WarholCapote: A Non-Fiction Invention

In 1978, a couple of New Yorkers--artist Andy Warhol (1928-1987) and writer Truman Capote (1924-1984)--got it into their heads to write a Broadway play together. It was Warhol who suggested that they record their conversations on tape; their chatter would be the source material for a great theatrical work. They never wrote the play, and the tapes were forgotten until theater director Rob Roth got it into his head to finish the job. The result is WarholCapote: A Non-Fiction Invention, a funny, dishy, illuminating and affectingly melancholy play that presents a series of dialogues between the titular titans, augmented by well-chosen asides pulled from interviews and other sources.

Across five conversations taking place in New York--at Warhol's studio, Capote's apartment, and a trio of hot spots--the friends cover some of their major life events and hang-ups. Warhol tells Capote about his discomfort with sex and about being almost fatally shot by Valerie Solanas in 1968. Capote vents about his alcoholism, appearance and unhappy childhood. Both men expound on topics such as their creativity, their homosexuality and Jackie Kennedy. Capote comes across as the more philosophical: he argues that a play "has to do basically with truth treated in a fictional form. To see a certain reality about what people are thinking. To see what is going on in their heads and everything." Warhol comes across as the more, well, Warholian: he says of their theoretical play, "I think it should be a situation comedy." Given WarholCapote's zingy odd-couple chemistry, that wouldn't have been a bad idea. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

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