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My mom, Alyce Branagan Fraser.
On Mother's Day two years ago, I was appearing in an extraordinary show with the great Shirley Knight. It was Tennessee William's last play, "in Masks Outrageous and Austere", which had never had a full production before. To originate the wonderful part of The Matron opposite Shirley's incandescent Babe was thrill enough alone, but there was another treasure I took away from the experience.
The Matron had a son called Playboy. He was a drop dead beautiful mentally challenged teen aged boy she led around on black leather leash. He wore Mama's lipstick, a rain slicker with no pants, and they were utterly devoted to each other.
In director David Schweitzer's wildly inspired production, The Matron and Playboy were often visible when they had no lines. You would see them in The Gideons' secret observation booths high above the audience and strolling along the foot deep sand that surrounded the beach house and deck.
The young man playing Playboy, Connor Buckley, was a dazzling young actor who was still at NYU. As the days went by, together, we started to fill our lineless time with mother/son games. In the booth you could see us playing paddy cake, and doing shadow puppets, and watch me put the lipstick on my son. I asked our director David if I could have some toys in the sand for Playboy, and he said yes so a shovel and pail and a set of jacks were provided.
I started burying things in the sand for him to find. I raided Nat's old toy box and found some choice little boy treats-a water pistol, a few green army men, a rubber ball, a fake mustache. When Playboy would find them digging with his shovel, Connor's concentration and either delight or boredom was so absolutely authentic, I wanted to see what he would do with items a bit more unexpected. A severed mannequin hand (fear in his eyes) a half of a candy bar ( I had to stop him from eating it) a condom (he put it in his pocket without my seeing and to my horror showed it to me with a gleam of delight in a much later scene.).
Connor's father came to the show many times, and toward the end of the run I asked him if he could bring some of Connor's own favored childhood toys to be discovered on stage. Our last week Playboy dug up the beloved plastic dinosaurs of Connor's youth.
On Mother's Day I received a card from Playboy, picturing us together in the beach, with the sinister Gideons in bathing suits. Toys are on the sand, the mother/son height perspective is his mental one, because Playboy was a head taller than me, and in a childish scrawl is written"Happy Muthrs Day".
I knew that my connection with Connor's inspired Playboy was a deep one, because my first reaction, the one that brought the tears of a mother's pride, was "Oh my god, Playboy knows how to write!"
Thank you Connor, for one of the most beautiful relationships I have ever had in theatre, and congratulations on your new starring role in the tv show "Surviving Jack". Chris Meloni is in for a major treat. And thanks again for my card-I will keep it forever.
The cast of IN MASKS OUTRAGEOUS AND AUSTERE, the black guy in back played Mac, based on me.
Six months later, the Coroner quietly changed the official cause of death to "sudden intolerance to a drug Williams had taken all his adult life." -- another Uecker-made-up lie.
John Uecker WAS James Purdy's literary assistant for YEARS, and Purdy left Uecker his entire estate. Last I saw news of this, Purdy's family has this LOCKED IN LITIGATION because they believe there was fowl play.
John Uecker is the bald guy (due to AIDS and long-term treatments), on the stairs of Tennessee Williams' first home in Columbus, Mississippi -- on the occasion of Uecker presenting them the "Poets Laurel Wreath" John had rescued from being buried with Williams.
Me in John Uecker's apartment in late 2009, standing beneath the Poet's Laurel Wreath, then kept hanging on Uecker's wall.
John Uecker was James Gandolfini's TOP drama teacher and close friend, and was complicit in Gandolfini's drug-overdose death because Uecker had admitted as much to him, and feared Gandolfini would eventually rat on him.
John Uecker is the "owner" of this Wikipedia page, and over the years removed references to me that were on it -- as well as references to me on at least four other Wikipedia articles on Tennessee Williams.
The truth cannot be changed by lies, so keep this in mind as you read how Uecker even tries to credit James Purdy (whom I NEVER heard Tennessee Williams mention in ANY way -- Uecker began working for Purdy AFTER Williams' death):
>>> THIS JUST IN!!!: Alison and I discuss this: