Listen to New Voices on Studs Terkel our partnership with 826CHI-here! Read the Story

00 / 00

Director Nick Rudall discusses the play "Candida"

BROADCAST: Sep. 20, 1990 | DURATION: 00:51:51


Nick Rudall talks about directing his 7th play by George Bernard Shaw. Three cast members, Daria Martel, Tom Amandes and David New are part of the interview, too. The actors reenact various scenes of the play. Rudall explains Shaw wrote "Candida" as a way to sort through his complicated feelings with a woman.


Tap within the transcript to jump to that part of the audio.


Studs Terkel If there is one theater in Chicago associated with the plays more than any other theater of George Bernard Shaw, it's the Court Theatre on the South Side. And I guess the cause, the reason why, is Nick Rudall, the artistic director of the Court, who is now on his seventh Shaw play and it's one of Shaw's earliest and of course, it's a witty play. And to say that Shaw is witty is a redundancy if there ever was one. And it's "Candida", and seated around is Nick Rudall, the director, who is playing a role, Burgess, you'll hear about him in a moment. And Candida is played by Daria Martel and we'll hear about her. Mostly we'll hear scenes from this play. Reverend Morell, her husband played by Tom Amandes, a veteran Chicago actor, a number of theaters in town and now at Shaw, and Marchbanks, young Marchbanks, who really is a catalyst here of one sort or another to bring out truths of people and the character, David New. And, so, Nick, I thought before we start, since you're a Shavian all the way. Suppose we have Bernard Shaw. Bernard Shaw is being quizzed by the reporters and he handles them like he handles babies, you know, and they ask him questions. Of course, they're all, to him they're all elementary kindergarten questions about the species and wars. And this was sometime in the, before World War II, I think it was, somewhere between the two wars. Suppose we hear Shaw talking.

Nick Rudall That'd be great. [pause in recording]

Studs Terkel Isn't that fascinating. This is from the '30s, obviously, before the war, and there's Bernard Shaw talking about wars, and the savage still within--

Nick Rudall Oh, he's a man of--

Studs Terkel He civilized Britain and elsewhere. So, we--

Nick Rudall Filled with opinions all the time. He has a wonderful line in this play, Burgess has a line, actually, which is that opinions can become very serious things when people start acting on them. So he was quite capable of--

Studs Terkel You say this--

Nick Rudall Pouring out opinions all the way through.

Studs Terkel Your seventh Shaw play, before we hear members of your gifted cast, it opens, by the way, "Candida" opens September 27th and runs through October 28th. What are the Shaw plays you've done? "Candida" is the seventh.

Nick Rudall Oh, I've done "Arms and the Man", "Heartbreak House", "Misalliance"--

Studs Terkel That's interesting. "Arms and the Man", comedy, ironic, witty, "Heartbreak House"--

Nick Rudall Well, "Heartbreak House" is very much the play that he's talking about in that piece.

Studs Terkel That's what war does.

Nick Rudall Oh, yes, absolutely. And the savagery of war.

Studs Terkel Community and the society.

Nick Rudall Yeah, and--

Studs Terkel And you've done--

Nick Rudall I've done "Misalliance"--

Studs Terkel "Misalliance".

Nick Rudall And "Pygmalion".

Studs Terkel "Pygmalion".

Nick Rudall And now "Candida".

Studs Terkel And "Candida". "Major Barbara", too. So,

Nick Rudall

Studs Terkel "Major Barbara", too. So, "Candida".

Nick Rudall "Mrs. Warren's Profession". That's right.

Studs Terkel "Mrs. Warren"--That's an early one.

Nick Rudall That's an early one, too.

Studs Terkel "Mrs. Warren's Profession".

Nick Rudall There's something attractive about the early plays, which is the later ones, his opinions kept coming out of the mouths of every single character, sometimes endlessly. In the early plays he still was shaping his craft. A lot of what he was getting from Ibsen was still there. He was still very much interested in what the people were thinking and feeling. And "Candida" we find as we were rehearsing it is a play that has a lot going on behind the lines as opposed to in the later plays where the characters really overtly say what they think and feel. Here they're struggling to understand what it is to be human and they're struggling to understand why they are behaving savagely, in some sense.

Studs Terkel Set the scene for "Candida". You're direct--set the scene for "Candida", and, perhaps, the people around. Why don't you let the actors speak for themselves? Candida, Daria Martel, just a bit about yourself. You've had a pretty good track record.

Daria Martel Well, I'm from California originally, and then I've just finished doing two years of the American Repertory Theater with their company there. They have a training program where they get the actors to work as often as possible with a professional company. It's a wonderful intro to--

Studs Terkel It's Robert Brustein.

Daria Martel Right.

Studs Terkel Who is head of the, what, the Harvard theater?

Daria Martel Right.

Nick Rudall The American Repertory Theater.

Studs Terkel The American

Daria Martel Repertory Theater. A wonderful man--

Studs Terkel Who is Candida to you?

Daria Martel I--it's--just last night we were talking about this after the dress rehearsal, and she is difficult, and part of what I'm realizing is so difficult is that so many people have opinions about who they think she is. So--

Nick Rudall A lot of Shaw's women are very difficult because Shaw's views of women were so complicated. He wanted--they are always paradoxical creatures, they are both--I mean, he calls her the Virgin Mother of Assumption, this sort of, this is just this extraordinary composite of being a mother, a wife, a lover, a mistress, and his men are always sort of very foolish creatures in many ways, but his women because of what happened in his life, both in terms of his relationship with his mother and the women in his life, his--the women become very complex composite creatures.

Studs Terkel The women of his life with whom he carried on correspondence, not so much fleshly, probably never that, but psychically.

Nick Rudall That's right. In fact this play was written because of a relationship he was having at that time which was almost identical to the plot. You talk about setting up the play. There--the play itself is once, yet again, of Shaw's plays about a triangle: two men and a woman. And in his own life, of course, his mother left his father to go and live with an artist, a music teacher. He maintained all way through his life that that was a celibate relationship, and certainly an innocent one, he maintained. But, clearly, that fact in his biography affected both his own life and the plays that he wrote. Because most of the plays, if you think of "Arms and the Man", it's also about two men and a woman. And if you think of "Major Barbara" even, or "Pygmalion" or what's the revolutionary play? The American Revolution play.

Studs Terkel "The Devil's Disciple".

Nick Rudall "Devil's Disciple". In fact, it's the same relationship as--

Studs Terkel Except later, at the very end, of course, St. Joan, who is beyond.

Nick Rudall That's right.

Studs Terkel She's beyond.

Nick Rudall That's right.

Studs Terkel But set--almost forgot before we'll hear a bit of "Candida" from--

Daria Martel Although "St Joan" in a sense is, again this extraction of this highly purified idea of woman, and I think that Shaw seems to keep wanting to work through his relationship with his mother and that search for love that she never really reciprocated. And, so, that's one of the things that makes it so difficult is that when you're trying to do an extraction, how do you make it flesh and blood, and if you are a real person in the modern society trying to be a woman, an independent, the way you look at things is vastly different from the way it's painted by Shaw.

Nick Rudall Since he idealized women so much, yeah.

Daria Martel So I'm constantly trying to find ways to go beyond my own very mundane behavior to--

Studs Terkel You're talking about yourself now.

Daria Martel Personally as an actress to--

Studs Terkel You're Daria Martel.

Daria Martel Right. To get beyond my own reactions, which are--

Nick Rudall To create a Shaw woman, a Shavian woman, Candida, this image. But will so--

Daria Martel And then to make her real. As real as I can. And I'm battling with all the preconceptions and how do you make an ideal real?

Studs Terkel That's a good chal--before

Nick Rudall we go-- I'll set the set and then we can do a little scene for you.

Studs Terkel Yes, do, but set the scene itself. I mean, where are we? Who is Candida? What's her relation to Reverend Morell, her husband, and who is young Marchbanks, set that and then we'll do a scene.

Nick Rudall At the beginning of the play we know that the James Mavor Morell, a reverend gentleman and sort of a, he's a socialist and who is also a man of the church and he's married to Candida, and he has in the course of his social work found this stray poet named Marchbanks, who's 18 years old, who is struggling to get away from his aristocratic family and he's brought him into the household. And Candida has just returned home and Marchbanks the poet has come with her. And now the Reverend and Marchbanks have this conversation about what has happened.

Tom Amandes "You'll stay to lunch, Marchbanks, of course.

David New I mustn't. I mean, I can't.

Tom Amandes You

David New mean you won't. No, I should like to, indeed, thank you very much, but--

Tom Amandes But but but but but bosh! If you'd like to stay, stay. If you're shy, go and take a turn in the park. Write poetry into a half-past one, then come in. Have a good feed.

David New Thank you. I should like that very much, but I really mustn't. The truth is, Mrs. Morell told me not to. She said she didn't think you'd ask me to stay to lunch, but that I was to remember if you did, that you didn't really want me to. She said I'd understand, but I don't. Please, don't tell her I told you.

Tom Amandes Oh, is that all. Won't my suggestion that you should take a turn in the park meet the difficulty?

David New How?

Tom Amandes Why, you duffer! No. No, I won't put it in that way. My dear lad. In a happy marriage such as ours, there is something very sacred in the return of the wife to her home. An old friend or a truly noble and sympathetic soul is not in the way on such occasions, but a chance visitor is. Candida thought I would rather not have you here, but she was wrong. I'm very fond of you, my boy and I should like you to see for yourself what a happy thing it is to be married as I am.

David New Happy? Your marriage? You think that? You believe that?

Tom Amandes I, I know it, my lad. Rochefoucauld said that there are convenient marriages, but no delightful ones. You don't know the comfort of seeing through and through a thundering liar and rotten cynic like that fellow. Ha, ha! Now, off with you to the park, right your poem, half-past one, sharp, mind, we never wait for anybody.

David New No. Stop. You shan't. I'll force it into the light.

Tom Amandes Force what?

David New I must speak to you. There is something that must be settled between us.

Tom Amandes Now?

David New Now. Before you leave this room.

Tom Amandes I wasn't going to leave it, my dear boy. I thought that you were. Come, sit down quietly. Tell me what it is. Remember, we are friends, and need not fear that either of us will be anything but patient and kind--

David New I am not forgetting myself, and only full of horror. You shall see whether this is a time for patience and kindness. Don't look at me in that self-complacent way. You think you're so stronger than I am, but I shall stagger you if you have a heart in your breast.

Tom Amandes Stagger me, my boy? Out with it.

David New First--

Tom Amandes First--

David New I love your wife.

Tom Amandes Why, my dear child, of course you do. Everybody loves her, they can't help it. I like it, but say, Eugene, do you think yours is a case to be talked about? You're under 20, she's over 30, doesn't it look rather, too, like a case of calf love?

David New You dare say that of her. You think that way of the love she inspires. It's an insult to her.

Tom Amandes To her? Eugene, take care. I have been patient, I hope to remain patient, but there are some things I won't allow. Don't force me to show you the indulgence I should show a child. Be a man!

David New No. That has put aside all that cant. It horrifies me when I think of the doses of it she has had to endure all the weary years during which you have selfishly and blindly sacrificed her to minister to your self-sufficiency. You, who have not one thought, one sense in common with her.

Tom Amandes Well, she seems to bear it pretty well. Eugene, my boy, you are making a fool of yourself, a very great fool of yourself. Now, there's a piece of wholesome plain speaking for you.

David New Do you think I don't know all that? Do you think that the things people make fools of themselves about are any less real and true than the things they behave sensibly about?"

Studs Terkel That's very good. It really sets the two characters off very well. By the way, they're very good. We're talking about Tom Amandes as Reverend Morell and David New as Marchbanks. They're set off right off the bat, aren't they?

Nick Rudall Absolutely, yes. Shaw, of course, claimed that he wasn't writing biographically, autobiographically but there's so much of him in both of these characters. There's the socialist activist.

Studs Terkel I'm thinking of Morell, there's smugness there, complacency, he's an enlightened man aware of all the political and social currents of life, and he says the right things, he believes in the humane approach to the human species and you got this impulsive young guy. Now, who's the strong--obviously, it seems that the stronger one is--

Tom Amandes You'll have to

Nick Rudall come and see it. You're right! That is the question--

Studs Terkel [It sets this?] off, doesn't it? Interesting.

Tom Amandes What is strength? Is the question.

Studs Terkel What is strength? And, so--and Candida, of course, Mrs. Morell. Candida has a father, too, we'll come to that, a certain kind of guy who represents probably the opposite of what Morell apparently represents.

Nick Rudall I think so. There's a question that Shaw examines, indeed, of what human strengths and human weaknesses are. What's wonderfully complex about the play, though, is that you think there are answers, but he in writing about writing this play he said, "I was trying to struggle with ideas that I couldn't understand about what it means to be human." And one of the joys of working on it is that there's no clear-cut answer. It is a real dialectic about who is strong and who is weak. I mean, the artist seems to have the truth but he really doesn't always understand what life is all about.

Daria Martel It's so amazing to me that someone who doesn't understand what he's struggling with can write so beautifully. If someone who didn't have a clear grasp of what the issues were and, yet, he managed to put on paper something complicated and--

Nick Rudall Well, I think part of that was because this play, although we've talked about the other plays that have this triangle in them, this ménage which obsessed his life, this is the only play that was truly about what it was writing about. It's not about the politics of the world, it's about the politics of the family. It's a truly domestic piece, and what is actually happening to him at that time was that he had fallen in love with Janet Achurch, who was an actress.

Studs Terkel Shaw.

Nick Rudall Yeah, Shaw had fallen in love with her. And she was married to a man named Charrington who was one of Shaw's producers and he actually clinically says he worked out--he wrote the play in order to work out what he was feeling about this guilty relationship that he had with this actress.

Studs Terkel Autobiographical touch at the same time he's touching on a universal theme, too.

Daria Martel Yes.

Nick Rudall Absolutely.

Studs Terkel Suppose we take a break. Now, we're talking to several members of the Court Theatre Company that has, by the way, an excellent track record on Shaw and other plays contemporary and classic, and Nick Rudall is the director, Artistic Director of the company, and he has a role called Burgess, and we'll come to that. Candida is played by Daria Martel and Tom Amandes is Reverend Morell, and Marchbanks the young poet, a stray in a sense, but he's also upper-class, which, of course, affects this guy Burgess a lot, who is a kind of a gross kind of guy. Court Theatre. And David New is playing Marchbanks, and this opens September 27th, runs through October 28th, that's at 55th and Ellis. Daria Martel, Candida, Tom Amandes, Reverend Morell, and David New, Marchbanks, and you, Nick, directing and Burgess. So we've set the scene. Now here's the challenge of the two: 18-year-old Marchbanks that he, by the way, can make Candida happier than this guy can. This guy--

Tom Amandes I don't know about that.

Nick Rudall That is part of his challenge, yeah, yes, that he thinks he can make her happier. There actually are two other characters in the play who are very interesting little characters. There's a curate who is named Lexy, who is Marchbanks' subordinate, and his secretary--

Studs Terkel Morrell's.

Nick Rudall Morrell's. I'm sorry, yes. Morell's. And his secretary, Miss Proserpine, who are, in a sense they are the touchstones of the piece. Through them you see what people think of Morell and Marchbanks and Candida.

Studs Terkel So now we've set it. Candida hasn't appeared yet. And, so, we've--here's the thing, this guy is laughing at this kid, whom he brought in because of the goodness of his heart, right?

Tom Amandes Another one of my discoveries.

Daria Martel Discoveries.

Studs Terkel Morell brings in people. He's kind.

Nick Rudall He's kind. He's a social activist he's always--he's a member of the Fabian Society, as Shaw was.

Tom Amandes English Land Restoration League, you name it.

Nick Rudall Yes.

Tom Amandes Gilderson Matthew.

Nick Rudall His heart is in the right place. He's really, as you said, pompous but he's very generous, and in the scene that we were doing earlier at the end of that, it turns out quite simply that after Marchbanks says that he is in love with Candida, they quarrel about it, it gets violent, even, the question of force is raised, physical force as opposed to the force of ideas, and we are left stranded at the end of the first act with knowing that this complacent man, this generous, hardworking, socialist reverend has had his world shattered because he doesn't know how to deal with the truth that Marchbanks puts in his face, namely that he loves the wife and claims that he will be able to make her happier than Morell possibly could with the force of his ideas. And, so, then the next time we see them, in a sense, is when we see Candida and Morell left alone for the first time in the play where they are talking about seemingly their ordinary lives. But by this time, what's going on underneath is desperately painful for Morell, and I thought we could do a little scene of that, if you like.

Tom Amandes "Well, where is Eugene?

Daria Martel Washing his hands in the scullery under the tap. He will make an excellent cook if only he can get over his dread of Maria.

Tom Amandes No doubt.

Daria Martel Come here, dear. Let me look at you. Turn your face to the light. My boy is not looking well. Has he been overworking?

Tom Amandes Nothing more than usual.

Daria Martel He looks very pale and grey and wrinkled and old. Here, you've done enough writing for the day. Leave Prossy to finish it and come and talk to me.

Tom Amandes But--

Daria Martel Yes. I must be talked to sometimes. Now, you're beginning to look better already. Why didn't you give up all this tiresome overworking? Going out every night, lecturing and talking. Of course, what you say is all very right and very true, but it does no good. They don't mind what you say to them one little bit. Of course they agree with you. But what's the use of people agreeing with you if they go and do just the opposite of what you tell them the moment your back is turned? Look at our congregation at St. Dominic's. Why do they come to hear you talking about Christianity every Sunday? Why? Just because they've been so full of business and money-making for six days that they want to forget all about it and have a rest on the seventh so that they can go back fresh and make money harder than ever? You positively help them at it instead of hindering them.

Tom Amandes You know very well, Candida, that I often blow them up soundly for that. But if there is nothing in their church-going but rest and diversion, why don't they try something more amusing? More self-indulgent? There must be some good in the fact that they prefer St. Dominic's to worst places on Sundays.

Daria Martel Oh, the worst places aren't open. And even if they were, they daren't be seen going to them. Besides, James, you preach so splendidly that it's as good as a play for them. Why do you think the women are so enthusiastic?

Tom Amandes Candida!

Daria Martel Oh, I know, you dear silly, you think it's your socialism and your religion. But if it was that, they'd do what you tell them instead of only coming to look at you. They all have Prossy's complaint.

Tom Amandes Prossy's complaint, what do you mean, Candida?

Daria Martel Yes, Prossy and all the other secretaries you've ever had. Why does Prossy condescend to wash up things and to peel potatoes and to abase herself in all manner of ways for six shillings a week less than she used to get in a city office. She's in love with you, James, that's the reason. They're all in love with you, and you are in love with preaching because you do it so beautifully. And you think it's all enthusiasm for the kingdom of heaven on earth and so do they. You dear silly.

Tom Amandes What dreadful, what soul-destroying cynicism. Are you jesting or--can it be are you jealous?

Daria Martel Yes. I feel a little bit jealous sometimes.

Tom Amandes What! Of Prossy?

Daria Martel No. No, no, not jealous of anybody, jealous for somebody else who's not loved the way he ought to be.

Tom Amandes Me?

Daria Martel You? Why, you are spoiled with love and worship, you get far more than is good for you. No, I mean Eugene.

Tom Amandes Eugene.

Daria Martel It seems unfair that all the love and worship should go to you and none to him, although he needs it so much more than you do. What's the matter? Am I worrying you?

Tom Amandes Not at all. You know that I have perfect confidence in you, Candida.

Daria Martel You vain thing! Are you so sure of your irresistible attractions?

Tom Amandes Candida, you are shocking me! I never thought of my attractions, I thought of your goodness, your purity. That is what I confide in.

Daria Martel What a nasty, uncomfortable thing to say to me. Oh, James, you are a clergyman, a thorough clergyman.

Tom Amandes So Eugene says.

Daria Martel Eugene's always right. He's a wonderful boy. I've grown fonder and fonder of him all the time I was away. Do you know, James, though he's not the least suspicion of it himself, he's ready to fall madly in love with me?"

Nick Rudall That's that piece.

Studs Terkel That's great. By the way, your company's fine. You're great Shavian actors. You're good actors. But coming back to the scene, here, this is great.

Nick Rudall It's a wonderful--

Studs Terkel It's several things, isn't it? Several dimensions.

Daria Martel Yes.

Studs Terkel A preacher who's enlightened speaking to a congregation to make bucks. She's "Wait a minute. They're not that moved by it." They're moved by it, boy, and you're a great theatrical man.

Nick Rudall That's right.

Studs Terkel Big preacher, but you're not going to change their ways.

Nick Rudall That's right.

Studs Terkel Not going to make them feel good. But the other thing is about what seems to be the weakness of Marchbanks that this woman becomes his strength. Isn't that so, Candida?

Daria Martel Yes.

Studs Terkel Well, you guys take off on it.

Daria Martel Well, there's a wonderful scene to work on and we've been spending so much time just trying to get these, these two roads to go in opposite directions, to crisscross, to misunderstand, so that I'm heading one way and Morell is heading another and we don't seem to--

Tom Amandes Poor Morell is just left behind. Wondering what happened to the train that just passed.

Nick Rudall There's this man who has clear thinking about all the social problems of the world but is able to see in front of his nose at what's happening to him. Yes. Absolutely. And Marchbanks is, do you think that Marchbanks fully understands Candida? That's one of the really complex and difficult issues in the play is how--Shaw always talks about how he sees the light and how he knows what truth is.

David New Yeah, but I think that by the end of the play he understands her better. So I don't think that from the outset he--he's young, I think. And, so, his understanding is a young understanding. By the end of the play he's older. And the understanding is there's more perspective.

Nick Rudall Yes, what does he say at the very end about his age? "How old are you?" she says to him.

David New And he says, "As old as the world now. This morning I was 18."

Studs Terkel Funny thing about Marchbanks, 18; also because he's young. He has not enough of a facade to hide things, so he explodes. He's open. The inhibitions that are conditioned in this person grows older are less than him.

Nick Rudall Oh, absolutely.

Studs Terkel So that's it, so--whereas with Morell! Who's so good and that's where he has all the words and everything and has a love. Of course, he wants to be loved by everybody.

Nick Rudall That's right.

Studs Terkel By the world, doesn't he? Morell.

Nick Rudall Yes. Yes.

Daria Martel I think that's one of the things, actually, Candida finds interesting about Marchbanks is his--he's so ready for life and for expressing it and for love. And she can see that and she wants to be a positive part of that experience, and I think, too, maybe there's a part of her that wants to touch that again. Having made her choice and set up a wonderful household with Morell and all the work that's involved.

Studs Terkel Wait a minute. Something's happened to Candida, here, hasn't it? I mean, seemingly very happy and content, but at the same time Marchbanks' presence has aroused some hidden fire in Candida.

Daria Martel Yep. Yep.

Nick Rudall Definitely. Yes.

Tom Amandes Well, the need to be needed, in a sense.

Studs Terkel Need to be needed.

Tom Amandes I mean, I think that to a very strong degree Morell takes for granted the gifts that Candida gives him, and in fact he forgets that she is the reason that he's as strong as he is, you know, so when this young, gifted, yet needy person steps in there, all of a sudden there's an attraction.

Studs Terkel This fundamental truth offered by Tom just now. The need to be needed. Of course, the wind-up is poor old Morell is not that strange. The need to be needed is really an undercurrent to this whole thing, because that's what--another thing attracts you to Marchbanks.

Daria Martel That wonderful biography by--of Shaw by Holroyd.

Nick Rudall Michael Holroyd, yes.

Daria Martel He speaks a lot about Shaw not having gotten the love he needed from his mother and--

Nick Rudall In fact, the title of the first volume of Michael Holroyd's biography is "In Search of Love", and Marchbanks has a wonderful little scene where he's explaining to Miss Proserpine what it is like to be shy and to know the truth and what is the, that little thing that he says to her about shy people? "We go"--

David New "We all go about longing for love. 'Tis the first need of our natures, the loudest cry of our hearts. But we dare not utter a word of our longing, we are too shy."

Nick Rudall And then the next thing that he says is, "We go about in search of love." The title of Holroyd's book is "In Search of Love", and we go about in search of love, he says.

David New "And I find it in unmeasured stores in the bosoms of others, but when I try to ask for it, this horrible shyness strangles me and I stand dumb or worse than dumb saying meaningless things, foolish lies; and I see the affection I am longing for given to dogs and cats and pet birds because they come and ask for it."

Nick Rudall You can hear Shaw in that, can't you, this shy man he was, you know, and--

Studs Terkel In personal relationships.

Nick Rudall In personal relationships. He could write his head off in writing to women, but he was desperately shy, actually, himself.

Studs Terkel We're hearing passages from "Candida", an early Shaw play and a very perceptive one. And strangely moving one and funny one.

Nick Rudall Very funny.

Studs Terkel And it's at the Court Theatre, of Nick Rudall, Nick Rudall the director of it, and this play, too, "Candida", Daria Martel and Reverend Morell, her husband, Tom Amandes, and Marchbanks, young Marchbanks, David New, and it's at the Court Theatre, started September 27th and runs through October 28th.

Nick Rudall That's right, five weeks.

Studs Terkel That's at 55th and Ellis. [pause in recording] Where we're listening to Candida and her two men, Reverend Morell, and who, by the way, both are very funny. One of them is complacy (sic), that is shattered, a guy's world is completely shattered, isn't it? Morell. And here's this young interloper, this seemingly weak young scion of a family eccentric and raggedy kid who has these thoughts and wildness in him. And Candida, who is just there. In a way. But being there is more than there, she's in the middle of it.

Nick Rudall Indeed. Shaw's woman, the queen bee, the candle.

Studs Terkel It's funny. I know he was a great Ibsen man, a great Ibsen critic, defended him throughout. [Unintelligible] great Ibsen. In Ibsen, some of Ibsen's women, in the plays are [unintelligible] and she is, Candida is strong.

Nick Rudall Candida is a very strong woman, but in some sense Shaw in this play examines the ideals and idealism of the way one feels about love and the truth of the domesticity of love. So in some sense this play is the opposite of Nora in "Doll's House" Nora, the famous shutting of the door at the end, she leaves. In this play, the opposite happens. It's Marchbanks the poet who sees the truth about domesticity closes the door and leaves the two, the domestic couple, to stay at home because he sees--

Studs Terkel That's the reversal of that.

Nick Rudall It's the reversal. So Shaw had a great deal of cynicism also about what marriage really was, that is that this extraordinary love affair, the potential love affair between Marchbanks and Candida and the love of her husband for her and her love for her husband is in fact survives only on a wonderfully domestic relationship, not--a mundane one, not in the heavens.

Studs Terkel Let's hear more of these scenes. I like that. I like what I'm hearing. The audience will like what it's seeing.

Nick Rudall Why don't you do the scene at the very end of the play before she actually makes her choice? By this time, the two men have now confronted each other for yet one more time in which they say to each other, yes, she's going to have to choose between us. And so as, you know, all well-written plays of the 19th century, you come to the third act and here is, who's going to win, who's going to be the stronger.

Daria Martel "Are you sorry?

David New Yes. Heartbroken.

Daria Martel Well, then you are forgiven. Now go to bed like a good little boy, I want to talk to James about you.

David New I can't do that, Morell. I must be here, I'll not go away. Tell her.

Daria Martel Tell me what?

Tom Amandes I have nothing to tell her, except that she is my greatest treasure in the world. If she is really mine.

Daria Martel I'm sure Eugene can say no less if that is all.

David New Morell, she's laughing at us.

Tom Amandes There is nothing to laugh at. Are you laughing at us, Candida?

Daria Martel Eugene is very quick-witted, James. I hope I'm going to laugh, but I'm not sure that I'm not going to be very angry.

David New Stop, Morell. Don't let her say anything.

Tom Amandes I hope you don't mean that as a threat, Candida.

Daria Martel Take care, James. Eugene. I asked you to go. Are you going?

Tom Amandes He shall not go. I wish him to remain.

David New I'll go. I'll do whatever you want.

Daria Martel Stop. Didn't you hear James say he wished you to stay? James is master here. Don't you know that?

David New By what right is he master?

Daria Martel Tell him, James.

Tom Amandes My dear, I don't know of any right that makes me master. I [deserve? desert?] no such right.

Daria Martel You don't know. Oh, James! James! I wonder, Eugene, do you understand? No. You are too young. Well, I give you leave to stay. To stay and learn. Now James, what's the matter? Come, tell me.

David New Don't.

Daria Martel Come. Out with it.

Tom Amandes I meant to prepare your mind carefully, Candida, so as to prevent misunderstanding.

Daria Martel Yes, dear, I'm sure you did. But don't worry, I shan't misunderstand.

Tom Amandes Well.

Daria Martel Well.

Tom Amandes Eugene declares that you are in love with him.

David New No! No, no, no, never! I did not, Mrs. Morell, it's not true! I said that I loved you and that he didn't, I said that I understood you and that he couldn't and it was not after what passed there before the fire that I spoke it. It was not on my word. It was this morning.

Daria Martel This morning?

David New Yes.

Tom Amandes That is what was the matter with my collar.

Daria Martel His collar? Oh, James! Did you--

Tom Amandes You know, Candida, I have a temper to struggle with, and he said that you despised me in your heart.

Daria Martel Did you say that?

David New No.

Daria Martel Then James has just told me a falsehood. Is that what you mean?

David New No, no. It was David's wife. It wasn't at home. It was when she saw him dancing before all the people.

Tom Amandes Dancing before all the people, Candida, thinking he was moving their hearts with his mission when they were only suffering from Prossy's complaint. Oh, don't try to look indignant, Candida.

Daria Martel Try!

Tom Amandes Eugene was right! As you told me a few hours after, he is always right. He said nothing that you did not say far better yourself. He is the poet who sees everything. I am the poor parson who understands nothing.

Daria Martel Do you mind what is said to you by a foolish boy because I said something like it again in jest?

Tom Amandes That foolish boy can speak with the inspiration of a child and the cunning of a serpent. He has claimed that you belong to him and not to me, and rightly or wrongly, I have come to fear that it may be true. I will not go about tortured with doubts and suspicions. I will not live with you and keep a secret from you. I will not suffer the intolerable degradation of jealousy. So, we have agreed. He and I. That you shall choose between us now. I wait your decision.

Daria Martel Oh! I am to choose, am I? I suppose it's quite settled that I must belong to one or the other.

Tom Amandes Quite. You must choose definitely.

David New Morell, you don't understand, she means that she belongs to herself.

Daria Martel I mean that and a good deal more Master Eugene, as you will both find out presently. And pray, my lords and masters, what am I offered for my choice? It seems I am up for auction. What do you bid, James?

Tom Amandes Can't. I can't speak.

Daria Martel Oh, dearest.

David New Stop! It's not fair. You mustn't show her that you suffer, Morell. I'm on the rack, too, but I'm not crying.

Tom Amandes Yes, you're right. It is not for pity that I'm bidding.

Daria Martel I beg your pardon, James, I didn't mean to touch you. I'm waiting to hear your bid.

Tom Amandes I have nothing to offer you but my strength for your defense, my honesty of purpose for your surety, my ability and industry for your livelihood, and my authority and position for your dignity. That is all it becomes a man to offer to a woman.

Daria Martel And you, Eugene, what do you offer?

David New My weakness, my desolation, my heart's need.

Daria Martel That's a good bid, Eugene. Now I know how to make my choice."

Studs Terkel Oh, boy! That's great. He really sets it up. Now, of course, we--it's--By the way, it's very funny, too.

Nick Rudall It's very, it's very--

Studs Terkel It's funny in its poignance, really.

Nick Rudall He really was a master at mixing that. He [bits?] his own impish humor. He's really dealing with something as painful as Ibsen, but it's funny.

Studs Terkel [Unintelligible] she belongs to herself. But she's is still not Candida, is it? 'Cause there's still a connection.

Daria Martel Yeah, it's a curious one. I mean, she doesn't really belong to herself because as she defines herself it's as much taking care of him and being a part of this household, and--and it's, that's the one of the most difficult. That's what we were talking about earlier. That sense of, what does that mean?

Nick Rudall Well, yes, you're right because, in a sense, she is a woman but that has a freedom in her, and, thus, what is attractive to Marchbanks, and yet, at the same time, Shaw is quite aware that that freedom is grounded in making her husband master.

Daria Martel Yes.

Nick Rudall It's a peculiar, it's a peculiar thought. It reminds me in some sense like the ending of "The Taming of the Shrew" in some sense, it's this free spirit is in fact ultimately grounded in domesticity but while still having a great spirit.

Studs Terkel But what that poor Morell has, and we're going to--scene in which Morell is realizing his world, the world of his illusion, when he assumed that the real one he is strong and the shepherd of his flock and beloved of his wife, also her defender and strength. He's got nuttin'!

Nick Rudall That's right! That's right!

Tom Amandes

Studs Terkel

Tom Amandes He's got-- Well,-- He got plenty of nothin'! The truth is, he has everything, but he fails to see that.

Nick Rudall Yes.

Tom Amandes He gets thrown off and it's all, it's very much an illusion. She's there with him the whole time.

Nick Rudall And he does discover that, doesn't he, at the end? That's one of the beauties of the play, that he does see through that in the end in a very tou--

Tom Amandes A little late.

Nick Rudall A little late. Yes.

Daria Martel

Tom Amandes No. He's always a little late.

Studs Terkel What about young Marchbanks? Just for the fun of--he's eighteen. What's going to become of Marchbanks? What do you think?

David New Well, I think that at the end of the play he makes the decision to live the life of an artist, and that's a solitary one in the world of this play. He rejects the domesticity and while he's been writing poetry up to this point you get the idea that he's going to go on now to a greater maturity in his art. So, I think that, while the end of the play is often seen as a negative, you know, when he's going out into the dark night and something horrible is going to happen. I actually think that it's a very positive choice that he's making to go out and leave the light inside of domesticity and be alone in the night.

Daria Martel Yeah. Candida says at one point at the end that he's learned to live without happiness, but I don't think she means in a bad way. He simply has learned what choices he needs to make to be an artist.

Tom Amandes Well, this is a choice that Shaw had to make. This is a question I've asked.

Nick Rudall That's true. I can't remember the quote exactly, but he said some extraordinarily powerful things about what it means to be an artist, including one line where he talks about if necessary an artist must use the milk of his mother's breast and turn it into ink just in order to be able to write.

Studs Terkel Anything.

Nick Rudall Yes, anything. Anything. In order to be able to write.

Studs Terkel Nothing alien to him, either.

Tom Amandes I don't

Studs Terkel know about that. But that's interesting, the idea that, you see, [a day?] when it is a positive ending in a way, because we know this guy's not got--we, you know damn well Marchbanks is not going to kill himself, that you know.

Nick Rudall We know that.

Studs Terkel No matter what he says. He's pretty strong.

Nick Rudall Strong in his language but he really is going into the night to be--recognizing that this form of happiness, this form of love, is one that he ultimately rejects. All the way through the play, the term "happiness" comes up all the time. Morell in his pomposity tells Marchbanks early on that he'll teach him how to be happy. Teach him how to be happy, but at the end Marchbanks discovers that that's not the kind of happiness he wants.

Studs Terkel Yeah. There's other character, there's Prossy, the overworked secretary who idolizes Morell, and there's his sycophantish assistant.

Nick Rudall That's right.

Studs Terkel This guy's Anglican and there's a middle-class, upper middle-class, Candida's father, this guy, see, Shaw can't escape his writing about class either, class is in this deal.

Nick Rudall Oh, yes.

Studs Terkel If you got the Marchbanks came from an aristocratic family.

Daria Martel Right.

Studs Terkel It's not lost on this guy who is out to make a fast buck and grovels for it.

Nick Rudall That's right.

Studs Terkel Isn't that so?

Nick Rudall That's right. Oh, absolutely. I'm playing the character of Burgess, who is Candida's father. One of the wonderful mysteries of the play also is that Burgess is a working-class man who's made it by real solid graft, that's a good Chicago man, and Candida--he is a Chicago man, he's always looking for ways to put the touch on politicians or the nobility, he's attracted to Marchbanks only for what he thinks he might be able to get since Marchbanks is the nephew of an earl and that, really--Burgess likes that.

Tom Amandes But Shaw uses him as a mirror. I mean, he looks on James as being a fool in much the same way that James looks on Marchbanks as being a fool.

Nick Rudall Oh, yes. Indeed. Absolutely. In fact, we--

Studs Terkel We're talking about the dimensions in "Candida", the Court Theatre, with one more round to go, the wind-up, and it's through October 28th, running at the Court Theatre, 55th and Ellis, and you know, it's a very good theatre.

Nick Rudall Well, since we were talking about Burgess the father although this, although he's not instrumental in the plot that we've looked at, we might have a look at some of the ideas that show puts in his head. In this scene at the beginning of the play, Burgess, Candida's father, has come back to talk to Morell, sensing, I think, that Morell is on his way up within the church and, therefore, might be just useful to him in his business and he's back for the first time after three years, hasn't seen his daughter for three years, but now he's back to make a buck or a pound in this case, and the scene begins this way, which is that Morell has just been putting a silk scarf around his assistant and Burgess says, "Spoiling your curates as usual, Jack? Good morning. When I pay a man and his living depends on me, I keep him in his place.

Tom Amandes I always keep my curates in their places as my helpers and comrades. You get as much work out of your clerks and warehousemen as I get out of my curates, you must be getting rich pretty fast. Will you take your own chair?

Nick Rudall Just the same as ever, James.

Tom Amandes When you last called, it was about three years ago, I think you said the same thing a little more frankly, your exact words then were, "Just as big a fool as ever, James."

Nick Rudall Well, perhaps I did, but I meant no offense by it. A clergyman is privileged to be a bit of a fool, you know? It's only becoming in his profession that he should. Anyhow, I come here not to rake up old differences but to let bygones be bygones. James, three year ago, you done me a ill turn. You done me out of a contract. And when I gave you harsh words in my natural disappointment, you turned my daughter against me. Well, I've come to act the part of a Christian. I forgive you, James.

Tom Amandes Confound your impudence.

Nick Rudall Is that becoming language for a clergyman?

Tom Amandes No, it is not becoming language for a clergyman. I used the wrong word, I should have said, "Damn your impudence!" That's what St. Paul or any honest priest would have said to you. Do you think I have forgotten that tender of yours for the contract to supply clothing to the workhouse?

Nick Rudall I acted in the interest of the taxpayers, James. It was the lowest tender, you can't deny that.

Tom Amandes Yes! The lowest. Because you paid worse wages than any other employer, starvation wage, worse than starvation wages, to the women who made the clothing. Your wages would have driven them to the street to keep body and soul together. Those women were my parishioners. I shamed the council out of accepting your tender. I shamed the taxpayers out of letting them do it, I shamed everybody except you! How dare you, sir, come here and offer to forgive me and talk about your daughter and how I--

Nick Rudall Easy, James, easy, easy, don't get into a fluster over nothing. I've owned I was wrong.

Tom Amandes Have you? I didn't hear you.

Nick Rudall Of course I did. I own it now. Come on, I ask your pardon for the letter I wrote you. Is that enough?

Tom Amandes That's nothing. Have you raised the wages?

Nick Rudall Yes. I've turned a model employer. I don't employ no women now. They're all sacked and the work is done by machinery. Not a man gets less than sixpence an hour. And the skilled hands gets the trade union rate. What have you to say to me

Tom Amandes now? Is it possible? Well, there's more joy in heaven over one sinner that repented. My dear Burgess, I most heartily beg your pardon for my harsh thoughts of you. Now, don't you feel the better for the change? Come, confess, you're happy. You look happier.

Nick Rudall Oh, perhaps I do. I suppose I must, since you notice it."

Studs Terkel It's good to see all the various avenues he explores here.

Nick Rudall Oh, yes. Yes. They go on to argue, in fact, that since I called him a fool early on and he called me a scoundrel, that the only terms that you can put it, Tom, the only terms you'll accept me on is that if I acknowledge that you are a fool and that I am a scoundrel, if I acknowledge that I can stay.

Studs Terkel There of course, is Reverend Morell socially, with a social conscience at work, you see. He's there, but he still can't figure that thing out domestically, can he? By the way, that's universal and that's been eternal with all--not saving, all those who scrap for a better world, because domestically you have these stories, and they're all personalized, incredible.

Tom Amandes It takes a toll on the family.

David New Absolutely.

Studs Terkel In a way he's touching that, too, as well as the autobiographical note that is there.

Daria Martel He is, he's trying to define what a kingdom of heaven on earth would be like, and I think, in the end, he comes to the conclusion that it involves domesticity, making the best working relationship in your home so that you can be a good example.

Nick Rudall Right. But the irony of that, of course, is that they talk about the kingdom of heaven and of the metaphors that Marchbanks uses when he's talking about Candida is that she was an angel and that he was at the gates of paradise was in fact at the very end what Candida says to convince them both is that you have to keep the--what is it, you have to keep the tradesmen away--

Daria Martel Oh, yeah, the little vulgar cares out.

Nick Rudall You have to keep the tradesmen away from the doors if there's anything to pay, I have to pay it, that's what the real life is all about.

Studs Terkel Yeah, in other words, he speaking as for certainly on Sundays to his congre--and all of them of a better world and all it's all wrapped in cellophane when it comes to the daily chores.

Daria Martel Yes.

Tom Amandes Absolutely.

Studs Terkel Whereas Candida handles that. So, in a way, something is set off in Candida by Marchbanks' presence and impulsiveness.

Daria Martel A lot of things. I mean, in many ways Candida also helps Marchbanks go into becoming an adult. But I'm still working on trying to understand the ways in which Candida goes and makes her choices and is clear about them.

Nick Rudall She's a remarkably enigmatic character.

Daria Martel Yes.

Nick Rudall Remarkably enigmatic.

Studs Terkel Now this is one of his earliest plays so he was quite young when he wrote this, too.

Nick Rudall In his 20s, yes.

Studs Terkel So the Marchbanks' in him.

Nick Rudall Oh, yes.

Studs Terkel As well as the Morell.

Daria Martel Oh, yes. Both of them. All of them.

Nick Rudall Both of them, that's what's so wonderfully--

Studs Terkel Because his comments about the world were from the very beginning, pretty, you know, challenging authority and brutishness and inequality in this society. At the same time there was the impulsiveness of the young.

Nick Rudall Oh yes, and of course, at this time Shaw himself was working with the London County Council. He was a councillor. He was a lot of what he was a socialist, of course, at this time and an artist so there's a lot of Morell and a lot of Marchbanks have come from Shaw himself. He was working very hard at this time actually to make sure that women did not have to pay to go to the bathrooms in London, this was a cause that he was taking up, a very domestic cause.

Studs Terkel That's a funny, see, this could be very clinical, but you know there were for a long time far more loos, the word they use for bathroom, for men than for women, which precisely--

Nick Rudall And he took on places

Studs Terkel like this. Do you know why? You know why?

Nick Rudall Why?

Studs Terkel It was not considered ladylike to do it. You see, the more restrained you were--

Daria Martel What does that mean?

Studs Terkel There's an old joke, the joke is too clinical to tell, it deals with what makes the attributes of the nobility of classes in dealing with ablutions.

Nick Rudall Shaw would love that. He really did genuinely take up that cause, I mean, he was very active in that cause.

Studs Terkel So let's have one last go-round, thoughts as before the hour winds up, thoughts about Morell. You the actor, Tom Amandes, doing Morell. As you see it.

Tom Amandes Well, this has been a wonderful cast to work with, and just a very enjoyable and very rich experience in that every time we do the show, I think we find new layers and new little things, the relationships are so well-crafted that there's lots of material to mine here. I'm looking forward to getting in front of an audience, which we will be doing very shortly, very, very shortly, and adding that last element to the mix, because I think it's going to be a show that plays very well.

Studs Terkel Well, I can make a bet on that now, just hearing you, three of you, four of you, including Burgess here--

Tom Amandes Well, Nick's been a problem working--

Studs Terkel David New, Marchbanks, your thoughts as we--

David New It's been a, as Tom said, thoroughly enjoyable process. Nick and I have worked on seeing Marchbanks as a visionary, but also as a child and, so, it's just been a ball combining those two things together.

Studs Terkel Daria Martel, Candida.

Daria Martel Well, I just want to say I'm really grateful to have this part and to have this introduction to Chicago. You know? It's really a wonderful first time out and--

Studs Terkel This is your first, this is your--

Daria Martel My first--

Nick Rudall First time in Chicago.

Daria Martel First time

Studs Terkel

Daria Martel in Chicago, so-- Quite a debut, I'd say. It's really wonderful.

Studs Terkel What about Candida? Did you learn anything from Candida? From her?

Daria Martel Well, I guess it's too early to speak. I'm still figuring some things out.

Studs Terkel So, Nick Rudall.

Nick Rudall I think the great joy of this piece was discovering how human these people were. Much more human than any other Shavian play that I worked on. Their foibles combined with their strengths are just wonderful. And in that sense--in a very real sense it's, it has been in some sense like doing Ibsen, Shaw, and Chekhov all at once, because these people don't understand how they're operating, they're struggling very hard to understand how they're operating. And as I said before, it's really the only Shaw play about a love triangle that is about a love triangle, as opposed to a revolution or arms sales, or--

Tom Amandes God.

Nick Rudall Or God, yes. So it's been a wonderful experience and will be for the next five weeks.

Studs Terkel So there's "Candida" through October 20th at the Court Theatre, 55th and Ellis. Do you play--you don't play Monday night, is that it?

Nick Rudall Don't play Monday and Tuesday, play--

Studs Terkel No Monday, Tuesday, so it's Wednesday through Sunday.

Nick Rudall That's right. And we have matinees on Sunday and Saturday.

Studs Terkel Well, you've got it made.

Nick Rudall Yes.

Studs Terkel Fiftieth and--thank you very much. Nick Rudall, and Daria Martel, and Tom Amandes, and David New.

Nick Rudall

Daria Martel Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Tom Amandes Thank you,