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Ian McKellan discusses National Theatre of Great Britain's performance of Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" at the Blackstone Theatre in Chicago

BROADCAST: May. 7, 1986 | DURATION: 00:56:16


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Studs Terkel Thank you, Jim, and seated in the studio, at what is an ungodly hour for a magnificent evening of theater, following an evening of theater. Last night's opening of "The Cherry Orchard" of the National Theatre's, of Great Britain, Ian McKellen playing the role of Lopakhin. Ian McKellen, who some would say is the finest today, the finest actor on the English speaking stage. A member of the national company of Great Britain, you opened with "The Duchess of Malfi," and now Chekhov's classic, "The Cherry Orh-," that got rave reviews. And I realize you're here this morning, you can hardly keep your eyes open-

Ian McKellan [laughter]

Studs Terkel -and yet I know the the thoughts are there. And so, as you have the coffee, I should point out to the audience that often following opening night there is a gathering. The actors get together, have a little celebration. And so, with an hour or so of sleep and a matinee forthcoming, we'll make this easy-

Ian McKellan [laughter]

Studs Terkel -as possible for Ian McKellan.

Ian McKellan Good morning to you.

Studs Terkel How Morning,

Ian McKellan Well, I here I've got two pairs of glasses here, I don't know quite which to wear because I I've got these sunglasses, but they don't really fit me. But the light in here isn't too bright.

Studs Terkel

Ian McKellan Thank you, Jim, and seated in the studio, at what is an ungodly hour for a magnificent evening of theater, following an evening of theater. Last night's opening of "The Cherry Orchard" of the National Theatre's, of Great Britain, Ian McKellen playing the role of Lopakhin. Ian McKellen, who some would say is the finest today, the finest actor on the English speaking stage. A member of the national company of Great Britain, you opened with "The Duchess of Malfi," and now Chekhov's classic, "The Cherry Orh-," that got rave reviews. And I realize you're here this morning, you can hardly keep your eyes open- [laughter] -and yet I know the the thoughts are there. And so, as you have the coffee, I should point out to the audience that often following opening night there is a gathering. The actors get together, have a little celebration. And so, with an hour or so of sleep and a matinee forthcoming, we'll make this easy- [laughter] -as possible for Ian McKellan. Good morning to you. How Morning, Well, I here I've got two pairs of glasses here, I don't know quite which to wear because I I've got these sunglasses, but they don't really fit me. But the light in here isn't too bright. Beautiful- I Beautiful

Studs Terkel I was thinking, just to start things easily, rather than talk about Ian McKellan's one man [unintelligible] of Shakespeare. We'll come to that I hope, and I know we will. Last night's performance, both the critics of both metropolitan papers raved, one called it stunning, and the other spoke of the graceful quality of your performance, as in that of your colleagues, and one spoke of the joy and the sorrow of Chekhov's drama, sing, and how this particular production, Mike Alfreds' direction, came about, would be interesting.

Ian McKellan Well, it's it's it's the right show to bring to Chicago because it is not the sort of production which is imposed by the director. It's it's not a director meeting a group of actors and telling them that he knows what the play is about. It's not the sort of production which presumes on the play, rather it's the sort of event in which the play emerges for the audience's delectation. It's not a production with a point of view which it rams down the audience's throat, rather it encourages the audience to examine what they're hopefully enjoying and make up their own minds to it, that they should be the interpreter, and not the actors and the director. And this is achieved through what, for me, has been an absolutely astonishing experience, because after 25 years of working in the British theater I've found a director who answers for me all the problems of acting, and one of the big problems of acting is how do you do it night after night after night? Now, people are always asking me that and I'm always rather pooh-pooh it, and say, "Don't you realize that the audience is different every night? And so, although I'm saying the same words, it's kept fresh by that." But I've never totally believed that in my heart of hearts. What Mike Alfreds does is, say, make it different every night, not because you have to but because you will want to as you respond to the audience. We won't decide where anybody's going to move on the stage, and we not we haven't done, and each move in "Cherry Orchard" is genuinely improvised each performance. I'm never quite sure when when I'm I'm going to get on that bench in Act 2 or not, because all the knobs are sitting down. Perhaps the little peasant boy Lopakhin is going to have to stand up tonight, or sit on the ground, or sit next to Varya, or tonight I may be next to Ranyevskaya, or next to Gayev. It doesn't matter, because as long as I know my character, and they know theirs, and we know the words we're speaking, we don't improvise the words, then the story's going to come zinging through. And I think that's what happened last night. It just seemed to take off.

Studs Terkel Now, tonight, you see, there's something, what you're saying here, it is not the business isn't pointed out step by step, inch by inch, "you must do exactly the same four steps nightly."

Ian McKellan No.

Studs Terkel No, precisely the opposite. The character is there.

Ian McKellan That's right.

Studs Terkel And that same Lopakhin, you, the peasant becomes the landowner, a very sensitive guy who feels also poignance. He knows it's the end of a of an epoch for the madame who's selling-

Ian McKellan Mm.

Studs Terkel -the house to you-

Ian McKellan Mm.

Studs Terkel -has to-

Ian McKellan Mm.

Studs Terkel He's that guy, you know him.

Ian McKellan Oh yeah, I know

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Ian McKellan But whether tonight he'll be a little bit coarser than he was last night, or maybe a bit more elegant in his attempts to impress this beautiful lady who he is besotted with, whether tonight he will be a little less in love with Ranyevskaya than he was last night, I don't know. And I shall only know when I walk onto the stage with my intentions hopefully pulled together by that time, 2 o'clock this afternoon, and meet the other actors, and meet their intentions and their level of energy. And really it's just like life. [laughter]

Studs Terkel I was going to say, this is Chekhov again.

Ian McKellan It's more like life than it's like a play, and it's a joy. And and in London we do this play in a very small theater, 200 seats, the audience right on top of the actors. And, of course, at the Blackstone there's room for 1400, and there's a big area there to be filled, and the performances had to be magnified for that space. But what was encouraging was that it didn't seem to matter. It just it just happened. But if we'd been stuck with a very rigid production, I think we might have been in problems last night, and we weren't.

Studs Terkel Ah, now here's something else. Because you you're Lopakhin, and Sheila Hancock knows Madame Ranyevskaya very well, and the various other colleagues-

Ian McKellan Yes.

Studs Terkel -know their characters well, the student, and-

Ian McKellan Yeah.

Studs Terkel -and the plain woman who is in love with you, Eleanor plays-

Ian McKellan Varya.

Studs Terkel -because you all know each other, the role you are very well. It's a big theater, a small theater. You adjust, you know, and it's not-

Ian McKellan You

Studs Terkel -the four steps, you're not going to sit on the sofa. That you may not.

Ian McKellan No.

Studs Terkel But it's the same guy-

Ian McKellan same

Studs Terkel -just as that, you can have a little, you have a few drinks here. You may have a an extra drink, in your character, that is.

Ian McKellan Mm-hm.

Studs Terkel Maybe a little more drunk-

Ian McKellan Mm-hm.

Studs Terkel -slightly, and a little more coarse as a result.

Ian McKellan That's right, that's right.

Studs Terkel But the same guy.

Ian McKellan Absolutely. Same guy. So I'm it it would be possible, perhaps, for an audience to come and see there's eight shows on the chart, you know, and find something different in it each time. I don't know wheth-, what's the interesting puzzle as to whether the actors would actually be presenting eight different aspects of the play, or whether just you arriving eight different times in the theater would provide that different-

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Ian McKellan -point of view, which would make it seem to you that you got eight different interpretations. I don't know. But that's a mystery to me.

Studs Terkel I'm I'm just wondering because the because the history of Chekhov, say, in the Moscow Art Theater, when Stanislavski was directing it, and when they were first done, whether he didn't use that same

Ian McKellan Well, I'm sure they did in rehearsal, or was fairly likely that in rehearsal, after all, Stanislavsky was dealing with [clears throat] in the main amateur actors, you know, they were they were rather well-heeled ladies and gentlemen.

Studs Terkel Oh, I didn't know that.

Ian McKellan Oh yes, who had a an amateur company that he and his partner, Danchenko, turned professional and made a big success of in Moscow. And I think what they weren't frightfully good at was playing lower life characters. They weren't badly off at the ladies and gentlemen. For instance, Chekhov said sent "The Cherry Orchard" to Stanislavsky, whose family was very famous in Moscow, an an industrial family with a lot of money, and said to Stanislavsky, "I've written you a wonderful part, Lopakhin the peasant."

Studs Terkel The part you

Ian McKellan Stanislav- the part I do. "I'm sorry," Stanislavsky said, "oh no, thank you very much. I'll play Gayev, the elder brother"-

Studs Terkel Ah.

Ian McKellan Who, of course, is the landowner

Studs Terkel and- [laughter]

Ian McKellan -has a certain style and elegance to him. But I think, perhaps to encourage their actors to get into the life of, say, the gawky characters that they were playing, they must have done improvisations of some sort but-

Studs Terkel Lower depth, say.

Ian McKellan That's right, lower depth. But when it came to the performance, I I I would guess that it was well-regulated by Stanislavski and-

Studs Terkel So what, your company-

Ian McKellan [unintelligible] Sorry.

Studs Terkel You and Mike Alfred and the others, there's something really daring.

Ian McKellan Well, it it it it it's it is for someone like me whose spent his life working in one way to suddenly meet a man, a director who encourages me to be very free, to not worry about anything, to just feel in the moment. [clears throat] And what's good about good about it is that it reinforces what I've always known as an actor, that the theater is special because it's happening now.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Ian McKellan It happened last night. It's going to happen this afternoon.

Studs Terkel There again, last time on, that's the thing you talked about, too, the immediacy-

Ian McKellan That's right.

Studs Terkel -of that moment, once gone is gone.

Ian McKellan Mm-hm.

Studs Terkel And so it it is not the identical chapter-verse, 'course, chapter-verse, but not the identical step by step performance.

Ian McKellan Mm.

Studs Terkel Because where each of us in life is different-

Ian McKellan Mm.

Studs Terkel -from one night, the person is there.

Ian McKellan Yes.

Studs Terkel So a little more tired, a little more aggressive one night.

Ian McKellan Yes. It's it's I suppose for for someone who's not an actor, you should think of that that favorite story that you have, that that that you tell. Something that happened to you. And it happened, and it was real, and it had an immediate impact. And that evening you tell somebody about it, you tell your wife, your boyfriend, and then the next day you tell them at work, and then you tell someone the same story on the telephone.

Studs Terkel Yes.

Ian McKellan It's not the same words.

Studs Terkel Oh, never.

Ian McKellan It's the same experience you're remembering, and sometimes, of course, it gets a bit exaggerated-

Studs Terkel I'm gonna

Ian McKellan -and sometimes you forget little bits of it, but it's basically there. And it's still you telling the story.

Studs Terkel I'm going to try telling an experiment with you right now. May I do

Ian McKellan this? Sure.

Studs Terkel It's a self-indulgence on my part.

Ian McKellan Good.

Studs Terkel The very point of telling a story. Nelson Algren, one of my favorite writers, wrote about Chicago, the Bard, used to write stories and he was very funny. And one day he's telling a story of Diaghilev and Nijinsky, and he deliberately twists it. He makes Nijinsky in love with Diaghilev, rather than the other way around. And so, it's a bad moment for both. And Nijinsky wants to impress the maestro, the man he loves, and so he leaps into the air and does something no human being ever did. Now, it's me telling the story that I had read in a Nelson Algren book.

Ian McKellan Yes.

Studs Terkel You must remember this part.

Ian McKellan Yes,

Studs Terkel And Nijinsky leaps into the air and does a tours, what's French for ten? He does ten

Ian McKellan twirls- Dix.

Studs Terkel -in the air. Huh?

Ian McKellan Dix.

Studs Terkel Tours dix. No one ever did that. And lands on point. Incredible. And he's breathing rather heavily and says to Diaghilev [sighs], "Master?" He says, "What took you so long?"

Ian McKellan [laughter]

Studs Terkel And so now he's got to impress this man he loves-

Ian McKellan [laughter]

Studs Terkel -so he hops into the air and he levitates. No human has ever levitated.

Ian McKellan [laughter]

Studs Terkel Fake magicians do it, but never really. And he lands on point. Now his breath is even shorter. He says, "Master, no human's ever done this." Says, "Where the hell have you been?," says Diaghi- says, "My God." Now Nijinsky is desperate. He flies into the air and disappears. No bird ever did that. He he lands somewhere in the wings against that bar, and now he's crawling on his knees, he's so tired, he's so exhausted. And he comes up to Diaghilev, says, "Master." He's, "What are you on, the WPA? Es- you on welfare or something? What am I paying you for?" [unintelligible] He's finally, "What do you want of me, master?" he says in desperate- "Étonne moi," says Diaghilev. "Astonish me." And so Nijinsky takes a dead mackerel from his back pocket, a dead fish, and he slaps Diaghilev across the mouth with the dead fish. And Diaghilev says [gasps], "My god, you astonished me. This is great." [snaps] And then a light bulb lights up above his head. He's got this grand idea, he's, "Here we are. Here we are, the Ballet Russes perform, with the crowned heads of Europe, before industrialists of Europe, and queens, and princesses, and self-indulgent, slovenly people who don't never lifted a never did a day's work in their lives. Sure, we've got Stravinsky, and we got Picasso and Brach doing the sets. But what do you say we reach the moujiks of the world? Everybody. This act, you and me, do this act. You do your act, and then you say, 'What do you want of me?' And I say, 'Étonne moi,' and smack me in the mouth with a fish. We'll kill 'em." And so they play all over the world, port cities only, because they gotta have fresh fish, you know. And so they kill 'em in in Odessa, people, moujiks, pay thousands of rubles to see it. They kill 'em in Liverpool and Bristol, and these old cloth cap, dark hands are paying all the pounds they got to see this act. They're going crazy. And meantime Diaghilev and Nijinsky are putting on fright wigs and putty noses and baggy pants. "Étonne moi." Bang! And the crowd goes crazy all over the world. Now, at somewhere, it might have been Shanghai, Diaghilev was getting tired. He says, "I'm gettin' tired of picking these mackeral bones out from between my teeth."

Ian McKellan [Laughter]

Studs Terkel He says, "What do you say we use a foam rubber fish next time?" Nijinsky, now the star, says, "How dare you? I'm an artist, it's got to be the real thing or nothing." And Diaghilev says, "Okay, from now on in we switch roles. You say 'Étonne moi', and I smack you on the mouth with a dead fish." And the [snaps] act broke up then and there. And the moral of Nelson Algren's story is: art depends on who was hitting who in the mouth with a dead fish.

Ian McKellan [laughter]

Studs Terkel Now that's the story, and I tell it, and you laugh, and it's good. And then I read it again. It's a wholly different story. And so, in the telling of it-

Ian McKellan Yes.

Studs Terkel -repeat it again and it becomes something different.

Ian McKellan Yes.

Studs Terkel This is what you're talking about?

Ian McKellan Absolutely. And that's and that's what it's like to to do "Cherry Orchard" night after night. It it is the same, it is the same story, but it's a little bit different-

Studs Terkel That's

Ian McKellan -because it's a retelling for a new bunch of people who are hearing it for the first time, or maybe it's the second time.

Studs Terkel So it's these actors, and by the way, what an ensemble of actors they are, of the National Theatre of Great Britain. It's the ensemble. They are telling a story every night, the same story, but the nuances, the coloring, is all different.

Ian McKellan That's right.

Studs Terkel So the audience sees it afresh each night, which is what you say theater is about.

Ian McKellan Yes. It's it makes sense to me.

Studs Terkel Let me just pause for now because, as you have another sip of your coffee and getting slightly more awake, and you've been-

Ian McKellan [laughter]

Studs Terkel -exciting

Ian McKellan Well, I hope you're going to tell me more stories. That was a wonderful bit

Studs Terkel [unintelligible] got to hear your, we come to something else

Ian McKellan now. Okay.

Studs Terkel Another aspect of Ian McKellen, a very stunning aspect, after Mel Zellman with this message. [pause] There's a matinee today at two-thirty? Is it two? I think--

Ian McKellan I think-

Studs Terkel -two. A matinee at two even-

Ian McKellan I'll I'll go in to do it at two, and surface at two-thirty I'll still be there.

Studs Terkel At at the Blackstone Theatre, and it's "The Cherry Orchard," and it's stunning is the word, and terribly exciting theater, as you can gather from listening to Ian McKellen talk. Thinking about the different dimensions to your acting and directing, as well. Many people know of you, of course, as as Salieri, and again, stunning is the word. You won every award for that in "Amadeus," the New York production. But it's your Shakespeare, too, aside from Chekhov and Marlowe and Congreve, your Shakespeare and your one-person Shakespeare interpretation-

Ian McKellan Mm.

Studs Terkel -that's been on TV, and-

Ian McKellan Yes.

Studs Terkel That that is absolutely, positively revy- you know, it's revelation.

Ian McKellan Well, I don't that I had just hit a lucky chord there, it was it was a show I put together when I was working at Stratford-upon-Avon, you know, where Shakespeare was born and, really, died, and and where the Royal Shakespeare Company have three theaters, they're just opening a new theater this year, all of them built with American money, you know. The British are so proud of their theater, but it's the Americans who actually put up the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford. Anyway, there I was working away, and I was invited to go up to the Edinburgh Festival, on which, perhaps, your Chicago International Theater Festival is, in part, based. And they said, would I do a one-man show? And because my mind was full of Shakespeare, I thought, I know what I'll do, I'll try and chatter on for two hours in front of a hopefully fairly indulgent audience about why I like Shakespeare, not not what Shakespeare is to the academics or to the to the intelligent person, necessarily, but just a working actor who knows that Shakespeare was a brilliant playwright and a brilliant man of the theater, and try and explain why I feel so fond of of the man who keeps being revealed to me through the plays, a one a man, a superhuman, but nonetheless someone who you can feel contact with. And and that's that's how the show arose, and and it developed over a number of years and ended up on Broadway. It even went to L.A. I don't know whether anyone's ever done a one-man Shakespeare show in L.A.

Studs Terkel before- Mm.

Ian McKellan -but it's wherever I go with it there are people who just love it, doesn't matter where I go in the world.

Studs Terkel I think of some of the characters you, we know that you've done Macbeth, you won every award there is for Macbeth and, say, Macbeth and Coriolanus. Here are two powerful men, two men in power, I should say, if there's a common denominator, the word would be power, quest, one way or the other, or rejection.

Ian McKellan Yes.

Studs Terkel Start with them.

Ian McKellan [clears throat] Well, I don't know, it's there are many, many, many problems about doing Shakespeare, and one is getting in touch with the language, which, of course, is not modern day language. It's it's usually more simple than it looks on the page. Once you speak Shakespeare it it it comes alive. But perhaps the big the biggest problem is not is not that, because that's a collective problem that the director and all the actors are working on together. It's something you can train yourself to do. You've just got to sit down with a paper and pencil and start marking the script, and understanding how the rhythm goes and all that sort of thing, and take that into account when you perform it. No, what's more difficult, perhaps, than that is utterly believing that Macbeth ever existed. I mean, how could that man exist? The at some point in the play, you know, the the absolute essence of evil, or of human frailty and self disgust, and whatever it is that finally makes the man able to say, "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day." And what I try and do when I'm playing these gigantic characters, who other actors have played in the past and had enormous success with, is just try and think, "Is there anybody alive today in 1986, not in 1604 when it was written, but is there anybody today in my experience, a friend of mine, someone in the newspaper, who has elements of Macbeth?," because if there is then I I know that person existed, that modern person, and if I believe he exists then I can believe that Macbeth exists, and therefore I can make him exist through me. So Macbeth, when we were doing Macbeth, I suddenly said had the very, not very original idea, that, of course, Macbeth was Richard Nixon. It wasn't so so far after Watergate that we, and the director said, "Well, that's absolutely wrong. Macbeth isn't that man who you wouldn't buy a used car from. Macbeth is John F. Kennedy, the golden boy, the man with the wonderful wife, the civilized people, people that ev- surrounded by the beautiful people, the people who run a marvelous court who you long to go and spend the weekend with. And what you don't expect when you go to the Kennedys', of course, is to wake up dead in the morning. And and and Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are like the Kennedys, only they went wrong. Kennedys didn't go wrong-

Studs Terkel Wow,

Ian McKellan -as far as I know, as far as I know. But they Macbeth clearly did because they were very ambitious, and and Macbeth was the Kennedy who became president through evil means.

Studs Terkel See, it is that added dimension, that's, of course, a step further. Yeah, to say Nixon, yeah, scheming, whatever you want to say there, to make it, to get to the top. One Watergate or another. Now, the golden boy.

Ian McKellan Mm.

Studs Terkel And the golden girl.

Ian McKellan That's right.

Studs Terkel Lady.

Ian McKellan And that that's terribly-

Studs Terkel Who are very ambitious [unintelligible].

Ian McKellan And and and and rightly ambitious because-

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Ian McKellan -he's clearly a good man. He's a brilliant fighter. The play opens and people can't stop saying wonderful things about him-

Studs Terkel About

Ian McKellan -and his wife. And his wife. She's delightful. And that's that was the simple starting point for our production, and we we come down to that and Judi Dench, a very fine English theater actress, was-

Studs Terkel Lady Macbeth.

Ian McKellan Lady Macbeth. And you can see the evidence on on on the a TV version, which I know still goes around the states, and I wish it were on sale in the shops because it's I know everybody who sees it [snaps] realizes that the production actually caught on to something. Now, Coriolanus, or Coriolanus, as we call it in London, I've just finished doing. And if you think I'm looking old this morning, you should see me the night day morning after doing Coriolanus. Very energetic part, there's lots of fighting, you know, running up and down the scenery. 'Who is Coriolanus?' you see? Very difficult. Who is the modern man who I can [snaps] just latch onto? Coriolanus is a privileged man, comes from a a patrician background where things are expected of one, he was clearly sent to the right school and protected from the realities of the world. And this has turned him into a brilliant, brilliant fighter. But fighting, I guess, is rather a lonely job. It doesn't fit one particularly to be involved in in in in politics, say, which is where we find Coriolanus at the beginning of the play, just about to leave the world he-

Studs Terkel [sneezes]

Ian McKellan -knows terribly well-

Studs Terkel [sneezes]

Ian McKellan -to become a politician.

Studs Terkel Mm.

Ian McKellan But what is it that makes this man, who seems to despise everybody, want to be involved in society at all? I thought of John McEnroe-

Studs Terkel [laughter]

Ian McKellan -who earns his earns his living, your know, as a great athlete, he doesn't kill people, he slaughters them, or did at the time when we were rehearsing Coriolanus. He appears in public in front of thousands of people, clearly enjoys that, but he despises the people he's entertaining. And and that's that's ra- that's rather like Coriolanus. He wants to be out there. He wants to be the star. But there's something in him which says, "I hate you all for making me a star, because if I'm a real star I don't need your approval, because I know how good I am." And I I think that's behind all McEnroe's outbursts. I think I'd just sit him down in a chair, I could put him right in five minutes, you

Studs Terkel know. Well, you see, what you do, here's the originality, here comes the the the stunning originality of Ian McKellan the performer, and the creative spirit: Corialanus, you don't think of a tennis actor, the one they call 'the brat.' You don't think of that. You think of, what, was it Eisenhower? No. Warrior? No, Eisenhower was too kind, too gentle, and would trim his sails, whereas Coriolanus never tr- but warrior, you see, is that, I think, conventional terms? And that's where the where Macbeth and the Kennedy and Lady Macbeth and the Kennedys come into play. Here, I don't know where you open a door that no one thought of. Oh-

Ian McKellan You've got you've got

Studs Terkel McEnroe.

Ian McKellan You've got to be careful with that because it doesn't mean that I-

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Ian McKellan -I be reduced the play to the story of John McEnroe, because so clearly that would be a libel on on on him and on Coriolanus. It was just a little aid for for for me, the actor, to just make the leap of imagination and say, "Well, McEnroe exists, therefore Coriolanus."

Studs Terkel You said 'leap of imagination,' and that's the word: leap of imagination. Also, to make it contemporary without, say, in modern dress. You don't need that.

Ian McKellan No,

Studs Terkel Contemporary in that these characters, Shakespeare, are forever-

Ian McKellan Mm.

Studs Terkel -and ever-

Ian McKellan Mm.

Studs Terkel -contemporary-

Ian McKellan Mm.

Ian McKellan -is the point, too.

Ian McKellan They are, they are. And each generation of actors and audiences see the play very differently. You know, Coriolanus can be and has been played as a right wing play, pro profascist attitude. Indeed, it can be played as a as a left wing play. And Brecht, in fact, wrote his own version of Coriolanus to prove that it was a left wing play. Our version in London was directed by Peter Hall, who's very middle-of-the-road in in in many things, including his politics, and he insisted on seeing it as an SDP play. And I should

Studs Terkel Explain SDP-

Ian McKellan -explain, yes-

Studs Terkel The Social Democratic Party of Britain has come into being as midway between Labor and Tory. And well, that's a long story. But that's interesting.

Ian McKellan [laughter]

Studs Terkel Yes, sir.

Ian McKellan But at as each generation goes by, different things become of interest and it would be intolerable, wouldn't it, in in nine in the 1980s or, indeed, the 20th century at all to present Coriolanus without giving the the tribunes, who are the, as it were, the the elected representatives of the people. It it it if one didn't in the production give them a proper airtime, you know, to express their point of view and to be taken seriously. And in the past I think those characters have been rather reduced, and therefore the balance of the story between the patricians and the people, which is what the story is all about, has has been slightly knocked off-kilter by that.

Studs Terkel As you, Ian McKellen, offering your interpretations of various ones, of Coriolanus, I thought of something, because you've done it to me just now, I'm going to get in trouble, I imagine some political trouble by saying this: I think of Coriolanus at this moment as the opposite of Ronald Reagan. Let me try to offer why. Coriolanus' pride, "you're not my kind of guy," he's a the autocrat, the aristocrat, right? He will never play down to the public, to the lowest common denominator. He will never appeal to that which he thinks is meanest in humans, like racism here and there, or playing the bully towards smaller countries, or having contempt for those up against it. I name various attributes of someone who may be called The Great Communicator, you see. Now therefore we we, a great many, love him for that very reason. He appeals to our shadowy side we'll never admit, but by god he's avuncular, and nice, and charming, and makes it creditable and acceptable and respectable. Whereas Coriolanus, with his rigidity and his pride, is precisely the opposite.

Ian McKellan Mm.

Studs Terkel So there's another view.

Ian McKellan Very interesting, and that's why that's why Coriolanus has to has to die, because society cannot tolerate somebody who speaks the truth.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Ian McKellan [laughter] Not all the time, you know. And the position of power, and his mother, who's a wise old bird, and has brought brought Coriolanus up to be the man he is, and has spoilt him outrageously, says, "Darling, you've only got to just pretend, just pretend. Just bow the head occasionally."

Studs Terkel The mother wanted him, she's gentle and kind, and she wanted him to just compromise, what what he felt was compromise.

Ian McKellan That's

Studs Terkel To go through the amenities.

Ian McKellan That's right.

Studs Terkel And

Ian McKellan But, I mean, where where where where in politics you compromise and when you tell the truth, I mean, to keep to keep your standards of morality and in and be certain that you go to heaven at the end of a political career, I don't know how you do it in this country or in any other countries.

Studs Terkel Ian McKellen, and just simply, for the moment, reflecting on the various characters. This is in the one-man program, but also in doing Coriolanus, for which he won all sorts of awards, and doing Macbeth, and let's resume after Mel Zellman's message. More of Ian McKellen and insights. [pause] And the guest is Ian McKellen, and this by way of reminding the audience that right now the the National Theatre, how does that work? It's your unit who, like you and your colleague-

Ian McKellan Edward

Studs Terkel Edward Petherbridge-

Ian McKellan Yeah.

Studs Terkel -head this group of actors that are part of the National Theatre.

Ian McKellan Yes, we we there are 17 of us, and we've been working together on these three plays, which we brought to Chicago, for the last year, and within the National Theatre there are other groups doing their their own programs and shows. Altogether four or five groups. And it's it's li- rather like a shopping mall with with with with five shops in it, and our shop is McKellen/Petherbridge.

Studs Terkel Well, as the audience gathers, those who are fortunate enough to see the the plays, the ensemble acting is incredibly good, and powerful, and as Ian McKellen says, it's the stunning aspect. Well, I say a stunning aspect of the improvisatory feel is happening at this moment. "The Cherry Orchard," and then it'll be followed, this is for another week, "The Cherry Orchard."

Ian McKellan Yes, we we play this through Sunday and then next Wednesday we we start the beginning of the end-

Studs Terkel A doubleheader.

Ian McKellan And and for two weeks we we do two shows on the same in the same performance, a Tom Stoppard play, "The Real Inspector Hound," which is a sort of spoof about Agatha Christie-type thrillers. Very funny, indeed, and a little bit sinister. And then that wonderful burlesque from the 18th century, Sheridan's "The Critic," which is about-

Studs Terkel "Critic."

Ian McKellan -the rehearsal of an extremely bad play in which everything goes wrong. So we we end up with a sort of British pantomime, really.

Studs Terkel Yeah, and that's so, by the way you say British pantomime is playing

Ian McKellan Have you ever seen one?

Studs Terkel No, I missed it. Eleanor Bron, you know, way back-

Ian McKellan Yes.

Studs Terkel -invited me to a pantomime, and I missed it. A Christmas pantom-, explain a British pantomime-

Studs Terkel [sighs]

Studs Terkel -'cause it's part of a tradition, I know, rich.

Ian McKellan Yes. It's it's based on British music hall variety, your vaud vaudeville, and it they happen at Christmas time, during the Christmas vacations, base based on some simple fairy story, "Cinderella," let's say. A group of variety artists come together and tell the story in their own way. And in a tradition which began, I suppose, way back with commedia dell'arte from Italy, but strongly changed, amended and influenced by the 19th century solo performers. Cinderella is played by the young ingenue, of course. Prince Charming is always played by another young lady, very exciting to see a young lady in tights, and flattened bosom, and hair up in a bunch in the back. The Cinderella-

Studs Terkel Like Cherubino played by an act-

Ian McKellan That's

Studs Terkel -a singer.

Ian McKellan That's right. The ug- the ugly sisters are both played by men. So everyone's in tranvesty, but this allows all sorts of titili- titillation and and vulgarity to happen around the very simple, beautiful story of Cinderella, which is told through song and poetry and broad gags, and it's it's the show that you take the whole family to. And talking to Ted Petherbridge last night in the dressing room, if it hadn't been for the local pantomime he used to see in the north of England, he wouldn't be running a company at the National Theatre today. I mean, that's how most of us start off in the theater. We go to our first pantomime at five and we cannot believe our eyes, because it's usually there's usually a great deal of spectacle

Studs Terkel So the kids, during Christmas time, are taken to pantomime. And here is everything-

Ian McKellan Everything.

Studs Terkel There's humour, there's comedy, there's slapstick.

Ian McKellan Absolutely.

Studs Terkel There's burlesque.

Ian McKellan It's frightening often, there there's there's there's good and bad, there's the fairy queen,

Studs Terkel The "Punch and Judy" idea.

Ian McKellan "Punch and Judy," and there's usually a wicked fairy, and they take either side of the stage, and you are encouraged to boo and hiss and cheer.

Studs Terkel So there's so there's a touch of this in the double header in the-

Ian McKellan Well-

Studs Terkel -in "The Critic," and

Ian McKellan I I I hope hopefully we just mine that the the the same deep resources of the British character, which is to actually let its hair down. You know, I mean, you don't think of the British really like that, but we we we can on occasion, even without the aid of alcohol, suddenly go a little bit dotty, and wild, and utterly joyful, and-

Studs Terkel That'll

Ian McKellan -effervescent, and

Studs Terkel That'll be the last one one of three evenings of theatre. Sheila Hancock-

Ian McKellan [clears

Studs Terkel -is playing "The Cherry Orchard," Madame Ranevskaya-

Ian McKellan Yes.

Studs Terkel -is directing-

Ian McKellan Yes. She's-

Studs Terkel -"The

Ian McKellan She's really quite a girl. She's she's very well-known in England for for a TV comedy series that she's been doing throughout the years. In the west end of London she's played the lead in in "Annie," musical, and in Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd."

Studs Terkel You know-

Ian McKellan She's played on Broadway.

Studs Terkel Now you in the in the two one-act plays you're doing-

Ian McKellan You don't want me to talk about Sheila Hancock-

Studs Terkel Oh, talk, sorry.

Ian McKellan -I'm devoted to Sheila [unintelligible].

Studs Terkel Talk

Ian McKellan [laughing] No, she's just the salt of the salt of the British theater. That reduces her because she has so many other interests, as well. She she she runs a family, and she's interested in the all sorts of Greenpeace movements, and the women who go down to Greenham Common outside the American airbase. She goes down on Sundays and takes some things she's cooked, and gives them a bit of a drink, and she comes racing back to rehearsels, and she directs, and acts, and sings, and those are the sort of people, heralded by the press or not, and it doesn't matter, how who are the very basis of what's good about

Studs Terkel Women of Greenham Commons are still there.

Ian McKellan They certainly are, yes. I've never been there, but the they just keep reminding

Studs Terkel I know a lot of actors do go there to help, a number of

Ian McKellan Oh yes, yes.

Studs Terkel -go to lend them encouragement.

Ian McKellan They do, yes.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Ian McKellan What's people's perception of that in in the states?

Studs Terkel Not much. Here? Well, let's let's not go into that.

Ian McKellan All right.

Studs Terkel Not much. There's a perception that's a little patronising, one-sided. Not much. It should be two very gallant women who are on the side of sanity [laughter] in a nutty time.

Ian McKellan [laughter]

Studs Terkel "A nutty time. That's, I suppose, that's another, if I could, this is like I'm maybe stretching a point, but Shakespeare, the plays you do, also lend a note of not simply reflection, but some sanity or balance, do they? A good play that is expertly done in a time that is goofed up.

Ian McKellan [sighs] Mm.

Studs Terkel Is that stretching the point?

Ian McKellan Well, I don't know, I I the the the miracle of Shakespeare is is is the breadth of his humanity, and that must always be an encouragement rather than a salve on on troubled minds in the audience. I I just think you ought to come out of a Shakespeare play feeling uplifted and optimistic, even if it's been a tragedy, in that the story has been told. Usually there is some resolution at the end of the play which looks forward to the future. You're not Shakespeare doesn't encourage you just to wallow in the depressed, the the pessimistic nature of some of the stories. But I feel optimistic at the end of a Shakespeare play because I think, my god, there once was a man, William, who knew it all, [laughter] and if he could encompass it in his mind, 'it' being what we are as people, because we've not changed that much since Shakespeare's time, but I don't think we've changed at all that the human beings do change inside. Well then, perhaps God exists.

Studs Terkel [unintelligible]

Ian McKellan If a man could get it together-

Studs Terkel If he

Ian McKellan -and we do have the chance, by reading the plays and seeing them, just to find out a bit more about ourselves. And the more we know about ourselves, the the kinder we're going to be to each

Studs Terkel If this guy could see that much, the insight, the understanding, the humanity--

Ian McKellan Mm.

Studs Terkel -the humor, the all rolled into one, that means that what a work is man, or whatever does Prospero say.

Ian McKellan That's right, that's right.

Studs Terkel "What a" something "work is man."

Ian McKellan You're going to ask me to quote.

Studs Terkel No.

Ian McKellan "What a piece of work is man."

Studs Terkel "What a piece of work is man."

Ian McKellan Yes, Hamlet, mm.

Studs Terkel That's Hamlet.

Ian McKellan Yeah.

Studs Terkel Oh, what did Prospero say at the end there?

Ian McKellan Awful lot of things. [unintelligible]

Studs Terkel Yeah, I know, the one about that world he envisioned. I don't this is unfair.

Ian McKellan Mm.

Studs Terkel It's it's quarter of-

Ian McKellan Ah yes. "Our revels now are ended."

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Ian McKellan "These our actors, as I foretold told you, are vanished into air, into thin air. Like the baseless fabric of this vision, the cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the great globe itself, yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve and, like this insubstantial pageant faded, leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep." I sometimes think that that's a description of the end of the world, you know, when imagine a great city like Chicago, gorgeous palaces, solemn temple, great globe itself, the name of Shakespeare's theater, of course, as well as the concept of the world, shall dissolve, melt down as-

Studs Terkel Down.

Ian McKellan You know, "leave not a rack behind," nothing left. And yet, out of that concept he, Shakespeare, takes hope. "We are such stuff as dreams are made on." And here's a promise: "our little life," it is only a little life, "is rounded with a sleep," you know. And there's there's you may have sweet dreams in that sleep, you know. Wonderful. And that's that's an old man who says every third thought will be his grave. And perhaps it was Shakespeare's farewell to farewell to the theater that-

Studs Terkel Yeah. Just as you say that, you said, "even though you see a tragedy, there's a feeling of exhilaration," and "we are such such stuff as dreams are made of," the human species, though, there may be a melt down, but it's saying there won't be. Harold Clurman, who is the-

Ian McKellan Mm, Group

Studs Terkel -Harold Clurman was a critic, also director exhilaratedof the Group Theatre for years, marvelous critic, was saying, "Every time I see Lear, that is a good production of Lear, I walk out exhilirated."

Ian McKellan Yes, yes.

Studs Terkel "Here's the tragedy, bleak seemingly in every way," and yet he walks out exhilirated, was what you're talking

Ian McKellan Yes. It's tragedy is a badly-used word when it comes to the newspapers. Stories of of horrible things that happen to human beings are not necessarily tragedies. I think tragedy, perhaps, should be reserved as a technical term referring to some piece of fiction, and preferably one for the stage, where the audience's reaction is bound to be complicated, and to understand that the terrible things that happen to human beings, and the terrible things that we do to each other are perhaps, then, built into our nature. But there but some good can be rescued from them. And when you read the papers you don't always feel that, do you? But, I mean, Shakespeare's talking about human relations. He wasn't talking, I think, in the end, everything is redeemable, everything can be changed, you know, everyone can grow up and improve. I'm I'm a socialist to that extent, that I I believe we we we a person can end up, when he dies, a better person than he was when he was a spoiled brat. But when one gets thinks of the wicked and terrible things which are done between nations then, I mean, it is just appalling. And I don't think even Shakespeare quite encompassed those problems. I mean, I think he was basically talking about human relationships and certainly men in society. But I don't I can't really think of a of an analogy for the what our great politicians get up to these days, and the way they totally rule the future of the world. I think-

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Ian McKellan -I think that hadn't quite occured to Shakespeare [laughter].

Studs Terkel Ian, just as you're as you're speaking of Shakespeare and nations, that perhaps he hadn't thought about that, when the whole idea of nationalism and nationhood was coming into being, and empires, and a new world, and new resources, and new wealth. Einstein, I don't know why I associate Einstein and Shakespeare, but I do. With Einstein, before he died, was saying-

Ian McKellan Mm.

Studs Terkel -the very thing you're talking about. Nationalism has to, in some manner or another, go. And I know the idea of One World seems idealistic and utopian and remote and removed, but you [unintelligible] the thing he most was terrified of was martial music and national flags.

Ian McKellan Mm-hm.

Studs Terkel And it's the border boundary, and I now we have a crazy accident, a horrendous accident happened in the Ukraine.

Ian McKellan Yeah.

Studs Terkel Now, that radiation spanned all sorts of national boundaries. It makes no sense. This is Einstein's point: since he's involved in that, he's a Greek hero, someone said. Guilty and innocent. It was his equation that resulted in the in the bomb and the split atom. And he says, "This has changed the whole world. It's m-" His discovery, little dreaming it'd be used as destructive. He meant it precisely the opposite. But is his, he says, "This split atom must change the way a man thinks. It it has altered every aspect of our lives except the way we think about nations. Unless we do think anew, catastrophe."

Ian McKellan But, Studs, I mean, do you do you out of the world's reaction to to to that terrible accident in Kiev, are are are you optimistic or pessimistic? It seems to me, you tell me if I'm if you see it differently, but the the state, the reaction of the Russian state, "Don't worry, under control. Not as serious as you think. It'll all be alright. Little bit of evacuation, but everyone's back at school now, but [unintelligible] don't drink the milk for a couple of years," fine, isn't far removed from the reaction I've seen from American nuclear people, say, "Oh, by the time it comes over here, the cloud we expect won't have any force to it."

Studs Terkel You're right

Ian McKellan They they aren't they speaking with the same voice-

Studs Terkel Absolutely.

Ian McKellan -as the people who built the reactor?

Studs Terkel Absolutely, you're right on the button. This-

Ian McKellan So what's so what's so what's what's the difference between Russia and America?

Studs Terkel None, that's precisely the

Ian McKellan point. [laughter]

Studs Terkel I mean, big utility's here, and the Russian bureaucrats say precisely the same thing. That's what Einstein was talking about. That's you hit it right on the button. [This is

Ian McKellan So where do where does that leave us?

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Ian McKellan Well, I suppose it leaves-

Studs Terkel Yes, optimistic or pessimistic. There was an old drunk before the bar, you know, and he's pretty drunk, and he's, "You plead guilty or not guilty?" He says, "I stand mute." You know, so-

Ian McKellan [laughter]

Studs Terkel I stand mute at the- woah. Several years ago I was very optimistic. Several years ago. Slightly, put it mildly, slightly less now, but this always pr- this always comes back to Shakespeare and an understanding of the human heart, doesn't it? And ambition, and pride, and venality. But the thing that's added is the power, or whatever, the horror of nationhood.

Ian McKellan Mm.

Studs Terkel Nationhood, by the way, is a funny word. You know, hood, a hood is short for hoodlum, too.

Ian McKellan Indeed.

Studs Terkel A hood, we say. In Chicago we say 'huud'. In New York they say 'hood.' It's short for hoodlums, so it's a nationhood. I start thinking, hey, that's pretty good.

Ian McKellan [laughter]

Studs Terkel With let's slight pause. One more break for for Mel Zellman. I've gotta resume for the last laugh with Ian McKellen, actor, director, too. All sorts of challenges after this message. [pause] Back with Ian McKellen. I should point out that he, had a couple of hours sleep and is here. I'd say it's not a bad analyses on his part for a couple of hours sleep. Ian McKellen has been called, also, perhaps the most accomplished, stunning actor, I think, [unintelligible] the stage today as successor to Olivier, which leads to an interesting question and challenge: the double header you're in, "The Critic" and and "The Real Inspector Hound" of Tom Stoppard. You play two different roles. Oli- Olivier was in "The Critic" and "Oedipus"-

Ian McKellan That's right.

Studs Terkel -and played two different roles.

Ian McKellan Yes. Well, the difference between those two doubleheaders, you call them?

Studs Terkel Yes.

Ian McKellan Is is the difference between the company that Laurence Olivier was in at the time and the one that I'm in now. I saw him the other day, in the country where he lives. Still working, every so often making movies. And I asked him about "The Critic," which he'd done, I think, in the late 30s. "Oh," he said, "well, I I was I was going to do 'Oedipus,' and I just wanted some outrageous contrast with it to just impress the audience." He said, "It was a one man show, virtually, and the other actors never really forgave me because I behaved outrageously in both plays." And well, it worked because we remember, don't we, that he once he once did those two plays in [unintelligible] had a stunning success, he transformed himself physically and in the intermission. Whereas I'm working with a with a group of people who would wouldn't let me get away with it, you know. And I'm not I'm not running a one man show this occasion, it's it's a company, and the part I play in "Real Inspector Hound" is is, I think, the smallest part in that play. I play Mr. Puff, which is the largest in that one, but that's how we should try to share things out in our group. So it really the it's the group that's on show in in in my case. But what a man, Laurence Olivier.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Ian McKellan [unintelligible]

Studs Terkel Well, and you, I suppose, different approaches to acting, to classic theater. Different approach. So Olivier, I'll name three just with some differences. This is an elementary question. Olivier, Giulgud, Richardson. Three, you know, actors who are up there, yet let's say, once upon a time, they may have done a similar similar roles, once upon a time. Laurence more of a character, I don't know if Richardson never did "Hamlet", probably never did. Maybe. Maybe young Richardson.

Ian McKellan Who? Richardson? No, I don't think so, no. Anyway,

Studs Terkel Anyway, in any event, with different approaches. There's a casual one, more casual, seemingly Richardson.

Ian McKellan It's quite interesting-

Studs Terkel Why don't you why don't why don't you-

Ian McKellan I don't think there are many players that those particular three actors did all play. They all played Macbeth, and Richardson's Macbeth was a total flop. Total failure. And Olivier was a big success, and I'm not sure about Gielgud. What else have they all played? They didn't play Hamlet?

Studs Terkel Lear?

Ian McKellan No, Richardson never played Lear, and why not? He would have, should have, he would have been a wonderful Lear. Well, they ended up, in in in in their later life, Richardson's dead now, of course, and Sir Laurence doesn't work very much. John Gielgud, you can't keep him down.

Studs Terkel Hmm.

Ian McKellan Try and called him up, he's never at home, he's always off filming somewhere. But the public perception of them now is is of Ralph Richardson, the eccentric character man who somehow he illuminates each character he plays by bringing it very much into himself. It's always firmly Ralph Richardson there, with the distinctive voice, and I found I found him very impressive onstage when I first saw him, in a not considerable play by Graeme Greene. He was he was acting with young Paul Schofield at the time. I don't "Complacent Lover" it was called, and I don't remember much about it except that I know the the husband that Ralph Richardson plays betrayed his wife in the course of the play. And he went up to her, and in a rather empty gesture of comfort for this wife he'd betrayed, he put his arm around her, and the actress walked away from him, and so Ralph left his arm up. So there was an empty space where there'd just been a wife. And in that simple gesture he had summed up the whole relationship.

Studs Terkel Wow.

Ian McKellan One hardly needed words. And and he seemed to me to the man who could just effortlessly land on [snaps], in an unexpected way, on something which was visually or vocally or emotionally absolutely right.

Studs Terkel Boy, that's yeah, now that's that's a revelation.

Ian McKellan Mm.

Studs Terkel That reminds me of one thing, and then one last comment of Ian McKellen. Arthur Miller, you know they did "Death Of A Salesman" in Peking.

Ian McKellan That's right.

Studs Terkel And he once saw actors before that, and the woman is telling the man a terrible story, a tragic tale, and enough to make the man weep, that is in western theater, the man would weep. This guy stood and did a complete somersault upside down while standing still. In other words he was turned upside down-

Ian McKellan Yes.

Studs Terkel -psychically, but he did it physically-

Ian McKellan Yes.

Studs Terkel -without moving any without an expression on his face. And he said it was absolutely stunning.

Ian McKellan Yes.

Studs Terkel And so Richardson holding that arm out to empty-

Ian McKellan Yeah.

Studs Terkel --space did what the Chinese actor did. [snaps] Boom.

Ian McKellan There's no there's in theater there is no limit to

Studs Terkel what Yeah.

Ian McKellan You can be absolutely dead naturalistic. The audience can believe that what they're seeing is actually somehow happening before their eyes, that these people actually exist, they're not actors. There can be that degree of reality. And it can be a ballet. And it's all and it's

Studs Terkel This is by way of thanking Ian McKellen, first of all, for coming down this crazy hour in the morning for an actor, who is in a classic, and acting is arduous no matter what. Effortless, by the way, the effortlessness of of McKellen is his own. It's Richardson but it's his own, and being part of this company, "Cherry Orchard," there's a matinee today at 2 at the Blackstone Theatre, and tonight "Cherry Orchard" and forthcoming will be the double bill. And it's it's an experience, of course, and a very exhilarating one to see in a theater as experts excellent as the this particular group of the National Theatre of Great Britain. And a word before we say goodbye for now, 'til I see you tonight at the theater. Any passing word.

Ian McKellan I I'd I'd just like to say what I thought we might have been talking about, but never got round to it, is that one of the great joys of coming to Chicago, and and being in a festival is that I've met so many people working in local theater. And I hope to go and meet them during the course of the next two and a half weeks. And discovering what life's like being an actor in Chicago. And actually that's the way you get to know a town. I mean, wonderful, wonderful buildings here, and I travel here, there and everywhere, but actually meeting the people, discovering what it would be like if I were living here. I've, I think I'm getting closer to the heart of Chicago and I really like what I see, [laughs] and and the people I meet, and the spirit of these of these kids. They're all kids at heart, you know. They're not losing the they're pioneers. And I just pray, and I I keep saying to them, "Please go on, when you're successful, when they want you in movies, go and do them, and like Malkovich and Bill Peterson, come back to Chicago, and go on being a pioneer when you're you're sixty. And then the government will have to turn around and give you some money so that more kids can come up.

Studs Terkel Hey, that's our next subject.

Ian McKellan [laughter]

Studs Terkel Question of government subsidy for the arts. That's a s- [unintelligible]

Ian McKellan [clears

Studs Terkel This is by way of thanking Ian McKellan very much indeed.

Ian McKellan Thank you.

Studs Terkel Once again, hail, farewell. Tomorrow, Utah Phillips in town. Bruce Phillips, singer of all sorts of labor songs in American history, a little known history in those songs he sings. He's at he's at at Holsteins. 'Til tomorrow then with Utah as guest, we say take it easy, but take it.