Meet Cindy Nemser - art critic, theatre critic, novelist, humorist, journalist, and ardent feminist.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

What if ____Wrote the Bridges of Madison County

10:14 AM Posted by Cindy Nemser No comments
The musical Bridges of Madison County is opening on Broadway. The show is based on the wildly popular novel and the movie which starred Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. I have written a spoof of the story which I though you might enjoy reading. What if ____Wrote the Bridges of Madison County Today? LEO TOLSTOY: Russian refusnik, Count Romanovitch Veronsky, balalaika player and free-lance photographer for National Geo graphic is in Clayton, Iowa, taking pictures of the famous covered bridges of Madison County. At Roseman Bridge he meets, the beautiful, but sexually somnolent Francesca Johnson, respectable wife and mother. Inexorably drawn to each other, they have a four day affair, and Romanovitch convinces Francesca to abandon her family and run off with him to Moscow so he can win fame as a musician. Once there, Romanovitch discovers the clubs only want electric guitarists. Francesca pines for her children Carolyn and Michael, so Robert takes her back to Clayton. But neither Francesca's children nor the rest of the community will have anything to do with them. Wretched, Francesca whines incessantly and clings to Romanovitch like Saran Wrap. Fed up, he gets a foreign assignment from National Geographic. Certain that he plans to abandon her, Francesca throws herself off Roseman Bridge leaving her suicide note tacked on the entrance. GUSTAVE FLAUBERT: Sex starved, Harlequin novels addict Francesca, and lithesome, smooth talking, French chanteur Robert Leseure meet during his American tour. They have four nights of blazing passion. To celebrate her reawakening, Francesca takes her husband's credit card, goes to Des Moines, and buys five sexy dresses, three pairs of stiletto heels, and an ankle bracelet inscribed with Robert’s initials. For her lover she purchases two pair of handcrafted leather sandals, and a sliver chain to match her silver bracelet. Caring not one jot for her lumpen husband Richard and her snotty kids, she agrees to elope with Robert. But when the time comes for him to whisk her off in state of the art pick-up van, Robert streaks past her farmhouse without looking back. Richard returns to find Francesca ranting deliriously. Eventually, she rallies; but when the credit card arrives, rather than face the consequences, she eats poisoned mushrooms growing near Roseman Bridge and expires. She does not leave a suicide note. GEORGE ELIOT: Married to a clean, but repressed agricultural expert, idealistic, tenderhearted Francesca is seduced by the, uninhibited, yet mysterious, feature writer Robert Ladislaw who, reminds her of some star creature, while her husband is at a genetic engineering conference. The liaison continues after the family reappears. The pair makes love in the fields, in the van, and on Roseman Bridge. Francesca, who no longer has sex with Richard, becomes pregnant. When she tells Robert, he offers to pay for an abortion. Being a good Catholic she refuses, so he heads for Bangkok. .Unable to hide her shame, Francesca tells all to her husband .Traumatized, he collapses and dies. Convinced that her confession has killed him, Francesca enters a convent where she takes a vow of silence. CHARLES DICKENS: Francesca and Robert Muzzlemouth,. a sensitive finely featured professor, who teaches industrial psychology, meet at Roseman Bridge. They know their souls have intertwined, but they are too pure to let their bodies do the same. They spend four days, picnicking, taking pictures, listening to jazz, and making vegetarian dinners for themselves at her farm- house • They hint of their feelings for each other, but they never touch except when Robert passes Francesca some peeled potatoes. Then, news comes that Richard has been kicked in the head by his prize steer and has died. The children return devastated. Robert begs Francesca to take her kids and come away with him to Stanford where his has been offered a professorship at the university, but she cannot bring to uproot the children in the wake of their father's death. Sadly, Robert leaves to join an innovative group of first generation computer experts at the school. Years later, her daughter Carolyn, marries a billionaire soft wear creator whose chiseled features as well as his astonishing intelligence immediately win over both daughter and mother.. He turns out to be Robert's son born after his ex- wife had divorced him years before he met Francesca. JAMES JOYCE: Robert Sean Kincaid, a poet/ photographer, of Irish ancestry wanders around Madison County for four days, ostensibly seeking Roseman Bridge, but really looking for his spiritual father. Everything there evokes a stream of Freudian and Jungian memories. Bridges conjure up the womb, rivers, the waters of eternity; silos, his ambivalence about his masculinity, Jazz clubs, the underworld. Immersed in his own psyche, he fails to glimpse a raven haired, soft bellied, full breasted woman sitting on a porch drinking iced tea. She is so deep in a reverie about the sexual fulfillment she found with her art professor Niccolo, back in Italy, before meeting her impotent Husband, she doesn't see Robert either. Just as Francesca's family returns and is about to go into the house, Robert pulls up and asks for directions to Roseman Bridge. Richard offer to take him there. As Robert photographs the bridge, Richard, who has developed a pot belly, compares himself to the lean, muscular, quick eyed photographer and mournfully mediates on his inadequacies. Robert, who has always felt like an outcast, longs to connect with Richard but can't find the words. Francesca is still on the porch, thinking about her Italian lover, when the men return. She offers the stranger iced tea, but he declines and drives off. That night Francesca, in bed with the snoring Richard, fantasizes about Robert's hard muscular forearms and thighs, sighing yes, yes, yes. WOODIE ALLEN: Allen: Robert Kogelman, film maker and Woodie Allen look-alike is doing a satire on a Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. While filming Roseman Bridge for one of his scenes, he meets Francesca who cannot resist his neurotic introspection, erudite observations, and exotic New York accent. Captivated by his Jewish humor, she ignores his sagging chest, skinny arms, spindly legs, and balding pate. She forgets about her family and dashes off to New York to live with him on the upper west side. After their first rapture subsides, she yearns to have her children near her. She convinces her 15 year old daughter, who is getting fed up with cows and pigs, to come and live with them. .Robert gets one look at the kid and forgets all about mom. Demoralized, Francesca returns to Iowa to beg her husband's forgiveness, but he is has taken up with the waitress at the local cafĂ©. Hoping to retrieve the affection of her son, Francesca remains in the vicinity. Snubbed by the townsfolk, she seeks out the other local adulteress. They meet often to commiserate at Roseman Bridge. Realizing they have become two sides of one being, they become passionate lovers and move to San Francisco to live blissfully until Francesca dies. Her lover takes her ashes to Roseman Bridge and scatters them around its scared environs.


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