Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Jack Kerouac: End of the Road at the Fringe

Southern Winds Theatre, from Orlando, Florida presented Jack Kerouac: End of the Road at the Orlando International Fringe Festival. In July of 1969, three months before he died, Jack Kerouac, the father of the "beat movement," appeared on William F. Buckley’s "Firing Line." In a tirade of booze inspired talk, he shared stories about his insane, yet creatively inspired travels on the road.

The play is staged in the waiting room before Jack goes on the air. There he drinks and reminisces about his life, family and friends. He is labeled as a "Beat" which is similar to many with "Hippies" as they became known in the 1960s. His views however are rather conservative and Republican. He himself viewed hippies as degenerates. As he sips alcohol his speech slurs and hiss views become blunt.

I have done many sketches of resident authors who write at the Kerouac House here in Orlando. The Dharma Bums was written right here in a tiny Orlando house which Jack shared with his mom. When On The Road became a best seller, Jack needed to borrow bus money to go up to NYC to talk to his publisher.With such strong Orlando connections, how could I not want to learn more about his life?

He only wanted to go on the TV program to recite some of his poems, but Buckley wanted instead to get his views about the Beats. In the rare moments Kerouac does wax poetic, a sax player appears out of nowhere to perform an accompaniment to his angst. It would be nice if the history of his life flowed as if in a Benzedrine induced haze, but the writing seemed forced as if for a historic made for TV movie. Perhaps I was just put off by having to see a young vibrant man wasting away needlessly on stage. Jack died an alcoholic. We will never know what was left unwritten.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Very cool. Thanks for coming to the play. We are doing it again at Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts in Winter Park in September,