Timeline | Will Rogers Life | United States



	A.	Time:

		1.	Time of Composition: The play was originally written in 1993
		2.	Time of Action: The show is presented to a present day audience and represents a flash back in time between
			the years of the life of Will Rogers - 1879-1935
		3.	Dramatic Action: There are two types of dramatic action taking place simultaneously on stage: The dramatic
			action, or rather the production numbers, of the follies is the back drop for telling the story of Will Rogers'
			life as well as introducing and reiterating the idea of the show, which will be addressed in a separate section.
			The dramatic action of the story of the play takes place at varying pertinent moments of the life of Will Rogers.

			1.	Birth of Will Rogers
			2.	Will leaves home
			3.	Will meets Betty
			4.	Long distant courtship
			5.	Will returns - proposal at the fair
			6.	Marriage, children and Vaudeville
			7.	Disenchanted Betty - off to the follies
			8.	Off to Hollywood - seeking Clem's approval
			9.	Wedding - official-like (production number)
			10.	Follies - Advice to a Roper
			11.	Will Rogers for President - the De-Bunk Party
			12.	Betty laments - Will comes home
			13.	Radio and The Great Depression; Clem pep talk
			14.	Good bye, Betty - off to fly to Alaska with Wiley
			15.	A nation mourns
			16.	Thank you and goodnight

	B.	Place:

		1.	Though over seas locations are mentioned, the action of the play is set in the United States. The locals primarily
			a.	Oklahoma
			b.	St. Louis
			c.	various small towns
			d.	New York
			e.	Washington D.C.
			f.	California
			g.	Alaska

		2.	Specific Locales include:
			a.	Ranch house
			b.	Railroad station in Oolagah / the moon
			c.	The fair in St. Louis
			d.	Nondescript  Vaudeville performance venue
			e.	Large theater stage in New York City
			f.	Large estate house

	C.	Society:

		1.	Families:
			a.	Clem, six daughters and Will
			b.	Betty and six sisters
			c.	Betty's brother-in-law
			d.	Betty, Will and kids
			e.	Clem and grandkids

		2.	Love and Friendship:
			a.	Betty and Will, pre-marriage
			b.	Will and Wiley
			c.	Will and Ziegfeld
			d.	Ziegfeld and Favorite

		3.	Occupation:
			a.	Rancher
			b.	Cowboy
			c.	Freight office receiptionist
			d.	Entertainer
			e.	Clergy
			f.	House wife
			g.	Parent
			h.	Professional Roper
			i.	Stage Manager
			j.	Talent Promoter
			k.	Producer
			l.	Director
			m.	Dancer
			n.	Wardrobe / Costumers
			o.	Stagehands
			p.	Butler
			q.	Pianist
			r.	Chorus Girl
			s.	Radio Engineer
			t.	Politician
			u.	Radio Personality
			v.	Movie Star
			w.	Announcer
			x.	Newspaper Columnist
			y.	Airplane Pilot
			z.	Philanthropist

	D.	Economics: Given that the action of the play runs through the life span of a man, and covers several decades of
		presidents, the economic conditions of the world of the play include the wealth of Ziegfeld and eventually Will Rogers,
		the working class of ranchers and Betty working at the railroad station to the poverty of the United States in general
		during the Great Depression

	E.	Politics and Law: The Presidential Elections as well as the politics of the times then and now are discussed in great

	F.	Intellect and Culture/Learning and the Arts: There are examples throughout the script demonstrated by the various
		types of entertainment and communications in which Will Rogers participated. Including:

		1.	The Arts / Entertainment:

			a.	Roper - Wild West Shows
			b.	Vaudeville
			c.	Follies
			d.	Film

		2.	Intellect:

			a.	Newspaper Column
			b.	Radio - weekly opinion program
			c.	Addressed Political Conventions

	G.	Spirituality:

		1.	Formal religious features: Marriage; last rites

		2.	Any beliefs in the divine: After life of his father and son

		3.	Spiritual values: references to fidelity in marriage


	This is not a plot-driven play. We know the end from the beginning so there is no suspense or discovery process. The title
	of the production is, "The Will Rogers Follies - A Life in Revue." Where another play of an individual's life might be
	presented as a cautionary tale, a retelling of the life of Will Rogers is designed to inspire. On the cover page of the
	script it states how the play came to being: "Inspired by the words of Will and Betty Rogers." It is from their words, and
	the intent of the script as stated, that I come upon the ideas presented through the wit, wisdom and no-nonsense common
	sense declarations made by these individuals in interpreting the meaning of the play.


	These are historic figures. The play gives us an insight into their personalities, desires, values and so forth.
	Additionally we have history as a reference to insight into who these people were. There is included with this analysis a
	separate section entitled "Characters" which expounds characters presented in the play by way of historical research.
	Included here is a thumbnail into the characters, based solely on the representations of the playwright. Will Rogers is the
	only truly full developed character so there follows a full description of him. Other characters are mentioned generally, as
	they are depicted in the script.

	A.	Will Rogers:

		1.	Objectives: Will strives to live true to himself, which appears to be that he aims to live an honest life, in the
			traditions of the times in which he lived.

		2.	Qualities: A straight-forward and honest individual, he holds traditional values dear and values, respects and
			honors his personal relationships.

		3.	Role Conflicts: As a son, his desires conflict with those of his father. As a husband and father, occasionally his
			professional and civic roles conflicted with the needs of his family.

		4.	Conflicts of Objectives:  The world in which he lived frequently created opportunity for him to express his views
			against the conditions which were presented. He spoke out against hypocrisy, pointing out the differences in how a
			life was often lead against how it ought to be lived.

		5.	Willpower: A very strong-willed individual

		6.	Values: Including but limited to, hard work, relationships, honor, morals, integrity and humans as individuals

		7.	Personality Traits: Including but not limited to candid, blunt, self-confident, humble, kind, generous, appreciative,
			honorable, stubborn, creative, intuitive, wise, observant, tactful and respectful. He describes himself in the show
			as "painfully shy."

		8.	Complexity: He was not a complex individual. What you saw was what you got.

		9.	Relationships: By his own words, "I never met a man I didn't like" and by his actions, appears that all of his
			relationships - personal, professional and pubic - were important to him and treated with respect.

	B.	Betty Rogers:	 Betty is a kind-hearted and honest individual. She seems to have been a good match and loyal
		companion to her husband. Her love and devotion toward him is supported by and illustrated through the songs
		and text in the script. She seems to be a bit long-suffering, in that she would do whatever she had to without
		complaint. Fortunately, he was intuitive enough to realize when she was being a martyr and changed the situation
		to better serve their relationship.

	C.	Clem Rogers: Clem is a hard and stubborn man, but not without a good sense of the reality of a situation. He is
		presented as crotchety, ill-tempered and hard-headed. He is also depicted as loving, in his own way,' meaning
		that he voices approval or pride for Will by way of a back-handed compliment. He too values his relationships.
		This is shown in the script by his ability to not hold a grudge to the point of destroying his relationship
		with his son. He also exhibits the values of hard work and dedication to family values. Nobody can have that
		many daughters and not be (1) stubborn in his relentless pursuit of a son and (2) patient.

	D.	Other Less-Major Characters: Ziegfeld is depicted as a rigid and successful business man who is set in his ways.
		Zig's favorite is career driven. Wiley seems a devoted friend with his passion for flying being his driving force.


	A.	Idea in Words:  The words, both in dialogue and lyric, point us in the direction of life and living it.

	B.	Idea in Character:  All of the characters are "Doers" - whether it be Ziegfeld, who is decidedly a Type A personality;
		industries Clem; proactive Betty; go-getter Zig's Favorite; enthusiastic Wiley or the ultimate overachiever Will Rogers

	C.	Idea in the Plot:  The plot' is the life history of a man who came from little and from it fashioned much.

	D.	Title:  The word "Follies" could questioned, especially in connection with the "Life in Review" as to meaning the
		Follies of men, as life's theme generally tends to be. A song toward the end of the shows Will's father Clem says,
		"Your wit and wisdom let us see all the foibles if this century." But more importantly I believe the "Life in Review"
		part of the title is most worth considering. In reviewing his life, or anyone's life for that matter, we just also
		consider our own. What have we become? What have we made of our life? What Will Rogers made of his life is
		inspiring in the most positive of influences. You go in with the expectation of reviewing his life, and come out
		having appreciated why one might want to review his life - as a model and inspiration towards improving out own
		outlooks and actions.

	E.	Philosophical Statements in the Play:

		1.	"Never met a man I didn't like"
		2.	"There's nothing wrong with swinging a rope. Long as your neck's not in it."
		3.	"Give a man enough rope and he could wind up hanging down from a tree or spin himself a life."
		4.	"He can get all tangled in the figure eights he tries to spin."
		5.	"An actor's ego is the only thing there is that keeps on growing without any nourishment."
		6.	"That's what greatness is, Willie ' leavin' the world different from the way you found it"
		7.	"Any morning you could wake up dead and then it's too late"
		8.	"You'd think that some of our Big Men would understand that and try to fix it, ... Because if they don't do that
			then they're not Big Men and that's all there is to it."
		9.	"We hold the distinction of being the only nation in the history of the world that ever went to the poorhouse in
			an automobile."
		10.	"A man can make a million dollars overnight and he's on every front page in the morning. But it never tells who
			gave up that million that he got."
		11.	"There's not a one of us that has anything that doesn't owe part o it to those who need it."
		12.	"It takes time to judge the true worth of a man. Someone who looks awful big could turn out to be a joke in the
			history books."
		13.	"Nobody stays up forever."
		14.	"An Indian always looks back after he passes something so he can get a view of it from both sides. That's why
			you	must never judge a man while you're facing him."
		15.	"My best advice to you is to start livin' in a such a way that you'll never be embarrassed to have Mr. Ziegfeld
			do a show about you."

	F.	Main Idea:  The Main Idea appears to be: Take whatever life hands you and make something good from it.

© Derrick Hampson