But the way that came about was a friend of
mine, an actor Martin Ritt – who later became a big Hollywood director, directed Hud and
a lot of other good movies, he died recently – was at a play that Robert Whitehead had
produced by Clifford Odetts, his last play The Flowering Peach which was not successful.
But they had a lot of good actors in it, so he called me up one day. I didn’t know him
at the time. But he said, “Look we’ve got all of these wonderful actors, and we’ve
got this theatre, and Whitehead says we can use the theatre on Sunday if we want to when
there’s no performance. Do you have a one-act play?” I said, “No I haven’t.” But
he said, “Well, we’ll be around for a few weeks I think before we have to close,
and we’ve got some great actors in this production.” So I thought about it, and
there was a story I always wanted to tell, but there was no place to put on one-act plays
in those days, oddly enough. There was no off-Broadway theatre. And you couldn’t very
well put on one-act plays on Broadway. Nobody would do it. So I wrote A View From The Bridge
in about a week – that first version. And he got all excited and he said, “Geez, if
we had another play to go with it, we’d have a whole evening.” So the next ten days
or so I wrote A Memory of Two Mondays. And then, I think, unfortunately, they had to
close that play. So now my ordinary, normal producer wanted to put it on Broadway, these
two plays, where it didn’t belong, really. But as I say, there was no off-Broadway way
to do these in those days. We had a lot of good actors, but they were really not right
for these parts. This was about Longshoremen in Brooklyn, and none of these people had
the right speech, and they didn’t really know what the life was like, so it failed.
But I had another crack at it in London with Peter Brook directing, and that was quite
a wonderful performance, production.