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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Spalding Gray: The Art of the Monologue

Yesterday I came across an article in the New York Times about the University of Texas at Austin acquiring the Spalding Gray archives. I was a college student when I first saw Gray on the big screen in 1984’s The Killing Fields. That motion picture told the story of Dith Pran, a Cambodian photographer who managed to survive the horror inflicted upon his country by the Khmer Rouge regime. Gray played the U.S. Consul in Cambodia in that film and his experiences on the set became the subject of a one-man stage show. That show, in turn, was the basis for 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia. Gray died in 2004 of an apparent suicide.

The Spaulding Gray Collection, which will be housed at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas Austin, features some 90 hand written performance notebooks, 100 private journals and hundreds of letters. It also includes a number of unpublished written works including short stories and poems as well as audio and VHS tapes of his performances.

In addition to the Spaulding Gray resources, The Harry Ransom Center also features papers of other writers including, David Mamet, Tom Stoppard, and Norman Mailer, among others.

The above photo of Spaulding Gray comes from the Library of Congress’s online exhibition A Century of Creativity: The MacDowell Colony 1907-2007.

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