Theater Review / Scott and Hem

By Diane Johnson

Dramatic, intelligent and thought provoking Scott and Hem is a spectacular performance now playing at the Red Barn Theater.

Written by American playwright Mark St. Germain, this fictional meeting between Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald explores the passions and fears of these famous writers, as well as their love-hate relationship. The setting is Hollywood in 1937 where Scott is attempting to complete a screenplay and stay off the booze. Enter Hemingway, the brooder who uses alcohol liberally to stimulate his creativity. Interestingly, both men are haunted by the fear they are “out of words”. This fear, which could be a common bond, instead creates a rivalry, resulting in the two coming to physical blows.

The talented Tom Wahl plays F. Scott Fitzgerald and is Co-Director for the show. His patience runs dry when Hemingway continues to bait him with unkind comments about his wife Zelda. Gregg Weiner portrays the famous writer Hemingway, who can’t seem to get through a sentence without taking a nip from the bottle or popping some Dexedrine pills. Weiner is also a Co-Director and is pleased to be making his debut with the Red Barn with a favorite of his, Scott and Hem.

The dialogue is very intense as the two men expose their innermost feelings about women, children and their families of origin. It’s those early childhood memories that still haunt Hemingway. His father’s suicide and mother’s insistence he dress in girl’s clothes have left him scarred. Like two fighters in a ring, they continue to poke at each other just to get a reaction. Scott and Hem are also critical of their fellow authors including William Falkner and Margaret Mitchell. Their scorn for the dialogue from Gone With the Wind knows no bounds.

Eve Montaigne played by George DiBraud, inserts some levity into the drama between Scott and Hemingway. Eve is the personal assistant to Mr. Mayer and a tough taskmaster. Her sharp tongue challenges each of them at every turn, and she makes sure Scott stays sober. My favorite line was when she said, “writers like you make actors look like adults”. George is a talented and dedicated actress who just completed Casa Valentina at the Waterfront less than a week ago.

Alcohol binds all three characters together. Eve is a recovering alcoholic. Scott and Hemingway hear voices in their head, which give rise to their great novels. The irony is in order to sleep those voices must be drowned out and alcohol does the trick.

Scott and Hem is R.J. Conn’s last show with the Red Barn. His skills with set and lighting design will be sorely missed. Carmen Rodriguez is the costumer for Eve and the prop mistress. Jaime Laba is the stage manager and is delighted to be back at the Red Barn.

Scott and Hem is now playing from January 15th to the 31st at the Red Barn Theater. For tickets, call the box office at: 305-296-9911 or go online at:

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