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A Conversation with Brian Murray
August 26, 1998

Lincoln Center Theater's Platform series presents conversations with artists working at LCT before an audience of interested theatergoers. Admission is free and open to all. Platforms are held in the lobby of the Vivian Beaumont Theater. The following is a transcript, edited for clarity, of the August 26, 1998 Platform with Brian Murray:

THOMAS COTT: Welcome, everyone. Iím Thomas Cott from Lincoln Center Theater. This is our third event in our Platform series this summer. Iím glad you could join us. These Platforms are part of our Theaterís expanded efforts to reach out to our audience, to let you know more about the plays that we produce and meet some of the artists who work on our productions. Earlier this summer, we had Bob Crowley, the set designer of Twelfth Night, and William Finn, the composer of A New Brain, was here last month to speak about his show.

We also publish background information about our shows in the Playbill, and in our own magazine, Lincoln Center Theater Review, which is available in our lobby. All of these educational efforts are made possible by a generous grant from the Charles E. Culpeper Foundation, and we are grateful to them for their support.

Now I know those of you who got flyers in the last few weeks came expecting to see Nicholas Hytner, the director of Twelfth Night, but sadly, a last-minute schedule change has happened, so Nick cannot be with us today. But the very good news is we have with us today one of the stars of Twelfth Night, the legendary actor Brian Murray [audience applauds].

Brian, weíre very grateful to you for being here today. Before we start, I just wanted to give a little bit of background on you. I had always assumed that you were English, but in fact you were born in South Africa, is that correct?

Brian Murray: Yes.

TC: And you started as a child actor there in Johannesburg?

BM: Thatís right, yes.

TC: And then you moved on to England, where you had some training, and I read that you also played Ďlower-class hoodlumsí in films and on television.

BM: Yes I did, I played what we used to call "Teddy Boys", where [he uses a tough-guy accent] "you talk like this." I did a film called The Angry Silence, which Richard Attenborough directed, and I played a Teddy Boy who went by the name of Gladys, which was like a joke--but it may have made people remember, because of the name of the part.

TC: And then from "Gladys", you went to work at the Royal Shakespeare Company!

BM: Thatís right.

TC: Thatís sort of from the sublime to the ridiculous--or vice versa. And there you played many different roles, including one I read about: in five days time, you went from understudying a small part to playing Romeo?

BM: Thatís right. I was an understudy, and was asked to take over five days before the start of performances, which I did with great reluctance. But I was fortunate because I was working with Edith Evans, who was playing the Nurse, recreating her incredible performance that she did in the 1930s, and Dorothy Tutin, with whom I immediately fell in love. But yes, I was thrown in, with five days notice. And I wasnít the understudy for Romeo either...

TC: Sort of the actorís nightmare, I suppose.

BM: Well, in a way. But I was very young, and very cocky, and I figured that I could do it.

TC: Iím sure you were wonderful. Well, many Shakespeare plays later, you came to America in King Lear, in Peter Brookís production.

BM: Thatís right. We did a world tour of that, we toured all over Europe and the Soviet Union, as it was then. We came here and we went to Washington, Philadelphia and Boston, and then we came to the New York State Theater across the way from here, which had just opened.

TC: [sarcastically] A very intimate house.

BM: Totally. And we were [grandly] "The Royal Shakespeare Company" so we spurned the idea of microphones. And there we were, doing our normal performances, and nobody could hear a word. There was nearly a riot! Because it was a very long show, the first act was something like two-and-a-half hours of pure, unadulterated...

I donít know whether any of you saw it, or saw the film, but it was an amazing production, sort of Brechtian. And they sat through two and a half hours with nothing to look at, and they couldnít hear! And so they were all very angry, because the Philharmonic Hall had recently opened, and the acoustics there were bad, so they were screaming out things like "Write your Congressman!" [audience laughter].

And then we moved right downstage and got microphones and were duly humiliated [more laughter].

TC: Well, Iím glad to say things there have improved since. I guess you must have liked your experience in New York, because you emigrated here soon thereafter.

BM: Yes.

TC: And appeared on Broadway in the premiere of Tom Stoppardís Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead...

BM: Yes, the American premiere.

TC: ...receiving your first Tony nomination for that. And there have been dozens of plays over the years since then, both as an actor and as a director. I wonít list them all, but I will say how pleased we were to have Brian here at the Beaumont twice before, first as an Anglican priest in Racing Demon [audience applauds] and then as the conniving Ben Hubbard in The Little Foxes, for which he received his second Tony nomination [more applause].

Your career has really been remarkable in that youíve basically always worked, one of the small band of actors in the city who are constantly in motion. The results of which are three Drama Desk awards, and two Obie awards, including one for lifetime achievement. Itís really a wonderful thrill to have you here.

BM: [audience applauds] Thank you. [To TC:] You really know your words, donít you?

TC: Well, you know, I boned up, and Iím part of the Brian Murray fan club. But I wanted to talk a little bit today about Sir Toby Belch, your role in Twelfth Night, and that experience, and then [to the audience] if you have questions to ask Brian, please start thinking about them now; weíll take them in a few minutes. But first letís talk about your character and how you came to this production -- obviously Nick Hytner, the director, talked you into coming here and spending your summer. Itís not a play that you knew well, though...

BM: I had never done the play before, itís one of those--having done an awful lot of Shakespeare--itís one of those plays that Iíd kind of completely missed. Iíd only seen it a couple of times, and they were productions I found forgettable [audience laughter]. I always thought it was a beautiful play. But I always thought the comics, the clowns, were really difficult to understand, I mean literally, the language.

But Nick at our first meeting said, "Well, weíre just going to make sure that they do understand it." And so weíve done that. Heís made some small but very brilliant changes in the text which allow people to clearly understand what the word is -- because the comedy, the actual language, that particularly Belch uses, is very complex, even by Shakespeareís standards. I mean, you think of the other clowns, like Falstaff or the mechanicals in A Midsummer Nightís Dream: you know theyíre much more accessible in their language than Toby Belch is, so I decided... am I answering the question?

TC: Yes! [audience laughter]

BM: I decided that the only... well, Nick and I decided that--Nick is the most extraordinary genius Iíve worked with. I mean, heís an amazing director. And [to the audience] Iím sorry for you that he isnít here today. I said to him when he asked me to do this, I said "I hope they donít throw things at me out of sheer disappointment [audience laughter]." Because heís a wonderful man. When I first met with Nick, I immediately fell for him and his ideas.

Before rehearsals began, Max [Wright], Philip [Bosco] and I did an interview for the Lincoln Center Theater Review, and at the time, I said Iíd never done the play before, and I didnít know what I was going to do with the character. I just knew what I didnít want to do. And Nick agreed with that. When we talked, we decided first of all, two things: that Toby Belch was, in a way, the bad guyóif there is one, I mean, heís the nearest thing to a bad guy. He sets in motion all these rather nasty things that happen to Malvolio. And we worked out that he was not a drunk all the time, which is how Iíve seen him played, and I think thatís boring. So we worked out that when heís got something to occupy his mind, like a bit of nasty, where he can make peopleís lives a misery, he doesnít need a drink! [Audience laughs.]

So he pulls himself together, and puts his old school tie on, and gets his hat right, and does his shirt up, so heís all right until the whole thing starts to fall apart, and then he just takes to the bottle again, because heís got nothing else to do, and heís thrown out of Illyria.

And so, we thought that there was just no point in not going for the sort of loutishness of him, this caddishness. You know, heís the sort of man the English are famous for: the sort of freeloaders, rather grand upper-class freeloaders who sponge off anybody that they can. They use their accent and their old school tie and basically their charm to do outrageous things. I mean, the English are very well known for that--I think theyíve done it all over the world, bless them. And we decided that Toby and Andrew came from England, and that Olivia was, well, her mother was a Belch--which is sort of a funny... [audience laughter] ...she was a Miss Belch. And then she married the Count. And then after he died, Toby brings his mate Andrew along, and they come and sponge and set the town on its ear and behave generally very badly indeed. And then get sent away at the end, as they should be.

Theyíre sent into the real world, where it "raineth every day", and where Illyria is this magical Bob Crowley world that is so beautiful. I mean, I could hardly believe it. Itís the most actor-friendly set Iíve ever been on. And you feel that you are able to embrace everything that is up there and everything in the audience.

The Beaumont is a theater that I love and Iím used to it now, but itís not terribly easy. You really have to know how to "work the room" in this case, and Iíve found that this set--of all of them--is the most comfortable to work on, because you just have the sense that you are with us, that the audience is with us, and we are with you, and itís completely environmental without actually moving out into the audience.

TC: Although you do walk out into the audience at the very end.

BM: Yes, we do. We walk through the audience, leaving the audience in Illyria. We walk out into the lobby, and we go back for the call. So we go out into the Real World, yes. Weíre expelled, as we ought to be.

TC: Now, when you started rehearsals for this, I understand that you did not start immediately with the play, but with other Shakespeare texts.

BM: Oh, Nick did a wonderful thing, and I would always use it myself as a director if I could, if I had the time. Fortunately, we did have the time, the theater was very generous to us about time. We sat around in a circle, the entire company, and we took other plays, other Shakespeare plays, because some of the cast was nervous about the language.

And we would just take another play, and Nick would talk about the play and talk about the circumstances, and then we would go around in a circle, each of us taking a line or a speech, one after the other just depending on where we were sitting. No particular order. It gave a wonderful feeling of family with the company, and it also made everybody a great deal more confident with the language. We did that every day for two or three weeks the first thing in the morning, and it was like a warm-up and an exercise and a get-together--and a realization that I have been lucky enough to feel for a long time: that Shakespeare is a joy to play. Itís not a difficulty or a chore, you know, which a lot of people feel, unfortunately. I know that I did when I first worked at Stratford. Some actors are terrified, terrified of the language. And this was a wonderful way of making us all feel at ease with each other and with the language.

TC: Youíve been doing Shakespeare for many years; has your approach to the text changed since you were at RSC many years ago?

BM: Yeah, well, obviously it must have done because, when I was at the RSC, which was a long time ago, I mean it was in the Ď60s, and the great John Barton--I donít know how many of you know who he is, heís the man who made me understand that Shakespeare tells you everything you need to know in the text itself. The stage directions are contained within the verse, particularly in the verse--itís enough to tell you whether he wants it fast or slow, sad or happy, itís all there in the verse.

So I learned that from Barton, and we were tremendously... because we were the Royal Shakespeare Company... the text was sacred. We were made to feel that it was, indeed, sacred. And we did not, particularly with verse, we didnít put in anything, and we had to keep the rhythm going. So, that was a very strict way, a very disciplined way of playing Shakespeare, and I did that for four years, and it was a most wonderful training.

Since then, as Iíve grown as an actor and as a human being--particularly living in the United States--Iíve adapted what I learned at the RSC. Iím much freer now. My awareness of the formality of Shakespeare is much softer now. But I still go always to the text. I mean, I was brought up to believe and still believe that every time you have a question, you will find the answer in the text. You might need a dictionary or two [audience laughter], or a director, but once you know what the word means youíll be able to find out what he wants to do with it.

TC: And which version of the text do you use, or do you use many different ones?

BM: Well, for this production, we had a script that was typed, but I had my own copy which was the Oxford, and I find them very good, very helpful, and they deal with performance, not just academics, which I like.

TC: And do you find that American audiences respond differently to the language than English audiences?

BM: Iíll tell you. When we were at Stratford, in the sixties, the best audiences we ever had were American tourists [audience laughter]. We could tell the first time some Americans were in, because we started the season and we ended the season with the [disparagingly] English. [Audience laughs.] They were very intelligent, they understood, but they were not what you might call demonstrative. We always knew when, during the summer, it was wild, it was fabulous, because we had American audiences. So thereís the answer to the question.

I think beyond even that, New York audiences--I have felt this way from the very first time I played here, which was in 1965--are the most intelligent, the most exciting, the most involved of any in the world. Thatís really my opinion.

TC: Great. Are there any questions from the floor? Letís start.

Audience Member #1: Having seen you in about eight productions recently, and not intentionally--Iím not a groupie [audience laughter]--but seeing you in the Osborne and Entertaining Mr. Sloane and Misalliance, I am asking how do you explain the versatility... you did OíNeill [Long Dayís Journey Into Night] not too many months ago. Maybe itís my theatergoing taste, but I know that when you are in the cast, Iíll see another facet of your great talent. Do you attribute your flexiblilty to classical training?

BM: I think it has to do with the way I look. I was a child actor, and when I was a child actor I was very funny looking, and I played all kinds of... as you were saying earlier, when I was a young actor, I played heavy characters, dark characters, crooks, Teddy Boys, that sort of thing. And then I would go into a period of only playing really nice stupid people [audience laughter]. And then I would go into a period, as I did at Stratford, when I played only the young heroes. So I think, in answer to your question, always my desire has been not to be typed.

I like not being typed. And over the last three years where Iíve played a lot of plays, and thank you for pointing that out, and I did Travels With My Aunt [audience applauds], which really gave me the chance to sort of spread my wings and be as instantly versatile as Iíve always wanted to be. You know, that sort of revue feeling. And I think that probably made people feel that I could be trusted with all kinds of things.

When I know Iím going to do something new, say, when I knew I was going to do this, between this and the OíNeill, first it was Ďhow am I going to look different, how am I going to seem different?í This is even before I think about the play itself, which of course is different. But I always try to make sure that I am as different as I possibly can be. It entertains me, you know, that feeling of trying to stretch my own versatility.

And I always love it when someone asks a question like you, because it makes me very happy to know that there are the facets within one, which I think an actor should have, you know. I think itís a part of--well, Iím a character actor. There are some great actors who are what we call "personality actors," who always essentially play themselves. And some of the greatest, I mean, John Gielgud, you know, who is great, an almighty actor, but when he was a young actor, he always had The Voice and he was always unmistakably him.

Laurence Olivier on the other hand was a character actor, and always tried to be different. And while I donít compare myself to either of them, I think Iíve always been inclined to the Olivier way, of trying to be as different as possible with each new role.

TC: Iím curious how you made the transition to become a director as well. Is there a point at which you said, "I know enough, I can do this," or did someone say--

BM: Actually no, that was Shakespeare, too. When I was at Stratford, and through John Bartonís wonderful instruction, I fell in love with Shakespeare, having been terrified of him... not having known anything about him for years. And I read the [Shakespearean] canon from cover to cover, and what happened was, Iíd be reading a scene and it would say, "a room". Or "Westminster Hall", or whatever it was. And Iíd start to think what it might look like, I tried to visualize it in order to help me read the scene. And what furniture there might be. And at that time there was a lot of talk about various periods and styles, you know, putting Hamlet in modern dress, so I would think about that.

And I think that over the years, while I was at Stratford and watching the great directors that I worked with--I worked with Tyrone Guthrie in Measure for Measure, and I watched him create this incredible production, and I thought "I want to do that." It was the opposite of "Oh, I know enough." I just wanted to be able to put some of the ideas that Iíd gleaned from other people and from myself into practice.

TC: And what was the first play you directed?

BM: Oh, it was Beauty and the Beast, in an early version by a man called Nicholas Stuart Grey, who wrote a series of very charming, dramatized fairy stories that we did as a Christmas show in a company I was with in England. And then I did a couple of things in England, and then when I was here, I did an English play called The Scent of Flowers, which was off-Broadway, a wonderful play by James Saunders. Thatís the first play I did in New York.

TC: I think you are unusual in that you go back and forth between acting and directing. A lot of actors make the transition to become solely a director, but you go back and forth.

BM: Thatís probably because I am essentially and always will be an actor first. I never thought of myself as having a directorial drive. I love actors, I love working with actors, Iím bright, Iím prepared... [to LCTís Executive Producer Bernard Gersten, who is sitting in the audience] ...this is a plug, Bernie! [Audience laughs.] I like to work with actors enormously. I respect actors. And the joy of being able to help an actor find what he can do best, as well as serve the play, is a tremendous thrill. But itís very exhausting, and I never intended to be a director full-time. Also, people like Nick Hytner go from film to opera to theater, but that was never my goal--I only want to work in theater.

TC: Which brings me to another thought, namely: you have done some movies, but really your livelihood has been based on the stage, which is almost unheard of these days.

BM: Well, it depends on how you spell "livelihood" [audience laughter]. Well, yes it is true, and itís a question that Iím slightly embarrassed about when Iím asked it. When I walk onto a stage--and I knew this from the time I was ten--I felt more comfortable then than I did in real life.

And I can remember the moment when I walked up the stage, and I thought: "Oh, now I know I can move!" You know, I was a klutzy kid, and I was suddenly able to move and able to feel and able to be free, and be unselfconscious. When Iím in front of the camera, Iím incredibly self-conscious. Iím kind of grading myself: "Did I lift my eyebrow too much? Did I pull too many faces?" And then of course, I havenít been offered many films, so... [audience laughter]

TC: Sorry, canít help you. [To the audience:] Are there more questions?

Audience Member #2: How do you keep a role fresh night after night?

BM: Itís difficult. I mean, youíre dependent on two things: everybody else in the cast wanting to keep it fresh and the audience. You. Weíre dependent on you. So that if we have a wonderful, responding house, itís a joy. Then thereís a real rapport, a real relationship that develops with every single different audience. Thatís, I suppose, the main reason that one keeps it fresh. Because you donít know what youíre coming to see, and I have to make it seem as though itís the first time Iím doing it, too.

But as a method, thereís one way that I... in a long run, it can be very hard. Iíve been in plays for a year and a half, and that can be very difficult. And the only way to do it is just to listen for all youíre worth, not let your mind drift to what you want to do for supper [audience laughter], just listen to what youíre being told, and try to respond spontaneously.

TC: And do you find that, during the run of the show, you discover new things about the part as it goes along?

BM: Oh God, yes! Always. You discover--and this is why I work in the theater. Up until the time you play to the first audience, the maximum, optimum work you maybe do is 45% of what has to be done. The very first audience, the very first time you meet an audience with a play, you learn so many things, you make a kind of quantum leap. You go up to about 60-70%. And then every day from then on you discover a little bit more, a little bit more. Sometimes you fall back a bit--it depends on how happy you are with the role. Some roles are more difficult than others. You may not get that kind of immediate breakthrough, but you always continue to learn right up until the last performance.

TC: Not to put you on the spot, but what have you learned about Toby Belch since you started playing him in front of audiences?

BM: That I didnít know before? Well, thatís a difficult question to answer because it could be in the way a line is rounded. It could be in a little piece of music within the line. You know, if you put an emphasis on a word that gets a better response, or, makes more sense to you--itís minute, but itís still a discovery every time it happens.

TC: [To AM #3] Yes, in the back?...

Audience Member #3: In the past, whatís the one role you would have killed to get that you never got, and the role that youíd like to get next?

BM: [pause] Whew. The role that Iíd like to have next is the role Iím playing next [audience laughter].

TC: Which is what?

BM: Itís in a play called Spread Eagle, itís going to be at the WPA Theatre in November. Itís a new play. And thatís exciting for me, to be doing a new play.

TC: Can you say what itís about at all, or the character you play?

BM: Itís about an actor. Itís about an actor who is burnt out with his life, with his personal life as well as his professional life, and he tries to do something completely different. Itís difficult to talk about, really, because itís contained within it. But, there are parts that I wouldíve liked to have played originally, the original of a play called The Philanthropist,by Christopher Hampton, which I finally did do--I did it in Chicago. I didnít do it in London. I wanted to do it in London, when Alec McCowen came over here, and I was close to getting it, but I didnít get it. And that springs up immediately, but... I donít know, I donít think about the parts I wouldíve killed to get, quite honestly, Ďcause theyíve gone, you know. And Iím very happy with the ones I have got.

TC: [To AM #4] Yes, maíam...

Audience Member #4: I wanted to ask you, you spoke about the immediacy in the connection to an audience. Do you find, in an arena theater such as the Beaumont, that thereís any difference compared to a more formal presentation? And is there a different way you have to play in an arena and is it perhaps more immediate?

BM: I think that thereís a difference. Now, Iím used to the Beaumont. When I did Racing Demon, it was the first time Iíd worked here, and it seemed enormous, immense, the theater seemed huge. It doesnít now. Iím more used to it. With Little Foxes we learned that--because that was all downstage, most of it was really downstage on the rake, I mean on the apron. We realized that you have to rake the house, you always have to make sure that the people on the side donít get ignored. Most directors are always making you aware of that. In this production, because it is so wide open, itís easier than most. But yes, in a formal house, in a proscenium house, itís much easier because you know exactly where to direct everything. But this is good! Iím happy here.

TC: [To AM #5] Sir...

Audience Member #5: Do you have a most favorite character youíve played?

BM:James Tyrone [in Long Dayís Journey] was a great favorite. That was a very... you know, how could it not be? To have the chance to play that was really thrilling. The Entertainer was also very thrilling, although the play is not anything like Long Dayís Journey, but it was a very fine production, and it was a wonderful work. Rosencrantz was a big favorite of mine. I loved doing that. It was amazing. But I donít think I have any real favorites, no. I love them all.

TC: Do you have a preference for doing new work if thatís offered to you?

BM: Well you know, I havenít really done much in the way of--I mean, Travels With My Aunt was new, but the rest of them since then have been revivals. Well, Racing Demon was new too, but it wasnít brand new, I wasnít creating it. Michael Bryant had played it in London, and I was stepping into his shoes.

I just havenít done that many new plays. So Iíve always been very comfortable with dead authors, it would seem [audience laughter]. And now Iím going to be working with a real live author for awhile, and thatís going to be very interesting. So weíll see after that.

TC: On this Sunday, weíre doing a "Live From Lincoln Center" broadcast of Twelfth Night, and Iím just curious what your feelings are about that, and anticipating how itíll play on television, how it will be received.

BM: Yeah, well, itís back to the cameras again, isnít it? [Audience laughs.] Itís very interesting, very exciting. Weíve been assured that weíre just going to play it normally, we still have to remember that weíre playing to a thousand people in the theater, as well as all the people who are watching it on television. So we are not necessarily going to change, we have not been asked to change anything, bring anything down. But I think, instinctively, a little bit weíre going to.

Iím very excited about it. But itís strange, because itís happening as the last performance. And the last night, the last performance of any show is always a kind of big night, because you want it to be... you want to finally "get" it, you want to do it right if you can. And youíre saying goodbye and itís sad, and thereís always that sort of farewell feeling. And so this is going to be a kind of combination of the farewell feeling and an extraordinary sense of playing it live on television. Which I donít think Iíve done since the Ď50s, when I did live television.

TC: Are there more questions? [To AM #6] Maíam?

Audience Member #6: Iíd like to know how you approach your work. Do you like to memorize ahead of time, or wait for the blocking?

BM: I didnít use to memorize. I used to, in fact, think it was silly. I used to think you had to do the blocking first, otherwise how are you going to find your inner life? But in the last few years, Iíve started to learn before, and itís something I will never not do again. Because I memorize the lines, and then I have the luxury of just finding the character. Just memorize the book parrot-fashion before I go in--Iíve tried to do that. I didnít with this, of course, because I didnít know what the text was going to be. I mean, thatís new for me.

Before, it was always the movement, the blocking, that sort of set me. The way a character is on the outside, that may be a strange thing to admit, but I find the interior of a character by matching what the text has to say about him, and how he might behave. The behavior of the character, as the text allows you to understand it, is what Iíve always tried to do first. And that includes how does he walk, how does he sit, how does he, you know, what accent shall we speak it in, as Bottom says. Itís an important behavioral pattern that comes out of... and then, please God, let me find out whatís really going on inside. Thatís the way I work.

TC: More questions from the house?

Audience Member #7: Iím curious: Was it difficult for you to leave the RSC environment and go into a different kind of work? Because of the intensity of that training.

BM: Well, Iíd been working solely on Shakespeare for four years, and then I came to New York. And I fell in love with the city, and with the way people worked here. At the RSC at this time, there was a certain kind of... "weíre the best." You know, a "we-have-nothing-to-learn-from-anybody" kind of attitude. And that included, Iím sorry to say, a fair amount of contempt for anybody else who tried to act. And that included Americans. You know, "Oh, what do they know..." And I found out that "they" knew, you knew, much more than we did. You took the time to find out. So it filled me with this sort of energy and excitement.

Plus the fact that the first play I did here was directed by Mike Nichols, and that was such an incredible turn-on. And then I didnít touch Shakespeare again for, I donít know, ten, fifteen years! Except for marginally, peripherally in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

AM #1: But you played Claudius [in Hamlet]...

BM: Oh yeah, but that was... Claudius was later, that was in recent years.

TC: [To AM #1] I think maybe you are a groupie! [Audience laughter]

AM #1: Well, I went to see Kevin Kline, and there you were!

TC: Another question from the house? [To AM #8] Sir?

Audience Member #8: This is a question I wouldíve asked Nick Hytner. Perhaps you could answer it, too.

BM: Sure. Go ahead.

AM #8: How do you get from the Indian look of the first scene to the Italianate look in the rest of the play?

BM: I think I can answer that only by talking about what Nick has said. He said that he felt that Illyria, which is filled with so many oddballs, including two English clowns, that he felt that this was a land of the imagination. He felt that it was vaguely Oriental, he and Bob, that it was sort of "over there", which could have been anywhere from, vaguely at the turn of the century, it could have been anywhere from India, up right through Turkey. The idea was to make it nowhere and everywhere. The Never-Never-Land that could be, with Indians and Lost Boys, and you know, anybody could be there.

As far as the specifics, I wouldnít be able to answer that as far as the costumes are concerned. But the idea was that there was this sense of... a pasha. They wear bare feet even when theyíre fully dressed up in their mourning gear, the ladies all have bare feet. And wonderful kind of tattoos all over their feet, which are quite beautiful to look at. It comes right down to the soles of the feet. The idea was that itís a land of the imagination, and that you should be able to feel that it wasnít anywhere specific, anywhen specific. Itís a wonderful kind of imaginary place.

TC: Well, wherever Illyria may be, weíre awfully glad that Brian Murray was here today. Thank you so much, Brian, for being with us, and thank you all for being here. [applause]


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