“I Write Plays”: Walking Through The Terrence McNally Exhibit at the Harry Ransom Center

I sign my name in the guestbook of the Harry Ransom Center when I visit the Terrence McNally exhibit for the second time. Alongside the academics and the Northerners and the enthusiasts, “UT Student” is a nondescript designation. If a stack of brochures had been available, I might’ve picked one up, slipped it into my notebook, and kept it in the same way I keep playbills. This little waiting room—his little waiting room, he might correct with mock seriousness—has a theatre’s pre-show silence, as well as the headshot of the balding playwright who has written the show. He is eighty years old, the display tells me. I give the old man an impressed nod, and I turn the corner into the larger exhibit. There are no curtains hanging here, but somehow I expect to hear their heavy fabric drawing back. Maybe there are pulleys squeaking as they reveal the unlit stage.

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