Imagine a rain-soaked Beckett knocks on your door with a new manuscript. What was it like to collaborate with, publish, and know the genius? Seaver (who with her husband discovered and published Beckett’s early work) and Mandell (an actor directed by the playwright himself) team up to read both Beckett’s work and the Seavers’ memoir about the golden age of publishing—and to discuss how the unconventional writer came to be revered by audiences everywhere.
Alan Mandell, a Beckett scholar, has had a distinguished 75-year acting career and is an accomplished voice-over actor. He is a founding member of the famed San Francisco Actor’s Workshop, and co-founder of the San Quentin Drama Workshop, which started in 1957 with a performance of Waiting for Godot inside the prison. Mandell toured Europe with original productions of Godot and Endgame directed by Beckett and has appeared on Broadway. Most recently, he appeared in Godot at the Mark Taper Forum in 2012. His films include The Marrying Man, Midnight Witness, John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Shortbus, and the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man.
Jeannette Seaver was born in Paris and began her career as a concert violinist. She met her future husband, Richard Seaver, in Paris when he was running the influential literary magazine Merlin. Together they formed Seaver Books at Viking Press and later, Arcade Publishing, where for over twenty years they discovered new literary voices from other cultures, including Natalia Ginzburg, Ismail Kadare, Andrei Makine and two Nobel Laureates-Octavio Paz and Mo Yan. In 2012, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, decorated Jeannette with the medal of Chevalier dans l'Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur. Following Richard Seaver's death, Arcade Publishing closed. In 2005, Arcade's backlist was acquired by Skyhorse Publishing, where Jeannette currently serves as Editor of Arcade Publishing, at Skyhorse. Jeannette is also the author of four cookbooks illustrated by her daughter, Nathalie Seaver.
Howard A. Rodman is a professor of screenwriting at USC's School of Cinematic Arts, Vice President of the Writers Guild of America, West, and has served as Artistic Director of the Sundance Screenwriting Labs. He wrote Savage Grace, August, and Joe Gould’s Secret. Rodman is on the executive committee of the Writers Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, and is a Fellow of the Los Angeles Institute of the Humanities.