The Autumn Garden


The Autumn Garden - the last scene


Constance Tuckerman's guest house living room.


Lillian Hellman wrote "The Autumn Garden" in 1951 and considered it her best play. Dashiell Hammett had a hand in the script (it is said he actually wrote the Griggs monolog found towards the end of the play), and Harold Clurman directed the first production of the play, which he wrote about in his book "On Directing". The Autumn Garden has never been made into a film.

I have directed and filmed the last scene from "The Autumn Garden", excerpted from "Famous American Plays of the 1950's" - selected and introduced by Lee Strasberg.

I chose the scene, auditioned many actors and subsequently cast 2 wonderful actors - John Squire as Edward "Ned" Crossman and Diane Quinn as Constance Tuckerman. We rehearsed, explored the scene and the subtext and the actors did an improv. I looked for good camera angles and I designed the set (or the set designed itself ... as I kept bringing in more and more items until we had Constance Tuckerman's living room, circa 1950).

Please see below for more story detail, DVD menu and production notes and shooting day challenges.


The Autumn Garden - Story Summary

Early September 1949, about 100 miles outside of New Orleans in a town on the Gulf of Mexico. Very end of the summer season at a summer guest house run by Constance Tuckerman, a handsome woman in her 40ís. This is how she earns her living, with assistance from her niece Sophie who she brought over from France, and Leon the black man who helps in the kitchen. Now Sophie has been able to get the money she needs to return to France and Constance will be alone.

Constance's portrait was painted by Nick Denery, who after an absence of 20 years has been visiting the guest house this season with his wife Nina. 20 years earlier Constance had been engaged to Nick, and at that time he painted the first portrait of her.

In this last scene of the play.. everyone's gone except Constance Tuckerman and Edward "Ned" Crossman, who is the only guest still staying at the guest house. He and Constance have been friends since childhood.

Click here for story detail ..... Story Detail

Click here for notes on the shooting day challenges..... Shooting Day Challenges

Click here for the DVD Production Notes and Main Menu..... DVD Menu

Diane Quinn as Constance Tuckerman
John Squire as Edward "Ned" Crossman




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Last modified September 2011.