Teahouse of the August Moon


By John Patrick, adapted from the novel by Vern Sneider
Presented November 20-21, 1959, by the OHS Senior Class (of 1960) 
Starring Alan Lupi, Cliff Gurdin, Sue Schlesinger and Carl Zeitz
 


  
    

       
NOW
you can listen
to rare and special bits of audible memorabilia from our senior year -- selections, 

each 1-5 minutes in length, from a live recording featuring the actual voices of our own classmates, made on stage, in the OHS auditorium, during their November 1959, performance of Teahouse!!  It was provided for your enjoyment on this website by Sue Schlesinger, our own Lotus Blossom. *
       

 

 

From the Sider Press, October 30, 1959

   
  

     
     
     
     

   

The cast backstage before/after the show:                                                          
    
                                                        
          

 

Teahouse of the August Moon opened at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York City on October 15, 1953.
Plot Synopsis

The story deals with the United States' occupation of the island of Okinawa just after World War II, and the American efforts to bring democracy to it and to teach its people American ideals.

Captain Fisby (Cliff Gurdin) is sent to the small village of Tobiki, along with a native translator named Sakini (Alan Lupi).  At first, he was put off by the quaint and primitive customs of the Okinawans particularly when he is given a Geisha girl,Lotus Blossom (Sue Schlesinger), as a giftbut they grow on him, and soon he's acting like a native.  This distresses his supervisor, the blustery Col. Purdy (Carl Zeitz), who sends an Army psychologist down to check on Fisby's mental health.  

There's gentle satire in this play, mostly at the expense of ethno-centric Americans, who always assume their way is the best way.  When none of the soldiers will buy the painstakingly crafted ceramics or other well-made trinkets of the Tobikians, Fisby has them start making the one thing he knows the American G.I.s will buyliquor.     

Few American plays treat foreign cultures with as much respect as this one, which is especially noteworthy considering it was written in 1953, only eight years after the end of WWII, when reverence for the Japanese and their culture was not exactly at its pinnacle.  Yet, the play is not preachy or moralizing.  The Okinawans are not put on a pedestal.  They are shown to be at times silly, jealous and petty  in other words, regular people.  Itís a good-natured, laugh-out-loud funny play that gently reminds us how much beauty there is in the world beauty that we, to paraphrase Fisby, ought to be wise enough to leave alone.


 

 

 

You are now listening to tSakini's (Alan Lupi's) introduction. Act I, Scene 1: Col. Purdy's office  [Playing time: 2 minutes, 1 second]  (Click to return to beginning.)

Click here to hear the second introduction of Lotus Blossom (Sue Schlesinger) to Capt. Fisby (Cliff Gurdin). Act 2, Scene 1: Tobiki village [Playing time: 4 minutes, 8 seconds] 

Click here to hear Capt. Fisby's (Cliff Gurdin's) progress report to Col. Purdy (Carl Zeitz). Act 3, Scene 2: Capt. Fisby's office  [Playing time: 5 minutes, 7 seconds]

Click here to here Sakini's (Alan Lupi's) closing words. Act 3, Scene 3: The teahouse  [Playing time: 58 seconds]

___________
   

*

Modestly, beautifully and emotionally, Sue (now known as Suzanne) disclaims credit for the recording as follows:

"To think that my Dad ( I miss him so) brought my huge clunky tape recorder to the school and placed it by the stage to get all the words of the show.  Interesting, the tape recorder we had was the size of a piece of carry-on luggage. It made a bang when turned on and off ... and he surprised me by bringing it to the auditorium to tape the show.  What a gift my father gave to all of us! My Dad was a very special man his whole life.  He was so gentle and loving and caring. I thought all parents were like mine. When he taped the show, who could know that such wonderful gifts could come from it over 40 years later.  What a blessing he did.  Just think Joel, Cliff, Alan and the rest of us preserved on tape ... in our youth. I take no credit. It was truly my Dad."

 

Copyright © 2000-2006 by Howard B. Levy and 1960 Sailors Association Inc. All rights reserved.