Theater: When Friends Collaborate

Picture it. Small dark theater, empty of audience. On the tiny stage, a blue spot illuminates the tramp, his gray face upturned like a mole's in the glare, hair and high-top shoes mossy with age. The language is English, the rhythms Irish, the author unmistakable: "Dying is such a long tiresome business I always find." Down front, standing in the third row, the world-famous recluse is silhouetted against the light, angular with shy intellection, gray hair en brosse, the jug ears set low, long left arm and skinny hand reaching up, pointing out how it should go.

Dress rehearsals are rarely reviewed....

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