SCOTT VIETS interviews ED HAWKINS, writer/director of "For Lorne"-
a new theater piece about Marion Lorne having its world premiere in Seattle this summer!
As Hollywood still remains stalled in its plans for a "Bewitched" feature film, one of Seattle's most presitigious theaters, The Annex, has taken the lead to present this summer Ed Hawkins' original theater piece devoted to the life and career of Marion Lorne entitled, "For Lorne - A Pastiche Valentine to the Queen of Quirk." Why Marion Lorne? "I have always been fascinated by idiosyncratic character actresses and Lorne is one of the best" replied the highly successful and popular Seattle-based director/actor in a recent telephone interview. An admitted "pop culture junkie," Mr. Hawkins was channel surfing last year when he came across a "Bewitched" episode with Aunt Clara and found himself curiously drawn to her. "She's really great...something amazing about her. I read up on her and found she had this whole other career besides "Bewitched". She worked for 60 to 70 years in hundreds of plays and several TV shows, owned a theater in London where she was highly famous for her accomplishments on stage but in the U.S. she will be forever remembered as Aunt Clara alone.
Interested in these "forgotten stars" who were famous before they became American TV icons, Hawkins has always had a great fondness for Marion Lorne's portrayal as Aunt Clara ever since he was a child. "I always loved the Aunt Clara episodes because she wasn't on all of the time and when she was you knew it was something special, kind of a treat. I could tell she was talented...she's rich in experience and enhanced the quality of the show." Obviously everybody agrees, even if they don't recognize the name. "I tell people I'm doing a show about Marion Lorne and they respond with "Who?" Hawkins confessed. "But the moment I say, "She played Aunt Clara" they light up. People either don't know who she is or know who she is and adore her!"
Fortunately for Hawkins (and us!) the Annex Theater knew and adored her too. Garnering critical praise over its fourteen year history, The Annex has earned its reputation as THE premiere fringe venue in Seattle while presenting over 100 original pieces of theater and world premieres. Admittedly a small theater (100 seats) with a less than elaborate budget, Hawkins promises quality over quantity as his production will feature 14 actors (4 of whom will play Lorne at various stages in her career), audio/visual treats (many from "Bewitched") and special effects. Hawkins elaborated: "I'm hoping to play up the fact that this is about her life rather than "Bewitched." I'm paying homage to a forgotten star who didn't work for the spotlight but rather gave a texture/substance/backdrop for all the leading people to play off of." The play will start and end as an episode of "Bewitched" and will use a lot of characters from it (including Sam and Darrin) but mostly will concentrate on other highlights from (Lorne's) life and career.
I ask Hawkins (who is also directing the piece), "Are you gonna do all this in the play?" With a sweet smile in his voice he replies, "We're gonna do as much as we can. Expose it, break it open and celebrate it." Celebrate indeed! Pop on over to Seattle and celebrate the magic of Marion Lorne with Ed Hawkins' World Premiere of "For Lorne" playing June 18 thru July 17 at the Annex Theater. The first theater piece I know of relating to "Bewitched" (unless some community theater has already done "Bewitched - The Musical"!) It promises to be a unique experience for "Bewitched" and Marion Lorne fans everywhere.
"For Lorne - A Pastiche Valentine to the Queen of Quirk" by Ed Hawkins runs 6/18-7/17 1999 at The Annex Theater in Seattle, Washington. Call the theater at (206) 728-0933 for information.
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