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Director John Hirsch discusses and analyzes his interpretation of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” with Studs Terkel during a party for the Stratford Theater Company. Hirsch calls “Hamlet” a pessimistic play, commenting on Shakespeare’s depiction of society and the nature of the characters. He also says that the play’s complexities allow for several interpretations and understandings of the work, which contributes to his bare and simple production of Hamlet. The two discuss Hirsch’s production of “Mother Courage” and how current events and personal experiences influence Hirsch’s work.
Actress Lillian Gish joins Studs Terkel to talk about her role in the play “Passage to India.” Gish connects the play based on a book by E. M. Forster to “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” and discusses the relevance and importance of historical works like those mentioned. Studs asks Gish about working with D. W. Griffith, and the two praise Griffith’s impact on the world of film; Gish comments on her experience with working with Charles Laughton too.