New Play by Lenny Schwartz to Premiere in Woonsocket This Month

The Motion Picture Camera of Louis Le Prince imagines what happened to the forgotten inventor of cinematography


An original story about the curious life of a French inventor and founding father of cinematography premieres this month in Woonsocket at the Beacon Charter School for the Arts. The Daydream Theatre Company in collaboration with the Rhode Island Stage Ensemble presents The Motion Picture Camera of Louis Le Prince, a new play written and directed by Lenny Schwartz. Based on a true story, the tale examines the mysterious circumstances around the death of Le Prince, who created a prototype movie camera several years before Thomas Edison, who is often credited with the invention. Scituate-based Schwartz, who has been writing plays since the mid-1990s, has been working on the story for several years.

“In college, I learned about Louis Le Prince. He shot early films with his family in 1888,” Schwartz explains. But soon after his invention was announced, he boarded a train and disappeared, never to be seen again. “Six months later, Thomas Edison came out with his first film camera,” adds Schwartz. “The play explores what might have happened to Le Prince. It goes through all the different theories.”

An advocate of local productions, Schwartz leads by example. He has appeared on panels at comic conventions and founded the Daydream Theatre Company, which focuses on bringing original scripts to the stage. “It’s always an adventure,” he notes. “If you write and you try getting these things out there, you will
eventually find your own audience. I like to make my own dreams come true and help other people make their dreams come true. It’s taken me places I never would have expected.”

“I think all the community theater that’s happening in Rhode Island is wonderful,” Schwartz says. “It’s great to see people come out, especially after the pandemic.” He

encourages new voices and hopes to see more people doing original work. “I would love to see people in Rhode Island writing their own plays, from all walks of life, all representations, people writing about their experiences. I think that would be awesome.”

Schwartz has written numerous plays over the years on a number of topics. “I’ve been doing biographical plays: one about film actor Buster Keaton, and others about comic book heroes of mine, like Bill Finger and Steve Ditko,” says Schwartz. “I’ve got a play coming next year about the creators of Superman, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.”

Back to Le Prince, Schwartz says, “It’s an important play for anyone who’s done theater or film, filmmakers in the state, anybody who’s ever done a TikTok video, just to see where it all started. It’s the story of the dark, dirty past where film started off – it was really the Wild West. It’s an amazing cast. They’re all fantastic. Audiences will see an original entertaining play and learn something about history.” April 11-13; 18-20, 8pm. Learn more at



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