Jules Feiffer's Pulitzer Prize-winning comic strip ran in the Village Voice for 42 years, originally under the title "Sick, Sick, Sick" - "so people who know my work know what to expect." What they can expect Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Huntington's Cinema Arts Centre is Feiffer's "Little Murders," the 1971 black comedy, accompanied by Feiffer, 82, himself. He will be interviewed by the Centre's Jud Newborn, sign copies of his memoir ("Backing Into Forward") and answer questions about the film, based on his Obie-winning play.
"Little Murders" was inspired by the darkest days of late '60s-early '70s New York City. How do you think it holds up?
What's interesting is that I saw it again a few months ago, and it seems that whatever the prevailing climate - political, cultural, whatever - the movie, and the play, too, pick it up on it and it affects one's idea of what the piece is about. So when I saw it a month or so ago after about a year it was entirely different from a year before. I said, ''Oh my God, it's about the tea party movement."
Did you write it that way?
No, I wrote it at the time as a cautionary tale, hoping against hope that it would date itself very quickly, that we would have improved on things. And apparently just the opposite.
For all the film's notoriety, the stage version was short-lived, no?
There are two versions: It had a short life on Broadway, where it ran a week. And then it was brought back in a production Off-Broadway directed by Alan Arkin and it ran over two years and got all sorts of awards. The difference was, one, Arkin's production, and, two, the critics, having been slow on the uptake two years earlier, caught up to what I was talking about.
You're teaching at Stony Brook Southampton now. What are the kids like?
Only about half of them can technically be called kids because it's an MFA workshop and they range from age 20 to 70. You never know what you're going to get. My current class is terrific, good writers. I try to stymie them with assignments and they keep coming up with responses. They do it with skill and professionalism. And I can't stand it.
WHEN | WHERE Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington
TICKETS: Members: $20; nonmembers: $30
INFO: 631-423-7611, cinemaartscentre.org