But Franchot's time with the Group Theatre seemed to be a complicated mixture of joyful success and feelings of alienation and I have much more to share about that subject in a future post. Perhaps Franchot was just letting off steam or drunk. Perhaps even the most devoted Mozart fan can grow weary of endless playback. Or, perhaps, Franchot was just very enthusiastic about Independence Day. Here's what Clurman said:
On the Fourth of July, Franchot alone had decided to celebrate by shooting off fireworks. He began rather early in the day. Perhaps this was his childhood custom, perhaps it released his tension, perhaps it was his protest against what seemed to be the indifference of the others to the proprieties of this holiday. Solitary, with darkened brow, he went from place to place over the grounds and set off his firecrackers. Carnovsky and others were fond of music and played recordings of Mozart at every opportunity (except one man who played Caruso records, and Puccini). Carnovsky, no longer able to tolerate Franchot's acoustic vandalism, came out on the porch and cried: "Franchot, for God's sake, I can't stand the noise." Franchot turned and yelled: "And I can't stand your noise"—referring to Mozart and the rest. He stamped off yelling: "I am an American."I have written a little bit about the Group Theatre (click here), but have some more detailed stories of Franchot's time with the Group coming soon.
Happy Independence Day! Set off some fireworks for loin-clothed Franchot the American!
|Photo Source: Slings and Arrows, 1996.|
Clurman, Harold. The Fervent Years. Harcourt. 1945.
Lewis, Robert. Slings and Arrows: Theatre in My Life. 1996.