During the intermission, I do an interview with an entertainment reporter from New York 1. This is the complete transcript:
INTERVIEWER: So -– have you met Anne Hathaway?
ME: Are you kidding? I married Anne Hathaway!
INTERVIEWER: I meant this Anne Hathaway.
ME: Ah. No. Not yet. But I did send her a note backstage.
INTERVIEWER: Really! Can I ask what you wrote in the note?
ME: Of course you can.
INTERVIEWER: So, uhm, uhh, what did you write in the note?
ME: I’m not telling.
INTERVIEWER: Was it a poem?
ME: Why would I write her a poem?
INTERVIEWER: Because you’re a poet.
ME: No, I’m an actor.
INTERVIEWER: But you wrote in blank verse.
ME: Blank verse is not poetry. Blank verse is dialogue.
INTERVIEWER: So what kind of dialogue would you like to have with Anne Hathaway?
ME: Something actor to actor.
INTERVIEWER: Actor to actor then –- if she asked you, “What do you think of this production?” what would you say?
ME: I would say, I love outdoor theatre. But I’m biased. I spent most of my professional life performing outdoor theatre.
INTERVIEWER: You mean writing for outdoor theatre.
ME: No, I mean performing. The writing was just a way to make more money. Acting was what I did seven days a week. Well, all right, six. They didn’t let us perform on Sundays, unless we got a special license.
INTERVIEWER: What else do you like about tonight’s production?
ME: The fact that all the actors are in the same play. You’d be surprised at how rare this is. The live music. The singing. I love Orsino and Viola singing along to “Come Away Death.” I love it because it fits the mood. I love it because it says something very specific about each character. I love it because it says these characters share something between them, whether they know it or not. And I love it because it’s what we used to do when we created or assigned parts in a play. We said “What can you do?” and staged the scene to highlight to the talents of each actor. Which is what Dan Sullivan is doing tonight. You have actors who can sing in the cast? Then find a way to get them singing. Makes me want to write more songs.
INTERVIEWER: And Anne Hathaway's performance?
ME: I still have a hard time seeing women play the female parts in my plays. But I think she's doing a wonderful job.
INTERVIEWER: Is there anything you don’t like about the play?
ME: The fact that my son never lived to see it. He was a twin. He and Judith.
INTERVIEWER: So you wrote the part with him in mind?
ME: Oh yes. I wrote it with my son in mind, and I wrote it for his uncle Edmund to play.
ME: My brother Edmund.
INTERVIEWER: He was an actor?
ME: He was a very good actor. Who knows how far he would have gone, if he hadn’t died of the plague? Actually, I know how far. I wrote the part of Edmund in Lear for him. In the first draft he was called something completely different. Can’t even remember now what it was. But after he died? It was always Edmund.
INTERVIEWER: And you wrote Sebastian for him?
ME: Of course. Same way I wrote Antonio for myself.
INTERVIEWER: So you acted in the original production of Twelfth Night?
ME: Oh yes. All the sharers did.
INTERVIEWER: And you played Antonio?
ME: I always played the Antonio parts. This play, Merchant of Venice, . . .
INTERVIEWER: You played Antonio in Merchant of Venice?
ME: You're having a hard time with this, aren't you.
INTERVIEWER: That’s a rather large role for you, isn’t it?
ME: Not as large as Iago.
INTERVIEWER: You played Iago?
ME: Well of course. If you wrote Iago, wouldn’t you want to play him?
INTERVIEWER: I’m sorry, I’m having a hard time with this.
ME: I know, I know -- everybody says I was a writer first and an actor second. Everybody meaning a bunch of old men who think that I scribbled those plays to be read rather than performed, and revised, and ad-libbed around, and generally treated like, oh, the written equivalent of a trampoline. I didn’t write plays for them to be read; I wrote them for actors to perform.
INTERVIEWER: So what other parts did you play?
ME: Prospero, of course. Buckingham. Jacques. The Friar in Romeo & Juliet. Don Pedro in Much Ado. Banquo in The Play We Don’t Mention. Claudius.
ME: And the Ghost of Hamlet’s Father.
INTERVIEWER: So, if you were doing Hamlet tomorrow, say, would you cast Anne Hathaway as Ophelia?
ME: “Cast.” Oh yes, that thing you do now where an actor gets jobbed in to play a part. We never did that. We assigned parts. Or else the parts were written with the actors in mind.
INTERVIEWER: So who was Ophelia written for?
ME: Lauren Ambrose.
And this is what gets broadcast later that night:
INTERVIEWER: So -– have you met Anne Hathaway?
ME: No. Not yet. But I did send her a note backstage.
INTERVIEWER: Really! Can I ask what you wrote in the note? Was it a poem?
ME: I’m not telling. But I think she's doing a wonderful job.