This is the script of The Saintliness of Margery Kempe, basically as I wrote it, and as it was performed at the Poet's Theatre in 1957. At a later date, I did rewrite the first four scenes of the Third Act, using mostly dialogue from the original script. I had always regretted that in the original production, we did not see any of Margery's journey to the Holy Land. I also rewrote the ending. I could no longer imagine Margery returning from her travels to become a docile housewife, as in the play produced by the Poet's Theatre.
There was another reason why I made these changes. Zoe Caldwell had seen the play in Nantucket and wanted to do it. But she wanted to do it as a musical. I felt the reworked scenes might provide more room for musicalization.
I was delighted to have Zoe Caldwell do whatever she wanted with the show. I regarded her as a great actress and I thought she was perfect for the leading role.
By then, Zoe was married to Robert Whitehead, so he suddenly reappeared in my life. Robert Whitehead commissioned Alfred Urey and Robert Waldman to write five sample songs for the show. They had recently had a minor success with The Robber Bridegroom. At no point did they consult with me. The five songs they wrote were dreadful.
“No wit!” was Zoe Caldwell's verdict. So once again Robert Whitehead and I did not do a show together.
THE SAINTLINESS OF MARGERY KEMPE