“I always enjoy a lively Cinderella,” said Jacob scooping another spoonful of homemade oatmeal into his mouth. “Memories of youth at the lake, running so fast along the beach my sneaker came off and was returned the next day by the lovely Veronica whose parents summered next door and made watermelon pickles. It made Ronnie stop by so early we played two games of Twister before breakfast and spent the whole day building sandcastles. I am especially pleased my dear Sarah Rodgers can again use your talents to sweep and juggle fire for her Stanley Park effort. How mysterious they’ve brought her back to TUTS.”
“I’m not juggling,” I told him again, “And what’s so mysterious–“
“I’ll come back to that. But tell me honestly,” he said, adding more blueberries to his breakfast bowl, “how does the new book operate? I would have set it in a dystopian slum where only the prince, the chorus, and that family of surly women have wealth, as you recall. What did Douglas Carter Beane do with it after I rushed off to London for emergency rewrites of Karenina and had to decline the project? I’ve paid it no attention.”
I took a sip of coffee. I wasn’t accustomed to rising so early. “It’s a great set of new complications with new characters, songs from–.”
“They used my Slipper Serenade?” he asked, anger rising.
“No, no, they accessed trunk songs, and assembled an excellent–“
“Oscar called me that summer over his own frustration writing a quick book to showcase young, mercurial Julie Andrews. He had ahold of that sliver of a tale published by that Perrault sicofant of the still- headed class at the court of Louis Quatorze, and Ockie asked me what to make of the maid.”
“What did you tell him?”
“Give her a limp, I said, but he gave her a corner instead. It’s too bad, really. So how am I to be involved further? Dear Sarah likely requires some cautions over hemlines, and–.”
“I will ask her,” I said.
“And tell Ms Streisand enough with the gifts. I’ve enjoyed the morning recordings of the Funny Girl sessions very much, but it’s too much chocolate and none of it will make my stage adaptation of Philip Roth’s opus no. 7 arrive in Malibu any earlier then next Saturday. What’s Sarah doing with the ballroom and who is her prince? That wonderful Anton Lipovetsky?“
No. She’s using that young man from the Carolinas. You remember Tre —.”
“Of course, yes. Excellent. Sarah’s again using that tremendous directorial judgment she has. I cannot make rehearsal today–“
“You’re not invited,” I reminded him. “You were telling the actors how to say–”
“I was only providing the sort of assistance Trevor Nunn insisted upon when he was having all that trouble with Nicholas Nickleby and I–”
“And he fired you for that and for throwing muffins and all that nonsense. You’ll see the show in July. Work on your story collection.”
“Yes, of course,” he said. “The campfire tales from my youth. I tried to give those young people a good scare before bedtime. And advice as well. I wanted to provide them with some of the knowledge I wish I had had at their age with my references–”
“You told me how much the parents complained about you, about your long descriptions of–”
“That’s how I knew it was art,” he said. “So I’m going up to the study to edit the stories and work on the new show. Enjoy the company.”
So Jacob went upstairs and I set off for a day of business before rehearsal.