Manifesto and Chronology

CHRONOLOGY FROM RIDICULOUS THEATRE: SCOURGE OF HUMAN FOLLY:

1943

Charles Ludlam born on April 12 in Floral Park, Long Island.

1958

Apprenticeship at the Red Barn Theatre.

1959

Lasting Impression made on Ludlam by Living Theatre performances he attends in Greenwich Village.

1961

Founds the Students’ Repertory Theatre in Northport, Long Island.  Matriculates at Hofstra University with an acting scholarship.

1965

Graduates from Hofstra, moves to NYC.

1966

Makes his NY stage debut as Peeping Tom in Ronald Tavel’s The Life of Lady Godive directed by John Vaccaro at the Play-house of the Ridiculous.  Spontaneously creates the role of Norma Desmond in Tavel’s Screen Test.  Completes first extant play, Big Hotel, staged by Vaccaro under the aegis of the Ridiculous.

1967

During rehearsals for his second play, Conquest of the Universe, Ludlam is summarily fired by Vaccaro.  Most of the actors walk out in protest.  He stages his own version of Conquest of the Universe and When Queens Collide, the first production by the Ridiculous Theatrical Company.

1968

Stages Bill Vehr’s Whores of Babylon. Collaborates with Vehr on Turds in Hell, which is subsequently published in The Drama Review.

1969

First version of The Grand Tarot.  Obie Award to Ludlam and the Ridiculous for distinguished achievement in the Off-Broadway Theatre.

1970

Bluedbeard becomes the company’s first critical success.  Guggenheim Fellowship in Playwrighting awarded to Ludlam.

1971

First European Tour.  Premiere of Eunuchs of the Forbidden City in Germany.  “The Seven Levels of Theatre” published in Performance magazine.

1973

Corn, “A Country-Western Musical,” staged.

1974

Camille debuts with Ludlam in the title role.  Second European tour and Obie for distinguished performance to Ludlam in Camille and Corn.

1975

Manifesto published.  Stage Blood mounted.  Performs Obie award-winning  Professor Bedlam’s Educational Punch and Judy Show and writes Jack and the Beanstalk for kids.

1976

Third European tour, debut of Everett Quinton, Ludlam’s life-partner, in Caprice or Fashion Bound.  Writes book for Isle of Hermaphrodites, or the Murdered Minions.

1977

Coaches playwriting graduate students Yale.  Creates “Aphrodisiamania,” a scenario for the Paul Taylor Dance Company and writes Der Ring Gott Farblonjet.  Obie for set design.

1978

Writes The Ventriloquist’s Wife and makes the Ridiculous home permanently at One Sheridan Square.  Utopia, Incorporated and Anti-Galaxie Nebulae performed.

1979

Appears in film Impostors.  Stages Enchanted Pig, The Elephant Woman and A Christmas Carol.  Teaches at NYU and starts filming The Sorrows of Dolores.

1980

The Production Mysteries and Reverse Psychology are created.  Directs The Country Wife at Carnegie Mellon.

1981

Stages Love’s Tangles Web and films Museum of Wax.

1982

NEA Fellowship in Playwrighting.  Produces Secret Lives of the Sexists  and Exquisite Torture.

1983

Creates Le Bourgeois Avant-Garde and plays Maria Callas in Galas.  Drama Desk Special Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Theatre.  NEA Fellowship to teach playwrighting at Yale.

1984

Obie and Drama Desk awards for performances of Quinton and Ludlam in The Mystery of Irma Vep.  Guest stars on “Oh Madeline!”  Writes but does not stage an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea.  How to Write a Play is performed and leaves for Pittsburgh to play Hedda Gabler.

1985

Adapts Salammbo.  Stages The English Cat in Santa Fe.

1986

Guest star on “Tales from the Dark Side.”  In Big Easy and Forever Lulu.  Mounts Die Fledermaus in Santa Fe and The Artificial Jungle with the Ridiculous.  Diagnosed with AIDS.

1987

Dies on May 28th at age forty-four.  Quinton takes over the Ridiculous Theatrical Company and  performs with Black-Eyed Susan in world premiere of Ludlam’s Medea.

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