Two Mailers is a new play by Ronald K. Fried inspired by “The Big Empty,” a book of conversations between legendary author Norman Mailer and his youngest son, the journalist and playwright John Buffalo Mailer. The father-son dialogue covers politics, sex, pot, and morality—and ranges from the personal to the political.
The play moves back and forth in time between the 2002 father-son sessions and John Buffalo’s present-day encounter with a former girlfriend who’s interviewing him for an article about his father’s legacy. As John Buffalo is forced to defend his father’s controversial life and work, we flash back to intimate moments between John Buffalo and his aging father.
We also see the most storied—and notorious–incidents in Norman Mailer’s life, including outrageous moments from his campaign for Mayor of New York City; his encounter with feminists in New York’s Town Hall; and his embattled press conference following his testimony in the murder trial of John Henry Abbott, a man Mailer helped to free from prison. Along the way, we hear excerpts from Mailer’s major works and personal letters.
Get more information on the upcoming performance at Theatre in LA.
See also, Michael Aushenker’s “The Big Empty comes full circle in Two Mailers”; he writes:
“The Big Empty” is the source material for “Two Mailers,” a new play by Ronald K. Fried that brings this father-son dialogue to life on Saturday with a special reading at the Edgemar Center for the Arts. Actor Paul Sorvino of “Goodfellas” fame plays Norman, Jordan Belfi (Ari Gold’s nemesis in “Entourage”) plays John Buffalo, and actress Tanna Frederick (who has performed in Edgemar productions of “The Rainmaker” and “45 Minutes from Broadway”) also stars.
“Paul Sorvino does the best Norman Mailer impression I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Mailer, 35. And Belfi — “we were college buddies [at Wesleyan University]. He knows me very well.”
The play, he said, is “Norman Mailer 101 for those not familiar with his ideas and work.”