One of the season’s most thrilling eventsis Tom Stoppard’s three-play epic The Coast of Utopia at Lincoln Center Theater. It chronicles the lives of the dissident thinkerswho triggered change in mid-19th century Czarist Russia. This nine-hour trilogy has a cast of forty-fouractors playing over seventy roles. I’m Ted Chapin for the American Theatre Wing. Welcome to “Working in the Theater.” Joining us today to talk about their rolesin the production and their lives as actors are Jennifer Ehle, Ethan Hawke, Amy Irving,and Josh Hamilton. Now, I wanted to start by asking the samequestion to all of you– which is basically what on earth possessed you to spend eightmonths of your life in a three-hour– in a three-part, nine-hour trilogy about Russiandissident thinkers? Jennifer? That actually wasn’t my fear. (LAUGHTER) I had no doubt that this was anextraordinary piece of work. And– I– I loved reading it. It’s really a three-part play, that’s a triptych. And I– I adored it. I adored the idea of a chance to work withJack O’Brien (PH). And it’s so rare that one is able to do repertorytheater anywhere in America– let alone in Manhattan. My fear was that it would be like living onan oil rig, and that was all that worried me. Meaning just so much work. Just being cut off– So much work and being completely cut offfrom your life. Yeah, yeah, yeah. An offshore oil rig. Exactly. Yeah, right. And– but– and– and it– it had– it hasbeen in some ways. And in– in other ways, it hasn’t. It’s– it’s certainly– the most extraordinaryexperience I’ve had in the theater and the– the project I’m proudest to have been a partof. Great. Ethan? Well, I remember one thing that– Stoppardsaid at the– the first day of rehearsals that nobody’s gonna see this and walk outand say, “Thank god, I finally know everything about mid-19th century Russian radicals thatI ever wanted to know.” Right. It’s– you– you can phrase it like it’s anine-hour thing about Russian dissidents. But it’s a play about life. And it’s an incredibly ambitious one. It’s not interesting because it’s about Russianradicals necessarily. It’s interesting because the people are recognizableand the lives they have and the politics that they are struggling with are recognizableto ones that we deal with. And it’s kind of fun to be isolated– to takea period of history and isolate it from common– from– from right now so that it’s– you don’thave a knee-jerk liberal response or a knee-jerk conservative response. You just kind of take the politics. And you don’t know– we all have a stanceon the Iraq War. We all have a stance on– what to do withenvironmental rights. We don’t have a stance on, you know, the–the serfdom, you know? So you can kind of listen to ideas and it’sreally kind of– I’m against it. You’re against it. (LAUGHTER) Yeah. So–(OVERTALK) And so to be honest, I can’t imagine– there’svery few actors who are really serious about
And so to be honest, I can’t imagine– there’svery few actors who are really serious about the craft of acting that wouldn’t say yesto anything Tom Stoppard, Lincoln Center, and Jack O’Brien offered them. That– that– that triptych is a very powerfulone if you’re sincere in your interest in the craft of acting. Do you agree, Amy? Yeah, but I mean, also this plays deals–I mean, one of the first things we were all told to read was– Romantic Exiles, whichdeals with the sex lives and the romance and the triangles and all that goes on in– in–in the lives of these people, which is, you know, a really good read. It has nothing to do with– it’s not overanybody’s head. And that’s– that’s part of the story we’retelling as well. I personally– when I was asked to come bein this project, not only is it Jack O’Brien, Tom Stoppard, but– my father was the artisticdirector at Lincoln Center from 1965 to ’72. So it was like going home. And– Jennifer and I share a dressing room,and it was my mom’s dressing room when I was a girl. And– it’s– it’s– it’s kind of history. Jack really– Jack O’Brien wanted to bringJennifer back there, too, ’cause her mother, Rosemary Harris, was there when my dad producedStreetcar Named Desire. Trish O’Neil (PH), who’s a member of the cast–played Stella in that production. There’s a whole lot of–(OVERTALK) Trish Connelly (PH). What did I say? Trish O’Neil. Oh, who’s that? I don’t know. (LAUGHTER) Can you edit that? Anyway. So I mean, for me it was– it was going home. I have to say I love it– when– when youcame out on stage and I saw you and I thought, too, about your– your parents and your historyin that theater. I thought it was great. Oh, thanks. Josh, so what did– what– what convincedyou to do this? I just needed a job. (LAUGHTER)(OVERTALK) I like long jobs. (LAUGHTER) No, I– I mean, I’ve always– I’vealways– tried to see Stoppard’s plays whenever I– whenever I could. I’ve always– you know? And– so– but last– about a year ago– agood friend of mine said, “You know, they’re finally bringing those over. You should get some– a copy of them and readthem.” So I– I bought all three plays and I readthem. And I just was like on fire. I said, “I have to be a part of this somehow.” And– and basically I just, you know, harassedthem until they let me– until they let me be a part of it. And I love ensembles. This is like the definition of ensemble acting. And– You know, am I– am I allowed you to tellyour– your moment post-getting the part? Okay. (LAUGHTER) Well, it– Josh and I have done a lot of playstogether. (OVERTALK) And– and– the– Josh read the plays, wason fire, desperate to be a part of it, got
And– and– the– Josh read the plays, wason fire, desperate to be a part of it, got a part of it. And then called me up the next day and said,”Isn’t my part really small?” (LAUGHTER) “Am I gonna be miserable?” Because, I mean, that’s been the big– ifyou really wanna be a part of a company, everybody loves these expressions, it’s ensemble work,it’s company work. It’s hard on the ego. And people who are actors and who are successfulactors, you don’t– didn’t get into it– because you’re good at things like humility, you–you know? (LAUGHTER) I mean, that– that– and so it’s a– it’sreally challenging. It is. You know, it’s– Josh is, in– in a way, Ithink you’re– you know, to use Jack O’Brien’s– your triumph is the greatest triumph becauseJack is– you know, Josh plays– a small– like has two scene– three scenes in the firsttwo plays and then, you know, becomes one of the leads in the third. And so he had to go through six months ofrehearsal of rehearsing three scenes, you know? And doing them and going through all these–(OVERTALK) But knowing that– that there’d be–(OVERTALK) He did have a payoff. Yeah, that the payoff was– was coming. Yeah. Well, I think we– we understand that– thatin a fascinating way, we– you know, among the four of you, Jennifer plays three distinctdifferent parts in each– in the three plays. Ethan, you play the same role all the waythrough. Amy plays two roles in only the first twoand not in the third. Don’t say “only.” I get to. No, I’m not say– (LAUGHTER) I get to the–the privilege of. But I think, I mean, certainly as an audiencemember, that’s one– one of the most fascinating things– It’s so– –is to be able to see, “Oh, wait a minute,that’s not the same character, but that’s, you know, that’s the same actor.” That’s different for us actors, too. I mean, to be able to play such diverse charactersin one day. I mean, it’s– And that’s– my friends who come see the show,that’s their– one of the things that’s the most thrilling about it is to watch– youknow, Josh and I play the same character. Watching you guys play different people isso much fun for the audience– just– I mean, I think it is neat to watch. Now, Stoppard– in an interview said thathe doesn’t rewrite his plays but he adjusts them. And he was around for a fair amount for this,was he not? Most of the time. (OVERTALK) Did he– did he make adjustments? Oh, yeah. And if so, what kind? A lot. I mean, the first six weeks of rehearsal wasliterally– we started with a– a round table. And it was like this master class where hewould just tell us where the inspiration came for the play– what– what ideas he was bringingto the play, explain anything we didn’t understand because we’re not gonna be able to conveyit to the audience if we don’t know what we’re talking about, you know, from the ginger catto everything. I mean, we– all a different philosophies. And– it was– it was anything that wouldcome along that didn’t– didn’t necessarily work or– or something, he was right there.
falutin brain teaser work or– or something, he was right there.
work or– or something, he was right there. Often it was going back to the original text’cause he cut a lot because the original production in London was longer. And some of the cuts didn’t work. I mean, some of them you just felt like, youknow, I remember Josh and I are married in this– well, we– yeah, we were married inthe second play. And– and there was some character thing aboutus that wasn’t clear. And I said– I went back to the London textand I went, “Ah. So that’s what we’re talking about.” And I said, “Look, it’s not that I want morelines, but– you know, (LAUGHTER) this makes it a lot clearer.” And Tom was like, “Of course, of course. You know, what was I thinking?” And– and he was open to all sorts of– whateverwe needed to make it work. And to– and since– since it is based onhistorical figures but as– as Stoppard, in his inevitable brilliance, sort of connectingthe dots through a complete fictionalization– were you urged to research the people you’replaying? Oh, yeah, there– there’s a– a dramaturgeat the theater, Anna– Ann– VARIOUS VOICESKantanio (PH). –Kantanio, thank you. I wasn’t gonna get that wrong. And she actually researched each of our charactersseparately and gave us specifically what we needed to read as well as there was so manythings that you can read. And we– we’re all smarter than we used tobe. (LAUGHTER) But– specific– character specific. She– she helped us find. And there’s tons of material on these characters. Clearly, clearly. And I have to say I– I give Ann great creditbecause the slips that come in the program– explain– Very helpful. –(UNINTEL) enough– I mean, when– when Isaw Part One, I– I hope she doesn’t mind my saying so. But Andrea Martin was sitting next to me andsort of was panicked at the beginning like she hadn’t done her homework. Yeah, you don’t need– And I said, I’m– –to read anything. –I’m at the theater and I– I know it’s–Stoppard also says that he– he hopes that these plays– he considers these plays distinctplays, that he likes them played together but also they’re– each one is a distinct–distinct play. (OVERTALK) We also went– we went to– some of the actorswent to Russia right before– we started rehearsals. Some of the actors went to Russia. Josh went to Russia. (OVERTALK) The really cool actors went to Russia. (LAUGHTER) The– the best of the actors. On your own or under somebody’s auspices? Well, on our own but we– because– throughTom and through Ann and– and people that we had these connections ’cause we got tomeet the guy– who translated the play into Russian, because they’re actually rehearsingThe Coast of Utopia in Moscow right now. Wow. So– we had– we had dinner with the guy whotranslated it into Russian. And then we met a lot of the actors who–from the Russian company. We met our counterparts. Brianne– Burn (PH), Martha Plimpton, andJason (UNINTEL) Harner (PH) and I went over for a– a little over two weeks.
for a– a little over two weeks. Wow. Yeah. Are you– are you believers in– in researchunder any circumstances as actors for your roles? Yeah. Do you– do you tend to dive in? Jennifer, do you tend to dive in and– I see it as an opportunity to– to learn andto satisfy curiosity. I don’t find it important for the piece orfor the character. But I do enjoy learning what I can as yousort of are going along. Yeah. Romantic Exiles is an incredible read. It really is. Amy’s right. It’s like a beach read. I mean, you can’t put it down. And I read an interview with– somewhere whereTom said it’s a book you can read in an evening. And I’m not sure (LAUGHTER) that I would saythat that’s (UNINTEL) for me. (OVERTALK) But– in– in one of Tom’s evenings, he canread it. But it is– it is a wonderful book. And– I found that fascinating. But I– you know, I– I just– I like the–I like– I like the text, and I kind of– that’s– that’s my thing. But I enjoy whatever else I can pick up alongthe way. I must say, just because they didn’t go toRussia, I still think they were really good in the play. (LAUGHTER) (LAUGHTER) I love being able to do researchon a role. When there’s material there– I mean, I justdid a one-woman show about Elizabeth Bishop. And, you know, she has this book of 2,000pages of her letters through her life. And it’s like seeds planting inside of you. So, I mean, you can– your character has justthat much more to resonate off of. And this play just– but sometimes you haveto throw reality away in drama. I mean, I read about– in the first char–play, I play Jennifer’s and– I play all the– everybody’s mother. (LAUGHTER) And– and– I started to learnwhat my role was at that time, what the women did as far as keeping the slaves, the serfsin line and– and how serious it was to get these girls married off or the kind of livesthey’ll have without it. And– and a lot of them were kind of verydepressing characters. And then Tom said to me– I mean– Jack saidto me one day, “You know, you have a really good marriage.” I went, “Oh.” So instead of using what the general– generalwomen went through at that time, I was like, “Okay, I do all that. But I have a good marriage.” So I didn’t have to be kind of dour and depressingall the time. I got to have some fun and being married to,you know, Richard Easton is fun. Right. (LAUGHTER) I mean, is– is– is Stoppard atall intimidating? I mean, one– one might get from his– fromhis– the mind as evidenced through his work that he would be intimidating. I’m scared to have dinner with him. (LAUGHTER) I think maybe he knows that people tend tobe. And so I think he goes out of his way to beincredibly gracious and kind and sort of– you know, sort of gives– has great faithand– and– in your intelligence as sort of– He never lets you feel stupid. No. I mean, he’ll sort of– he– he– he– he–is very gentle with his– his great intellect I think. I also think that’s the real gift of his plays. There– there’s this idea that, you know,that it’s so highbrow and it’s so intelligent. Every time I’ve gone to see one of his plays–and I’ve heard– I’ve heard other people say this– I feel smart when I leave because hetreats you with such respect as an audience member. And you can follow it. And, I mean, I think the great– part of theway The Coast of Utopia has been so successful is that people think, “Oh, mid-19th centuryRussian radicalism. It’s nine hours. It’s– I’m gonna go there, it’s gonna be likesigning up for Harvard or something.” Then you go there and it’s about love affairsand brothers and sisters crying and people having– And it’s funny. –you know, people breaking up with– andyou’re like, “Oh, wow. I get this.” And it also deals with some real– excitingideas and some real political thinking and some real spiritual thinking. And you feel like, yeah, I can handle allthat. I felt that way when I left Arcadia. I felt that way when I left Invention of Love. And it’s funny. And you get the jokes. So it’s– it’s not– and he does that as aman, too. I– I think he is very intimidating. I think– I don’t know why. I– there are people that walk this earththat, for some reason, you– But I think it’s what we bring to it. It’s not the way he acts. (OVERTALK) True. It’s not his fault. You know, he doesn’t intimidate you. It’s what we come to it thinking, like, “Oh,gosh, I can’t say anything about it because he’s Tom Stoppard.” But he doesn’t do anything to make you feelthat way. It’s– Yeah. Yeah. Right? (LAUGHTER) What– what about Jack O’Brien? I mean, I think– I think Jack O’Brien hasalways been a very good director. And I have to say when I saw this play, Ithought, Wow, you know, he’s now at the top of the list. I mean, this is– this is– this is an extraordinarywork of theater. Again, I– when I sat next to, you know, Andrea,Debra Monk was sitting next to Andrea. And I said, you know, “This is amazing.” And she said, “Jack makes it fun.” Jack just makes it fun. I mean, is– is that a good way to characterizeJack O’Brien? Oh, yeah. We– I mean, he’s a one-man band. (LAUGHTER) I mean, he’s not only coming upwith these inspirational ideas how to do a play, he knows how to tell you how to findyour character. He keeps you laughing all the time. He makes every single character, every singleactor in that company feel important to the whole thing. He’s– he’s beyond– I mean, I– I think workingwith him was the best experience I’ve ever had working with a director. Yeah, he’s a good director. During notes, I mean, people would just berapt at note sessions, even though they might not–(OVERTALK) –wouldn’t have a note for like– you know,in that– in that play. But they’d– people– he’d say things andpeople would actually just write down like– other people’s notes because they’re justso beautifully thought out and phrased and– And– and what– what is– what is it thata good director gives– gives an actor? I mean, creating an atmosphere to begin withand– and– Well, I’ll tell you one thing. The biggest thing about Jack is I did– I’vedone two plays but five plays, you know? We did the Henrys– Henry I and II and thisCoast of Utopia is three plays, which was these two giant endeavors. And he is tremendously successful at makingeverybody in the design team, the actors, the– we are all in service of something largerthan ourselves. And you– you know, I mean, he– he’s verygood at that. That we are all on– that we have a message. We have a– we are delivering a story. And as soon as– and he’s– he’s really goodat team, at a sense of team and community and getting everybody united around the ideas. And I think that that– that is where hisgreat skill set lies. And he has fun. I mean, you know he’s enjoying it so much. I’ve never worked on a play where the directordoesn’t get cranky at least at tech. But you didn’t work on “Salvage.” Oh, I know. (LAUGHTER) By– by the time “Salvage” came along, wasevery– was there a little bit– (OVERTALK) There was a def– different feel definitely. Well, I– I think that also I think when theydid it in London originally they– he was sort of finishing “Salvage.” They did– they put up all three at once inLondon. Right. They opened them at the same–(OVERTALK) At the same time. So I think he was sort of writing “Salvage”as they went along. And then– but this one, too, I think theywere so prepared and so hyper-prepared with– with Parts One and Two. And by the time they got to Three they sortof were figuring it out as it went along a little bit more, which was incredibly excitingin some ways. It was very exciting. With– with exhaustion added in. Yeah. Yeah. From doing the other two and– For everybody. There was– I mean, if– I think if– if Iwere in charge and I could say to do it again, I would have given us another, you know, threeweeks’ rehearsal for “Salvage” because– just to factor in the– the tired factor. Guys like Jack and– and our whole designteam, these guys are– I mean, (UNINTEL)– I feel this way about Jack. And– he’s a master of our profession. He’s entered some other level at it now wherehe– he knows how to use space. He knows how to tell stories. He knows how to do all this. So he can do it. But they were all really tired. They had worked– I mean, it’s– And we had the least amount of rehearsal timefor Part Three, too. Yeah. It’s like eight or nine days before we wentinto tech or something like that. Yeah, it’s– I think they thought this– thatwe’d all knew our characters and the story and the set and that it was gonna snowball. And, you know, in truth, it did. They were right. It did. They were right. Jack was right. He– he knew that he could do it like that. It just– it would have been– we would havehad a more– more giggles. Or if we’d had three weeks to just play Oneand Two before we started rehearsals for three. Yeah. Because the toughest part for me in the wholeprocess is the preview weeks because everyone sort of makes a big deal out of the ten-out-of-twelves,the two days of ten-out-of-twelves you do during tech. The preview periods are generally two or threeweeks of nine-out-of-twelves because you’re there every day from noon ’til five. And then you do a show in the evening. And the show. And there’s so much pressure– And it is– –and fear– –it’s exhausting. –and you don’t know if the show’s gonna–it– you know, there’s– no matter what, there’s this anxiety about the show being judged andare you ready. You were also–(OVERTALK) –by the– by the time you went into rehearsalwith– of– Yeah, but we didn’t take any of that for granted. We know that the– There could be a backlash. –that rug could be pulled out from underneathus at any time. And in fact, we were– the success of thefirst two only made us more insecure in a way because– You don’t wanna be the one–(OVERTALK) –we didn’t wanna let down “Shipwreck” and”Voyage.” Do you– you know, there was this huge– andwe didn’t wanna let down the audience members who were so excited about it. I mean, the– the– the pressure just wasmounting. It was. But it wasn’t miserable. I mean, it’s not– It’s far from miserable. –it really– it wasn’t like– yeah, it wasfar from miserable. I was so happy to not just be hanging outin my dressing room. (LAUGHTER)(OVERTALK) I was having a great time. (LAUGHTER) Well, also, I think– I mean, you– you mentionedearlier about Lincoln Center Theater. I mean, from– both to have the guts and thewherewithal to do a play like this, to gather a company like the– like you all– I mean,it’s an amazing kind of– I think the New York theatergoers are– are the beneficiariesof– of this extraordinary, extraordinary thing. I wanted to ask back to– to directors, Imean, I– I imagine that– that– how do I say this delicately? You don’t always, as actors, get to work withfirst-rate directors. And do you find that– that you have to havedefense mechanisms or different systems to put into place when you suddenly realize,”Uh-oh, I’m not gonna get from this guy what I get from a Jack O’Brien”? And how do you deal with that? Oh, it’s tough. I don’t know if there is a formula to it. It’s tough. It’s always tough. If you– if you are in that situation, yourealize that you’re not– getting what you need or that you maybe shouldn’t trust asmuch as you, of course, have gone in ready and willing and doing. Wanting. Yes and wanting. It’s very hard to pull away, to cut the umbilicalcord in the rehearsal process because that’s what it’s all about. And so I don’t know. I’ve never been able to get it right. It’s– It’s different every time. Yeah, I mean, sometimes there’s a directorwho will like put a show on its feet and go, “Ooh, I like this play,” and kind of walkaway. And you go, “Whoa, whoa, wait. Now is when– now is when the work startsto happen.” And– I’ve had the experience where I’ve haddirector friends go sit in an audience and write notes for me, you know? I mean, if you’re not gonna get it from thedirector, you gotta get it from somewhere. Or fellow actors, you know, who say, couldyou like, you know, help me here? ‘Cause– I need a director. I’ll be the first one to admit. And that’s my favorite part of acting is therehearsal period where a director takes you somewhere where you can’t go by yourself. So if you’re not getting it then, you know,then the stimulus is gone and, you know, you have to find it somewhere else. One of the great things for me about this–the process when we were rehearsing for all that time and we were always having anothershow going on was to be able to– to continue to get notes from Tom and Jack and– ’causeI like to have– I like to be fed– I like to have fodder thrown at me constantly. And it just– it’s very important. And now already I can feel that we’re notgetting that now ’cause they’ve both gone away. (LAUGHTER) And we’re now just doing the shows,which is also joyous– of course. They’ll be back. They’ll be back and it (LAUGHTER) will bewonderful. But I– I do love that constant checking inand, you know, I like to have my temperature taking a lot. Jennifer and I sit backstage in our dressingroom, we give notes. (LAUGHTER) Nobody ever gets them. But, “Shouldn’t that person be doing it thisway?” You know? We’re– we’re redirecting it all the time. We’re not the only dressing rooms–(OVERTALK) I’m sure not. Forty actors in a building. (OVERTALK) –so insecure. I know. We– we never–(OVERTALK) Amy’s not there for “Salvage.” I’m not there for (UNINTEL). Oh, good. Yeah, right. So she’s out in front. I mean, I thought you were perfect. (OVERTALK) I’ll tell you this, I tend to do my best workwith my worst directors, do you know? And that– that’s like– You what? You know what I mean? Like if I really don’t like a director– You do your best work? –yeah. Wow. That’ll show him? (LAUGHTER) You know, I have– I have– listening to youguys talk, it’s like so interesting. Like– I mean, and Jack talked to me aboutthis. Like I mean, it’s really– my desire to pleasea director I respect sometimes can get so high that it starts to– I know that feeling. Yes. –it starts to kill my own impulses. And, you know, versus if I’m kind of– I’mworking with a director that I don’t like, that I’ve lost respect for, that I don’t thinkis interesting, I start– being more confident and being more aggressive in a way. I mean, Jack took me aside er– early– Imean, in tech in– in “Voyage” and– and said, “You gotta stop being so respectful of thisprocess.” It’s like you– you gotta go out and claimit. Because– ’cause I was just– I admired thetwo of them, Jack and Tom, so much that I found it a little bit– you know, a– a bitin my mouth. Yeah, I’ve done that with this, too, actually. So– so he cut you loose. So if he gave you freedom to– He– he tried to. It’s– it’s not a pressure he put on me. It’s a pressure I put on myself. And I don’t know. To be honest, this– I felt, since they’vebeen gone, that– that I’ve– I don’t know if it’s true, though, ’cause I love theirnotes. But at the same time, I’ve been– It’s yours now. –a more relaxed performer not worrying aboutwhether or not I put– you know, I stressed the “if” in a certain sentence. ‘Cause Tom was watching, it drives him crazywhen you don’t, you know? Now, I know that when this– show was originallyscheduled at Lincoln Center, it– there was– it– to culminate with three times when youwould do what they called “the marathon.” Uh-huh (AFFIRM). And I believe you’ve done one, and now becauseit’s been extended once and maybe twice, you have many more marathons. What was the first marathon? You’ve only done– you only done one, right? We’ve only done one. So what was it like? It was a– I– It was so fun. –it was a wild ride. Yeah. It was fabulous. Well, the audience was like I think probablythe best audience we’ve had. (OVERTALK) They were so into it. And New Yorkers love events. And it was just– They were with it. –they were all so– right from the very beginningthey were just like so happy to be there. And– and it was really nice for us ’causethat made us sort of blossom and– Yeah, it felt– I don’t know. I just– I love any– I love theater whenit feels at all like the circus. And it– (LAUGHTER) it had a little bit ofthat feeling. Like the sound of them sitting out there waitingfor it and us all arriving. It just felt somehow like– like a circus. Yeah, you could tell they’d gotten the ticketslike six months ago and they– (OVERTALK) They all wanted– they all wanted to be there. Yeah. And they all were prepared to be there andexcited about it. And they– I think they just encouraged us(UNINTEL). And I have to say, the plays– the thing thatyou said earlier, that the plays stand up on their own. Tom likes to say that. I don’t think they do. I– I don’t think anybody’s gonna do a productionof “Salvage,” you know, without any of the other ones. I mean, and I think doing it as a marathon,you felt the arc of the play– You really did. –in a way that you– I never had. The– the plays are actually– play– pacedincredibly well when done as a whole. The mood shifts. You know, the way– the way it moves and theway that I felt the ending of “Salvage” worked in a way I have never felt it work on itsown. Yeah. That– and, you know, the set design, themusic, everything made sense and– and– and the text. It all came together in a powerful punch ina way it doesn’t when you haven’t watched Alexander Hertzen (PH) go through all this. You– you– Yeah, within the last 12 hours. Yeah. It’s amazing– I know. It is the way to see it. Yeah, when Martha comes– The marathon. –and makes fun of– you know, when Hertzenhas that moment on stage where he says, “Oh, Natalie, it’s like Tata (PH) grown up,” he’sreferencing his wife who we knew passed away two hours ago. And then Martha comes out and kind of makesfun of him about this kind of intimate moment. And it’s all still so fresh. You know, in a way that that moment I don’tthink has the same power to an audience where half the people didn’t see– “Shipwreck.” Yeah. Or who saw it two months ago. Although, I have to– Or saw it two months ago. I did only see “Shipwreck” when I was in Londonat the National. And that one does hold up on its own. I think if I had to pick one that would be– I think that’s the one that does hold up. That’s the one– Interesting. Yeah. ‘Cause “Voyage” is a setup. It’s a– it’s a drama. And “Salvage” is a conclusion. Yes. But “Shipwreck” is kind of the– Yeah, no, I’ve heard that from people whohave seen them as well. They– they– it’s kind of the one they longto go back and see– see again, having seen them all. But I may do a– do a marathon. So– but it wasn’t exhausting at the end of12 hours? It was exhilarating? Oh, but I mean, exhausting but, I mean– But the good exhausting. –you know, that– you know, you’re– you’remore exhausted right before the end than you are at the end. You know? ‘Cause it’s that going through the tickertape thing. And it was– and the audience’s response was– Amazing. –amazing. Amazing. And then you have 2 1/2 days off for the firsttime. (OVERTALK) –and that’s really nice. (LAUGHTER) I wanna talk about the– the design a littlebit because– I know that the set is credited to two designers. And each of the plays has a specific, distinct,different lighting designer. But how did the two set designers work? Did they split it up? Or did they– That’s actually not a good question for usbecause I actually have no idea how they– (OVERTALK) I– I don’t know either. I have no idea, and I never even met two ofthe last two lighting designers. So it was all– it all happened so fast. I mean, we literally had 2 1/2 weeks to do–to rehearse “Shipwreck” and 2 1/2 weeks to rehearse “Salvage” basically. And that was it. And they were– it– it all happened–(OVERTALK) –these figures in the back of a dark theaterwhispering to each other. And we never– –really fast. (OVERTALK) Yeah, they– they worked with each other. A lot of that was planned out before we evercame in the room. And then a lot of it was planned out on thefly. I mean, it was a weird combination of theyhad– you know, Jack had some overarching themes to the piece that he was gonna bringout in the set. So they had to manifest that. But I– I have no idea. They would bring us together to show us whatthe opening was gonna look like with the black silk. That was exciting. They would bring us together to show us what– The first time we watched that. –the revolution in Paris was going to looklike. So, I mean, it was not a collaborative– weweren’t part of a collaboration involved in that. They’re just brilliant. There– there’s something extraordinary aboutthat shiny floor. I don’t– it’s just– for some reason– It is a great idea. Well, and it also– it also, to an audiencemember, it– it– it tells you this is important in a good way. It’s like this– this– you know, take– make–make– pay attention. This is gonna be– this is gonna be important. On that note, we’re gonna take a break and–hear a little few words about the American Theatre Wing. (OFF-MIC CONVERSATION)(BREAK IN TAPE) We– we were talking about the– the– the–(OFF-MIC CONVERSATION) We were talking about the physical production,the sets and costumes and lights and– and stuff. And I wanted to talk about that particulartheater ’cause I think, you know, for– for years people considered it a problem theater,that it was hard to– to– to– to conquer its geography, its– its architecture. But I find– I find it very appealing to seeshows in it. What’s it like performing in that sort of3/4 round thrust? I love that space. I love it. It’s– it’s– it’s hard to judge sometimesacoustically. But they– they did a lot of work on it Ithink from– since the time when it had the really, really bad reputation. And I don’t know. I love it. I love it. I– do you guys like it? Yeah, and I like the space performing it. It’s– the sound thing is weird because it–there is– because of the 3/4 thing, I think oftentimes you sort of– the people in frontof you think, “Why is he shouting at me?” And the people behind you are like, “Whatis he saying?” You know? So you strug– I– I struggled with that. But I’m not, you know, classically trained. (LAUGHTER) It takes getting used to. I have to say when we– when we first stoodon the stage after we’d been in the rehearsal hall, it seemed like the largest place andit felt like we had to scream to be heard. I don’t feel that anymore. And I– I think, you know, we’ve learned toadjust. Jack had to teach us how to move around soyou don’t just– so you– you– there’s ways to– Strafe. Strafe, yeah. (OVERTALK) So that, you know, you can let everybody inon it. And you have to be brave enough to know thatthere’ll be moments that people have your back. And that’s okay ’cause they’re gonna get yourfront later. And– it’s– it took– it’s an adjustment. But then there’s something about the– itfeels intimate now. And it feels like– like when we first comeout on “Voyage” and we all go to sit down at dinner, I feel like we’re the only peoplethere. I don’t feel like– in some theaters, you–you– you see people move their legs and, you know, you can hear them with their candiesand stuff. It is–(OVERTALK) You feel isolated. You don’t see them. You don’t– you sense them, of course, whenthey laugh. But I mean, I’ve never heard a cell phonego off there. I know. Have there– has there ever been one? I– yeah. (OVERTALK) Oh, I’ve never heard one. But it’s been much less than– I’ve done playsat 100-seat houses when– where the phones ring a lot more. (OVERTALK) But you just feel more– more– that– I mean,the– the immediate needs of the audience in– in a smaller space are there. In this place, it’s just us out there. And it’s– there’s some– there’s somethingvery comforting and intimate about that. And, you know, this– there is something excitingto be on this set and this design that we’re working with right now is a work of art untoitself. And so it’s kind of thrilling to be a partof that. You feel, when you walk on the stage, thatit looks good, that– you know? I mean, it’s a confident thing. It does. Yeah. It– it– it’s– You can come and watch and not speak a wordof English and just look at the pretty pictures (UNINTEL). Yeah, when I realized that you could– You do– you–(OVERTALK) We have so much pride. I mean, in the– in the– in the beginningof the second act when– when the ice skating rink comes up and the ice sculptor in Moscowsuddenly shows up and the people are clapping and I have an entrance. I kind of take in the claps. Like, yes, aren’t we wonderful? It’s just like– I thought that was for you. Yeah, I– I– I pretend. (LAUGHTER) I pretend. But it’s just, you know, you know– I mean,I know when we first saw that, we were like, (GASP). I mean, I cried when I saw that the firsttime. And– and– and they’re– when the stars comeout in– in– in Part Three– It’s so beautiful. –it’s just so magical. And you just– you just– you transcend intoother worlds– in a way that I don’t know I’ve ever felt before in a theater. It also has that wonderful large stage upstage–(OVERTALK) –well, it’s used rather brilliantly in thisbecause it’s– you know, the– it– it– once can make reference to the epic nature of itif you want. (LAUGHTER) Well, I know my– Jack used to say, yeah, “And you’re gonna–then you’re gonna exit. You’re gonna go all the way down to 9th Avenue,”you know? And– It’s so true. I feel like I need jogging shoes. (LAUGHTER) I feel like in the first play Irun all the time. And you’re in a corset. So you’re like– you know, you feel like you’rein a– in a dash at all times. But you do cover a lot of space there. I– I love your– your comment about it beingintimate. And moments in this being– being in– intimatebecause I– I wanna talk a little bit about– there’s a wonderful journal that Lincoln CenterTheater put together that has all kinds of essays and an interview with Tom Stoppardand things like that. And in it– it lists favorite lines from someof– some of the– I think the actors, one of– you know, some of your favorite lines. Can we talk about favorite lines and/or favoritemoments in the– in the show? Oh, wow. Yeah, sure. I think the moment that breaks my heart is–when Hertzen talks about– his son– The death of a child. The death of his child and– and it beingdark and he can’t hear and how hard that must have been. That’s– I– I– I go on that (UNINTEL). Yeah, ’cause he– his son can only hear byreading lips. And there was no–(OVERTALK) And it was dark in the– when he died. That must have been so– That’s– that’s the most moving part of theplay for me. (LAUGHTER) Maybe because I have sons. Right. Josh, do you have a– a favorite line of yours? I mean, that’s– of mine? Of yours. Oh. Oh, of mine. Or moments that– that you– that you loveplaying– (OVERTALK) I have one– I have one– my favorite– probablymy favorite moment in “Salvage” is– well, I– you know, see, we’re doing the play still. I can’t tell you. Yeah, it’s really–(OVERTALK) I can’t tell you ’cause I’ll ruin it. Yeah. I don’t wanna– Yeah, yeah, yeah, I–(OVERTALK) Oh, this is my favorite moment. And then I just said it badly and I’ll (UNINTEL). It’s why it’s hard to read reviews ’causeif somebody ever points out something you’re doing right, you never do it right again. So you have to wait until after the show’sover if you wanna read the reviews or if you wanna read the reviews. Stoppard is– is so literate and– and obviouslyhis intelligence is– is– is awesome. Do you– do you– are there ever moments inhis– speaking his dialogue where it sounds more like– speeches than– than– than peopletalking? Or is that not a– Well, that’s– that’s– that’s the dangerof Stoppard. That’s the danger of any– I mean, of Shaw,of any of this– I mean, people don’t talk like this. It is stylized in a certain way. I mean, it’s– Yeah. It’s– Yeah. We had an interesting moment one time. Was that– I think I haven’t done that many–lang– I mean, I guess all plays are language plays. But I haven’t done that many that are sortof heightened language plays. And– I think when I was first working onone of the scenes, I was sort of doing that mistake that sometimes (UNINTEL) actors dowhere they try to do like Shakespeare like kind of really, you know, like bring it downto– Make it real. (OVERTALK) –make it real. But, you know, and so we were doing this–I was in a scene with Jennifer. And– Tom was like– Tom stopped me and hesaid, “No, you’re– you’re– you’re sort of talking like you would talk in the Green Room,looking very real. Sort of real. And I– I want super-real.” (LAUGHTER) And that’s what sort of becamelike a little– Super-real. It was very helpful actually. Super-real. You know, it’s sort of realer than real. It’s like sort of slightly heightened– and’cause these words, you can’t sort of say these words like you’re talking like– I mean,it is– they are beautifully crafted– They’re constructed paragraphs. –and scripted– yeah. You know, there’s– the reigning style ofacting right now is realism. I mean, you know it started with Brando and–it didn’t really start there. But I mean, it’s– it’s been going ever sinceabout realism. And– and one of the things I– I like mostabout this show is, both in Jack’s interpretation of it and in the writing, in the– in the–in the incredible aspiration of the writing, is it’s modern art. It’s half movie. It’s half Shakespeare. It’s half opera. It’s half symphony. It’s not a nostalgic piece of theater theway I don’t like a lot of that old presentational style that kind of John Gielgudian style ofacting where it just sounds super pretty. We’ve somehow gone beyond that. It’s not– but yet in this play, you do thisplay right, you need some of that John Gielgud. And you also need the– the realism. It needs to be both emotionally invested andhave some kind of authenticity. And, you know, I’ve never had a playwrightin my life say to me– I– I thought he was kidding at first (LAUGHTER) when he said this–the first day of rehearsal, “There’s only one thing that’s important to me, which isclarity of utterance.” And I– I would love when it’s all over toask him for a cup of coffee and say, “Do you really mean that?” is it really the mo– Oh, absolutely he means it. I– I– I– it’s– it’s astounding to me. I mean, he really wants to hear the “t” in– Diction. He want– –in the diction. And he wants your “a’s” to be pronounced correctly. And I think this was very hard for him atfirst because he has an– this is a thing Josh, you’re gonna– you– you say it. Well, no, (UNINTEL) talk about– I mean, ’causeI mean, his plays are usually done with either British actors or English accents. And I think he’s not used to American actorsbutchering his lines. But– but I mean, the– because most of hisplays take place in England. Right. We’re Russians. (OVERTALK) But these are Russians. So we don’t– he’s never heard his play–his writing done with an American accent, which we’re like– which was hard for himat first. I mean, I have lines like, “I say, Belinski(PH), what do you know about Count Salaga (PH)?” I mean, that’s not– an American doesn’t,you know, “I say.” I mean, you know? But you somehow have to try to pull it off. But it’s been a fascinating part of this ishow to make it presentational or super-real the way that Tom– But supe– super-real through realism kindof in a way that– if you– is that what you’re sort of saying? That our– we live in a realistic world ofacting these days? Well, that’s the reigning style of acting. Right. Yeah. I mean, you know, I mean, in the movies it’sterrible. I mean, all– all anybody has to do is smileand have real moments or– or seem like– But they– if you try to do that– that styleof acting with Tom Stoppard’s writing, it doesn’t make it more real. It actually makes it–(OVERTALK) It makes it not work. Yeah. The only way I can do it, and having donenow four Tom Stoppard plays, which you’ve done four now. You’ve– you’ve– this– you’ve done three. Well, these, yeah. This is my first. So you’ve done two. We’ve all done a lot of Tom Stoppard now. I see. And– unless you count Coast of Utopia asone play. But my– my way– the thing that I– thatdoing those four that’s– is– the way I– I do it is to start with– looking at eachline and trying to figure out how Tom would say it. And I go in assuming that every single linehe’s written, he has written as he would speak it and to be said in that way. And– so that’s the only way I know how todo it now is to start with that and try to fit– keep looking at it and try to figureout– and if necessary, go to him and say, “How would you say that?” And he will always say– “You’re right. I wrote it to be said the way I would sayit. And this is how I would say it.” And it’s sometimes helpful if you’re havingtrouble with– and if you say it the way he wrote it to be said, it will always make senseand it will never sound like a speech– (OVERTALK) And it will generally get a laugh. He knows– he knows what he’s doing. Yes. Yeah, he really does. And I find it easier to do that than to–try to come at it the other way around or finding, you know, some–(OVERTALK) You eventually bow to it. (OFF-MIC CONVERSATION) It’s an interesting point you make about TheCoast of Utopia being done in– not with any particular English or otherwise accents. You know, what– do you– do you think thatwas a– a hard choice for Stoppard? Or do you think it was– Well, I think it’s an obvious choice. I mean, if you’re gonna do it– they’re Russian. We’re not speaking– I mean, it’s– it’s–it’s an obvious one. And did he make any adjustments in any ofthe lines because– you were not English? Yes. Speaking– I mean– There were a couple phrases that sort of seemedvery English and then when it’s– in an American mouth it might have sounded a little bit–(OVERTALK) And he would ask us, you know, “Do you saythis or do you say this?” And he would change it to whatever the Americanaudience is gonna get. Yeah. I think maybe because he culled this playfrom so many different historical sources and things, I don’t know if he was as– Idon’t know. He’s not proprietary. (UNINTEL) as precious with it– Yeah. –as he might have been with a play that hecompletely written from his– you know? That’s a good point. So I think sometimes if we had– oh, it’slike– we said, “Oh, you know, I actually read a letter in which my character said this.” And he goes, “Oh, yeah, let’s put that in”or “Let’s take that out.” And, I don’t know, was he– well, you didthe revival of The Real Thing. Yeah, he changed things in The Real Thing. I don’t think we changed anything for Americanaudiences. We were asked to broaden our acting for Americanaudiences. But that wasn’t Tom. (LAUGHTER) But– I– I wonder who that could have been? I– no. But I– I know he also– ’cause I don’t–I don’t remember hearing him change that much in these plays. I know that we talked about things like responsibilityis can to carry in England. And– we didn’t change that and the (UNINTEL)still says “can to carry.” And I– I heard it ’cause I– I asked Tomwhat– a “last” is in shoemaking ’cause– Breean (PH) has a line– Hertzen has a linewhere he says, “The cobbler with his own last is an aristocrat compared to the man workingin a shoe factory.” And I said, “What– what is a last?” And he said, “Oh, it’s that thing, you know,that you use to make your shoes.” And he said, “I– I like it when, you know,people might leave here and go and try to find out what a last is. And I like that.” You were the first. Yes. (LAUGHTER) So he doesn’t– he doesn’t alwayswant everything to be– (OVERTALK) It’s okay that you don’t get– Yeah, it’s okay. –everything means. But are– are there a lot of lines in Coastof Utopia that are– come from the source material? Yes. (OVERTALK) There’s a lot. Yeah. American– American– no, Romantic Exiles,if you read it, it’s– it’s so much of it comes from the letters. And– Well, so much of– the first act of “Voyage”comes from the EH Carr (PH) biography of Berkonin (PH). And My Passing Thoughts, which is Hertzen’smemoirs. Got a lot from there. I mean, it– to me, it– among other fascinatingthings is that these are not people that I’d ever even heard of. And I– I hadn’t either. –imagine a great many of the– of the peoplehave never heard– (OVERTALK) There is so much out there about them. Clearly. No, it’s– yeah. Once you– but none of it is really– that’swhat I think is so remarkable about what Tom has done. These– this is a really interesting momentin time that not many people knew about. And they really are fascinating people. And there’s– the– the great thing is there’sa moment in “Voyage” where the– it’s crazy. The sisters are reading this letter from NatalieBayer (PH) about, you know, your– you don’t understand that your brother and I shouldbe going out because of his– what– what are the lines to this? (OVERTALK) It’s– anyway, I can’t– I can’t rememberright now. But it’s so high falutin’ about, you know,their spirits need to become one and it’s all about the absolute and the universal beautyand truth and everything. And it’s a real letter. I mean, you– people sit there in the audienceand they think that Tom Stoppard is like getting kind of Stoppardian. And the funny thing is that’s a real letter. And these– these people at this moment intime were so hit– there were so many ideas that were shattering the way that people werenormally thinking at that moment, that it was an exciting moment to dramatize. Well, also the– the– the sort of– the–the breaking the clichés or the fact to which the aristocracy were– who were the revolutionariesand– and that the– and the fact that– the whole notion of the– of the literary worldwas the world of be pushed aside. Absolutely fascinating things. I mean, it’s a lot of food for interestingthought in– in these plays. God knows. Yeah. I– I– I wanted to– to ask about– waita minute. Let me just take a moment here. Is there anything else– is there anythingwe haven’t touched on that– that– that might be interesting to– to dive into? Oh, I– I know– I– I had a– a question. Clearly this is a wonderful experience for–for– for all of you. I mean, clearly this is– we– we talk aboutall kinds of fascinating– things in– in among the acting company, the directors, andall that. Do you feel that, generally speaking, thisis a pretty good time for actors? Or is this an opportunity that comes alongonce in a lifetime? You mean is this indicative of– Is this indicative– –a sea change or, you know– Yeah, well, it– –being a rich time? I mean, I think that there’s a feeling thatthere is a lot of very interesting work going on now. And I guess the– the more articulate wayto say it is do you feel that there is a lot of good work going on and good work– goodopportunities for actors today? Whenever the world gets bad, the artists getmore interesting. I mean, that is true. I mean, one of– I mean, from a very kindof gross thing to say. But we are living in a very challenging time,you know, with technology exploding and with our country being at war. And these ideas of terrorism and these ideasof the environment that seem so pressing on everybody and on the culture. And that is provoking– I mean, I rememberin– the first time that I was really paying attention in the ’80s to art, it was so vacuous,you know? It was very– you didn’t have your Bob Marleysand your John Lennons and you didn’t have your– you know, the early Scorsese movies. And people really, you know, the whole kindof renaissance that was happening in the American arts in the late ’60s and early ’70s. And I think that it is true that the morevolatile time period you live in, the dialogue that we’re discussing becomes more interesting. One of the arguments in the play that comesup– between Belinski and– and the whole question of working under censorship, artistsworking under censorship or whether they should go to France where they can write freely. And one of the arguments is that, no, it meansso much more to work in a– to try to do work in a place where– it– it’s– it’s– you’rebeing watched. And it’s– it’s– people take it so much moreseriously. And I– I was watching the film The Livesof Others yesterday. (GASP) Isn’t it wonderful? Just so incredible– set in East Germany–(OVERTALK) –deals with a playwright. And there’s so many parallels to our play. And I was just thinking about how, you know,I don’t know if there’s more opportunities for actors, but I do think there is– wheneveryou’re not living in a complacent time, which we certainly can’t afford to be doing nowgiven– the state of this administration and the world, that I think there are– thereis a lot of– need and a desire for artists all across the board to– to try to– maketheir voice heard. And at– two of you had a theater companyfor a while there. Uh-huh (AFFIRM). Was– was that part of– part of wanting tohave your voice heard? Or was it part– It was (UNINTEL) desire to do our own workand– Uh-huh (AFFIRM). –not sit around and wait for people to giveus jobs. And– The life of an actor can be very– it canbe hard waiting for people to give you your at-bat, do you know? And, you know, and a lot of young writersstruggle with the same thing, you know? When Sam Shepherd and Arthur Miller are be–are being done off-Broadway. I mean, Arthur’s passed away now. But, I mean, you know, it– it’s really hardfor a 24-year-old struggling playwright to get his play done if, you know, those peopleare being done off-Broadway. I mean, so it’s– that’s what– that’s whatthe– Malapert (PH) was a company that we had started. But it’s kind of a thrill for us. Like last year, a season ago, we got to doHurley Burley together. And we’re able to– I mean, the idea of companyacting is what we’re achieving here in Coast of Utopia, where you’re working with peoplethat you know and so there’s a level of intimacy that you can build on. I know I answered four questions– No, that’s all right. That– I didn’t– I wasn’t very clear. But also– also– I think the– the inevitablequestion that someone like– like me always wants to ask actors like you is, you know,you’ve done film. You’ve done theater. You’ve done television. Do you like a menu that has a little bit ofeverything? Or do you– and do you prefer one or the other? Or do you– do you think that they all feedeach– each other? Amy? I personally– would be happy to stay on thestage for the rest of my life. I– I’ve enjoyed my film work. I’ve enjoyed working on television. But– nothing beats the theater. And– if one can stay in New York and do theaterand– and have a life, that’s perfection to me. I like the hours. The hours of theater? Yeah. They’re kind of hard when you– now that youhave a child, though, you’re gonna notice the hours are a little difficult, too. Oh, that’s true. I hadn’t–(OVERTALK) ‘Cause you miss– you miss a lot of dinnerswith your kids. Oh, that’s true. That’s– you know, I was– I was making suremy son– I’m a single mom of a 16 year old. And he– I brought him around the theaterduring rehearsals for a while. And he started to play some poker with theguys. But– they’re not allowed backstage duringthe show. So I’m– I’m happy I’m not in Part Three becauseI do get to have some dinners with him. It’s hard, that schedule. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Ethan? You’ve also directed film– And written. And written. He’s got a new film that’s wonderful comingout. You know, my theory about it is that I liketo be in the room with talented people. And if you can be in a room with this crowdand Tom Stoppard and Jack O’Brien, then there’s nowhere else to be, you know? But I– I’ve had that experience on movieswhere there’s some really, you know, bright people. It is– there is something for me about thepresent tense of theater. The– there is something nostalgic about film. The simple fact of taking its picture to preserveit for later as opposed to living in the moment. The audience that was there at the last marathon,you know, somebody can go up to me in 50 years and say, “I saw the marathon.” You know? Oh, really? Which one? The first? The first one? (LAUGHTER) So you were there when, you know,Breaan forget that line and wasn’t that funny? That– that’s so funny, you know? And– and it was like we had dinner together. It was something very real that the way thatmovies never are. But, you know, but the theater is– is a strugglingart form right now, you know? People aren’t interested in nostalgia. They’re not terribly interested in the moment. And Jennifer, you– you’ve– you’ve– didyou grow up in England? Or– I know you have England–(OVERTALK) No, I grew up in America. But– but you– But I spent 12 years in England. Yeah. So– so– From 18 to 30. And– compare and contrast it. I– you know, it’s hard to ’cause I– I also–stopped acting for four years in– sort of in between the changeover. So I– and I– I just feel like– I feel–I’m just in such a different place when I was– than when I was living in England. I can’t really– it seems like that was somebodyelse. But I– I don’t know. I– right now I– I just– this job is sofulfilling. I can’t really think of anything I would ratherbe doing. I can think of– reasons to possibly be doingother things, you know, with the– left side of my brain. But it’s not– but this is– so fulfilling. It really is. There’s no– there– there’s no place elseto be. I mean, it’s– it’s– It’s as good as it gets. It’s as good as it gets. It is. For actors. Yeah. How many more marathons have– have you inyou, do you think? I think we get to do it about– As many as–(OVERTALK) –thirteen more. Ideally, I wish we could do three marathonsa week and that’s it. I do, too. Yeah. I do, too. Would– would they do that? Or–(OVERTALK) No, that’s nine– that’s nine shows a week. I just think that’d be so great– I think there are people–(OVERTALK) –people to see it that way. –that can’t deal with a marathon. Yeah. Yeah. It’s an amazing– for people who see it, youknow, one a week, one a– day. I mean, there’s lots of ways it can work. (OVERTALK) Tom– Tom said that he thought the best waywas one night after the next. Yeah. My mother and my step-father coming in, they’reseeing Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Yeah. (OVERTALK) But when– when– when we did the marathon,we all just thought that’s the way to see it, you know? Well, it’s fun for us because we get thatarc. Yeah. Yeah. Well, and it’s obviously fun for the audience,too. (LAUGHTER) Yeah, it is. I know that if I was coming to see this thatI would come from wherever I was in the world to see this. I would go see the marathon. That’s what– I would go see a marathon. But that’s a certain kind of person. And I know I’d walk out and right away tryto buy tickets for another one. (LAUGHTER) I just– I would want to. But you wouldn’t be able to. (OVERTALK) Unless there’s another extension. Have you sensed a difference in the audiencefrom– since the very beginning when I think it’s fair to say nobody quite knew what thiswas gonna be? It’s hard to say ’cause there’s always a differencein the beginning with subscription audiences. So it’s hard to tell, you know? And the first few weeks they’re subscriptionaudiences. And– And they hadn’t been told– Also, the shows are– –how great we were yet. (LAUGHTER) But also the shows– the shows are findingthemselves in those first few weeks. So everything– the whole experience is differentnow over– over the course of time. I think people forget how much– not you but–in general, people forget how much a show changes over the course of its run. And we’re still discovering things. Yeah. It’s so much fun. I mean, you know, we– we– we get out thereand, I mean, pennies are dropping still. I mean, it’s such rich material that you justnever stop working. And we’re not repeating it. It really is thrilling to not– each timeyou’re doing a play, you have– haven’t done it three or four days. And so you’re a little nervous and tentativeand that can breathe for some good creativity, you know? At one point, we hadn’t done Part One forthree weeks, wasn’t it? Yeah. And when– when Ethan’s character arrives–(LAUGHTER) we were so excited to greet him. And I’m thinking to myself, “Are we a littletoo overexcited?” But then again, he’s been gone for five years. And– oh, my god, my boy. He was 17 when he left and he’s 21 now. (OVERTALK) –see each other. It was actually– it was actually better. It was exactly appropriate for these passionateRussian people to be so happy to see him. That’s how– that’s, you know, we learnedfrom the time gap. That was fun. (LAUGHTER) That was fun. Have you ever shown up to one thinking thatit was another? I did once. I arrived too late to the theater for– toget ready for my Part One. I thought it was Part Two, where I don’t comeon ’til the second act and started to think the dressers were crazy ’cause they were allthe wrong clothes for (UNINTEL) until– okay. It’s “Voyage” tonight. But it– it– it sounds like it– it kindof– going to the acting gym, having these three plays and–(OVERTALK) It’s true. –and keeping you on your toes. It keeps your muscle well oiled. No time for boredom? I’m– I’m sure there will be– I wonder whatit’ll all be– the next job will be like for all of us? Do– do you know? It– it’ll be so– Different. –small. (OVERTALK) We all had great plans for our backstage lifefor those of us who aren’t on stage on. We were all gonna learn a language and– I was gonna read all the great Russian novelsI’ve never read. –read all the classics. (LAUGHTER) It doesn’t– I find myself listeningto the play every night. Over and over again. I’m not in the first act and it’s like my–the best radio play I’ve ever gone to. (LAUGHTER) And I listen every night. And I enjoy it every night. I feel so lucky that I get to hear it everynight. But it’s– it– taking on Ethan’s comment,is– do you long, when this is over, to do a– a– two-person play in some quiet place? Or do you–(OVERTALK) No, I– I’m feeling like it’ll be kind ofanticlimactic. I can’t imagine doing a play for a littlewhile after this. I– I think it will ruin me for attemptinganything else for a while. I could do this for another year. It’s so much fun. Well, I certainly– I hope you– I hope youdo it for at least longer than– than it’s– (OVERTALK) Than in May– May 13th. I don’t think we’re going to be extending. I mean, I– I do think it’s fascinating thatwhen people wonder if there’s an audience for good theater in this town and then somethinglike Coast of Utopia comes– comes along. And suddenly it appears–(OVERTALK) –as if there actually is. I know. I’m so grateful that people wanna come seethis. I mean it’s– It’s sold out every night. We never see an empty seat. It’s amazing. Yeah. Every time I– you know, if there’s ever anight where you feel sort of like tired and you think like, oh, you just did this, youknow, I– I think about someone who’s like saved up their money, some like– like a gradstudent studying Russian literature or something who’s like saved their money to come see it. And I’m like– I’m just so– I’m so impressedand grateful that people are coming to see this because it is challenging material. But it’s also really entertaining, too. So– But do you also feel that the freedom of aninstitutional theater where you would have played a certain time no matter what, didthat give you freedom to– to– to– not to– I mean, in the commercial theater world there’salways that, “Oh, my god, we might not get good reviews. Oh, my god, we might not run.” Yeah, we knew we weren’t gonna close afteropening night. Did that give you freedom? Or was it– was it– did it not matter? It didn’t really matter I don’t think becausewe knew we were gonna open all three. And the original date for us to close wasthree– was this week, was next week. So we were only ever going to run three weeksafter “Salvage” opened. And the ticket sales were– Until we extended. So– –so good before we opened that, you know,we didn’t really need to open– we actually delayed our opening because– one our of castmembers was ill and– it was like– as far as selling tickets, it didn’t need– needthe– (OVERTALK) Lincoln Center was just so incredible andsupportive and– (OVERTALK) Very. They just believed in this– I mean, I’vejust never seen anything like it. This took this great risk, and they– theyput a lot of money into this and their heart and soul. And the thing is if you’re in a show that’snot working, you want it to close, you know? I mean, that’s– you don’t sort of just–(OVERTALK) And just ’cause the New York Times doesn’tlike it doesn’t mean it’s not good. No, no. I didn’t say anything about the New York Times. (OVERTALK) When you’re in a play and nobody likes it– I’m saying if the audiences are not enjoyingit. (OVERTALK) And everyone knows it’s not going well butyou have a certain run. And it’s like– that’s the– that’s–(OVERTALK) It’s horrible. It’s public humiliation every night. –nobody sees it or– (NOISE) You wanna get that? Yeah, excuse me. (LAUGHTER) It’s my agent. No, it’s interesting. You– I mean, I– I know that you’re– you’reactors and don’t read newspapers. But you’re so controversial that the New YorkTimes doesn’t even seem to agree about the play, which is I think, you know–(OVERTALK) It’s good. They should–(OVERTALK) Absolutely. I mean, it’s a debate about real live theaterand about a play that– that is demanding– you know, of the audience’s attention and–and passions. And I think it’s– how many actors are therein it? I– I’ve heard from– between 36 and 44. Do we know? I think there is about that span because there–we’re– there were more children brought in as we went along for each– for Part Two and–(OVERTALK) –and then more for Part Three. So– I think there’s 36 adults in the show. And the– I don’t– I don’t know. Thirty-six adults? Dave– we’re about to lose David Patoo (PH)at the end of this week. Oh. And so we– we’ll have– He– he had a commitment to go into anotherplay. –one less. Which was he? (LAUGHTER)(OFF-MIC CONVERSATION) Are– are there covers and understudies– Of course. –within the company? Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. That’s– (UNINTEL) things is that everyoneunderstudies– most– I mean– everyone– so when someone falls out, there’s this hugeshirt. And all of a sudden, you see like three peopleplaying roles they’ve never played before. And that’s so fun. That’s happened like twice this weekend. (OVERTALK) Happened last night– –these people are great. You know, these people are like– they’vebeen serfs, they’re all of a sudden playing– We have a really good company. –a– a company– and they’re like– and they’refantastic. Yeah. And– and one understudy just– ’cause ifsomebody’s understudy– they’re covering for somebody but then somebody has to cover theirpart and somebody has to cover their part. It has this great domino effect. The– the whole company is so amazing thatabout three weeks into the first– first set of rehearsals for– in September for “Voyage”–and actor was gone and his understudy took his place for a few days. The first run-through. Yeah, for the first run-through. And we all just were looking at each othergoing, “Nobody can leave the room.” Yeah. We can’t leave the room. Because he was so–(OVERTALK) None of us were missing (UNINTEL). We realized how good the understudies were. We were– we applauded him and cried, it wasso good. It was just– so everyone’s done their bestto not be off since. Yeah. So our understudies don’t show us up. They’re too good. Well, that’s the funny thing about Jack O’Brienis he’s worked in the theater so long and he knows so many people that, you know, ourunderstudies are somebody who, you know, played Hamlet in the production in Philadelphia. And like these people are good, you know? And– Also, I think when– when– when Richard–was sick, Richard Easton (PH), who– who I’m– was documented in– in the paper. And I– I remember I think Andre told me thathis line, his exit line was something “That– that’s all– the last I’ll say about that,”and– and– you know, and collapsed. But just the whole way that– that you allstuck together and they delayed the opening ’til he could come back. And– and, you know, I gather he was the–he was high on the list of the people that wanted him back. He wanted to get back and, you know, get backand put the tap shoes back on and get out there. Yes, indeed. (OVERTALK) They’re very classy, Lincoln Center. They just– they’ve handled this situationwith– complete class. Yeah. Well, I– I certainly know, on behalf of theaudiences, we are very pleased that it is here. We are pleased that you are part of it. And I wanna thank you all for being here today. This has been wonderful. Thank you. (OVERTALK) These programs are brought to you from theGraduate Center of the City University of New York with our partners CUNY TV. On behalf of the American Theatre Wing, thankyou for joining us for another addition of “Working in the Theater.”