Love Goes to Press: A Comedy in Three Acts

Love Goes to Press: A Comedy in Three Acts

Love Goes to Press: A Comedy in Three Acts

Love Goes to Press: A Comedy in Three Acts

Synopsis

This romantic farce, published here for the first time, is set on the Italian front during World War II, where two women war correspondents--smart, sexy, and famous for scooping their male competitors--struggle to balance their professional lives with their love lives.

Excerpt

I must advise you at once that this play bears no resemblance whatever, of any kind at all, to war and war correspondents. It is a joke. It was intended to make people laugh and make money. It made people laugh splendidly in London; however, not a penny was received by the playwrights, my friend Ginny (Virginia Cowles) and me. That remains a puzzle, but perhaps not having a contract, due to our ignorance, explains it. We knew nothing about the theater; it was not our line of work. We were barely playgoers. the history of this play now strikes me as a bigger joke than the play.

One feature of our comedy is authentic: the squalid stage sets. No stage is small enough to give a true impression of the cubicles called rooms in the little beat-up brick house in the beat-up village of Sessa Aurunca, the press camp we used as a model. Press camp merely meant any place the press was told to live and given means of sending copy to their editors. Sessa Aurunca was the only press camp I lived in during World War 11, the only time I had correct travel orders to allow me the privilege. Conditions in our Italian hovel reached such a high point of awfulness that it was fun, memorable after fifty years.

Sessa Aurunca lies about fifteen miles south of Cassino, where the Italian campaign had ground to a halt. the Germans held the dominating ancient fortress monastery of Monte Cassino, blocking the road to Rome. the Italian campaign was fought by two armies, the American Fifth Army and the British Eighth Army, a marvelous polyglot throng that included the tall, feared black North African goums attached to the Free French, Poles, Gurkhas, Canadians, and all types of Britons. in principle the Fifth Army operated on the west side of Italy and the Eighth Army to the east, but in practice there was interweaving. in March 1944, our scruffy press camp was under Eighth Army command while American infantry had dug itself into shelves in the hillside below the monastery.

Apart from useless erratic artillery fire, there was no action and nothing to write about, but this was the only Allied front in the war, and four American male correspondents were stuck in Sessa Aurunca, by editors' orders, for as long as the unfortunate American troops were stuck into that hillside. the press camp was run by a darling loopy British officer who had been blown out of his tank, the sole survivor, and was assigned the job of handling correspondents as a strange sort of rest cure.

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