New York: The Living Theatre, 1952. First Edition, First Printing. Small 4to (9 1/8 x 6 inches; 230 x 155 mm), 16 pages, in stapled red wrappers printed on Japanese paper. Program for Paul Goodman's "Faustina," which opened at the Living Theatre on May 25, 1952, starring Julie Bovasso as Faustina. Judith Malina directed and Julian Beck designed sets and costumes. This production was part of the first season at the Living Theatre's first permanent performance space at the Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village. The program includes a "portrait sketch" of playwright Paul Goodman by Laura Perls; "Notes on a Ritual Tragedy" by Judith Malina; and a full-page drawing by Larry Rivers for "A City Winter and Other Poems" by Frank O'Hara. There are also advertisements from local businesses, especially bookstores and cafes; a list of paintings for sale by Julian Beck; and a list of sponsors, which included John Cage, Jean Cocteau, Merce Cunningham, Betty Parsons, and other luminaries of the art and literary worlds. "Faustina" was an important milestone in Living Theatre history. The play's title refers to the wife of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. At the end of the play, Faustina is supposed to step forward and chastise the audience for not leaping on stage and stopping a murder. However, Julie Bovasso as Faustina felt this moment was pretentious, and told the audience on opening night about her irritation. She quit the production after just a few performances. (Stephen J. Bottoms, Playing Underground: A Critical History of the 1960s Off-Off-Broadway Movement, pages 25-26). Despite the controversy, the speech "was the beginning of direct audience confrontation by the Living Theatre, a technique used extensively in later productions." (Theodore Shank, American Alternative Theater, pages 8-9). This program is rare and is notable for the use of stunning Japanese paper for the wrappers. OCLC shows only two institutional holdings, at SUNY/Buffalo and Michigan. RARE. Item #2088
CONDITION: Slight toning to the pages and bit of edge wear to the Japanese paper wrappers. A beautiful production. Near Fine.