AUSTIN, Texas—A new play, “Passenger on the Ship of Fools,” by two faculty members of The University of Texas at Austin will be performed April 16. Dr. Mary Frances Hopkins from Louisiana State University will give a recital performance of the new one-woman play by Laura Furman and Lynn C. Miller.
The play is based on the life and work of Texas native Katherine Anne Porter. Porter, who died in 1980, became one of the great fiction writers of her generation. She lived dramatically and fully on very little money and a great deal of grit. Porter herself declared near the end of her life, "My life has been incredible, I don’t believe a word of it."
"Passenger on the Ship of Fools" scrutinizes Porter’s shifting sense of self and her journey from an impoverished childhood to life as a celebrated writer and woman of the world. The play dramatizes Porter finishing “Ship of Fools,” the novel she had promised the public and her publishers for 25 years. Everything is at stake: 71-years-old, she’s broke, and her reputation rests on this book. Although she could not have predicted it, the novel made Porter world famous by becoming a bestseller and a popular movie.
Furman has published five books of fiction, including the recent “Drinking with the Cook,” and a memoir, “Ordinary Paradise.” She is series editor of the O’Henry Prize Stories. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, she is an associate professor in the Department of English at The University of Texas at Austin.
Miller has adapted the work of many modern and contemporary writers, including Richard Howard, Alice Adams and Barbara Pym, for stage performance. Six of her plays have been produced on stages across the United States, and she tours performances of Gertrude Stein and Edith Wharton. Her novel, “The Fool’s Journey,” will be published later this year. She is an associate professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University.
The performance will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Brockett Theatre in the Winship Building on campus. Tickets are free, but seating is limited: the theatre doors open at 7 p.m. for general admission. For general information, call (512) 471-8385.