Like a Complete Unknown

By Sharon Barr

If you want to know how great you are, stay home and audition for your mother.

—Stella Adler

 

Newark Metropolitan Airport baggage claim area

Saturday, June 28, 1969

4:30 a.m.

 

e few passengers from the 11:50 p.m. flight from Chicago to Newark Metropolitan Airport are waiting around for our luggage in the cavernous United Airlines terminal. A paunchy guy with a bad comb-over is gaping at my legs so I turn away hoping to discourage his attention. I’m eighteen, and at 5’11” am used to having people look, but it often makes me tight-throated and nauseous. Today I can’t allow anyone to disrupt the little time I have left for rehearsal. Only fifty-two hours till I try out for the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts, and I’ve got to get in. I wish I believed that institution’s rejection of me utterly unimaginable, but I’ve imagined just that—a terrific lot.

My audition monologue is from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the part where Helena yells at Lysander and Demetrius because she thinks they are making fun of her. I can relate—my height has always been a source of other people’s amusement. I like being tall but if my mother had had her way my knees would have been stapled when I hit 5 foot 8. My New York plans were met with heavy sighs and concerned frowns.  My parents used the words “inexperienced,” “naïve” and “gullible” to explain their position; I used “adventure,” “summer” and “I don’t care what you say I’m going” to explain mine.

So I need to not blow it. I need to do this right. I need a cigarette. Now perched on the back of an orange fiberglass airport bench I feel good. Sitting high up like this gives me attitude, which is important particularly when you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing.

I know that Shakespeare wrote in iambic pentameter—a kind of da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, thing so I cross my legs and run through the monologue, punctuating its rhythm with a circling ankle, cigarette held between my index and middle finger, and a few dramatic head tosses:

If you were civil and knew courtesy, you would not do me this much injury. Can you not hate me, as I know you do

But you must join in souls to mock me too?

I try it different ways, tossing around emphatic hand gestures, always with a cig.  A woman with a kerchief on her head and a long skirt drags her little boy to a distant bench. Just as I start to explain to her that I’m rehearsing, I hear the mechanical baggage carousel spit out clangorous paroxysms. Eager to get on my way and reunite with my wardrobe, encased in a big white plastic Samsonite, borrowed from my mother, I rush over to it.

Suitcases crash out of the chute onto a metal conveyor belt. Mine, arriving behind several smaller, more discreet satchels, appears like a moving mountain.  Mr. comb-over guy is now standing next to me as I yank my suitcase from the belt; it lands spinning on the linoleum. I lean over and try to pick it up.

“Looks like you’re staying a while. Can I give you a hand?” he asks.

Unsure about my next move I say, “Oh—that would be utterly super!” He starts out with a big, confident grin but can’t carry the bag more than a few steps and ends up shoving it toward a waiting taxi. By the time he gets it into the trunk, he’s dissolved into massive pools of sweat and wheezy gasps; his updo has fallen over leaving him with a shiny pate surrounded by stringy fringe. I’m grateful for the suitcase transport and thank him with a hug which he must find startling because he backs way up as I wave and slip into the cab’s rear seat.

 

*     *     *     *     *

From the conspicuously displayed license I see that my driver’s name is Agung, so I greet him with “Hi Agung. I’m Riley.”

“Where to?”

“One twenty-three East 18th Street at Irving Place.”

Wow––next stop Manhattan and the apartment Olive, who scored a summer internship at Random House, arranged for us. Olive Hardwick was my best friend at Miss Willifred’s Preparatory School and one of the few people I really talk to. I’m anxious to tell her about recent family developments—that my father lost a ton of money in the soybean futures market; that my mother has become very matter-of-fact and utterly creepy; and that the extended financial leash I’ve always enjoyed is now tight.

I may be nervous but I’m certain that everything that’s happened so far has led up to this exact taxi ride––New York––the Stage––and me on it!  After all—I have cab fare, four hundred fifty dollars in American Express traveler’s checks, and I’ve got what it takes––I think.

As we emerge from a tunnel into Manhattan, the grey dawn is breaking pinkish-orange. I lean my head out the window, look up at the dirty brick structures full of people living vertical lives, and let my voice fly:

If you were men, as men you are in show, you would not use a gentle lady so;

I sit back in the cab. “That’s part of my audition piece,” I explain to the driver–– who does not respond. “Hey,  . . . what does the name Agung mean in English?”

Greatest. Balinese.”

“You’re from Bali? Oh, that’s super. I’d love to go there. Why did you leave?”

“Big Volcano, 1963. Hot lava covered my village, killed whole family and many other peoples.”

“Ohh. We didn’t hear much about that. President Kennedy got shot that year, and then the Beatles arrived. Maybe that’s why. I’m really sorry,” I say, but he doesn’t seem to want to chat, so I continue my catechism:

To vow, and swear, and super praise my parts, when I am sure you hate me with your hearts.

It feels like we’re getting close to my new home, so I forget rehearsing and start looking at street signs. On Hudson the traffic slows, which seems odd for only 5:30 in the morning, and then we begin to hear sirens as we crawl uptown. When we come to a street called Christopher, it’s obvious that there is some kind of a disturbance. A bunch of detritus including broken bottles and odd pieces of clothing are strewn all over. I smell rubbery smoke and see the charred shell of a car. People block the crosswalk and crowd onto the sidewalk carrying signs. One says RESIST, and another reads STAND UP & SAY NO. I think it a protest against the Viet Nam War so I flash a peace sign to demonstrate my solidarity and clear our path, but a guy in overalls and no shirt stands in front of our vehicle and gives us the finger.

There are a lot of men and more than a few women yelling. I make out phrases like “Down with the pigs” and “Shit gotta stop.” An uprooted parking meter lies across the sidewalk. I see girls in cheerleader outfits and heels form a kick line across Christopher Street, but when one pulls off a wig, it’s clear they are in fact guys. Next a bottle shatters on our hood before its liquid drenches the windshield.

Naskleng!” yells Agung. “What does that mean?” “Dickhead!”

“Let’s turn around!” I offer, as though it’s a new idea. It’s clear, however, that because so many people are in the street blocking us, we won’t be budging anytime soon.

 

*     *     *     *     *

A dude with shaved eyebrows and tight black jeans picks up a loose cobblestone and heaves it at a policeman. It misses him but knocks out one of our headlights. At this frontal assault, Agung, who is now alternately crossing himself and honking, starts to move forward; a cop stops us with his hand and then unspools a fire hose, which another policeman attaches to a hydrant. The crowd backs up as he ratchets the nozzle. When it becomes obvious that it contains no water, everyone laughs and cheers. Cars are pelted with pennies that resonate with a dissonant tinkle.

The young man with no eyebrows and black jeans tries to open the taxi door on my side. It’s locked so I roll down the window and say,” Did you need a ride? I’m only going to 18th street.”

Before he can answer Agung screams, “Close window!”

I roll it up right before it’s splatted by a tomato delivered by a muscular woman in a black leather vest standing behind the guy without brows. Her expression is one of aloof hatred. I offer a weak smile, another peace sign and then flatten myself onto the seat. There is a thick smell of exhaust fumes and I want to throw up.

“Where are we?” I finally think to ask. “Village!” Agung says.

“What’s going on?”

“Very mad peoples!”

I’d forever heard how exciting the Village was but didn’t know that it’s also a war zone.

Again he tries to move, but the car is still encircled by men and women ranting, “No more! No more!”

Agung pulls the key out of the ignition, leans his forehead on the steering wheel and mumbles. I hear him sniffling too, so he might be crying. With the car turned off and the windows closed, it feels like we’re in a coffin. Many of the passersby stop, peek in, and make faces. I should be way more concerned with Agung’s tears and our possible asphyxiation, but I can’t help but notice the way these protesters dress. If they’re not wearing tight Levis, they’re sporting colorful, imaginative, folkloric-type garb. This whole experience makes me rethink my wardrobe.  Just then we’re hit with at least two more beer bottles, which smash, splinter and splash all over the car again.  I hear phrases like “Shut the fuck up,” so I guess the inhabitants in the building overhead, yearning for sleep, are doing the throwing.

Finally, as the crowd moves east, there’s a break. Agung takes quick advantage of the clearing and starts the motor. We head up Hudson to 8th Avenue and then right on 14th Street. I roll down the window and exhale with relief. Fifteen minutes later Agung stops the cab on Irving Place.

“You lucky we not dead, lady. Thank you, Jesus. So this it!” he announces.

When Olive described the place, it had sounded bohemian: a basement apartment next to an old tavern. This building is a dreary, off-white affair. There are dripping, rusty air conditioners hanging out of dirty windows, and on the curb are an abandoned stroller, an overflowing garbage can, and the remains of what must have once been a bicycle.

Across the street are two shaggy-haired boys in their undershirts, smoking and sprawling on the stoop of a crumbling brownstone.

I want to take you higher, by Sly and the Family Stone, is blaring out of the bar next door even though it’s barely 7 a.m.

“I must have the wrong address.”

“This it!” Agung says with absolute determination. I pay and beg him to wait while I check the names on the bells. The designated apartment, Minus 1-A, has no name next to it. I buzz, hear subterranean rustling and a male and a female voice.

Assuming that, in fact, this is the wrong place, I relax, but then the door swings open and there’s Olive wrapping herself in a seersucker robe.

“Ri!” she exclaims, giving me a quick hug.

“Olly pop! Sorry it’s so early. I took the red eye. We got caught in a big riot downtown!”

“Wow. Far out. I thought you were coming in tomorrow. The place is kind of a mess. Tommy and I weren’t expecting you today.” She says this while raking her hands through her glossy brown hair, which is usually flipped up or tucked into a neat ponytail. She looks disheveled but fresh. Unlike me, her body is va-va-va-voom voluptuous with cleavage for days.

“So he’s here too?”

I knew Olive was hot for a guy named Tommy, whom she’d met last spring skiing in Aspen. She’d thought it hopeless. He was at Yale, from a big-deal family, and even though she was set to go to Barnard, at that point she was only a senior in boarding school. “What did you do to your hair?” she says, making an expert subject change.

“Oh, yeah, cut off the big debutante do a day after my party. Needed a change. Did it with kitchen shears.  Kicky right?”

Olive looks concerned.

Just then I hear a thud and turn to see that Agung has tossed my suitcase onto the curb. I rush to get it before someone else does––plus I want to say goodbye to my friend from the front.

“Sorry about the volcano,” I say, peeking in through his passenger side.

Agung closes his eyes, bows his head and then looks up at the road and speeds off. As I go back to my bag, one of my pumps gets sucked into the cracked concrete causing me to flail and spin. Before I’ve stopped wobbling, Tommy reveals himself from behind Olive. He’s bare chested, wearing madras Bermudas, loafers without socks and a dazzling smile. Charging over to get the bag, he steadies my gait and helps me regain my balance. Then he reaches his hand out to shake.

“Tommy Paley”

He’s at least four inches taller than me. I flip my hair as though I still have a full mane and look up as I place my hand in his. “Riley Fairchild.”

“I like your dress.”

I’m wearing a black-and-white checked minidress that I love.  I’m flattered he notices it but still I look down and pretend to check what I’m wearing. “Oh, I forgot what I had on.”

He smiles and picks up my suitcase like it’s a loaf of bread. I catch Olive’s eye. Her look is remote as she glances first at me, then at Tommy. He walks by her carrying the bag; they kiss quickly as he passes. This brief peck seems to reassure her of his singular intentions. We follow him through the front door, turn right, and go down three steps into the basement flat. Tommy, now relieved of suitcase duty, stands behind Olive and puts his arms tightly around her waist as she exclaims, “I am so glad you’re here!” She seems genuinely pleased.

“Gosh. Me too. Wait till you hear about my cab ride! Quelle experience! And there is so much else I need to tell you. Where, uh, should I put my purse?”

I look around and am not excited about putting anything down anywhere. It doesn’t look dirty, just worn and vaguely tragic. I see a stack of New York Times and smell an odd combination of stale kitchen grease and Olive’s L’ Air du Temps cologne. The room has two half windows that look out on the sidewalk with a view of pedestrian feet. The laminate floor is stained and peeling. The walls are blue with purple streaks, as though the color was up for grabs. There’s an old card table with three folding chairs; next to it is a black leatherette beanbag seat that looks like a giant burnt baked potato. Dropped from the ceiling is a combo fan/light fixture that, because it contains no bulbs, seems beside the point. As an added design element, a five-foot-tall drywall divides this room and what appears to be a sort of kitchen zone. Why, of all the apartments in New York, has Olive chosen this one?

“I know it’s a bit Dickensian, but hey, so convenient.” says Olive, following my drift.

To what I wonder––the pub next door?

As though there are several wings to choose from, Olive gestures to the door of a room facing the apartment’s street side. “I think you’ll have the most privacy in there.”

This front room, into which I am ushered, has a bare mattress in the middle of the floor, a fan and a lamp shaded by an orange paper lantern. Out the window I see two silver trashcans. There is also a peculiar rope strung lengthwise from one side of the tiny space to the other. “Am I supposed to hang myself with that if things don’t work out?” I say, gesturing to the rope.

“That’s for your clothes silly,” she says laughing. “There’s a closet in the hall but it’s really small, and Tommy put his stuff in there. I know it’s a little bare bones, but . . .”

“Hey, I’m off to the bodega. So milk, and what else do we need, hon.?” Tommy interrupts.

“Eggs . . . oh, and light bulbs!”

“Right.” They kiss and he leaves the flat.

“I think you’ll really like Tommy. He’s got a cool summer job at the Village Voice—a weekly paper.”

“I’m just happy to be here, but I don’t want to get in the way or anything.

I mean I could always . . .”

“Oh, no. I meant to festoon the joint with fresh flowers in honor of your arrival. I really thought you were coming tomorrow. There are a bunch of extra sheets and stuff, and guess what’s just down a few blocks? The place that the New York cognoscenti think is so in right now. Max’s Kansas City!”

“Kansas City?”

“The Warhol hangout—musicians, artists, drag queens. I love drag queens.” “You know drag queens?”

“Well, no, but I’m sure I would love them, if I did. Anyway, Max’s is wild, and if they ever let me into the back room, I’m never leaving.”

“Let you in?”

“Oh, you’ll see. When does your school start?”

“Well if I get in—Tuesday” “You might not be admitted?”

“Well, it’s a very old and . . . uh . . . well-respected place. I have to audition Monday, but it’s for the summer session, so how hard could it be?”

I realize I don’t know the answer. My throat tightens, and I cough. “I’ll get you some water.”

“It’ll go away in a sec. It’s that imaginary noose thing that happens to me when things get a little”––I manage a deep breath—“too real.”

“Well, let’s not go there. I hate that!” I follow Olive out into the kitchen zone, where she fills a glass from the tap. The water is warm and vaguely metallic tasting, but I drink it down.

“I’m doing a piece from A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the audition.”

“Cool!”

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

I’m convinced this choice of classical material will indicate my serious intentions.

Even though I kind of always knew I had to be an actress, my only previous theatrical experience included a successful audition for the drama club at Miss Willifred’s that led to a role in an original production entitled A Rock, a Tree, and a Cloud. We had only one performance, and during this, the girl playing the Other Waitress dropped the line on which I was to exit. Not knowing what to do, and not eager to relinquish the limelight, I stayed at my perch on the barstool, drink in hand, and acted like I was getting more and more loaded. Then right before the final curtain, I keeled over. It got a big laugh. The playwright and the other actors were upset, but when I took my bow the audience stood up. This spurt of validation made me ecstatic, and I knew it was time for New York.

Then because there doesn’t seem to be a dishwasher, I put the glass in the sink.

“I love that play,” Olive says. “What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?

Titania is such an eccentric chick!”

“I’m doing Helena’s monologue. The one where she’s really pissed off because thinks she’s being made a fool of by Demetrius and Lysander.”

“Oh? In front of everyone?” “I better practice.”

“Not tonight! There’s a party at a friend of Tommy’s. You have to come.”

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

I spend the day napping, and just as I start to rehearse, Olive knocks on my door announcing it’s time to get ready. I take a shower in the fusty bathroom, put on makeup, hoop earrings, my cherished pearl necklace with an emerald clasp, a Courrèges vinyl miniskirt, and white go-go boots. Olive looks beatnicky chic, in a black minidress, tights, ballet flats, French twisted hair, and peace sign drop earrings. In contrast Tommy, wearing khakis, red striped tie, navy sport coat and Top-Siders, looks like an ad for Brooks Brothers. We get a cab and give the driver a Park Avenue address.

Ten minutes later, as we pull up to a building with an elaborate portico, I whisper to Olive, “Is this where we’re going?”

“Why are you whispering?”

“It’s just so très èlégante—Tommy has a friend who lives here?” “Well, it’s her parents’ place. She’s our age.”

The white-gloved doorman rushes out, opens the taxi door and practically carries us inside. He recognizes Tommy and ushers us into the elevator and up to the penthouse. A winsome girl named Jamie meets us at the door, and, as Tommy is introducing Olive and me to her, a man about fifty with flowing iron gray hair, black turtleneck, a pendant

necklace, and a jacket, worn cape-like over his shoulders barrels down a flight of stairs and heads for the exit. He stops short when he sees Tommy.

“Tommy darling, how are you?” he says. “Uncle Lenny! I didn’t think you’d be here.”

“Just leaving, dear boy––but thrilled to catch sight of you!” “These are my friends Olive and Riley.”

“Groovy. Well, have fun, kids.” And with that he kisses Tommy on both cheeks and ruffles his hair; then after readjusting his jacket, he pivots and continues his departure.

“He’s your uncle?” I blurt out in shock.

“Not technically—but I’ve known him all my life. The Bernsteins are friends of my parents.”

“Tommy knows a lot of people. He grew up in Manhattan,” Olive explains.

I see two grand pianos back-to-back in the enormous Chinese-yellow living room, and it dawns on me that this is in fact Leonard Bernstein’s home and that the hostess is his daughter.

The party is a loud, smoky, affair. Everyone appears to be smart, rich, or beautiful, and in some cases all three. I watch them balance their cocktails and cigarettes with a splendid kind of carelessness. Olive, Tommy, and I light up as we enter the living room, and I take a comforting pull on my cigarette as they disappear, hand in hand, into the crowd.

Was it only two weeks ago when I hosted my own shindig, where I blew out eighteen birthday candles and prayed that an eastern breeze off Lake Michigan would carry my wish up to the heavens? That was a gauzy affair under a pink tent with an eight-piece R&B band. It had been labeled my coming-out party, but exactly who or what I was coming out into wasn’t clear. In attendance were the rich but always understated denizens of Lake Forest, Illinois. I danced barefoot in a strapless, fuchsia-chiffon gown till three in the morning when omelets and coffee were served by the pool. Indeed, my parents gave me a loving, extravagant celebration, which also served as a well-catered punctuation mark to their twenty-two-year marriage.

Everywhere I look in this luxury duplex are clear-skinned Ivy Leaguers who appear completely at home. I overhear conversations about this one’s play being produced and that one’s magazine job. There are a lot of discussions about the Vineyard and some regatta or other. Then I hear the phrase ‘uprising in the Village’ spoken by a guy with ebony hair, blue eyes and prominent cheekbones that give him a savagely sexy beauty.

He’s talking to a couple—a short man in a bowtie with an arm around a small woman in a flowered shift.

“My taxi got stuck in that riot. What was their beef anyway?” I say, jumping into the conversation. The three turn to me, and I flush with embarrassment.

“Homosexuals in a gay bar called Stonewall Inn finally got sick of being raided, so last night when they got busted, one refused to get into the paddy wagon. From there it mushroomed,” the one with the cheekbones, says.

“It’s a Mafia-run place that the cops are determined to shut down,” declares the guy in the bowtie.

“I heard it was also sparked by Judy Garland’s funeral,” his other half adds. “After lunch at the Carlyle I was walking uptown and saw at least a thousand people queuing up around the block just to get a look at her in her coffin. Many of them were Negroes.”

“Guess they identify with her,” her friend says.

“What were you doing downtown so late?” the sexy one asks me.

“Well, it was dawn. I was just . . .” I try to think of a more interesting scenario but come up short.  “. . . riding in from the airport. I’m here for the summer to . . .” At this the couple roll their eyes at one another and peel off. Left alone with this man, I get nervous and stifle a throaty cough.

“Are you okay?”

“Oh, I’m fine. It’s just a wrinkle in my otherwise implacable poise.” But my throat tightens.

As I clear it he says, “How about a drink?” I panic and look around for Olive.

“If you are searching for whoever you came with, they’re probably smoking a joint in the bedroom. I can take you there–––or offer you . . . champagne?” He lifts a flute off a passing tray. “Voilà! ”

“Merci!” It’s clear he’s at least ten years older than most of the other guests, well into his thirties.

“Quite a skirt you have on. Can I touch it?”

Well, this is an odd request. “Okay. It’s Courrèges, the spring collection.”

He touches its surface and then caresses the hem for a moment, brushing my leg. I can’t breathe for a beat and am surprised by my reaction.

“What brings you here?” he says, smiling.

Is he messing with me? I take a sip of the champagne, look away, and try to regain my composure. Then I shake my hair as though it’s in my eyes, take a breath, and with a straight face let it rip. “Well, you see, I’m a coloratura soprano and hope to be discovered before I age and lose the light quality of my top notes.” I then turn, bump into someone, and spill half my champagne down my front.

Chuckling, he hands me a paper napkin as his eyes slide over my body. “Perhaps you could sing Over the Rainbow,” he says, nodding at the piano, “I could accompany you and make your leap to stardom that much easier.”

“Are you a musician?” I dry my hands and pat a spot on my blouse.

“If you’re a singer, then I’m a musician.” He takes back the napkin, crumples it, and hands it to a passing waitress, deftly exchanging my now half-empty glass for a full one.

I take a quick sip and, feeling a bit more secure, use a phrase I’ve heard my mother utter a million times at parties: “And to what or whom do we owe your attendance?”

“I recently sold Jamie one of my paintings, and she was kind enough to invite me.”

“You’re a musician and a painter?”

“I mess about a bit. I’m Lucca Seaver.” He gives me a card I glance at.

I see a Seventh Avenue address and stow it away in my pocket. “And I’m Maria Callas.”

He laughs which thrills me. “You’re a fabulist,” he says.

“Thank you!  No, really, my name is Riley Wainwright Fairchild.”

“That’s a mouthful. So, Riley, do you have a phone yet?”

Startled and excited by his interest, I’m poised to look for Olive, to ask for our number, when a tall woman with long, auburn hair, fringe bangs, and a sheer blouse comes up, puts her hands over his eyes, and kisses him on the neck. As Lucca whips around and they embrace, I shrink back into the cluster of partiers.

Everyone continues to maintain a relentless but understated presumption of friendliness that makes me feel even more random.  Three classes of champagne later I start introducing myself as the Duchess of Argyle. Neither Olive nor Tommy reappear, so finally I make my way out the apartment door, down the elevator and onto the street to get a taxi. Just as one screeches to an impressive halt, I hear a voice from above yell, “Maria! Don’t leave me all alone!”

I look up, and there’s Lucca. I blow him a kiss and climb into the cab. Feeling smug that I displayed a kind of casual aplomb, I’m happy for a few blocks until I remember the monologue I’m to perform in is in less than thirty-six hours. This realization crashes my buzz, and once again I start uttering my lines aloud:

Can you not hate me, as I know you do, but you must join in souls to mock me too?

The cab driver, who sports thick glasses and bushy hair and is not much older than I, chimes in with:

If you were men, as men you are in show, you would not use a gentle lady so.

“Wow. Are you an actor—or just well read?” I say, catching his eye in the rearview mirror.

“Both. Hey, only a suggestion, but I think you need to play against the needy way Shakespeare has written Helena. I’d get the whine out of my voice.”

“Did you do the play?”

“Last spring at the Sheridan Square Playhouse.”

“Oh. Cool.” Opening the window, I imagine myself in a tragic taxi crash, pre- empting Monday’s potentially humiliating audition. And then, for the second time today, I’m deposited in front of our sad edifice. I hand the driver a five, wait for change, give him a quarter, exit the vehicle, and recite in a coquettish, not whiney, voice:

If you were men, as men you are in show, you would not use a gentle lady so!

“Better!” he yells after me.

I hurry past a boy sitting on a garbage can, smoking a joint, and when I smell the burgers from the pub next door, realize that I’m hungry. The song “MacArthur Park” blares out of the bar’s jukebox and its lyrics resonate over the city’s ubiquitous clatter of existence.

A siren screams in the distance.

___

Sharon Barr is an American actress who achieved 1970s cult status through her participation in the neo-expressionist off-off Broadway movement. With roles in Tom Eyen’s Women Behind Bars (Drama Desk Award) and plays by other emerging playwrights she managed to frequent the stages of La Ma Ma E.T.C., Manhattan Theater Club, Playwrights Horizons, etc. She then moved on to Film and Television (imdb.com/name/nm0056570). In 2011 Barr, a licensed Chinese Medical practitioner, wrote and directed a documentary pilot entitled BoomerAngst, which deals with her generation’s feelings about their own mortality. She has just completed a novel also entitled Like a Complete Unknown that takes place in the Manhattan of the early seventies.


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