The Groves of Academe
(Included in the volume THE GROVES OF ACADEME AND THE PLUMBER'S APPRENTICE)
THE STORY: The scene is the cramped office of Bill Groves, an assistant professor of English at a prestigious university, where he is visited by Paul Morris, a rather quirky undergraduate who asks to be admitted to an honors seminar on comedy. In a series of quick-changing scenes which span the school year, the two discuss Paul’s academic record, the subject of his term paper and, as they become more at ease with each other, their private lives and feelings. Paul has an off-the-wall attitude toward college and life in general that first startles, then amuses, and ultimately impresses the older man, while Paul’s opinions and behavior are gradually influenced as much by Groves’ individual qualities as by his intellectual attainments. Highly amusing and sharply observant, the play conveys much about the academic “treadmill,” but even more about the special strengths that can be nurtured when student and teacher reach beyond the formal relationship that, so often, is all that exists between them.
Originally presented by the Actors Theatre of Louisville, as part of its one-act play festival. A remarkably inventive first play which, with humor and rare insight, studies the subtly changing relationship between a brightly precocious young college student and the professor under whom he is taking an honors seminar. “…beautifully crafted authenticity of character observation.” —Other Stages.