Charades and Lady Gaga

January 20th, 1937, Saint Mark’s Place, Manhattan, Maggie’s diary continues:

Robert Breen on motorcycle:

Walked and read. Discussed with M. naming child Poise Energy as earlier generations named theirs Prudence, Patience and so on…  Nelson in after dinner and we told him the Talley’s story of the man who was playing charades and unscrewed the toilet seat, to put it on his neck for “yoke”, and then couldn’t get it off. He had to call a carpenter at 2 a.m.  Nelson is reading Coming Struggle for Power, and though I read it, I was abashed to realize I couldn’t remember details with any clarity whatsoever.  Then Wilva came over with Robert Breen*, a Grecian-nosed Irishman with rubber mouth, a theatrical accent and lots of horse sense. She’s been working with him for the past three years or so… Wilva told of going to the opening of the Russian Ballet in her pajamas, with Oriental makeup and a long purple velvet cloak, to the astonishment of all beholders.  They are really a good deal of fun.  They’ve been groping around for a way to merchandise theater as soap is merchandised.

*Robert Breen was a World War II vet, theater actor, and producer who had participated in the New Deal’s Federal Theatre Project in the 1930s. After the war Breen started up the American National Theater and Academy (ANTA), an organized, non-commercial. but self-supporting national theatre program. It’s intent was “to bring to the people throughout the country the great drama of the past and the best of the present.”The ANTA was the early beginnings of government support for the performing arts.

And what was her granddaughter, Suzanne, doing in Brattleboro, Vermont on January 20th, 1937?

Oh my God, I just love my grandmother.  I wish I could meet the man who unscrewed the toilet seat for charades. We used to play charades at Lani’s house with tabloid magazines.  Three year old boy has twins.  We’d silently act out that sort of thing.  It was great fun.

Well, what I found out was that Wilva married Robert Breen. They started the Oxford Repertory together.  She was very hot in theater as was Robert, so they must have made a smashing pair.  But given what my grandma wrote about him, she obviously didn’t think Wilva would marry him or that anyone even remotely attached to Breen would read her diary, so I hope his grandson won’t stumble on my blog.  I think he’s quite cute in his picture, but then I adore Irishman.

I would like to go to the Russian Ballet with Wilva.  I always want to wear wigs around town and put on Lady Gaga outfits and paint my eyes with wild eye makeup that goes up at the end like cats eyes and carry a black onyx cigarette holder. Even though I don’t smoke. But I wouldn’t want to embarrass my husband, and it is really too cold to stumble around town in fishnets and stilettos with a sequined bodysuit on.  Maybe we’ll go down to St. Marks and prance around there. Since, according to Grandma Maggie’s diary, absolutely everything is possible there.  Goodnight everybody…

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