The great international stage and screen director and designer, Liviu Ciulei, and the divine stage and screen actor Marlon Brando both share something disturbing as it is true: They both believed in bringing coiled drama into an explosion on the live stage. If the purpose of the Dramatic Arts is irrevocable change, they reasoned, then coiled detritus is the user agent that propels forward the story to the tragic, if not always cathartic, end.
I was fortunate to purchase authentic photographs of both Liviu and Marlon and I appreciate this moment of sharing them with you. Here’s the caption for Liviu’s photo:
International director Liviu Ciulei has been named Artistic Director of The Guthrie Theatre beginning Sept 1. 1980. The 57-year-old former head of Rumania’s leading repertory theatre, the Lucia Sturdza Bulandra Theatre, has earned an international reputation as a stage and screen director, actor, designer, and architect. His directing and design credits include productions throughout Europe, Great Britain, Australia, Canada and the United States.
Liviu was one of my graduate school teachers at Columbia University in the City of New York, and every day I appreciate him more than the day before because he was always tough and direct and yet his dancing, kind, eyes always let you know he was testing you with play, and provoking you with daring thoughts, and that while it was okay to be serious and studious, sometimes you had to let your mind loose to consider unmentionable possibilities.
Liviu was an invaluable personal fount and professional deep-water resource as I wrote Book and Lyrics for — Maslova — the musical adaptation of Count Leo Tolstoy’s novel, “Resurrection” with music by Al Carmines; and you may also read my work on that project on Boles.com.
Marlon Brando is one of those genius enigmas who is at once childlike and wearily ethereal as he yearns to live forever in a mistaken innocence. Marlon’s talent was in the unrehearsed exception — completely born and bred in the live performance danger of his early stage life in Omaha and later during his professional bloodlettings left on Broadway — and when those moments of inspiration pop out of his movie performances, you just sit there and admire the man who isn’t making it up as he goes along, he’s discovering the right life of the character right along with you as his performance unravels in all the right ways; and that makes for genuinely deep and dark and magical delights.
Here is one of my favorite promotional photographs of Marlon — and no other actor could’ve had a major studio at the time release an official, wacky, photograph for a movie except Marlon — because you accepted him on his terms, not yours, and when you did that, when you exercised faith in his talent, he glowed in the sky.
Here’s the caption for the photo — variously dated July 6, 1964 for the movie debut in theatres and then April 8, 1973 for the first broadcast television airing:
MARLON BRANDO reveals his talent for comedy in “The Bedtime Story” due Wednesday at the Broadway Theatre. David Niven, Shirley Jones and Dody Goodman costar.
History lives in photographs, and in some small way, we all have a duty to digitize our paper virtues into virtual bits for distribution so we may continue to expand the avenues of preservation — and I’ll be doing more of just that sort of purposeful sharing of more photographs — so the truth of the public record in moments may always matter!