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Serendipity, or fate? Playwrights of a unique subject meet

January 24, 2020

In the nature of serendipity, I have found a new friend whose interest in the theatrical presentation of aspects of the life and death of Raoul Wallenberg parallel my own. His for many more years than mine, and to better expression in a script.

I have a play of my own–“The Wallenberg File”–co-written with Morris Wolff, based on the 1985 trial in US District Court wherein Mr. Wolff and company successfully sued the Soviet Union for the safe return of the abducted diplomat and $39 million in damages. Carey’s play looks at the Wallenberg story from a different angle, at the way men in positions of power use the lives of others to advance their own agendas. Not entirely a new concept to the citizens of the US, as we watch the Trump impeachment unfold.

We were at the SF Playwrights Center for scene reading–my first visit ever, with the MS of my own play in hand, though I would not have put it forward tonight, my first night, waiting to see how the “scene night” unfolds, what is expected, and what happens.

What happened is, Carey’s play was about the fourth to be scene-read. The opening scene, it looked in on the shady machinations of a Soviet bureaucrat and a Swedish ambassador, as they cat-and-moused their way through an initial meeting to decide what to do with Wallenberg, who the Soviets had kidnapped and the ambassador was at least showing that he was trying to negotiate the man’s release.

We see two mid-level bureaucrats trying to seize on how this man’s life can enhance, skillfully used, can be put to work advancing their own careers. Anything familiar here?

When Carey’s scene-read was done, I turned around (he was sitting behind me in the black-box) showed him the title page of my own work, and said “We have to talk later.” More on that to come. . . . .

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