Apr 12, 2002
Barefoot in the Park by Marvin Neil Simon was written in 1963 and published by Random House in June 1964 (Tan www.happening.com.sg/livehtml/features/0111barefoot.html). Because of its popularity, it was also made into a screenplay in 1967 (Tan).
Simon said that he started writing this play about his first wife, Joan (Wolfer & Nelson Nauvoo.byu.edu/TheArts/Theatre/studypackets/lesson23/Influence.html). Joan and Simon, who were married in the summer of 1954, also had a rocky period as newlyweds as do the characters of Corie and Paul. For their honeymoon, Neil and Joan book passages on the French liner the Liberte in the economy class (www.ibdb.com/production.asp?ID=3036). They were stuck in a very small, window-less cabin with bunk beds. The cabin was also set above the ship's huge engines that provided never-ending noise. Joan was seasick throughout the trip and rarely left her bunk. The couple encountered other travel woes on their trip.
For Simon, the memories of his bumping honeymoon provided inspiration for Barefoot in the Park. He built in similar, annoying challenges for the characters of Corie and Paul: the apartment was five flights up, (if you don't count the stoop) the water had not been turned on yet, there was a hole in the skylight, and the list goes on.
Simon said that he and Joan faced other newlywed troubles during the early years of their marriage that inspired this story. In a review by David Kehr of the Chicago Reader, Simon alluded to the play's closeness to his own life experiences: "According to Simon, this story of newlyweds confronting their first New York apartment is largely autobiographical, which may account for its relatively (an pleasantly) loose structure" (www.rottentomatoes.com/click/movie-1001664/reviews.php?critic=all&sortby=default&page=1&rid=1673).
This play was written close to the beginning of Simon's career. While he was nearly 35...