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Remembering Spalding Gray with Nell Casey and Bill Talen



Inspired by the revealing new book, The Journals of Spalding Gray, we talk with Nell Casey, the book’s editor, and Bill Talen, the producer who introduced your humble host to Gray and who is also known as “Reverend Billy.”Spalding Gray developed the confessional monologue for contemporary theater and film; following a traumatic auto accident, he took his life on January 10, 2004.  Nell Casey has done a magnificent job assembling his journals, production notes and other materials into a book that is touching and intimate.  In this conversation, Bill Talen offers his own stories about Gray, starting in the 1980’s in San Francisco, where Talen produced the Solo Mio Festival at Life on the Water.  In this conversation, we cover a number of anecdotes from Gray’s life, and examine how his public performances based on his private, inner life were compelling for the audiences and sometimes troubling for Gray and his lovers and friends.  The diaries show a man deeply troubled by his mother’s suicide, and incredibly indecisive about relationships with three strong women in his life.  Talen shares his own connections with Gray, who mentored him the the development of the Rev. Billy persona.  If you ever saw Spalding Gray perform, you will be touched by the diaries and this conversation.