Actor Stacy Keach shares insights on his interest in Ernest Hemingway and his latest project Pamplona, written by Jim McGrath and directed by Robert Falls.

Performances start May 19!
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My fascination with Ernest Hemingway began when I was a student at the University of California at Berkeley.  I was not a good reader in my Freshman year… and, in fact, almost flunked my English class. And then I read In Our Time—my first experience with Hemingway.  I felt as if the author was inside my head, expressing himself with words and attitudes that reflected how I felt, and I became inspired to read everything he wrote. Subsequently, I became hooked on English Literature, and ironically, discovered Shakespeare because of Hem’s influence.

Ernest Hemingway at the Finca Vingia in Cuba, 1946.

When I was asked to play him in the 1980s, I was somewhat intimidated with having to express the character in the various stages of his life—especially as the older Hemingway. I felt that I was simply too young to fully appreciate the emotional turmoil he had experienced, due to his failing health and his inability to continue writing.  As a younger actor, it was virtually impossible for me to get my head and heart around the factors that contributed to his suicide.

From the left: Director Robert Falls, actor Stacy Keach and playwright Jim McGrath in rehearsal for Pamplona.

This is why I am so excited with the prospect of revisiting this amazing man, this literary giant, in the play, Pamplona, written by Jim McGrath, and directed by Robert Falls—with whom I have been blessed to work with on both Shakespeare (King Lear) and Arthur Miller (Finishing The Picture).

I feel that I am now the right age to fully explore the essence of his later years.  I also feel that Goodman Theatre is the perfect venue for the production, due to its proximity to Oak Park, where Hemingway grew up.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Stacy Keach

Ernest Hemingway in Spain, 1959.


By Jim McGrath | Directed by Robert Falls

May 19 – June 18, 2017
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