This isn’t the first time that Ed Schmidt ’84 has staged a play inside his home, but according to the title of his latest production, My Last Play, it is to be the last.
In his first-act monologue, which takes place in his living room, he describes his history of being overlooked and under-produced in wrenching detail, mixing in stories about the death and decline of great playwrights. He says he is now the same age as Shakespeare was at death (before qualifying the statement). Before going upstairs for intermission, he tells each audience member to choose a book from his shelves, and when he returns, he asks his guests to move their chairs in a circle. Then he tells a story about each book that will now be leaving his house.
Old, graying books have history and character, and his melancholy musings on them remind us that the physical object has an emotional impact that the Kindle cannot imitate. This show is about the moving power of books as much as that of the theater.
Pretty awesome. I’m not sure I can make it before Schmidt runs out of books — but if anyone here does, I hope you’ll let us know how it goes (and what book you took home!).