Boys in the Band sets New Pace 25 August 1968
for in a h m 'Boys In Band' Sets New NEW YORK (AP) -- Just a year ago Mart Crdwley was running like crazy from file world and himself. Then he wrote a play that just about everyone s a i d could not be done. It was. of course, and now the f r a i l little chap is basking In that long longed-for limelight. . "I'm a pretty busy person person these days," he chirps in offbeat sing-song. "It's lovely." "The Boys in the Band," Ihe sad - funny caper responsible responsible for Crowley's contentment, contentment, rode Into the off- Broadway lineup on a chorus chorus of critical raves and has become a brisk carriage- trade must-see. Six foreign productions are set. The CBS network, branching into feature film production, has bought t h e property and even signed the author as producer. The reason for all the attention attention the play is getting is that it is the most unabashed unabashed and forthright account account of the world of homosexuality homosexuality yet seen in t h i s era of growing artistic permissiveness. permissiveness. Candor, Is its own reward, however, for peepshow sen-' sationalism is absent a n d the dramatic substance has universal appeal. "I'm not out to become the spokesman for the homosexual," homosexual," Crowley says. To prove it he is working on another play about heterosexual heterosexual relationships. "The only thing I f e l t about the way homosexuality homosexuality has been dealt with previously previously was that it was always always used as the sensational sensational disclosure in a play --the great surprise or something. Then tha person always ended ended up hanging himself or sticking a revolver In Ms trap and calling it quits. "And I just thought, you know, that's such a,cop-out. It just dossn't happen that way. "I just thought about writing writing a play, about what the hell Is on my mind and I had no idea of breaking any ground or- anything. '! never did set out to write a play about homosexuality. homosexuality. H is all about something something else. The play was written about self - destruction destruction alid how you can stand in your own way of achieving achieving anything. "You can sit around a n d moan and cry about t h e world treating you rotten when it's usually your own inability or laziness or will to do yourself in." Having been in psychoanalysis psychoanalysis for a good part of his 32 years, Crowley regards regards things about those countless couch sessions. "God knows, you just don't dream things up suddenly suddenly out of total nowheresville. I mean, I've known many people somewhat like t h a t , and there are plenty of .things about those characters characters I just wrote off from my own personal experiences. experiences. It's not autobiographical autobiographical per se. . "But "But if it's a t r u t h f u l play, 1 certainly didn't hear it ajl over the back fence." Geographically and socially, socially, Crowley conies from that southland region of the country country that has spawned such literary l i g h t s as William William Faulkner, Truman Capote, Capote, Carson McCullers and Tennessee Williams. ' 'In his hometown of Vic'xs- burg, Miss., his Kenluckian father, now dead, ran a pool- hall and cafe. His mother, who has not been up to see her boy's success, he depicts as "a total non - realist who lives totally in dreams--her influence made me reject everything ugly." / His parents named h i m Martino, after a frier.d of his father. En route toward college -- Catholic University University -- "my whole penchant for the a r t s developed," Crowley says, but he has no idea when the writing urge took hold "although I started started a novel when I was 12." The college years w e r e the start of a decade and a half ol restless wandering. For a bit he shifted to UCLA -- "1 was getting stronger and more sophisticated" -then -then Georgetown when a diplomatic diplomatic career briefly beckoned, beckoned, and back'to C. U. for his degree. From 1957 to 1060 he worked around New Y o r k movie studios, tried to become become a member of the scenic scenic designers union. Natalie Wood took him to Hollywood for a couple of years as her private secretary. A b o u t then he bÂ¥gan accumulating rejection slips from TV, film and magazine editors. There ensued a period of floating around Europe, a first film sale that brought him home. 'The project collapsed collapsed and Crowley baited about on script commissions that never bore .fruit. . Last May he fled after a particularly disastrous film assignment. First stop was Acapulco "which I hated," then a small village on Mexico's Mexico's west coast. "I thought, 'If I'm not having a nervous breakdown -- well -- for my own survival survival I've got to get back to my analyst.' " At which point "The Boys in the Band" began to emerge. "I'd been trying to write things that I thought v;ould sell and was backing myself into a corner with garbage , that I haled. "I knew I had to write something positive and that I believed in." He had been thinking about the play for six Â· months, turned out the manuscript manuscript in four or five weeks. "Everybody I showed it lo said 'you must be kidding.' My agent reluctantly agreed to send it out. She thought it just too much, a play nobody nobody would do for live or 10 years." Richard Barr, one of Edward Edward Alhce's original producers, producers, look the play, raised $12,000 lo produce it, a n d eventually assembled players players for the nne maybe -straight -straight and eight homosexual homosexual roles. "Nobody wanted to appear appear in it," Crowley allows himself a small s m i l e "They were the ones w h knew least about ihemselves and had all kinds of hang- ups." Sorority Delegates Joy - Redmon, president the Phi Chi Chapter of Ihe Mu Phi F.psllon International Professional Music Sorority at the Fresno State College, and Anne Myers,, president of the local alumnae chapter, chapter, attended Ihe international international convention in Dallas, Tex. '.''