In Santa's sack of news today...
- Regarding the BC/EFA Fundraiser, the total has recently shot up, so well done! But, let's see if we can get it any higher in the three-ish days remaining - we entreat you to have a good rummage under that sofa for any loose roubles!
- Secondly, Downstage Center's interview with Jack O'Brien is now available for listening! The Utopia director talks repeatedly about his links to both Rosemary Harris and her first husband, Ellis Rabb, while Utopia discussion takes place in the last ten-ish minutes. Here are some snippets from the latter:
On the background behind his involvement in Utopia:
[...] First of all, I met with Tom Stoppard and Stockard Channing over a piece called Hapgood at Lincoln Center in the Mitzi [Newhouse Theatre]...that's when I met the great Bob Crowley and that was the first of that association between Crowley and Tom and myself...so it was assumed, when The Coast of Utopia happened, that Crowley and I would be engaged to do it - assumed by Tom and assumed by everybody except Crowley and me [...]
On the time between the two productions:
[...] Don't forget I had almost four years from the moment I saw Trevor Nunn's production at the National [Theatre] to when I went into rehearsal a year ago...it was four years of thinking, of sorting through, of meeting with Tom, of concerns, of evolving of approach, of denial, of panic, of fear, of frustration, of inadequacy...before the penny dropped [...]
On the National production and the evolving of the LCT production:
[...] Tom was writing it while Trevor was already directing it...in all deference to everyone, including Tom, I don't think they knew what the hell they had - I don't think they could; it was so big, it took the better part of three years of prep before I thought 'Oh, wait a minute - this isn't three plays, it's one three-act play, that is spread over a huge canvas; I've got to stop thinking about it in terms of its component parts and have to wrap my mind around all of it' [...]
On understanding 'difficult' plays and his slant on the 'homework beforehand' argument:
[...] I'm on the side of the audience. ... I'm not that smart. ... I'm serious. ... I don't have an a priori immediate intellectual grasp of these things... I went to see Rock 'n' Roll as an audience member...I purposely wanted to see, [could I] understand Tom's work if I don't study it? Can I do that? And you know what? Yes you can, because Tom's a great writer and he gives you what you need [...]
Like we believe that second comment Jack!
- In the auction world, eBay has a copy of Utopia signed by Tom Stoppard with a starting bid of $150. There is no picture, but the details given by the seller are as follows: 'The Coast of Utopia, Tom Stoppard, Grove Press, 2007, limited edition, one of 250 signed and numbered. Hardcover in slipcase. Still in shrink wrap. Very fine condition'. The auction ends on the 27th.
- Last but not least, JournalNow, of the Winston-Salem Journal, have surmised that 'when Santa does his thing, he’ll have lumps of coal for the naughty and sugarplums for the nice.' So they have written a piece listing all the people they think are deserving of each this year. Guess who was one of their 17 sugarplum recipients? This is what they had to say:
[A sugarplum]...to Jennifer Ehle, who grew up in Winston-Salem and is an alumna of the N.C. School of the Arts, for carrying on a family tradition by winning a Tony for her acting - and shining light on The City of the Arts in the process. [...]