ROBERT SCHENKKAN

PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING PLAYWRIGHT & SCREENWRITER

News

A Response to the Results of the 2016 Election

The Boy and the Apple Tree

Once upon a time there was a little boy who lived alone in a forest. There wasn’t much to eat there, bugs and things, but there was the apple tree. In the center of the forest stood a beautiful, enormous apple tree.  Its shade was comforting and in the spring when it bloomed the pink blossoms were gorgeous and of course, there were the apples. Delicious! They were the boy’s favorite thing to eat. The problem was the tree was so tall the boy couldn’t climb it and he had to wait for the apples to fall. This was annoying. Eventually he discovered that if he threw his axe into the branches he could knock apples down. It was a little dangerous but the boy was nimble. He felt a little badly about it because he could see he was breaking branches but the tree was so sturdy and the fruit so delicious he soon got over that. But it was a lot of work. One day he was complaining loudly when a voice behind him said, “There’s another way, you know.” He turned to face an enormous serpent. The snake shifted his unpleasant triangular head to regard him with his lidless eyes. “If you cut the tree down, you can have all the apples you want.” “That’s stupid,” the boy said, “it would kill the tree.” “Very true,” conceded the snake, “but you could just cut the trunk a little bit and the tree would lean over.” “The tree would be alright?” “Of course,” the snake hissed reassuringly, “this tree has stood for 240 years!” The boy considered the proposal. There was some risk to be sure but he was always a bold fellow and so he set to work. It took him the better part of two days but when he finished the last cut the tree groaned and cracked and leaned over. Now the boy could eat all the apples he wanted! He would lie on his back and just reach up and cram his mouth full and his belly got big and it gave him the runs but he was happy.  But after a while, he noticed the tree didn’t look so good. Insects had gotten into the cuts and feasted on the heart wood and rot followed the insects and the tree got sick and before long the tree died. The boy felt guilty. Worse, he was hungry. He grew gaunt. At night sometimes he would dream of the tree. One day the serpent found him and killed him and ate him. He was delicious. He tasted faintly of apples.

Raúl Esparza, Aaron Tveit, Kate Baldwin, and More at Dramatists Guild Fund Gala

The Dramatists Guild Fund held its annual benefit, Great Writers Thank Their Lucky Stars: The Presidential Edition, on November 7 at Gotham Hall. The annual event is the most critical fundraising event of the year for the Dramatists Guild Fund, the charitable arm of the Dramatists Guild of America. It featured Nell Benjamin, Mindi Dickstein, Carol Hall, Tom Kitt, Nan Knighton, Robert Schenkkan, Stephen Schwartz, and Stephen Sondheim introducing the stars who brought their work to life onstage. To read more, click here.

PLAYBILL - THE DRAMATIST FUND GALA

The evening celebrated the work of Nell Benjamin, Carol Hall, Tom Kitt, Robert Schenkkan, Stephen Schwartz, and more. To read more, click here.

‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Review: Saving Grace in the Firing Line

Impassioned patriotism and religious conviction constitute the core of “Hacksaw Ridge,” a stirring—and surpassingly violent—dramatization of the life of Desmond T. Doss, the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor. As an unarmed combat medic in World War II, Cpl. Doss saved the lives of at least 75 fellow infantrymen during a horrific battle on the Japanese-held island of Okinawa. He’s played by Andrew Garfield, whose extraordinary performance turns inner torment into ardent resolve, and a desperate heroism seldom seen on screen. To read more, click here.

Andrew Garfield goes to war in Mel Gibson's pacifist bloodbath 'Hacksaw Ridge'

“Hacksaw Ridge,” Mel Gibson’s latest high-minded cinematic massacre, tells the story of Desmond T. Doss, a God-fearing American pacifist who served as a combat medic during World War II and personally carried 75 wounded soldiers from the Battle of Okinawa, ultimately becoming the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor. His journey straddles two war zones — the first a largely psychological one, in which Doss endures the scorn and harassment of his fellow soldiers, and the second an intensely physical one, atop a treacherous 350-foot escarpment that gives the movie its title. Steeped in blood, guts and Christian iconography, “Hacksaw Ridge” is a tribute to one man’s courageous adherence to his deepest beliefs, made by a director whose commitment to his aesthetic principles is no less unswerving. To read more, click here.

Hacksaw Ridge’ Leads Australian Academy Awards Nominations – Full List

he Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts has set its nominations for Oz’s highest honors in both fields. Leading in the film races is Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge. The pacifist World War II action drama scored 13 nods including Best Film, Best Director, and a mention in each of the acting categories.To read more click here.

'Hacksaw Ridge' Review: Mel Gibson Returns With a War Movie About Peace

Mel Gibson is back, directing the bloody hell out of a war movie about ... peace. You may have issues with the star's past history of anger and intolerance. But you'll have no issue with Hacksaw Ridge, a movie about a different kind of brave heart. It's the fact-based, World War II story of Private First Class Desmond T. Doss, the first conscientious objector to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. Andrew Garfield, in the best performance of his career to date, plays Desmond, a feisty kid out of Virginia's Blue Ridge mountains who swears never to pick up a gun (he almost killed his daddy with one) and swears just as vehemently to go into combat as a medic. How does this cornstalk-skinny pacifist, a devoted Seventh-Day Adventist, enter the front lines where you shoot to kill just to stay alive? To read more, click here.

‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Review: Mel Gibson’s World War II Film Is Remarkable & Inspiring

It has taken decades for Hollywood to get around to making a movie about World War II hero Desmond Doss, but it hasn’t been the industry’s fault. Doss, the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor for bravery in battle, did not want his story told on the screen and resisted all studio attempts — including those from Darryl F. Zanuck and others — to turn it into a film about his heroic efforts in saving 75 men during the ferocious fight for Hacksaw Ridge. As I say in my video review above, it is no wonder filmmakers came calling because being a conscientious objector and never touching a gun was unheard of for soldiers actively involved in the war. Doss was nearly court-martialed for his refusal to carry or even handle a weapon, but eventually became a medic who turned out to be more brave than just about anyone in his unit — a true uncompromised hero. To read more, click here.

‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Writer Robert Schenkkan on Taking Notes, Writing Routines & More!

"If I had to choose a writer to emulate, it would be Robert Schenkkan. With a relaxed and amiable presence, and an organized, professional approach to writing for the screen and the stage, he makes hard work look easy. This, as we know, is the mark of excellence. He has a Pulitzer, a Tony award, and multiple Emmy nominations as further proof. He has carved a comfortable space for himself in the entertainment business with his passion for telling truthful stories through historical events. I had the pleasure of meeting Robert to discuss his career. Not surprisingly, the interview was nothing short of a master class in the requisite skills necessary for success and sustainability in the finicky industry of making movies. Robert’s latest screenwriting work is Hacksaw Ridge; a film based on the real-life events of U.S. Army medic, Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector, who saved the lives of over 50 soldiers in World War II without ever using a rifle. Doss received a Medal of Honor for his service, but shied away from the public spotlight, refusing interviews for years." To read more, click here.

Hacksaw Ridge: Why It Took a Lifetime to Make (Plus 10 Years)

"Hacksaw Ridge, this weekend’s new and poignant World War II film from director Mel Gibson, has been a long time coming. More than 70 years since those hellish days on the island of Okinawa, the courage and heroism of Desmond Doss, a Medal of Honor recipient who ran into combat and saved dozens of lives while refusing to ever lift a gun, has been mostly lost to the sands of time. This is in part because Doss, a Seventh-day Adventist, never felt comfortable sharing the story of his life to strangers—especially to those of the Hollywood variety, war movie icon Audie Murphy notwithstanding. Yet, near the very end of his life, his church was able to convince Doss to welcome the spotlight, illuminating how a man written off as “Conscientious Objector” by the Army became the pride and inspiration of his platoon in ‘45. Sadly, by the time Robert Schenkkan, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and screenwriter, was brought onboard to adapt the harrowing wartime trials and tribulations of Doss for the screen, Desmond was already on his way out, passing away in 2006. And it took Schenkkan, as well as producer Bill Mechanic, another decade to get that story on the screen." To read more, click here.

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