Completely non-phony book picks from the HOLDEN cast & crew
With the opening of HOLDEN upon us – the delirious devised work about obsessed super-fans of the Salinger classic The Catcher in the Rye – we have been reflecting on the deep effect literature can have on our lives. So we asked the cast and crew share adolescent experiences they had with the books that fundamentally changed the makeup of their being … or just books they really liked a lot.
I think The Van Gogh Cafe is the book that influenced me the most. I believe I read it for the first time in 2nd grade, but to be honest I don’t really remember a time it wasn’t on my bookshelf. The Van Gogh Cafe is about a diner that exists in a building that used to be a theater. It’s about everyday kinds of magic–little odd things that most people take for granted or don’t notice. It made me believe that magic existed in the world. More importantly, it made me believe in the magic comes from the theater and the power that an audience’s shared belief in one thing can bring to a building.
When I was in 9th or 10th grade I remember falling in love with Catch-22. It was the first book that made me laugh out loud, and its critique of war continues to resonate for me to this day.
When I was really young I was very taken with Winnie the Pooh. It just seemed so “nice” in the English sense. Not that I understood what it was I was attracted to. I think when I was 11 or 12 I loved The Black Stallion.
I didn’t read The Catcher in the Rye until college and then I remember telling the professor I thought Salinger got in the way – – why did he keep messing up Holden’s story with those stupid contrived symbols and metaphors?
Anisa George (Director)
Franny & Zooey. For a long time I had never read a book more than once, but I’ve read that book about nine times. Can’t remember when or why I first picked it up, but it felt incredibly important to learn (and to be reminded) to “do it for the fat lady.”
Cem Ozdeniz (Properties Designer)
It is difficult to pinpoint one book that influenced me the most as a child. However, the first book that I remember reading and re-reading was The Paul Street Boys by Ferenc Molnar. It is a Hungarian novel from 1906. I must have been 8 or 9 when I read the Turkish translation. It is about how class warfare plays out among two street gangs made up of kids in Budapest in late 1800s. Its significance for me is two-fold: 1) The author’s writing: this was the first time that I remember being conscious of the art behind the written word while reading; and 2) The book’s shockingly bleak ending.
I read The Catcher in the Rye in high school. I remember being the only person in my class that could not relate to Holden.
Matteo Scammell (Performer, Zev)
Nirvana: The Chosen Rejects. It’s basically a play-by-play of the band Nirvana from the early-early days until the aftermath of Cobain’s death. I read it the summer I turned 14, going into my sophomore year of high school. It made me want to be like Kurt, it made me isolate myself and be an introvert. It made me ultra sensitive. It made me want to be different for the sake of it. In retrospect it was a devastating book and I wish I had never encountered it…
What a brilliant, well-read cast and crew! We can’t wait to see what has emerged from those beautiful brains. HOLDEN runs October 8-17 at FringeArts’ waterfront headquarters. Click here for tickets and more information or call 215-413-1318.