JUGGLING WITH MR. FIELDS

Finalist, Southwest Theatre Productions New Play Contest

(Full length) In 1940s Hollywood, aging, irreverent, wealthy and nearly-alcoholic movie star W. C. Fields--shunned by film studios and eager for work--grudgingly hires a young English manservant to help get his life in order, while Fields' live-in girlfriend Carlotta and his rising-actor friend Anthony Quinn vie for his attentions. But...
Finalist, Southwest Theatre Productions New Play Contest

(Full length) In 1940s Hollywood, aging, irreverent, wealthy and nearly-alcoholic movie star W. C. Fields--shunned by film studios and eager for work--grudgingly hires a young English manservant to help get his life in order, while Fields' live-in girlfriend Carlotta and his rising-actor friend Anthony Quinn vie for his attentions. But new servant Rodney brings a secret, unwanted link to the past, in this imagined look at the hidden side of an iconic film star, and new play about longing and belonging.
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JUGGLING WITH MR. FIELDS

Recommended by

  • Morey Norkin:
    19 Aug. 2023
    What a fascinating look at the later years of W.C. Fields’ life and relationships. Fields’ curmudgeonly on-screen persona often blends with his off-screen life, but as we see here he is desperate not to be alone. Jennifer O’Grady does a terrific job portraying the symbiotic relationships between Fields and sometimes live-in girlfriend Carlotta Monti and Fields and a young Anthony Quinn. As age and alcohol diminish his skills and opportunities, Fields seems destined to end his days alone. O’Grady provides a touching conclusion to this extraordinary.
  • Julie Zaffarano:
    11 May. 2020
    ”Juggling with Mr. Fields” is seeing a legend come to life. Jennifer O’Grady deftly shows W.C. Fields as a man past his prime, indulging in self-sabotage in career and relationships. In this play, Fields is not just a man on the screen, but a living, breathing person whom we grow to care about as if he were our own grandpa. Well done.
  • Ricardo Soltero-Brown:
    1 May. 2020
    O'Grady's surprising tale about connection focuses on the final years of W. C. Fields and, so, creates the opportunity of introducing the comedy titan to those unfamiliar with him, and invites those who are to ponder the man behind the nose. Fields, in the play, has become a sidelined talent, too old and too drunk for Hollywood to deal with, a Norma Desmond figure hiding in his cave, avoiding being hurt or hurting others. The relationship with "companion" Carlotta Monti and "friendship" of neighbor Anthony Quinn barely appease his self-destruction, or haunting of his past, which is soon to return.

Character Information

  • W.C. Fields
    Mid-60s,
    Male
  • Rodney
    Mid-20s,
    British
    ,
    Male
  • Anthony Quinn
    Late 20s.,
    Latinx, White
    ,
    Male
  • Carlotta
    Early 30s.,
    Latinx, White
    ,
    Female

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    Twilight Theatre Productions, Aurora, KY (Charles Edward Hall, dir.)

Awards

Finalist
,
Southwest Theatre Productions New Play Contest
,
2020
Selection
,
January Reading
,
Twilight Theatre Productions
Nominee
,
The Kilroys List
Selection
,
World Premiere Club
,
Applause Theater & Cinema Books