Wole Soyinka discusses the play "Death and the King's Horseman." Includes passages from the play and Nigerian funeral music.
Now being a professional playwright, William Gibson talked about being able to write one of his plays in 8 days. A lot of the discussion is about his play, "The Miracle Worker". After reading one of Annie Sullivan's letters, and learning about a battle royale that Sullivan had with Helen Keller, Gibson envisioned what that battle royale would look like. It became a now famous part of the play.
Tennessee Williams said he'll stop writing when he can no longer produce good work. He spoke of being puzzled as to why so little of his work gets produced in New York. Williams also talked about taking offense when the first sequences of the TV show "Dallas" aired. He explained that the owner of the great estate in "Dallas" was a copy of his Big Daddy character, who was a wealthy plantation owner.
Kenneth Allsop, literary critic for the Daily Mail, BBC host of Tonight and author of "The Bootleggers and Their Era" sits down with Studs Terkel to discuss everything from the Social Realism of Arnold Wesker, Allen Sillitoe, and Shelagh Delaney known as the Backstreet Kids to the class warfare of "The Fourth of July" author David Benedictus. The two key groups of theater, the Royal Court led by George Devine and the Theater Workshop led by Joan Littlewood is also discussed.
Jonathan Miller reminisces about his childhood in Regent Park, London and offers his opinion on philosophy and the changing English class structure with the loss of the Indian empire. His remake of "Alice in Wonderland" for BBC 1 is reviewed and he states he is most interested in the human imagination.
Robert Morley, stage and screen actor, starring in Ustinov's "Halfway Up the Tree," discusses education, technology and youth and the changes in the social makeup because of technology.
Rick Cluchey's love for the theatre began in the Theatre Group of the San Quentin Prison. After his time there, Cluchey spent three months in Berlin working with Samuel Beckett. It was there that Cluchey learned how Beckett seemed to choreograph his works onto the stage. An excerpt of an interview with Alan Schneider is also included.
Peter Sellars talks about his production of "The Merchant of Venice." Peter Sellars also compares Los Angeles California to the world of "The Merchant of Venice". Sellars also discusses the history of the Jewish people, immigrants, the ghetto, and race relations.
American author and screenwriter Peter Feibleman discusses his friendship with Lillian Hellman and the memoir he wrote about her life called “Lilly: Reminiscences of Lillian Hellman.” Includes an interview with Lillian Hellman. Includes a 30 second test tone.
Monsters, imagination and violence in children's literature are all topics of Maurice Sendak's book, "Where the Wild Things Are." When writing the book, Sendak used his own experiences as a little boy, remembering that the monsters in the family were relatives on his mother's side. There are two excerpts of composer Oliver Knussen.
American playwright, dramatist, and author Lillian Hellman discusses her book "Pentimento" and the individuals profiled within it.
Jonathan Miller discusses Shakespeare. Includes Feste's song "Hey, ho, the Wind and Rain" sung by Alfred Deller. Includes a clip from Jonathan Miller as Bertrand Russell.
Studs Terkel discusses the upcoming new play "Of Mice and Men", based on the novel written by John Steinbeck with the starring actors, John Malkovich (Lennie) and Gary Sinise (George). The program begins with the opening excerpt from the play "Of Mice and Men" featuring Terkel (George) and Win Stracke (Lennie) from 1952, which then leads into Malkovich and Sinise's interpretation of the rest of the scene. Folk singer Utah Phillips song "On the Goodnight Loving Trail" is presented as a comparison to themes expressed in "Of Mice and Men".
James Graham-Lujan concludes by talking about Garcia Lorca's most celebrated plays, Blood Wedding, Yerma, and The House of Bernarda Alba. Tragedy is brought about due to the passion of a woman in each of the plays.