John Maxell will perform his critically acclaimed one-man show, “Oh, Mr. Faulkner, Do You Write?,” Monday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. inside the Delta & Pine Land Theater of the Bologna Performing Arts Center on the campus of Delta State University.
Maxwell conceived of and co-wrote the play, “Oh, Mr. Faulkner Do You Write?” first performing the role of William Faulkner in 1981 at Jackson’s New Stage Theater. Since then, the Mississippi native has delivered hundreds of performances of “Oh, Mr. Faulkner” to colleges, universities, arts councils and theaters across the United States, including New York’s The Bottom Line and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
Now in his 25th year of performances, Maxwell has circled the globe, traveling with the show to 12 different countries. Through the miles, his veneration for the part remains committed, offering, “Every time I step out on the stage, I have a renewed reverence for the man. What most people don’t know about him is his wonderfully dry and dark sense of humor. He loved to tell stories, and was terrific at it.”
Maxwell spoke at the May 1, 2005 rededication of Rowan Oak, William Faulkner’s home. Operated as a museum by the University of Mississippi, Maxwell’s alma mater, Rowan Oak is located in Oxford.
Set in the 1950s, soon after Faulkner won the Nobel Prize, the play uses the writer’s own words, flashing back as far as the 1920s, to “give us William Faulkner – the man – in a rewarding evening of theater,” as Eudora Welty, Faulkner’s friend — and one of the first people to read a draft of the play — put it.
In the play, Faulkner tells stories about his Hollywood days, writing screenplays for Howard Hawkes, Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable; about his family in Oxford; and his opinions on race, writing and Communism.
The title refers to a famous exchange Faulkner had with Gable during the 1930s when Faulkner was a screenwriter in Hollywood. While on a hunting trip with Gable and Hawks, Gable asked Faulkner who he thought were the best writers then living. When Faulkner included himself in his reply, Gable reportedly said, “Oh, Mr. Faulkner, do you write?”
“Yes, Mr. Gable,” Faulkner said. “What do you do?”
For more information on this performance, please call the Bologna Performing Arts Center at (662) 846-4625 .