Sunday * February 17, 2008
Yesterday, my mom, nephew and I went to see the play, “Mom, How Did You Meet The Beatles?” at The Public Theater in New York. My aunt, Adrienne Kennedy, and cousin, Adam P. Kennedy, wrote it. The play is a simple story about my aunt’s life as a writer/playwright in the 1960s.
Through a mix of intuition, desperation and serendipidy, she made her way from New York to London with the hope of writing a play based on one of The Beatles’ works. She was already a known playwright and was waiting on a Guggenheim fellowship. However, she had her young son (Adam), a few people to look up, and only a few hundred dollars in her pocket when she arrived in London. The story takes us through an amazing journey in which she became friends with incredible people along the way such as Lawrence Olivier and James Baldwin… and yes, The Beatles. I won’t give away the entire story – you have to see it for yourself! It was quite interesting for me to hear a bit more about my own family history from the stage.
So let me brag a little bit about my aunt… Adrienne Kennedy is a three-time Obie award winner, including for Funnyhouse of a Negro in 1964, June and Jean in Concert in 1996 and Sleep Deprivation Chamber which she co-authored with Adam, also an Obie award winner in 1996. Among her honors are the American Academy of Arts and Letters award, a Guggenheim fellowship, an Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 and a Modern Language Association Honorary Fellow in 2005. She has been commissioned to write works for the Public Theatre, the Royal Court Theatre, The Julliard School and by Jerome Robbins. The Signature Theatre Company devoted their entire 1995-1996 season to her work. She has been a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley and Harvard University, among other universities.
So, my parents were not the only globe-trotting playwrights in the family. Not bad genes, huh!
With Purpose & Power,