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Honour

Summer 1996 | New York Stage and Film Festival
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Directed by: Ulu Grosbard | Literature: Joanna Murray-Smith
Cast: Meryl Streep (Honour), Sam Waterston (George), Kyra Sedgwick (Sophie)

"Honour" tells the familiar tale of a middle aged man, George (Sam Waterston), who leaves his wife, Honour (Meryl Streep), and their twenty-four year old daughter, Sophie (Kyra Sedgwick), for a relationship with a much younger women.

In 1995, Australian writer Joanna Murray-Smith came to Columbia University from her native Melbourne on a Rotary International Scholarship. The scholarship would fund her stay in New York while she enrolled in classes at the University and wrote a play, which had been commissioned by an Australian production company. The play became Honour, a four-character drama about infidelity. Murray-Smith took fiction and short prose and screenwriting and, of course, playwriting classes in the Creative Writing Center, part of Columbia’s Continuing Education and Special Programs, which shares faculty with the School of the Arts graduate Writing Division. “The effervescence of being at Columbia was fantastic,” she said. “That was the most wonderful year of my life.” Murray-Smith graciously thanked Ziegler and Machado and the Writing Program in the play’s published version. She honed the script in a writing group that she was invited to join by a Columbia alumnus. The group included playwright John Patrick Shanley, who brought “Honour” to the attention of the New York Stage and Film Festival in Poughkeepsie. The work received its first public workshop reading there in the Summer of 1996, with Meryl Streep and Sam Waterston taking the principal roles. Jane Alexander and Enid Graham received Tony Award nominations for its 1998 Broadway run, which co-starred Laura Linney (source: Columbia University)



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