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Fund for New American Plays

ROGER CORNISH
Rocky and Diego

Philadelphia Drama Guild, PA

In Rocky and Diego, set during the Depression (1933), Rockefeller Center is rising in the middle of Manhattan. Deeply involved is young Nelson Rockefeller, who is not only working hard to fill the complex with tenants in the Depression market, but has placed his stamp on the centerpiece RCA building by engaging Diego Rivera to create the great welcoming mural. Most of the action takes place before the unseen lobby wall on which Rivera works. When Rocky discovers that the artist he so admires is painting on his wall a mural which celebrates class struggle and stars Lenin, the world's most famous Communist, he knows he'll be humiliated if he doesn't change it. He also knows he won't be getting many rents from the capitalist tenants he seeks. He sets out to bring the great artist around to a reasonable compromise. Unfortunately for Rocky, the Mexican Communist Party has recently expelled Rivera, a lifelong Communist, for his lack of orthodoxy. Now Diego sees the mural--an artistic bomb planted in a capitalist cathedral--as his route to reinstatement.

In addition to Rocky and Diego, Roger Cornish's 35 produced and/or published plays include Open Twenty-four Hours (Actors Playhouse, New York); This Way to the Rose Garden, a musical with Don Tucker (Alliance Theatre, Atlanta); Fat Men on Thin Ice, developed at the National Playwrights Conference; and the widely produced A Class "C" Trial in Yokohama. Off-Shore Signals premiered at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company commissioned his Last American Hero, and his Slapton Sands was a National Archives World War II Playwriting Competition Winner. With his wife, Violet Ketels, he edited the anthologies Landmarks of Modern British Drama, The Seventies and The Eighties. He's written daytime drama, and was Head Writer for Pennsylvania's Wagon Train Show, which played 48 states during the Bicentennial. Educated at the University of Connecticut, Catholic University, and the University of Minnesota, he teaches in the Rutgers professional theater program. He co-edited an Actors Theatre of Louisville 10-minute play collection for the Spanish theatre journal, Art Teatral.

Director: John Henry Javis
Set Designer: John Jensen
Lighting Designer: F. Mitchell Dana
Costume Designer: Karen Roston
Featured Performers: Hannah Cox, Robert Sean Leonard, Brad Richel, Marco St. John, Mark Silence
Running Dates: April 21-May 14, 1989


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