What are your overall impressions of Walker? He starts
the play, lying on the bed, contemplating the noises of a city in which
he doesn't feel he belongs, telling us his views on the "World According
I didn't find 3DOR very interesting; it was kind of trivial.
When I read it, I wondered about that. There were two very good performances,
Colin's and David Morrissey's, but the text was boring. Why did Colin choose
to be in the play?
(Elena) but the text was boring
I thought the dialogue was brilliant—contemporary, sophisticated,
at times poignant, yet humorous. I'm from NY and have met people like Walker
(the name conjures his personality). I think this was an excellent choice
for Colin. First, it had never been done before—no comparisons—and had
a very inventive story line. Colin made the part, but then he always does.
As they say, "some actors come on stage and you have to spotlight them;
some actors bring the spotlight with them." He's definitely the latter.
When he first came on stage in that stride (you'd know
him anywhere, even in the dark) and started speaking, I was hooked.
what are your overall impressions of Walker?
Walker is a troubled loner, hippie-like, a "trustafarian"
(a rich kid feigning poverty). He's a misfit and enjoys it, works at it.
Irresponsible. Cruel to Pip. That relationship was not well-developed IMO.
But one got to know Walker well.
The room looked like a loft in NY. That minimalist look
that is so "in." The stairway and balcony were brilliant, although I held
my breath when Colin ran up, given his propensity to trip. He never did,
but he did trash the faucet in the matinee and recovered gracefully.
Having only read the script, it seems that Walker has
some baggage. What causes him to flee at the drop of a hat, telling no
one? IMO it had something to do with, at the ripe old age of eight, seeing
his mother become catatonic then fly through the glass door.
How on earth did you all *not* LOL when Nan asked Walker
where he was for the past year and he responded "Italy"?
I am from NY too and found the dialogue very funny, often
sarcastic and pretentious as well. It was for a select audience, but the
irony is women will flock anywhere (across oceans) to see him and, if he
also happens to be on a bed and gets wet, so much the better. ;-)
(Karen) what are your overall impressions of Walker?
Walker has his mad moments like his mother and is jealous
of his father. We see this in his opening description of his father's accomplishments.
He was also an architect (he wanted to "study it [rented Italian villa]
and learn the bones of the building"). I did not think he was a rich kid
feigning poverty; he travels with lots of traveler's checks. He ends up
in that apartment because it's available.
He wants his father's house because he is trying to make
peace with him. It is harder to be jealous of a dead man. (Think Ned and
Theo.) Something to do with fenestration; he sees clearly through it now
that his father is dead.
I think the play translates pretty well but is still
essentially American. There's a caffeine-induced (or in this case sleep-deprived)
edginess bordering on neurotic that is very familiar today. I don't really
want to suggest Woody Allen because this goes beyond that. There's humor,
but it's sarcastic and caustic. To me it reflects an American generation
that has everything materially but still can't find happiness.
(Evelyn) When he first came on stage in that stride
I'm getting shivers as I remember this. You'll have to
forgive us for bringing up personal observances every now and then. It's
still what's most clear in my mind, not necessarily the play itself, just
(Evelyn) I held my breath when Colin ran up
And when he ran down. There was one moment when he came
pounding down the stairs in those big heavy boots. Made a hell of a noise.
(Eileen) What causes him to flee...IMO it had something
to do with...seeing his mother become catatonic then fly through the glass
Probably central to his character. It seems also that
he's been told that he's like his mother. He probably thinks he's a bit
nuts himself so he must act the part.
(Elena) I didn't find 3DOR very interesting...When
I read it, I wondered about that
I thought the plot was rather transparent at times, to
the point of cliché. But seeing it on stage was great. To see what
good actors can do, and what very good actors can do.
(Heide) he's been told that he's like his mother.
I think he is terrified of becoming mad like his mother.
He has always been a very lonely person as well as more sensitive and more
intelligent than others or regarded as such.
He follows this road as if it were his destiny. He longs
to belong and wants the house because he needs roots. He cannot make peace
with his father, who he completely misunderstands, and is terribly jealous
and hurt at his father's closeness to Pip. We find out that Walker is what
is father would want to be "if he were stronger," but poor Walker doesn't
know this. Although a survivor, I don't think he is very strong. I doubt
his father recognized this.
(Heide) You'll have to forgive us sometimes for bringing
up personal observances
Feel free. It helps me to put the script in context.
For example, when did Ned douse himself with water (famously pulling the
tap off in the matinee)?
Did anyone else sense the irony of this passage spoken
by Ned, "I haven't g-got the strength of character. But it's what I would
w-wish...for someone better than I am. I think it would be the best thing!
To be this...vagabond prince. Do you know? A wanderer through the city.
(Elena) it was kind of trivial...the text was boring
I thought the text was its best aspect. The dialogue
was smart, sharp and biting. In some reviews, his dialogue is compared
to Noel Coward's. Every time he mentions a person or thing (from Trimalchian
to the World of Suzie Wong), it means something. Very clever how they all
link so well.
I did put together a Cliffs Notes™,
which elaborates on the references. It might also provide some clues as
to what the play is about on another level.
(Elena) Why did Colin choose to be in the play?
The opportunity to play two different characters in the
same play would be a challenge and showcase his abilities to the max. A
tour de force for him, especially since both were such bizarre characters.
(Eileen) But it seems that Walker has some baggage.
Everybody has baggage, most of it in the form of his/her
parents. When each of the present-day characters does his/her monologue
to the audience, what do they talk about? Their parents, not themselves.
As some have written, the play is also about a legacy, an inheritance,
but the inheritance is more than just a house, it is genetic as well.
(Eileen) How on earth did you all *not* LOL when Nan
asked Walker where he was for the past year and he responded "Italy"?
It was difficult. But there was another line that Pip
says about his mother that had me chuckling: "I think she's looking for
another park bench, and another wet guy." Another wet guy, indeed!
(Moon) and remember he travels with lots of traveler's
Hilarious! Walker with traveler's checks. So middle class,
so normal yet perverse.
(Moon) He wants his father's house because he is trying
to make peace with him
Walker thinks the house will help him understand his
father. Remember his explanation to Nan about finding this apartment/office:
"The place is so nothing. I couldn't imagine why he'd kept it. I paced
the floor for two days, screaming at the walls: 'Speak! Speak!' It was
infuriating." Shame he didn't realize that the walls were screaming back
(Eileen) seeing his mother become catatonic then fly
through the glass door.
(Gi) he is terrified of becoming mad like his mother.
He must have been scared out of his mind that he would
indeed end up like his mother. Escape.
(Gi) is terribly jealous and hurt at his father's closeness
I love both Walker and Nan's reactions to Pip's attempt
to lessen their suspicions about his relationship with Ned. "I was just
somebody he found it easy to talk to." They are stunned that the Great
Silent One found it easy to talk to anybody.
(Eileen) When did Ned douse himself with water?
Second act after hyperventilating when Theo rides him
hard about his own lack of talent.
(Eileen) did anyone else sense the irony of this passage?.
. . a walker
I've gotten accustomed to listening to the audience at
this point for a sign of realization.
Actually, all the names mean something but I don't know
about Lina. Greenberg has confirmed this in an interview in case anyone
needs authoritative references. ;-)
(Karen) They are stunned that the Great Silent One
found it easy to talk to anybody.
To Ned, Pip was the closest thing to Theo. Ned and Theo's
relationship was cut short by Theo's death.
We know that Ned did not like children, and Nan and Walker
suffered from it. Lina and Theo's relationship was also unresolved. They
were a couple, but Theo runs off when he sees Ned with Lina, only to go
sit in the park and meet his future wife.
What if Lina were in love with Theo and only considered
Ned a tryst? Theo meets someone else, Ned is willing to marry her, and
she needs that security. "The beginning of error." She marries Ned but
is resentful and unhappy which makes her slightly mad and distant from
her children, and she takes flight through some glass (fenestration, the
repetitive underlying theme).
(Karen) "I paced the floor for two days, screaming
at the walls: `Speak! Speak!' It was infuriating."
And when the journal spoke, he burned it.
How did you manage when he brought up Jane Austen?
(Moon) How did you manage when he brought up Jane
About 40 women in the audience took deep breaths to stifle
chuckles. Same with removal of wet sweater!
Walker reacts to a phrase in the journal that changes
how he sees things: "I [Ned] took everything from him [Theo]." What is
"everything" as Act II is written?
Has it occurred to anyone that, at the end of Act I, it
is Pip who has "taken everything"? The house, Walker's father's acknowledgment,
his sister's affection—all in that vague, unintentional way. Now Walker
is in the same position as Theo.
(KJ) What is "everything" as Act II is written?
Ned took everything when he ended up with Lina. The house
and fame came much later.
(KJ) at the end of Act I...Walker is in the same position
Please elaborate. Pip was as surprised as Walker and
Nan when he got the house. He didn't even like it and offered to give it
to Walker. Ironically, Pip and Nan might have left each other for fear
of Ned's reaction to their relationship.
Here's the explanation of Trimalchian: The word is Trimalciònico,
from Trimalcione, the character in Satyricon by Petronio. Trimalcione gives
a huge banquet: grandiose, sumptuous, spectacular. The word is associated
It was just a salad!
(KJ) What is "everything" as Act II is written?
Indeed, Ned took Lina (was that pronounced Lee-na or
Line-a?) from Theo, but he also came up with the design. Theo was supposed
to be the genius. He went away to develop an original idea and returned
to find his girlfriend had moved on and his partner had "scooped" him on
a design. So, in a way, Ned has taken Theo's genius.
The world doesn't know which partner came up with the
idea, but Ned and Theo (and Lina) know.
(Moon) Ironically, Pip and Nan might have left each
other for fear of Ned's reaction to their relationship.
They might have been more concerned about Walker's knowledge
"because he's in so much pain."
Walker needed psychological help as a child and never
received it. Now he's paying the price. He's scared and tries, unsuccessfully,
to cover it up.
(Moon) She marries Ned but is resentful and unhappy
which makes her slightly mad
IMO her madness goes way beyond this. She was probably
always sick (schizophrenic?) and her condition became acute.
Whoever said this play was pretentious was right—or rather
Walker was. I still like it, but it's hard work.
(Evelyn) Whoever said this play was pretentious was
right—or rather Walker was
But doesn't that tell you something about what Greenberg
is doing? What kind of people they are and their world. As Lina (pronounced
line-a) says to Ned after the caterwauling scene: "Everybody I've met in
this city is a genius. And the ones that aren't are connoisseurs." [huge
laugh] What a brilliant putdown on NY's tony types.
(Moon) To Ned, he [Pip] was the closest thing to Theo.
However, it could just be that Ned was able to converse
with Pip because he was now an adult. Ned was afraid of children because
of their candor and ability to humiliate him and says that they are intensely
boring. [more big laughs] Ned couldn't establish that kind of relationship
with his own children because they were irreversibly harmed.
(Moon) What if Lina were in love with Theo and only
considered Ned a tryst?
One of the play's themes is the role of destiny. Lina
probably thought herself in love with Theo or was; however, she couldn't
make herself into the kind of person Theo needed. He was an ambitious man—hell
bent on fame and fortune—and he was going to do it. He was capable of doing
it. He subscribed to Nietzsche's philosophy.
Near the end, Ned questions Lina about what Theo is going
to do and she says, "He's a handsome young man in Manhattan, something
will happen to him." It does.
I particularly liked Ned's and Lina's comments about "running
into each other" on that day. They were fated to hook up together. But
fate doesn't always mean a happy ending, does it? See Oedipus. ;-)
(Evelyn) About 40 women in the audience took deep breaths
to stifle chuckles. Same with removal of wet sweater!
Re sweater: No, I think the sound was major disappointment!
(Moon) I believe Ned took everything when he ended
up with Lina. The house and fame came much later.
But Ned wrote that phrase in his journal just *after*
Theo died. The world didn't know that Theo had lost his genius. That was
strictly among Ned, Theo and Lina.
(Eileen) So, in a way, Ned has taken Theo's genius.
Did he ever really have genius? What did you make of
this then: "Theo's been a little st-stalled since school..." Makes me wonder
what has been going on.
(Eileen) Walker needed psychological help as a child
and never received it.
Notice that Pip specifically mentions Walker as a 10-year-old
child (post-mother-through-the-plate- glass-window incident.)
FYI, this scene was incredibly funny (despite the serious
content) and milked for maximum laughs by the Chicago actor. He had a cadence
in his voice, so that by the last "he's in so much pain" the audience can't
hold it in. This is Pip's biggest and best scene-stealing scene and the
actor was far better than DM (who was adequate).
(Eileen) She was probably always sick...and her condition
eventually became acute.
Didn't Nan say it might have been mistaken for being
southern? The cutesy view of southerners as being eccentric or mad promulgated
by southern writers from Faulkner to Tennessee Williams to Walker Percy
to Carson McCullers ad nauseam.
(Karen) Did he ever really have genius?
No, he couldn't come up with an original thought. Apparently
others believed he was (perhaps due to early success in school, looks,
personality vs. Ned). When Ned comes up with the house idea, it becomes
glaringly obvious who the genius is. Both Ned and Theo have known all along.
But this begs the question: Why were Ned's subsequent
projects less successful? Guilt?
Thanks for the info on how the "pain" scene was played.
How were Walker's lines "Theo dying, Theo dying, Theo dead" and "you must
publish?" (the latter in response to Pip's "do the fucking math" view of
(Karen) Re sweater: No, I think the sound was major
(Karen) Did he ever really have genius?
But Theo was being interviewed at the Plaza. Remember?
He must have done something right.
(Karen) "Everybody I've met in this city is a genius.
And the ones that aren't are connoisseurs." [huge laugh] What a brilliant
putdown on NY's tony types.
It's a putdown and a compliment at the same time, and
it works very well. :-D
"Theo dying, Theo dying, Theo dead" Colin reads them
to Nan as if imparting words of major significance. He has to because he
will build to his own crescendo during the paragraph starting with "Reconstruct
along with me this moment." He is at his emotional peak for "April 3rd
to April 5th: Three days of rain." A weather report. A fucking weather
report! As the stage directions indicate, he quiets down after that. Colin
did it so well. I loved when he got all worked up.
"You must publish" One of my all-time favorites! There
is initial amazement at Pip's inane conclusion about doing the math [big
laugh]. Those lines are said dripping with sarcasm and amusement at his
own ability to manipulate Pip so easily. He's egging him on. Right after
that Pip realizes that he is being taunted ("I walked right into—").
(Eileen) Why were Ned's subsequent projects less successful?
Maybe in his mind only because the house was such a hard
project to conceive. There are many of his buildings around town and abroad.
Because that's all he took off! ;-)
(Moon) Theo runs off when he sees Ned and Lina
I don't think seeing Ned and Lina really registered on
Theo. His only concern was that he'd "brought nothing back," that his genius
had let him down. Lina didn't really mean much to him at that moment.
(Moon) And when the journal spoke, he burned it.
Ah, but again, he didn't understand the journal. At the
end, I felt sorry for him because we understood and he never would.
(Karen) Ned was afraid of children because of their
candor and ability to humiliate him and says that they are intensely boring.
Walker doesn't like children either. To him they are
all alike (twins).
(Karen) a cadence in his voice, so that by the last
"he's in so much pain" the audience can't hold it in.
Shakespearean, I thought: "For Brutus is an honourable
(Eileen) obvious who the genius is. Both Ned and Theo
have known all along.
No, to Theo, it came as a terrible surprise. Ned might
have known but is too shy to acknowledge it even to himself.
(Eileen) Why were Ned's subsequent projects less successful?
Perhaps no special reason. Most people who make a masterpiece
never can match it again.
(Moon) But Theo was being interviewed at the Plaza.
Remember? He must have done something right.
They were partners. "They" had done something right,
but Theo would be the natural interviewee.
(Karen) There is initial amazement at Pip's inane conclusion
about doing the math.
Why inane? I can see Pip's point. Most tragedies don't
make sense. We love them mainly for the beauty of their form. I can look
at them dispassionately as well as passionately, and Pip is a very pragmatic
guy. Not an antiques collector, you may be sure!
Trimalchion (Greek name) was also a nouveau riche type,
as opposed to Lucullus, also known for his lavish banquets but who was
a real Roman aristocrat.
(Gi) At the end, I felt sorry for him because we understood
and he never would.
I can't feel too sorry for Walker because, when Nan questions
his conclusions, he says "I want it to be." Not that it's correct,
but it's the only conclusion that makes any sense to him. One can't get
at the truth when one's ego is in the way.
(Gi) Why inane? I can see his point. Most tragedies
don't make sense.
Only from the standpoint that Pip oversimplifies a very
complex story as if life were that simple. Agreed, he is a very pragmatic
guy, but he doesn't think anything is complex.
Yes, Colin's delivery of "you must publish" was terrific.
He has great comedic timing.
What bothers me is the beginning of the Theo-Ned relationship.
Theo kept accusing Ned of running away or evasion, so Walker is being true
to form. And yet, I believe, the basis of their relationship is Ned supporting
Theo's ambition ("he-he...wants things...I...I...n-never...much. Theo wants")
and protecting his ego. This is probably out of gratitude for Theo's befriending
him and taking him out of his own horrible environment ("I l-left home
to get away from people...who have no g-grace, People who are r-randomly
cruel"), which makes Theo feel the protective one ("You had no other friends,
I took you in_").Ned merely perpetuates this illusion too.
Walker believed the complete opposite. He thought his
grandparents commissioned the house "because, I guess, they loved him so
much," whereas Ned reveals that they did it "as a way of making up." Thus
that arch of guilt.
Theo was a natural self-promoter, a PR man, and Ned just
let him drift that way, hoping that Theo would come up with something to
manifest his illusion of greatness. Only Theo finally realized it was an
illusion, which shattered Ned because he felt he had failed to protect
Ned was too diffident to push his own ideas. Even when
he had to produce something, he wanted to "hire someone" rather than be
the one to show up Theo. But Lina insisted. I'm sure Ned did everything
to push the appearance of an equal partnership, but even after Theo died,
one can see why Ned felt he had taken "everything" away from Theo.
(KJ) one can see why Ned felt he had taken "everything"
away from Theo.
And therefore left the house to Pip as a way to give
(KJ) Walker believed the complete opposite
And this tells us once again how little they really know
of each other. The windows are opaque when they should be clear (fenestration
again). As Walker says, "All the glass, the house is a prism." We don't
see clearly through a prism, and we don't see these characters clearly