Actor Laurence Luckinbill will perform a piece of his one-man show, “Hemingway” – a play he wrote depicting the last two minutes of Ernest Hemingway’s life – on opening night of the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival on Jan. 15. He played Hemingway in an off-Broadway production of the show.
Authors Jackie Collins and A. Scott Berg and Luckinbill are among the headliners scheduled to appear at the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival: A Celebration of the Written Word, Jan. 15 through Jan. 18 at the Rancho Mirage Public Library and the Helene Galen Auditorium at the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences.
More than 20 writers — including those with local ties — bestselling author Joseph Wambaugh (“The Onion Field”), Andrew Neiderman (“The Devil’s Advocate”) and Michael Childers (“Icons and Legends”) will be featured at the first annual conference.
Luckinbill’s son Ben Luckinbill, who directed his dad in New York, is reprising his role for his dad’s Rancho Mirage performance.
The two spoke to The Desert Sun on Monday at the Galen Auditorium during a rehearsal for “Hemingway.”
Laurence and wife Lucie Arnaz recently moved from the east coast to Palm Springs.
Ben: “They are really loving it, so I’m really happy to see them ‘take to it’ and find so many creative people to work with — to do stuff with.”
Laurence: “I know. I know. This town is humming with creativity. We didn’t know that …”
Ben: “Yeah, they thought they were just going to come sit by the pool.”
Laurence: “Come for the sun.”
They both laughed.
Laurence: “I walked out of the house this morning and I saw the sun and I just had to salute God and be grateful for the earth, itself, because this place was made to make people happy and grateful. Yes, there are problems everywhere, but I’m telling you this is the kind of the place that when you get here, you wished you’d come here 10 years sooner.”
The new Coachella Valley resident is looking forward to performing “Hemingway.”
“As a writer and an actor, I’m really blessed to get this opportunity to come here and open this show,” he said.
“I was a fan of Hemingway as a young man, Laurence said. “He taught me how to be a man. His fiction was something I read like religion, but then he killed himself, and as a practicing Catholic I was told at home and church, ‘he’s condemned, he’s gone to hell, he’s finished’ … and I let that thought dominate me until I got older and I started to wonder about this … how can I write off somebody so brilliant and great and influential as that – and somebody I loved as a young man.
My belief is he had dementia, he was heading into Alzheimers. I think what happened was, he was served badly by electroshock therapy … he lost his short term memory, his long term memory was affected – and what is a writer without his memory? Nothing.”
Years later, Laurence reevaluated Hemingway, the man. and wrote a play based on some of the author’s letters.