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 Earl SennettEarl Sennett (January 21, 1921 - October 26, 2000) was an instructor at Mexico City College in the 1940s and 1950s. Mexico City attracted international gay visitors between the 1940s and 1960s, with its cultural life, low cost of living, the intelligentsia’s leftist orientation, and the city’s architectural beauty. Foreign homosexuals found opportunities in couture and design, including milliner Henri Chatillon, furniture designer Emmett Morley Webb and restaurateur and designer Jay de Laval. Earl Sennett directed the Mexico City Players, a theatrical troupe that included political dissidents like John T. Herrmann.

Earl Sennett was born in Baltimore, MD. He attended Patterson Park High School, class 1939. Sennett studied drama at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. In 1939 he first appeared on Broadway, with Maurice Evans, in Hamlet. During 1940 he directed a comedy season, as a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow, at the Baltimore Museum of Art, and taught drama at the Bard School in Maryland. He returned to Broadway with Maxwell Anderson's The Eve of St. Mark before being enlisted in the military, where he wrote and presented radio productions for Public Relations. He appeared in Mexico with the Teatro Americano in Boy Meets Girl, Our Town and Young Woodley. In Mexico he directed The importance of being Ernest for the Instituto Anglomexicano de Cultura.

Salvador Novo supported three Americans who had an impact on a Mexican stage that would also bear the stamp of Broadway: Earl Sennett, the Japanese American Seki Sano, and the Mexican American José Limón. Earl Sennett was the director of the Mexico City Players, an independent group that performed mainly in English. Sennett was talented, leftist, and gay. He associated with a wide range of international figures in Mexico at the time, including the exiled American Communist Party member John Herrman and William Burroughs, one of the writers of the Beat generation. James Grauerholx, Burroughs's biographer and editor, wrote about Sennett and Ted Robins of San Francisco that "neither Sennett nor Robins ever married." "Single," living together," and "San Francisco" were code words for "gay." Novo could see in Sennett his alter ego, a good professional who made others accept his homosexual condition.

Earl Sennett was the 1949 founder and guiding light of the Studio Players. Studio Players made its debut in August, 1949, when it staged the four Tennessee Williams one-act plays (that drew pious comments from Dean Murray) at the Bugambilia Club. The one-act plays were directed by Ed Torrence, protégé of the famous New York director Margo Jones. The staging was theatre-in-the-round, the first time theatre-in-the-round had been presented in Mexico. It was Glen Hughes of the University of Washington and Margo. Jones who separately developed this intimate form of theatre. Sennett was also the director for the English colony Mexico City Players.

In December 1950, the Writing Center, working with the MCC Studio Stages drama students under the direction of Earl Sennett, started bi-weekly radio shows on Station XEBS. Half hour dramatic presentations were presented.

When Sennett left for New York in 1954, the Studio Players remained dormant until Dave Roberts, the new Speech and Drama instructor, revived the group.

James Howard's play, Flyspray, is considered the first original script produced at the Cino; the play appeared sometime during the summer of 1960, directed by Earl Sennett and starring James Howard, A1 Greenfield, and Joe Davies. According to Joe Davies, the play was part of a trilogy (along with Mound and a now forgotten play), though he is unsure whether the other two plays were performed. A statement on the poster suggests that they might have been; it refers to the production as “an original play by James Howard,” the word “an” having been blacked-out. There is also some confusion over who was involved in the production since Johnson recalls appearing in it with Davies, though Johnson’s name does not appear on the poster.

Sennett died aged 79 in Sedona, Coconino County, Arizona.

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