The Man in the Newspaper Hat
By Hayley Heaton
The Man in the Newspaper Hat is a fictionalized portrayal of what went into the creation of Elizabeth Bishop's poem, "Visits to St. Elizabeths." Bishop wrote this poem during her visits with the infamous poet, Ezra Pound who was remanded to St. Elizabeths in 1946 after having been declared mentally unfit to stand trial for high treason for his pro-fascistic and anti-semitic broadcasts over Radio Rome during WWII. Each scene is built upon aspects of Bishop's poem and follows both characters as they come together, "poet to poet," to discuss what makes a good poem and what does not. However, much as they both try, Pound’s controversial beliefs and the political hubris that got him in trouble in the first place, proves impossible to avoid.
The Man in the Newspaper Hat is the first play by the young writer Hayley Heaton. Despite the fact that Heaton is working on her second play based on a poem, she still considers herself first and foremost a poet. She is currently working on a collection of poems that will appear in a series of small broadsides in an upcoming art ekphrastic exhibit, researching hotels for a top secret poetry project, and working on her second play which is loosely inspired by Frank O' Hara's poem "Second Avenue." She is also starting an independent press called 'ahh' with her talented sister, artist, Amber Heaton. When asked about her work, Heaton says, "Ultimately, I want to redefine the way a reader experiences a poem. I want them to interact with it, to sit down inside of it, to sleep with it, to drink and eat with it. I want to write poetry that makes a reader want to live inside it."
ManyTracks produced a reading of The Man in November 2008 at the WorkShop Theatre as part of their “Sundays@6” reading series and, after some rewrites, launched its first production as an Equity Showcase in March 2009, in association with Theatre Resources Unlimited.
Directed by: Katrin Hilbe
Associate Producer: Arienne Pelletier
Anne Fizzard *
Angus Hepburn *
Dramaturg: Oliver Conant
Scenic Design: Elisha Schaefer
Costume Design: Meredith Neal
Lighting Design: Joan Racho-Jansen
Sound Design: Andy Cohen
Stage Manager: Arienne Pelletier *
Press Agent: Antonio@kampfirefilmspr.com
* Performers courtesy of Actors Equity Association
Dates: March 5-7, 11-14, 22-25, 29-31; April 1, 2009
Venue: 45th Street Theater
354 W 45th Street, NYC
Readings of revised script of The Man in the Newspaper Hat:
March 14, 2010: Angelica’s Salon with Angus Hepburn and Becky Smith
May 22, 2010: the Players Theatre with Angus Hepburn and Suzanne Savoy
Photograph by Elisha Schaefer.