Caltech Playreaders: "Bee-Luther-Hatchee" by Thomas Gibbons
Directed by Diana St. James.
Editor Shelita Burns has just published the haunting memoir Bee-Luther-Hatchee, written by a 72-year-old Southern woman named Libby Price who turns out to be as reclusive as J.D. Salinger. As awards and accolades pour in for the book, Shelita grows ever more determined to meet the mysterious woman whose manuscript spoke to her so deeply. When she does, what she finds out threatens to ruin her career.
Much like the scandal that erupted after the discovery that James Frey fabricated portions of A Million Little Pieces, his purported autobiography, Bee-Luther-Hatchee raises questions of literary authenticity. Who owns a story — those living it, or those witnessing it? How much bending of the truth is allowed in a memoir? It there an implicit trust between the reader and the writer that needs to be upheld? Do a good story and touching writing stand independently from the identity of the storyteller?