Hemingway and His Women

A play by Robert Knuckle

 

During the course of his turbulent lifetime, Ernest Hemingway had four wives and several other romantic relationships.

In his final days, he and his fourth wife, Mary Welsh, have moved to their country retreat in rural Idaho. Depressed and delusional, the once great writer is now in severe decline.

At this time, Mitch Holstrom, an old writing friend, comes to interview Papa for a magazine article about the women in Hemingway's life. Dejected and haggard, Papa is initially reluctant to cooperate but, encouraged by his wife, he agrees to do so. Eventually he comes to enjoy the project and begins to participate with enthusiasm and delight.

As the old Hemingway (Papa) responds to Mitch's questions, his younger alter ego (Ernest) acts out Papa's stories about the relationships he's had with the various women in his life.

First we meet his young love Agnes Von Kurowsky whose rejection haunts him for the rest of his life. Then comes lovely Hadley Richardson who Ernest betrays for tempestuous Pauline Pfeiffer.  Soon tiring of her, Hemingway discards her for combative Martha Gellhorn. Then he casts her aside to wed Mary Welsh. Along the way, Ernest's other romantic liaisons are insinuated in the script.

Along the way, there is excess in all its forms: passion, infatuation, lust, alcoholism, anger, deceit, and Hemingway's audacious vigor and lust for life.

 

The play ends as it must, in sadness.

Cast of three men and five women.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

 

Men

Papa (old Hemingway) - early 60's

Ernest (young Hemingway) - 30's- 40's

Mitch Holstrom (reporter) - 40's or 50's

Women

Agnes von Kurowsky (nurse, first love) - mid 20's

Hadley Richardson (1st wife) - 30's

Pauline Pfeiffer (2nd wife) - 30's

Martha Gellhorn (3rd wife) - 30's

Mary Welsh Hemingway (4th wife) - 50's

MATERIALS

 

One copy of the script. (May be be duplicated for cast and production staff.)

 

PERFORMANCE FEES 

NON-EQUITY (Amateur) THEATRE GROUPS

A one-time fee of $450 or $75 for each performance whichever is higher shall be paid by the theatre to Maple Leaf Theatre Productions for the rights to perform, and for all materials listed above:  cf  standard performance contract for other terms.

EQUITY THEATRE GROUPS

Royalties shall be paid by the theatre to Maple Leaf Theatre Productions at a rate of 10% of the certified gross box office receipts, not including credit card charges, group sales commissions, and all sales tax, goods and services or similar government taxes. :  cf Production Contract for other terms​.