other obligation he couldn’t get out of. You formed the impression that, like his hapless characters, Edward Gorey was perpetually being stalked by unseen threats. Even when it was clear he’d lavished
enormous care on a drawing or story, he acted as though it had ambushed him—leapt on him from an overhanging branch and dragged him into the shrubbery. Ask him why he’d written this or that book, or what projects were on his drawing board, or even which had come first, the elephant on wheels or the woman standing under it, he was
likely to mutter “Oh, I don’t know,” and wave a heavily be-ringed hand in vague embarrassment.
[Photo here: Edward with Le Theatricule Stoique: "Oh, the of it all!"]
As Edward Gorey’s neighbor, friend, producer, stage manager, instigator, and comrade-in-arts, I was involved in almost all of his theater work on Cape Cod. Our tastes were different, but we shared a passion for art as a way to investigate the world, particularly
human peculiarities. In the hundreds of hours we spent talking about what we were doing, or wanted to do, I don’t recall a single conversation about artistic influences, trends, formative experiences, or the like. As you’ll see in this book, one thing did very often lead to another; but our focus was active, not reflective. The idea was to DO IT, not record or analyze it.
I only started writing about Edward’s thespian adventures after he died, when his executors asked me to help them publish a book of his scripts. Given that he’d written, designed, and directed more than a dozen full-length plays and “entertainments” for Cape Cod theaters, plus half a dozen shorter pieces, that promised to be a challenge.
I started with a descriptive summary of our theater work—also a challenge. For one thing, there was Edward’s reluctance to explain anything he did, or even to admit that he’d done it on purpose. For another, reliving that extraordinary creative collaboration without my much-missed collaborator felt—as he would say—“iddy ottic.”
More than a decade later, with the scripts still inching toward print, I published my summary as a sort of exhibition catalog for the Edward Gorey House’s 2011 show, “Edward Gorey and the Performing Arts.” A combination of niche biography and memoir, it’s called "Edward Gorey Plays Cape Cod: Puppets, People, Places, & Plots."
[Photo here: Edward hand-sewed a QRV rabbit for everyone in Useful Urns.]
The obvious next step was this e-book: a four-dimensional 21st-century homage to Edward’s marvelous pop-up books. His scripts, after all, were only the starting point for his entertainments. Minimal though his staging was, his productions all had music
as well as live actors and puppets. The way everything looked, moved, and sounded mattered as much to him as the words. And he was curious about other forms as well as plays (and his beloved films and ballet): opera, video, animation . . .
"Edward Gorey On Stage," then, is my personal e-chronicle of an extraordinary artist’s lifelong involvement with theater. It opens with his Chicago childhood and closes after the posthumous premiere of his dazzling swan song, "The White Canoe: an Opera Seria for
Hand Puppets." Here you’ll find reminiscences, photographs, drawings, quotations from scripts and reviews, and (if you’re connected to the Net) links to video clips, websites, and other useful sources of illumination. (The visual record of Edward’s productions is spotty: until Chris Seufert started following him with a camera in the late 1990s, documentation was catch-as-catch-can.) Along the way this book touches on the diverse work of his that others produced, but its central focus is the theater projects Edward himself wrote, directed, designed, and occasionally performed in.
[Drawing: program cover art for Useful Urns]
Edward Gorey On Stage: Playwright, Director, Designer, Performer: a Multimedia MemoirBy: Carol Verburg