[Lusia Treves, Dutch playwright and journalist, and her husband Karl Guttmann, Austro-Dutch theatre director.] Twelve ALsS and three ACsS from Treves, and one ALS from Guttmann, to playwright Christopher Fry, with other material.

Karl Guttman (1913-1995), Austrian-born Dutch theatre director; his wife Luisa Treves [Margaretha Roselaar] (1919-2015), Dutch playwright and theatre journalist; Christopher Fry (1907-2005), dramatist
Publication details: 
From Amsterdam, as well as France, Germany and Switzerland. Between 1961 and 1997.
SKU: 21948

Guttman was, as one of his wife's letters in this collection states, Fry's 'prophet' in Holland, supporting his work from the earliest days. In 1961 Guttman directed the world premiere of Fry's 'Curtmantle' at Tilburg, and in 1981 he directed a production of 'The Lady's not for Burning' in Vienna. The collection is in good condition, with light signs of age and wear. The letters are all in English, long and intimate, addressed to 'Kit' and sometimes to 'Phyl', i.e. Fry's wife Phyllis. Guttman's sole letter, is on his Amsterdam letterhead, and dated 13 March 1982, and addressed to 'Dear Phyl and Kit'. 2pp, 8vo. It begins: 'It's Saturday 10 o'clock in the morning and that means exactly a fortnight that we started working on the first act of “The Lady”. Though in the meantime the telephone helped a bit keeping contact between us. I want to tell you once more how happy to have been being again together with you and how grateful I am for those days in your lovely village, in your beautiful house'. He has been in touch with the theatre every day, and thinks that, 'if things work out without unforeseen accidents […] your “Lady” will have a fine cast in Vienna. […] Having got Hans Thimig in the cast I consider a very happy development and a good sign for us, touch wood. […] Did I tell you, that H. Th. Was one of my most adored teachers at the Reinhardt Seminar, our Theatre Academy in Vienna?' He praises 'Monika Fallinger, our designer, living near Salzburg', who 'was very enthusiastic when she heard from me that Thimig will play the Chaplain'. Luisa Treve's twelve ALsS (which total 34pp) and three ACsS are all signed 'Luisa', and date between 1961 and 1997. Long and intimate letters. The first letter (11 March 1961) concerns Guttmann's 'Curtmantle' production, which is also referred to in the following four letters, all from 1962. (On 26 July 1962 she writes: 'Karl begs me to tell you that he is happy you put the “Tent scene” back: he had also come to the conclusion that it should be in.') Other topics in the correspondence include the couple's activities and busy work schedule around Europe, personal news relating to them and their family, Fry's 1962 award of the Queen's Gold Medal; his decision to work on the screenplay of John Houston's 1962 film 'In the Beginning'; his move from Blomfield Road to Chichester. A five-page letter on 17 April 1966 contains the following revealing passage: 'Then there was this very ugly affair about your new play. Of course I never mentioned you new play when I visited you – I would consider it in the worst possible taste towards a writer when he still has to start the first line. Therefore I felt very much upset when I learnt that Jimmy had done so and when you were in hospital and in pain at that. All I had done was say to Keuls (Jimmy's correspondent-agent in Holland) that we were to have an option on it; I did so, because in German papers there had been some publications about your writing a play for the '67 Edinburgh Festival and I did not like to have any surprises – which happens ever so often, in view of the sharp competition prevailing amongst Dutch companies. Of course there were no commitments in either side involved, since nobody had seen the play so far. That I did say that we would have the first reading, was in the best of faiths and conviction that you felt the same in this matter – not only because of Curtmantle, but also because of all that had preceded it. I thought you had entrusted Karl with Curtmantle because you knew it was he who was your “prophet” ever since he was with the Haagsche Comedie (1950) and even then before that. For although I will not go so far as to hold you responsible for our marriage, it is a fact that one of the things that made us feel we were “talking the same language” was our common admiration of your work and defending it, in 1949, against some men of the theatre who cold see no quality in it. I disliked that man ever since and got married to Karl . . . - Allright, we went to Holland and karl joined the H. C. as “dramaturg” (= literally advisor), not only pushing Cees towards Venus, but also, which was far more difficult, to get him to try a rehabilitation of the Lady shortly after it was a flop with another company. All the H. C. letters which were written to you at that time (in '51 mainly), no matter who signed them, were written by me. - I thought you knew all that and that this was why you entrusted Curtmantle to Karl. Since then our personal ties have become so much closer, and your knowledge of the way Karl works, that indeed for me there [was] not the slightest doubt that you would first discuss it with Karl once your play would be finished.' On 17 January 1970 she writes: 'It is true that our life is rather “moved” and we found the manuscript of A YARD OF SUN only when we got back from another stay in Stuttgart. We both read it and loved it and think it is a wonderful Christopher Fry play, perfectly fitting in the Seasons-cycles as the summer play and we tried to call you but somehow didn't manage to find out your telephone number.' She describes Guttmann's work on a production of Pinter's 'Caretaker', before returning to Fry's play: 'Now, back to A YARD OF SUN. As I said, we love it and Karl would very much like to do it. It is my impression that it will not be easy to get it staged in Holland: there is a wave of “modernism” and “youth” which leaves the managements rather flabbergasted and I must say: afraid. I may be wrong, but I believe that e.g. the Haagsche Comedie which should be proud to do it hesitates. Rotterdam, after the sudden death of Robert de Vries, is all for youth now (Karl will not direct there either, next season) and in Amsterdam there is a complete confusion as performances are regularly disturbed by “activists” who throw tomatoes etc. Anyway, it should be possible to launch it in Germany (let's pray for a good tranlsation!) Karl can try e.g. in Wuppertal, where he directs 2 plays this Season. Whom are you treating with in Berlin?' The letter continues on the same theme, in 'rambling' style. The next letter is written seventeen years later, on 15 December 1987, and congratulates Fry on his eightieth birthday: 'when you look back at the delicate child you were, at the difficult and yet wonderful life of an exceptional poet (knowing that your work will outlast you and many more generations to come) you had to lead, supported by a loyal and understanding wife'. In a last postcard, written on 26 November 1996, after her husband's death: 'I have been taking up modelling since a year: there are quite a few bronzes I made andn I find it most rewarding (compared with writing plays . . .), as the result is palpable, once it has been cast. Had not Karl died, I would never have come in touch with this craft, it now it has proved very helpful in getting my life reorganised . . .' Also present are two printed items relating to Guttmann's funeral, one carrying an ANS from Treves: 'I just reread your “Lady”, which I cherish most of all your plays (with the F[?]). Karl preferred Curtmantle, as far as I know. […] I do not feel I have lost Karl, I just miss him. I suppose you have gone through the same experience when Phyl passed away.' Also a photographic print of one of her bronzes, with ANS dated from Christmas 1997; a printed item from a 1993 family celebration signed by Karl Guttmann; a Dutch newspaper cutting; ALsS from 'Jetty' and 'Gunther', both dated from Rostock, 12 May 2004, with six photographic prints, three of them captioned on reverse.