"Holiday Memories by Truman Capote" takes the stage at Quick Center


Truman Capote's exquisite boyhood memories of his time with his elderly cousin come to life in "Holiday Memories by Truman Capote," which will take the stage Saturday, Dec. 14 at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Adapted by Russell Vandenbrouke, the theatrical version of two of the writer's most beloved stories will be performed at 3 and 7:30 p.m.

"Holiday Memories by Truman Capote" will be directed by Mark Graham and is produced in cooperation with the Theatre Artists Workshop of Norwalk.

Capote's "The Thanksgiving Visitor" and "A Christmas Memory" detail the author's life growing up in the 1930s with his mother's family in Monroeville, Alabama, where he developed an unforgettable relationship with his elderly cousin, Miss Sook Falk. After becoming a literary sensation in his 20s, Capote still referred to his late cousin, a recluse who had never crossed the county line, as "an irreplaceable part of myself."

In the short stories, Miss Sook and "Buddy," as she nicknamed young Truman, bond over such simple tasks as buying whiskey from Mr. Haha Jones' still to flavor their Christmas fruitcake or fishing remote creeks with sugarcane poles. While the memoirs center on the cousins, they are filled with stories of a host of colorful Southern characters, such as Haha, the Rev. J.C. Lucey, "Jumbo" Finchburg, the girl bully, and Queenie, Miss Sook's faithful rat terrier.

The first act of the stage version recreates "A Thanksgiving Visitor," in which Miss Sook invites Odd Henderson, "the meanest human creature in my experience," to Thanksgiving dinner. In the second act, based on "A Christmas Memory," Buddy, Miss Sook and Queenie spend the yuletide in a ridiculously tipsy state. Both stories, revered as two of Capote's best short works, are held together by the writer's quiet, but masterly style and skillful recollection of a relationship he clearly treasured.

"Perhaps it was strange for a young boy to have as his best friend an aging spinster, but neither of us had an ordinary outlook or background, and so it was inevitable, in our separate loneliness, that we should come to share a friendship apart," he wrote in "The Thanksgiving Visitor."

In the play, an adult Truman shares the stage with his younger self, Buddy. The dual narrators are able to talk to each other, but the action takes place in his childhood, so only Buddy interacts with the other three characters in the play. Both of the narrators benefit from their twin status: The older Truman picks up details he may have forgotten from Buddy and Buddy can appreciate things through Truman's wiser, mature perspective.

"Holiday Memories" has been staged throughout the country. M. Burke Walker, who directed the show for TheatreVirginia last year called Capote's a true Southern voice that captivates audiences.

"These tales from his childhood are filled with charm, lyrical delight and acute observation, and have never failed to move their audiences, either on the page or on the stage," he said of the show. "Russell's adaptation is a small wonder in itself."

Tickets to "Holiday Memories by Truman Capote" are $10. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 24, 2002

Vol. 35, No. 104