Remember “Love Story”? If you’re like me, you remember the book and movie, both written by the classics professor Erich Segal, vividly. You remember how Harvard-Radcliffe it was. You remember sobbing your eyes out, and how great that felt.
还记得《爱情故事》(Love Story)吗？这本书和电影剧本都是由古典文学教授埃里奇·西格尔(Erich Segal)创作的，如果你和我一样的话，肯定也会对它们记忆犹新。你会记得哈佛大学拉德克里夫学院的景象，记得自己是怎样哭红了眼睛，那种感觉又是多么美好。
Most of all, you remember how beautiful the leads, Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw, were. You recall waiting in the snow for hours during Christmas vacation of seventh grade at the Loew’s Tower East on 72nd and Third with Nancy Tichner and her mother — wait, that’s just me — to see it. It was worth it.
当然印象里最清晰的还要算是美丽的两位主演，瑞安·奥尼尔(Ryan O’Neal)和艾丽·麦古奥(Ali MacGraw)。你会记得七年级的那个圣诞节假期，冒着雪来到72街和第三大道交界的利奥大厦东影院，身边是南希·迪彻纳(Nancy Tichner)和她的妈妈——不对，好像只有我自己——等了几个小时，只为看这部片子。然而非常值得。
When I think of the 1970 movie, I see the montages of the lovers frolicking in the snow, in Cambridge and in Central Park. Which is why I am nonplused when I hear a familiar melody playing in an arts-center ballroom here: a jazzy “Silent Night,” though it’s 92 degrees outside.
It’s the middle of July, and I’m in this blazing hot city to live out my adolescent fantasy and actually meet Ms. MacGraw and Mr. O’Neal. I’ll sit in on a news conference. Then I’ll conduct a private interview with them. And finally I’ll attend an early look at the Gregory Mosher-directed national tour of A. R. Gurney’s classic two-hander “Love Letters” with — together again for the first time in 45 years — Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal as the ink-crossed lovers. (It officially begins on Oct. 13 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills.)
其时正值七月中旬，我在这个炎热的城市里重温了青春期的旧梦，而且真的见到了麦古奥和奥尼尔，过一会儿还要对他们做私人采访。我坐在新闻中心，参加由格里高利·莫舍(Gregory Mosher)执导、A·R格内(A. R. Gurney)编剧的经典双人剧《情书》(Love Letters)全国巡演的试演会，艾丽·麦古奥和瑞安·奥尼尔将在45年后首次再度携手，饰演一对鸿雁传情的情侣。该剧将于10月13日在比弗利山庄，瓦利斯·安妮伯格表演艺术中心正式上演。
Before “The Little Drummer Boy” begins to play, they arrive. It’s them. Ms. MacGraw is still striking, and Mr. O’Neal remains handsome, but we can see the lives they’ve lived: Mr. O’Neal is using a cane to help steady himself after tearing his Achilles’ tendon, and the raven-haired Ms. MacGraw is mostly gray. Their enviable bone structures have been softened by the four decades they’ve spent since “Love Story,” and by some hard living on both of their parts: good breaks, bad breaks, scandal and divorce. He’s in a blazer and button-down shirt, and she is in an Indian kurta and white jeans, wearing a chic assortment of silver jewelry.
不等音乐放到《小鼓手》(The Little Drummer Boy)，他们就来了。正是他们。麦古奥依旧美丽，奥尼尔亦是英俊如昔。但我们可以看到岁月留下的痕迹。自从跟腱断裂后，奥尼尔就得拄着拐杖才能站稳。麦古奥当年的一头黑发也变得花白。自从《爱情故事》之后，时间已经过去了四十多年，好时光、坏时光，丑闻与离婚……岁月和生活的艰辛让他们令人妒忌的身材变得松弛下来。他穿纽扣领衬衣，外罩运动衫；她穿印度式长袖衫和白色牛仔裤，佩戴各种时髦的银首饰。
Their easy affection is apparent. As they are asked the usual anodyne questions (“Do you still have chemistry?”), they playfully hug, swat and pat each another. Mr. O’Neal cracks one self-deprecating remark after another – “She’s one of the few women who will still talk to me” — which make Ms. MacGraw laugh till she snorts.
The two had been in touch off and on over the years, mostly via letters and phone calls. Then, as part of a feature last year in The Hollywood Reporter, the stars of “Love Story” — the quintessential movie romance, at least until Nicholas Sparks picked up his laptop — were brought together for an interview. The accompanying images affected Nelle Nugent, a veteran producer who produced “Love Letters” on Broadway last year.
多年来，两人一直断断续续地保持联系，主要是通过书信和电话。《爱情故事》一直是经典的浪漫爱情电影，至少是直到尼古拉斯·斯帕克斯( Nicholas Sparks)开始写作，因此，去年，《好莱坞报道者》(Hollywood Reporter)把剧中这两位主演又拉在一起做了一次采访。两人在一起的形象打动了资深制作人奈丽·奈金特(Nelle Nugent)，去年她在百老汇制作了《情书》。
Despite positive reviews for the play (“Deceptively simple and quietly moving” — The New York Times), that run closed after three months. It was the oft-produced play’s first time on Broadway. Indeed, some of the rotating cast members didn’t get their chances to read at the table.
Ms. Nugent suggested the O’Neal/MacGraw pairing to Broadway Across America, the largest presenter of touring shows, and with the O.K.'s of the playwright and director, they got to it.
奈金特建议奥尼尔/麦古奥组合做“全美百老汇”(Broadway Across America)巡演，这是规模最大的巡演体系，编剧和导演都同意，他们就开始行动了。
While “Love Letters” is no sequel to “Love Story,” it feels cut from similar tweed, and — this has to be said – it is the better written of the two. Andrew Makepeace Ladd III could be Oliver Barrett IV of “Love Story,” though he attends Yale and joins the service before he heads to Harvard Law School. Melissa Gardner is a Fairfield County black sheep bohemian, though unlike Jenny Cavilleri, the feisty scholarship student in the Segal tale, she is rich, as she frequently, and bluntly, reminds Andy. Through letters, post cards, invitations and notes of apology, Mr. Gurney’s play chronicles a 50-year friendship of two loving friends and reveals a woody wagon full of regrets.
虽然《情书》并不是《爱情故事》的续集，但确有异曲同工之感，而且必须说，它是两人更好的写照。剧中的安德鲁·梅克皮斯·拉德三世(Andrew Makepeace Ladd III)也可以是《爱情故事》中的奥利弗·巴瑞特四世(Oliver Barrett IV)，但安德鲁上的是耶鲁大学，后来去服兵役，之后才去了哈佛法学院。梅丽莎·加德纳(Melissa Gardner)来自菲尔菲尔德郡，是个叛逆的波西米亚女郎，不过和西格尔笔下那个倔强的女学生不一样，梅丽莎很有钱，而且她经常笨拙地这样提醒剧中被称为“安迪”的安德鲁。通过书信、明信片、邀请函和道歉信，格内的剧本记述两个相爱的朋友之间50年的友谊，揭示出无数悔恨与遗憾。
After the news conference, we go to dinner at a nearby restaurant — Mr. O’Neal and Charlie Mattera, a screenwriting friend who is acting as his fixer on the road, Ms. MacGraw, and me. I’m cool on the surface – at least indoors where it’s air-conditioned — but inside I’m thinking about everything that we have in common (and not just how I couldn’t have written my “Preppy Handbook” without “Love Story.”)
新闻发布会后，我们到旁边的餐厅去吃晚饭，有奥尼尔、他的编剧朋友兼巡演助理查理·马塔拉(Charlie Mattera)、麦古奥和我。我表面上还算冷静——至少是在有空调的室内——但在内心深处盘算着各种能聊的共同话题（不仅仅是说没了《爱情故事》，我是写不出我的《预科生手册》[Preppy Handbook]的）。
Like her, my young success was my greatest success, and I’ve always had an ambivalent relationship to my early career. And neither of us wears makeup!
Like him, I use humor as a tool to keep things light, and we’re also sentimental.
Ms. MacGraw, 76, and Mr. O’Neal, 74, have survived in an industry where few dare appear in public at 76 and 74. The names that dot the stories they tell include Farrah Fawcett and Steve McQueen, of course, but also Cary Grant, William Holden, Charles Bronson, Myrna Loy, Bette Davis, Sue Mengers and Frank Sinatra. Between them, they know or knew everyone.
麦古奥今年76岁，奥尼尔今年74岁，在这样一个人到76或74就很少敢于公开亮相的行业里，他俩还蔚然挺立。曾经出现在他们生命中的名人自然包括了法拉·福塞特(Farrah Fawcett)和史蒂夫·麦奎因(Steve McQueen)，但也有加里·格兰特(Cary Grant)、威廉·霍尔登(William Holden)、查尔斯·布朗森(Charles Bronson)、玛娜·洛伊(Myrna Loy)、贝蒂·戴维斯(Bette Davis)、苏·门格斯(Sue Mengers)和弗兰克·辛纳塔(Frank Sinatra)。两人和这些人彼此之间都认识。
Still, they seem incredulously grateful to be working together again, and in a two-hander that is slated to take them to Hartford, Boston, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Detroit, Dallas and Tulsa. The Ft. Lauderdale stop is a kind of out-of-town tryout.
It’s touching to see how concerned they are about doing a good job. That their director, Mr. Mosher, is in Kenya and South Africa, directing “Antigone” in churches and community centers, doesn’t make things easier. Though they rehearsed with him in February, filmed their run-through and spoke with him over the phone, they haven’t seen him in a while, and his absence adds to what appears to be a growing case of the now openly discussed jitters.
Over salads (actors!), I ask them what they’re feeling on the eve of their first performance.
“This is a little scary, not big scary,” Ms. MacGraw declared. “I feel supported. There’s the comfort of doing it with someone I’ve adored for 44 years.”
“The key is she and I,” Mr. O’Neal said. “It’s meant to be. It’s the best acting Ali has ever done. You understand completely why he was in love with her.” Turning to Ms. MacGraw, he added, “It’s like it was written for you.”
Ms. MacGraw grew up in Westchester County, where her parents were artists. Her town was made up of haves, but she was a scholarship student at Rosemary Hall, a prestigious girls’ boarding school (which was absorbed by Choate). From there, she went on to Wellesley College, again on a scholarship.
With her grand education and patrician looks, Ms. MacGraw was more than believable in “Love Story”; she was nominated for an Academy Award. She had a big life, an older, powerful husband in the studio executive Robert Evans, and a baby. By 1972, she was making “The Getaway” for the director Sam Peckinpah, and falling madly in love with her co-star, Steve McQueen.
因为不俗的教育背景与高贵的相貌，麦古奥在《爱情故事》中的表演颇具说服力，并获得一项奥斯卡奖提名。她的人生步入巅峰，丈夫是电影公司高管罗伯特·伊文思(Robert Evans)，年长而极具权势，她生了一个孩子。1972年，她在拍摄萨姆·佩金帕(Sam Peckinpah)导演的《亡命大煞星》(The Getaway)一片时，与男主演史蒂夫·麦奎因陷入了疯狂的恋情。
She got divorced, married McQueen and became a housewife. After divorcing him, enduring a catastrophic fire at her home in Malibu and having only six films on her résumé, she left show business and Los Angeles and has since lived in Santa Fe, where she has a quiet life, engaged mostly in community service and seeing friends.
She has a son with Mr. Evans and a 4-year-old grandson. A serious practitioner of yoga, she is fit and elegant, meaning she looks at least 10 years younger than her age. Twenty five years ago, she performed in “Love Letters” in Texas opposite Robert Foxworth. “I was too young then,” she says. “I didn’t get it.”
Mr. O’Neal has never stopped working as an actor. From his early days on TV to big movies like “Paper Moon,” “What’s Up, Doc?” and “Barry Lyndon” — not to mention his public life with Farrah Fawcett — he is a figure of Hollywood. He has a well maintained website and social media accounts. Although I hadn’t been paying attention until July, he has a digital trail of tabloidy stories, mostly for activities and misdeeds from long ago.
奥尼尔一直没有停止演员生涯。他早年曾经演过电视剧，后来又演过《纸月亮》(Paper Moon)、《爱的大追踪》(What’s Up, Doc?)和巴里·林登(Barry Lyndon)等大片。更别提他和法拉·福塞特的公众生活，他在好莱坞算是一号人物。他有精心维护的官网和数个社交媒体账户。尽管直到7月我才开始关注，但他其实在网上许多小道故事里都出现了，主要是关于社会活动和很久以前的荒唐事。
He is far from preppy in real life. College was never on his agenda; instead he was a boxer until he decided to act. Yet the East Coast blue blood is the man he has portrayed, once and again.
I asked him why he became Hollywood’s Ur-preppy. “I think it’s the scarf,” was his answer.
“Love Letters” is Mr. O’Neal’s stage debut. Why bother doing the hard work of traveling and being vulnerable in front of a live audience? “I wanted to get closer to Ali again,” he says. Besides, “what would be the downside? To get paid to have her in my arms? And it’s a new challenge.”
He and Ms. Fawcett had been offered the play earlier, for a run in Las Vegas. “It was just wrong for Farrah,’’ he says. “I never even finished it.” On the other hand, “I’m the right guy now, and it’s perfect for us. Ali and I just pick up where we left off.”
Live theater — even without the pressure of having to memorize the script – is not a cakewalk. She was not interested until he was in, and vice versa. And the theyness of the project just works. (A Miami Herald critic thought so, too: “With their skills, their shared history and their movie-star aura, MacGraw and O’Neal take several thousand attentive people at a time on a simply delivered but emotionally engaging trip through a different era,” she wrote of the Ft. Lauderdale engagement.)
Back in 1970, Mr. Mosher, the director, was thinking more about the Vietnam War and Kent State from his perch at Oberlin College than sentimental me was, and knew about “Love Story” only as a reference point. He didn’t see the movie until later, and even now he’s surprised by the big effect the stars still make together.
In a reference Erich Segal would approve, Mr. Mosher cites “The Age of Insight,” a book by the Nobel Prize-winning neuropsychiatrist Eric Kandel. The book talks about “the beholder’s share,” in which the viewer’s participation enhances the work of art in a sort of collaboration.
莫舍还搬出了诺贝尔奖得主，神经心理学家埃里克·坎德尔(Eric Kandel)在《思想的年代》(The Age of Insight)一书，这本书讲的是“旁观者的分享”，观者的参与如同一种合作，增添了艺术品的魅力，埃里奇·西格尔无疑会对他的话表示赞同。
“Ryan and Ali trigger a very powerful beholder’s share,” Mr. Mosher said. “Their impact on our psyches happened together, and they are very generous performers.”
The next night, when Ms. MacGraw and Mr. O’Neal walk out onstage at the 2,700-seat theater, they look so small. I’m feeling protective of my Jenny and Oliver. The audience rewards them with big applause. I can’t relax until they get their first laugh. And then I remember: I have three children, who don’t know where I am.
I agree with Mr. O’Neal; the actors are doing what they’re meant to do, using one another’s encouragement and affection as life support. I forget that they are senior citizens as they take the stage in “Love Letters.”
They’re young again, laughing at their private jokes and playing in the snow.