The Tragedies and Triumphs of Frank Lloyd Wright
|John Crowther as Frank Lloyd Wright|
Noho Modern is proud to bring John Crowther’s seminal one-man show on the life of Frank Lloyd Wright to its gallery for a limited engagement on December 5th and 6th.
When John Crowther was a 14-year old boy he met Frank Lloyd Wright, an experience he never forgot. With this production he realizes a long-standing dream, bringing the greatest architect of the 20th century to life onstage. F.LL.W. centers around the creation of Fallingwater, which began the remarkable comeback that restored Wright’s reputation as one of the pre-eminent architects of the 20th century. In a life marked by scandal, crushing tragedy, financial reversals, and finally triumph, Wright is revealed as a man of biting wit and strong opinions, who survived adversity thanks to an unwavering belief in himself, his ideas, and his remarkable vision.
In 1934, when he was already 67 years old, Frank Lloyd Wright was asked by E.J. Kaufmann, a Pittsburgh entrepreneur, to design a country place for him on a plot of land he owned at Bear Run Creek in western Pennsylvania. At the time Wright’s career appeared to be over, his reputation as an innovative architect was in eclipse, and he was barely eking out a living lecturing and training architectural students at the fellowship he established at his home in Taliesin, Wisconsin.
Wright characteristically postponed work on the commission. Almost a year later Kaufmann impatiently telephoned Wright from Milwaukee where he was on a business trip, and asked if he could come to Taliesin that day to see the plans. Nonplussed, Wright told him to come ahead, and with only two or three hours before Kaufmann’s arrival flew into action. Just as he had done on many other occasions, Wright “shook the design out of his sleeve.”
The result was Fallingwater, now one of the most famous houses in the world, and it marked a turning point in Wright’s life, leading to the work for which he is best remembered today. The designing of Fallingwater frames F.LL.W., as the master shares memories of his tumultuous life with members of the fellowship while he feverishly prepares for Kaufmann’s imminent arrival.
With candor and humor, Wright recalls his childhood, his beginnings as an architect, and his apprenticeship with the great Louis Sullivan in Chicago. He reveals the marital difficulties that led to his abandoning his wife and six children, his relationship with the wife of a former client, and the dreadful tragedy that took her from him and made him question whether he could continue living.
F.LL.W. reverberates throughout with this central theme: in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles Wright again and again reached deep into himself for the strength and determination to keep going.