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I Am a Camera

I Am a Camera
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: John Van Druten
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 90
Pub. Date: 1998
ISBN-10: 0822205459
ISBN-13: 9780822205456
Cast Size: 4 female, 3 male

About the Play:

I am a Camera has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female/Male Scenes.

I am a Camera is a full-length drama by John van Druten, adapted from The Berlin Stories of Christopher Isherwood. In 1930 Berlin, an aspiring British author develops a platonic relationship with a vivacious young cabaret singer who enjoys spending other people's money. The inspiration for the musical Cabaret, I am a Camera is part glamourous whirlwind of Berlin Bohemia, part harrowing depiction of the Nazi's rise to power.

I am a Camera depicts the experiences of writer Christopher Isherwood in Berlin in 1930 and his relationship with the flamboyant Sally Bowles, a cabaret artist. Sally befriends Chris (the camera eye of the title) and, despite her transient, bohemian existence, her platonic relationship with him remains steady. Chris comes to Sally's assistance when she decides to have an abortion and he remains sympathetic and loyal to her no matter how outrageously she behaves. Chris, himself, gets swept up in Sally's carefree existence and they both become involved with a wealthy but worthless American playboy. When the American deserts them, Chris realizes it is time to grow up and decides to return to England to further pursue his interrupted dream of becoming a serious writer. He urges Sally to take responsibility for her own future as well, but in the end he gives up trying to change her. Sally takes off for the Riviera with yet another lover, promising to send Chris postcards and swearing eternal friendship. A secondary plot involves a romance between Natalia and Fritz, German Jews, whose plight foreshadows the looming catastrophe of the Nazi era.

I am a Camera premiered in 1951 on Broadway at the Empire Theatre in New York City and was a triumph for Julie Harris as Sally Bowles, winning her the first of her four Tony Awards for Best Leading Actress in a play. A subsequent 1955 film adaptation was also called I Am a Camera and again starred Julie Harris. The play and film in turn went on to inspire the much acclaimed stage musical Cabaret in 1966 by John Kander and Fred Ebb and the 1972 film Cabaret with Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey and Michael York. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional and college theatre productions.

Cast: 4 female, 3 male

What people say:

"Mr. van Druten has made a striking, intelligent and steadily arresting play … A both uproarious and poignant dramatization." — New York Times

About the Playwright:

John van Druten (1901-1957) was an English playwright and theatre director who, after being educated as a solicitor, found much success writing for the London theatre in the 1920s and '30s. He relocated to the United States in 1940, and became a naturalized American citizen in 1944. He was known for his primarily light comedies about witty and urbane observations of contemporary life and society.

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