In the first part of this audio, Studs Terkel discusses French theater with critic Jean Vilar. In the second part, Studs and Eugène Ionesco discuss Ionesco’s work and the Theater of the Absurd.
Vlado Habunek, the Director of The Croatian National Theater, also a teacher at the University of Zagreb and board member for the Debrovnik Summer Festival discusses how all arts are seeking new revelations with Studs Terkel. Terkel asks Habunek to compare American Actors with Croatian actors because they are subsidized by the state. He sees Croatian actors as too secure and admires the ambition of American actors. The fact that theater reflects life and life is difficult begins a discussion on the status of theater today.
Terkel delves into the life of Frank Norman, a London ex-con who turned his life around and became a novelist and playwright by writing on his experiences. He wrote "Bang to Rights" shortly after his prison release which brought him great fame. He followed that with "The Monkey Pulled it's Hair" that had a U.S. release under the name "Don't Darling Me Darling". Norman opened up to Terkel discussing his illegitimacy, his illiteracy till age 14, his institutionalization in an orphanage which he turned into the novel "Banana Boy".
Studs Terkel sits down with three guests who convey their memories of the Auditorium Theater in Chicago. Mary Garden, John Glickman and architect Harry Weese all agree that the theater's acoustics were extraordinary and there wasn't a bad seat in the house. Weese helped Chicago rediscover the Auditorium.
Friedrich Luft, Chief Drama Critic for Die Welt discusses German theater and Bertolt Brecht as well as new playwrights such as Peter Weiss. Unlike American theaters, Germany has over 200 theaters that are subsidized and each town of 50,000 has a theater. Just like the days of The People's Stage (which still exists) the grocer and cobbler of Germany enjoy the theater. They are as devoted to the theater as going to a museum or church. They are treated to 12 to 16 new or old plays from Sophocles to Sartre or Pinter.
Discussing the Auditorium Theater with friends.