New Play, Where’s the Rest of Me?, by Northwestern University Professor and Screenwriter David E. Tolchinsky, weaves together Monologues, Movies, and Mental Illness

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In Where’s the Rest of Me?, a play premiering February 14 at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Manhattan, a screenwriter wrestles with his relationship to the monologist Spalding Gray, his psychiatrist father, and the classic movie, King’s Row. The author is David E. Tolchinsky, the director of Northwestern University’s MFA in Writing for Screen+Stage program and a longtime Hollywood screenwriter (Sony’s Girl starring Dominique Swain, Selma Blair, and Tara Reid), and this work marks his debut as a playwright.

A funny and dark journey through monologues, movies and mental illness.

In Where’s the Rest of Me?, a play premiering February 14 at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Manhattan, a screenwriter wrestles with his relationship to the monologist Spalding Gray, his psychiatrist father, and the classic movie, King’s Row. The author is David E. Tolchinsky, the Director of Northwestern University’s MFA in Writing for Screen+Stage program and a longtime Hollywood screenwriter (Sony’s Girl starring Dominique Swain, Selma Blair, and Tara Reid), and this work marks his debut as a playwright.

The autobiographical comedy has had an interesting evolution: Tolchinsky studied with Spalding Gray at a writers’ residency and was mesmerized by Gray's presence and comic genius, but was also disturbed by his manic anxiety, which reminded Tolchinsky somewhat of his father’s anxiety. According to Tolchinsky, “My father, the Yale professor of psychiatry Marshall Edelson, seemed to be terrified of everything -- children, bacteria, cats, raccoons, packed boxes, phone solicitors, public bathrooms, even state borders. If you opened a shade or a window in our house, my father would shut it within minutes. He kept all the doors to the outside dead-bolted even though it was against fire regulations. One day, he replaced the turn locks on every window in the house with key locks that were always engaged.” Tolchinsky's father was also a big movie collector. At the time of his death, he owned 7000 DVDs. He was especially obsessed with the classic movie King’s Row, which, according to Tolchinsky, he thought was the greatest movie ever made and which he made his son watch repeatedly from the age of 6.

In that movie, Ronald Reagan plays Drake, whose legs are cut off unnecessarily by a surgeon. Upon waking and seeing his missing legs, he screams, “Where’s the Rest of Me?!” It is then up to his friend and psychiatrist, Parris, played by Robert Cummings, to heal him. Tolchinsky recalls, “Parris was my dad’s inspiration for becoming a psychiatrist, but there were more insidious connections to this movie than that.” Indeed, his father’s life, Spalding Gray’s life, and Tolchinsky’s all overlap with the plot of King’s Row in unexpected ways and that’s the basis of the drama.

Where’s the Rest of Me? started out as a monologue, was published as an essay in Paraphilia Magazine, and now Tolchinsky has adapted it into this play. As to the difference between writing screenplays and writing plays , Tolchinsky, who’s also directing the production, says, “I love putting these three seemingly unconnected worlds together on stage at the same time. I love combining live actors with a movie screen. And I love that one of my actors has to transform from one character to another to another in a sometimes humorous, sometimes moving way. That’s something you can’t do in cinema.”

Significantly, Ronald Reagan was once the dance partner of Tolchinsky’s grandmother and while they were dancing, Reagan had declared “King’s Row -- It was my only good role.”

Where’s the Rest of Me?, a funny and dark journey through monologues, movies and mental illness, is produced by Jessy Lynn and stars Greg Peace as Dave, Evan Brenner as Spalding Gray, Armand Eisen as Marshall Edelson, and Camara McLaughlin as all the other characters. It can be seen at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 W 26th St, Manhattan, February 14 and 15, at 5p.m as part of Series E of the Riant Theatre’s Strawberry One-Act Play Festival. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here:
http://www.therianttheatre.com/item.php?id=220
A trailer and more info can be found here:
http://davidetolchinsky.com/wheres-the-rest-of-me/

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