John Cassavetes “Three Plays of Love and Hate”
A Photojournalistic Series by Steve Reisch
At the beginning of 1981, John Cassavetes, largely considered the “grandfather of independent film,” had an unshakable desire to direct, finance and produce three interconnecting full-length plays in Los Angeles. This momentous event at the Center Theatre included plays written by Ted Allan, and would be titled “Three Plays of Love and Hate.” As a hungry, albeit naïve, young actor and photographer, who deeply connected to John’s work, I knew I had to be involved. I approached John with my desire to document the entire event in a photo journalistic style. For some reason of which I’ll forever be grateful, he agreed.
Over the next six months, I created 3,000 images as a photographer. The quality and quantity of talent that passed through the doors of the theatre, volunteering their time and talent, was staggering. The remarkable cast and crew included Gena Rowlands, Jon Voight, Peter Falk, Nick Cassavetes, James Eric and Bo Harwood, to name but a few.
The following are some of my favorite photographs from the collection. These images, all taken with natural light, adorned the walls of the Center Theater on opening night but have not been seen by the public since June of 1981, when the curtain went down on the productions for the final time.