REPRESENTED BY AUDREY WOOD by Audrey with Max Wilk Wood

REPRESENTED BY AUDREY WOOD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Disjointed but forthrightly appealing reminiscences--by the near-legendary literary/theatrical agent who's best known for her discovery and nurturing of young Tennessee Williams. After a brief glimpse of Wood at work in 1980 (she suffered a totally incapacitating stroke in 1981), she flashes back to WV/I-era childhood--as the stagestruck daughter of an enterprising N.Y. theatrical manager. And from there on the chronology jumps around. A chapter on Wood's 1978-79 season, in which she labored hard for three worthy plays which all came to non-money-making ends. Chapters on her beginnings as a $3.00-per-report play-reader in the Twenties; her daring opening of her own office (while her widowed mother doled out bus fare); her married partnership with older actors'-agent William Liebling (whose Jewish mother was never told that ""secretary"" Audrey was Mrs. Liebling!); her influential advice on Porgy and Bess; her problems with ""charmingly innocent"" Carson McCullers, imperious Charles Laughton, unstable William Inge. But the centerpiece here is Wood's version of the long, stormy relationship with Williams--from the 1940s ""battle to keep Tennessee solvent"" (when securing a $20.00 advance from a publisher was a crucial Wood operation) to the disastrous Glass Menagerie dress-rehearsal to Night of the Iguana horrors with Bette Davis; from tough, creative arguments to ugly, irreparable fights--featuring Tennessee's paranoid accusations and self-destructive misery. (""Finally, out of a clear blue night sky, I heard myself say, 'Well, I'm terribly sorry, you may want to die, my friend, but God is not ready for you. God is not strong enough to take you. . .' "") Warm-hearted but tough-minded, a bit sorrowful but never bitter, Wood comes through with quiet Firmness here, only occasionally lapsing into sentimentality. So this is a solid assemblage of stories and wisdom for theater fans--and required reading for would-be agents or followers of the sad, tangled Williams career.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1981
Publisher: Doubleday