Don is in his early 20s and Jill is 19 years old. The play opens with Don moving around his meticulously kept apartment while talking on the phone with his mother. Jill is watching TV loudly in her place. Since the walls are paper-thin, the two neighbors talk to each other in their separate dwellings before Jill finally invites herself over. She is a flighty, commitment-phobe, who has recently moved to New York to attempt a career as an actress.
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When the work in question is a film adaptation, I had doubts and this is only the second note on such material. This was such an extraordinary joy that I need to express my complete satisfaction and a gratitude for the creators. And the performers of this magic play, starting with Goldie Hawn, continuing with Edward Albert and last but not least with Eileen Heckart who not only won the Academy Award for her acting, but also has some wonderful lines.
The themes are powerful, worthwhile, thought provoking, challenging and treated with seriousness but also humor. Jill Tanner moves into an apartment right next to Don Baker, who in the first place seems to be looking persistently at her.
So one of the major subjects is blindness, disability and being different, for we also have included in the smart and stupendous dialogue homosexuality and other interesting points, expressed with openness. This is the age of the hippy culture and Jill admits that she has been through that stage, lying naked on the beach. She has been through a lot of experiments, including a six days long marriage and a subsequent divorce.
On the plus side, this is a sensational heroine- intelligent and with a good EQ, beautiful, open minded, curious and brave. She likes Don and engages with him, not worried about his blindness and without second thoughts, somewhat recklessly one might say.
There is a lot of humor in what could have been the depressing tale of a blind young man who falls for a superficial, unstable neighbor: - You want to go to bed with me because you feel sorry for a blind man??!! In fact she took to wearing sandals and rags - She was married four times… - Why? With The Donald as their elected choice, one is bemused by the accuracy of a statement that is perhaps 50 years old And later on Mrs.
Baker, with her perceptive irony scolds the young Jill for her appearance and short lived marriage: - An actress? Have we seen you in anything else except your underwear — which Jill is wearing when mother visits - You were married for six days? What did you do on the seventh…rest? I was enthused, mesmerized by this unique masterpiece: - It is fresh, unorthodox and broad minded, enthusiastic for the most part, even if there are dramatic aspects and emotions, there is a light touch and we are allowed to laugh at dark sides A magic, sensational treat.
"Butterflies Are Free", a Full-Length Play by Leonard Gershe
Butterflies Are Free
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