THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH by George Axelrod


THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH was untraditional and innovative in its day. The central character, Richard, talks directly to the audience, never leaves the stage and everything is filtered through him; using flashbacks, fantasy sequences, and voiceovers by his and The Girl’s consciences.

When George Axelrod wrote THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH in 1952, he was already a veteran of 400 radio and film scripts. His one desire was to do a Broadway hit play. THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH played for 1141 shows and over three years on Broadway, before being made in to a movie.

In the film adaptation of THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH, Marilyn Monroe played the naïve girl next door who stores her undies in the freezer to keep herself cool in the summer heat. While the play was about an actual consummated affair (Richard and The Girl have sex and discuss the consequences) the screen adaptation had to be modified due to the Motion Picture Code in force at the time, and many of the best lines from the play were cut. This Moral Code dictated that “adultery must never be the subject of comedy or laughter.”  The frustrated film director, Billy Wilder stated; “How can you make a film about adultery without adultery”? Also, much to the dismay of the playwright George Axelrod, the film plot not only emasculated the adultery storyline but also shifted the focus from Richard to The Girl.

In our production, we will adhere to Axelrod’s aims and use his Original 1952 Play Script for our reading!

The Plot in a Nutshell: Richard Sherman roams restlessly around his empty apartment, bemoaning the fact that his wife of seven years, and their son, have just walked out on him. Then, without warning, a gigantic flower pot tumbles down from an overhead balcony, nearly putting him out of his misery permanently. The jarring event has a strange effect on Richard and he now sees his marriage as wasted time and feels it necessary to exercise his libido as quickly as possible. Suddenly reborn, he invites the delectable doll living upstairs down for an evening of temptation…

For those who have always assumed that the 1950s in America were the puritanical years, THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH by George Axelrod, shows that lax morality and one-night stands were there all the time, it’s just that the movies wouldn’t admit it.

Performance – Monday, September 10 at 20:00 hrs im MERLIN

Featuring – Sara Conawy & David Burmedi

NEAT Photos – Uka Meissner-deRuiz

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