Rewrites

Rewrites - Neil Simon Neil Simon has what seems to be a truly natural funny turn of phrase. Just from a randomly opened page: "[a warm-up man is] usually not an actor or a comic but a staff announcer with the wit and humor of a tree trunk and the personality of someone running a Bingo game." This text is full of such unexpected similes, and Simon often doubles their effect by reverting to them a few paragraphs later. A trick of his dramatic trade - or perhaps his success in the trade was due to his natural mastery of the trick.

Simon gives some very interesting insights into his creative process, which, fortunately for him though not for those who like sturm und drang in their biographies, was one of the most important things in his life. He also speaks with frankness about the money and production side of the Broadway theatre business, and about several of the personalities he dealt with there. He's less forthcoming about the movie biz (although he wrote some screenplays, he was very much east coast and theatre based).

Like the pro he is, Simon leaves us wanting more, choosing to stop his narrative with the death of his beloved wife Joan from cancer. I understand there's a sequel called "The Play Goes On", which I will most certainly seek out and read.