Collected Stories - October 13 - November 05, 2017

ShoWorks Entertainment

 End Notes 





Christine Dunford



Collected Stories takes place between 1990 and 1996. Six years may not seem like a very long time, but it’s long enough to chart the ascension of one literary star, the decline of another – and the loss of a seminal relationship. In six short years the venerated writer Ruth Steiner nurtures and guides Lisa Morrison on the journey from insecure student to assistant to protégé and ultimately, published author. And in return? Lisa decides to “honor” Ruth – to venerate her by memorializing her the only way she knows: in a story. But is it “fair” to tell a writer’s story? Are the experiences of a writer off-limits – simply because they are the experiences of a writer? And what are the limits of gratitude and loyalty – especially in the face of the temptations like celebrity and the fear of failure?


I love this play for exploring myriad questions about ownership of the past, artistic freedom and responsibility - and for examining a relationship that we as a culture don’t seem very well versed in, especially as experienced between women: the mentor/protégé relationship.

We seem to have a pretty good handle on the “mentor” side of the equation: what we expect from a mentor is – well - nothing less than everything. The mentor is supposed to not only give everything they’ve learned– but to give it gladly, finding fulfillment in the knowledge that in passing on all they know of a craft, be it writing, painting, dancing or acting– they will be like a relay racer handing off a baton.  In giving the hard-earned treasures of their experience to the next generation, they will contribute to the evolution of their craft and move the art form itself forward.



Less familiar to us are the obligations of the protégé in this relationship. Must all successes of the protégé be credited back to the mentor? Are they obligated to care for the mentor? If a mentor has taught them to put art and ambition above all else, is it wrong for the protégé to use any means necessary by which to fulfill their potential – even if it means surpassing the mentor, eclipsing the mentor, using their life as inspiration and leaving them behind?

These are riddles, koans, to which there are no easy answers. But we are grateful to Donald Margulies for giving us such a beautiful play within which we can explore the questions.


Page 11 of 12