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Domino Theatre
Kurt Vonnegut

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"Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame but to experience becoming, to find out what's inside you, to make your soul grow."

- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.


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A derby hat

Hats Off

Gladys Cooper

Gladys Cooper was an English actress who had a seven-decade career in stage, film and television. Born in 1888, she appeared in musical comedy, pantomime, drama and silent films as a teenager, managed the Playhouse Theatre in London from 1917 to 1933, and appeared steadily in West End and Broadway productions throughout the 1930s. She moved to Hollywood films in the 1940s, and continued appearing on stage and screen until shortly before her death in 1971.

In 1936 Cooper appeared in a play called Call It a Day in New York. The director was Tyrone Guthrie, in his first Broadway engagement. In his memoirs years later he recalled that in the days leading up to opening, he was worried because the actress didn't seem to be learning her lines. "Even at the dress rehearsal," he wrote, "she carried the book and did not seem to know the words at all." But Cooper assured Guthrie that "I always do this. It'll be all right and I won't be a nuisance to the others."

It was all right. Guthrie recalls: "We played in the Morosco Theatre, which is very small and has no orchestra pit and no footlights. A man in the front row of the orchestra impudently placed he derby hat right on the stage. Gladys, making the first entrance, when most players are half-paralyzed with nerves, saw the hat, advanced upon it spouting her part a mile a minute and, dead accurate, gave the hat a tremendous kick and sent it flying over the heads of the audience into the nethermost darkness of the pit. There was a laugh, a round of applause, and Madam proceeded with the business of the play as cool as a cucumber."

From A Life in the Theatre, by Tyrone Guthrie, McGraw-Hill, 1959, and Wikipedia.

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