Muriel Sharon Remembered
OTHER ARTISTIC WORK
1965 – As director of the New Plays Committee of the Children’s Theatre Conference Muriel initiated a play commissions project.
“ ….. there must be inspiration, respect for spectacular magic, taste, honest confrontation of emotions and the touch of the poet.”
1970 – Muriel started to write a children’s book.
“Notes for Children’s Book on My Work. Sturm Und Drang is the theme of my book. People are so excited about what children can do. They exploit this aspect rather than enlarge their experiences … A rich adult life come from a rich childhood. In my case – reading, ballet … It was imagination which gave substance to this.”
1968 – “Plans for a production of The Play of Innocence and Change at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church during Easter week 1968 did not materialize because we were unable to raise sufficient funds …”
June, 1968 – Worked with Kurt List in Florence, Italy. “We are working on The Prince Who Learned Everything Out of Books, as an opera libretto...New title, Il Bivio or The Fork in the Road.”
1969 – Tango, A Play in Three Acts by Slawomir Mrozek. Muriel Sharon was the casting Director and Assistant to the Director, Heinz Engel. Translated by Teresa Dzeduszycka and Ralph Manheim. At the Pocket Theatre. Quoting Muriel, “Within the framework of a family comedy, Mrozek presents with more mirror images of the starling impoverishment of our communal imagination and of our impotent readiness to settle for banality.”
1970’s – Directed Florence Winston in Woman – A Theatrical Portrait, at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, and at The Royal Court Repertory as part of The Women’s Arts Convention on July 14, 15 16, 1978.
1977 – The Wise and the Foolish, adaptation based on a fairy tale of the Brothers Grimm, by Muriel Sharon. Copyright 1977.
1977 – Muriel worked on a book, Living Literature, Stories for Children to Dramatize by asking permission from various authors and publishers, i.e., The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, to use their stories. Her pitch for this collection was copyrighted in 1977.
1980 – Silent Snow, Secret Snow, A Drama with Music and Dance. Libretto by Muriel Sharon, Adapted from the story, Silent Snow, Secret Snow, by Conrad Aiken and from the collected poems of Conrad Aiken. Muriel was granted permission to use Conrad Aiken’s work from his wife, Mary Hoover Aiken. Sought a composer for this work. Copyright, Muriel Sharon 1980.
1968 – 1969 – The Russian Project
In 1966 Muriel started reaching out to various people and agencies about the possibility of going to Russia to study Russian Children’s Theatre and in particular their training of the actor for this specialized skill.
On the recommendation of her Russian language tutor, Muriel wrote a letter to the American Council of Learned Societies, asking if they would consider this project within their interests.
“As a member of the Executive Committee of our U.S. Centre of ASSITEJ (Association International du Theatre pour L’Enfance et la Jeunesse) I have met many of the Russians who are directors, actors and playwrights for Theatre for Children. Contacts with them and program arrangements could be easily arranged.”
As this project did not align with their interests, nor did other avenues bear fruit, Muriel then began her appeal for funds through the Arts and Humanities program of the Department of Education to do research in Russia.
Proposal for Research and/or Related Activities submitted to U.S. Commissioner of Education for Support Through Authorization of the Bureau of Research
Title – The Actor and the Audience Prepare for Children’s Theatre, A Study of Actor Training and Audience Preparation in the Soviet Union.
Contracting Agency – the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. Approved by Robert Whitehead, Executive Officer and President.
Proposed beginning and end dates. - Oct 1, 1969 through September 30, 1970.
“The ultimate goal of the project is … to document training methods used in the Soviet Union for preparing both the actor and the audience for the children’s theatre experience … it may open our thinking towards the realization that children’s theatre can be a genuine art form in its own right as well as a dynamic tool in education.
According to Stanislavsky, "An actor who performs for children, performs the same as he would for adults, only better.’’
Proposal received by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Region II, Office of Education. July 2, 1969.
Letter dated September 26, 1969 from the U.S. Office of Education to Muriel Sharon, “We regret to inform you that the Office of Education is unable to support your proposal requesting funds for the number and title referenced below.”
In the last 20 years of her life Muriel hosted a theatrical salon in her apartment for invited guests. Working with a student on classical and contemporary monologues and material she encouraged the student to write, these afternoon soirees eventually led to one-woman shows in various venues in New York City, including The Ballroom, where Muriel oversaw all technical aspects of the production.
"Continuing to work with Muriel was a little bit of heaven." The Editor.