Monday, October 30, 2023

A Ghost Version of A Voyage to Arcturus

Updated 5 November 2023

Some months ago I consulted Walter Rigdon's Notable Names in the American Theatre (1976), and in a list of "Premieres in America" I found an unexpected reference to a theatrical performance of A Voyage to Arcturus in New York in 1970. It reportedly took place on March 4, 1970, at the Theatre Genesis, at 10th & 2nd in New York City (p. 188).

That's all the information that is found in that book, and sadly, that turns out to be the only reference to the performance that I can find. Thus I still wonder: Who adapted it? Who starred in it?  How long was the show?  How many performances?  How did this version relate to the novel? 

I did look around for further details, and only found some contextual information. The Theatre Genesis was an off-off Broadway theater, founded in 1964, for the producing of works by new American playwrights. Located in the East Village, it was housed in St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery. Its most famous playwright was Sam Shepard, among other notables. It was first run by Ralph Cook (an actor and parishioner), who left the theater in 1969. It was then operated as a cooperative for a few more years, and it seems to have ended around 1973-74 when the new leader Murray Mednick moved to Los Angeles. Some of the early history of Theatre Genesis is related in Kembrew Mcleod's The Downtown Pop Underground (2018).

The 1970 performance was probably inspired by the publication of the Ballantine edition of A Voyage to Arcturus, which came out in November 1968. 

Anyone know of any other details? 

Thanks to Murray Ewing (see comments), here are a few notices from The Village Voice:

 26 February 1970, p. 48

12 March 1970, p. 50