Knopf publishers have just released The Journals of Spalding Gray in remembrance of the gifted actor, orator, writer, storyteller and artist. While not the inventor of autobiographical monologues nor of experimental theater, he was certainly one of its champions. He is an important part of American oral history and among my favorite “voices” in storytelling, which also includes his contemporary, Joe Frank, and more recently, David Sedaris.
A very close friend took me to see Spalding Gray for his “virgin monologues” about Swimming to Cambodia. I’m not sure what shocked me more: Spalding Gray’s “crazy rants,” that he was on tour during this “festive” time with other holiday performances such as, The Nutcracker, or that this was my “Christmas present,” but it was enjoyably one of my more memorable gifts, as well as poignant recollections.
I was struck by Spalding’s nonchalant demeanor of…
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