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T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land 

A performance by Roger Hendricks Simon and Marian Grudko
By Donald Partelow
 
Friday, May 14, 7-8 pm
 
May marks the beginning of a year of special programming in celebration of the Pawling Library’s one-hundredth anniversary. One of these programs features the talents of Roger Hendricks Simon and Marian Grudko. Both these artists have worked together before in other productions. They reunite once again for a dramatic online reading of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, which was first published in 1922.  
 
Ms. Grudko shared with us not only about her collaboration with Mr. Simon for this presentation, but of their art, and projects they’re working on together and independently. Mr. Simon is currently involved in a theatrical production and was not available  to comment. 
 
Marian Grudko: “You know how it is, when you meet someone, and it’s just “right”? I met Roger Simon at a meeting of the Pawling Shakespeare Club in 2018. Carol-Lee Kantor literally pushed me towards him to introduce us. Roger came to hear me perform at the Millbrook Literary Festival, and later we went to lunch at Babette’s and sat outside and I listened, riveted, to a story about the time Roger directed Tennessee Williams. (Do I know how to pick lunch partners?) We’ve done several readings together since then, in the Hudson Valley, and were headed to NYC and then Covid struck. We have plans to record an audio book of Elephant and Rabbit As Told By Skib Bricluster by T.A. Young, for Blackstone Publishing. In December of 2019, Roger came to the Book Cove to read with me, the first chapter of Claudine: A Fairy Tale for Exceptional Grownups, which I co-authored with T.A. Young. (The reading is on my YouTube channel.) Roger and I are together again to celebrate the Pawling Library’s centennial, by reading T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, published in 1922. Eliot said of the poem that it was “a personal and insignificant grouse against life; it is just a piece of rhythmical grumbling.” Ha – I sure know how to attract a crowd! My partnerships don’t end there: I just released a song, “A Working Village”, music by me, lyrics by author/poet Johnny Ray Moore, who is most known for his best-selling board book, “The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr.” The song is available on Spotify and all the other major streaming platforms. It’s a song to the world, from our hearts.
 
Roger Hendricks Simon is a founding member of the Yale Repertory Company, who went on to direct and act for Joe Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival, London’s Royal Court Theatre, Edinburgh Festival, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, La Mama, Roundabout, Los Angeles Theatre Center, PBS, BBC-TV, National Public Radio and many more. Elected to Notable Names in American Theatre, Roger directed international premieres by Tennessee Williams, Sam Shepard, David Hare, Terrence McNally, Lanford Wilson, and William Saroyan. He has directed John Lithgow, John Travolta, James Earl Jones, and James Woods, to name but a few. Roger is the founding artistic director for The Simon Studio in New York City.
 
We are grateful to Marian and Roger and the many other gifted individuals who are contributing their talents and intelligence to make these programs possible. Marian Grudko will appear for two more centennial programs, Poetry Workshop: Exploring the art and craft of writing poetry from past to present on Wednesday, June 23, and Classics of the Twenties: An examination of the novels that changed literature on Wednesday, August 18. Roger Hendricks Simon returns in autumn, for Theater and Film of the 1920’s and ’30’s As Seen By My Dad – NY theater illustrator and cartoonist Harold K. Simon on Tuesday, November 16. All of these special online programs will begin at 7 pm. Please see the Pawling Library’s calendar for a full listing of programs. You can register through the library’s online calendar, or by emailing Donald at adult@pawlinglibrary.org.
 
 
Photograph by Donald Partelow