Writer-Actor Charles Busch and Actress Julie Halston | THEATER: All the Moving Parts

Writer-Actor Charles Busch and Actress Julie Halston | THEATER: All the Moving Parts



>> I AM PATRICK PACHECO. JOIN ME AS I SIT DOWN WITH WRITER/ ACTOR CHARLES BUSCH AND HIS MUSE, JULIE HALSTON, TO DISCUSS THEIR FASCINATING COLLABORATIONS. ON THE NEXT "THEATER: ALL THE MOVING PARTS." ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪ HELLO AND WELCOME TO "THEATER: ALL THE MOVING PARTS." I AM YOUR HOST, PATRICK PACHECO, HERE AT CHEZ JOSEPHINE ON MANHATTAN'S THEATRE ROW. DIRECTING THE SPOTLIGHT TO THOSE ARTISTS WHO CREATE WORLD'S OF WONDER WE CALL THE THEATRE. THERE ARE FEW ARTISTS MORE IMAGINATIVE THAN MY GUESS, WRITER/ACTOR CHARLES BUSCH AND HIS MUSE JULIE HALSTON. THEY ARE THE NICK AND NORA OF THEATER, WHOSE COLLABORATIONS GO BACK TO 1984'S "VAMPIRE LESBIANS OF SODOM" AND INCLUDE "THE LADY IN QUESTION", "RED SCARE AT SUNSET", "THE DIVINE SISTER", AND "THE TRIBUTE ARTIST". CHARLES IS CURRENTLY TOURING HIS CABARET ACT, "NATIVE NEW YORKER" AND JULIE IS IN THE NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL "TOOTSIE". WELCOME TO "THEATER: ALL THE MOVING PARTS." AND CONGRATULATIONS ON COMING UP ON 35 YEARS OF A COLLABORATION? >> 37! >> WE'VE KNOWN EACH OTHER 37. >> WOW. >> YES, COLLABORATION MAYBE 35- >> I GUESS THE FIRST TIME WE DID SOMETHING TOGETHER WAS '84- >> SO COMING UP. SO HAVE YOU REACHED THE POINT IN YOUR CAREERS WHERE YOU'RE INTRODUCED AS THE LEGENDARY JULIE HALSTON AND THE LEGENDARY CHARLES BUSCH. >> I AM OCCASIONALLY CITED THAT WAY. I DON'T INSIST ON IT LIKE HE DOES. >> WHEN YOU INSISTENT ON IT LONG ENOUGH, PEOPLE BUCKLE. IT'S SORT OF WEIRD BECAUSE I'M UNKNOWN TO MOST PEOPLE BUT TO A SMALL CADRE, I HAVE SOMETHING SPECIAL. I THINK FAME IS ULTIMATELY JULIE HALSTON'S MOTHER HAD HEARD OF THE PERSON, THEY WERE FAMOUS. IF SHE HAD NOT HEARD OF THEM, THEY YOU WERE NOT A STAR. >> THAT IS TRUE. >> WHAT IS YOUR MOTHER'S NAME? >> DOLLY. SHE PASSED ON AT THE AGE OF 93, BUT AT THE AGE OF 92, SHE INSISTED ON SEEING "HAMILTON". INSISTED. AND SHE CALLED ME AND SHE WAS LIKE, JUST GET ME SOME HOUSE SEATS, RIGHT? JUST, GET YOU SOME HOUSE SEATS. YOU REALIZE WHAT A PHENOMENON THIS IS? SHE GOES, I SAW THAT LIN MANUEL ON "KELLY AND MICHAEL", HE SEEMS SO ADORABLE. JUST GET ME SOME HOUSE SEATS. >> GOOD FOR HER. >> BUT WE DID. >> PEOPLE NOW KNOW YOU THROUGH YOUR CLUB ACT "NATIVE NEW YORKER, AND IN IT, YOU DESCRIBE THAT JULIE WAS BORN OUT OF A SHEER ACT OF DESPERATION. [LAUGHTER] >> LIFE IS A SERIES OF FLUKES AND MIRACLES, AND I DECIDED TO PUT ON A PLAY, WHICH IS REALLY MAKING IT SOUNDS GRANDER THAN IT WAS, IT MADE IT LIKE A SKETCH, BASICALLY, OUT OF A VERY FUNKY PLACE, WAY DOWN IN ALPHABET CITY IN THE LOWER EAST SIDE, WHEN NOBODY WOULD VENTURE IN THAT NEIGHBORHOOD IN THE MID-1980'S. I WROTE THIS SKETCH, AND I NEEDED A TITLE AND I CALLED IT "VAMPIRE LESBIANS OF SODOM." WE DID IT FOR ONE WEEKEND IN THIS BAR, ART GALLERY- >> CRACK DEN. >> NOW JULIE. WE WANTED TO DO A SECOND WEEKEND, AND THE ACTRESS PLAYING "SUCCUBUS" WOULD NOT DO IT. I WENT THROUGH THE LIST, AND LAST ON THE LIST WAS UH, THAT BLONDE GIRL WHO WORKED ON WALL STREET AND HAD VAGUE NOTIONS OF BEING A PERFORMANCE ARTIST, SO I CALLED HER UP, AND TOO QUICKLY SHE SAID YES. [LAUGHTER] >> WAY TOO QUICKLY. I'M FREE! I'M FREE! >> AND SHE WAS, IN YOUR OWN WORDS, "TERRIBLE." >> SHE WAS TERRIBLE! WE REHEARSED WITH THE CAST IN MY APARTMENT A COUPLE OF TIMES, AND SHE GOT WORSE. AND FINALLY, JULIE IS A VERY INTELLIGENT SENSITIVE GIRL, AND SHE COULD SEE THE LOOKS OF HORROR ON THE FACES OF THESE PEOPLE. SO SHE STOPPED REHEARSAL AND SHE SAID, "I KNOW I STINK, BUT YOU PUT ME IN A WIG IN FRONT OF 60 GAY MEN, AND I GLOW!" AND SHE DID. SHE DID! >> IT IS REALLY WILD THAT I REALIZED ABOUT MYSELF, AND I'M STILL TO THIS DAY LIKE THIS, YOU CAN TALK TO SCOTT ELLIS, AND HE WILL TELL YOU, I AM NOT GOOD IN REHEARSAL. I AM SORT OF STIFF AND UNNATURAL. ONE OF THE ENSEMBLE MEMBERS AT "TOOTSIE," SAID NOW THAT WE ARE UP AND RUNNING, I REALIZE WHO YOU ARE. I HAVE TO BE HONEST, WHEN WE WERE IN REHEARSAL I WAS LIKE "WHY DID THEY HIRE HER?" [LAUGHTER] >> I AM A LITTLE LIKE LIZA. PUT ME IN FRONT OF THAT CROWD. THE PREVIEW, I COULD SEE THE LOOK OH HIS FACE, "OH, NOW YOU ARE GOING TO PERFORM." BUT IT IS AN AUDIENCE THING. >> YOU HAD AMBITIONS OF BEING HEDDA GABLER AT THE TIME WHEN YOU MET THIS GUY. >> I THOUGHT I WAS A GREAT DRAMATIC ACTRESS. >> SO I GUESS THE COUNTESS WAS NOT IN YOUR WHEELHOUSE. >> IT WAS NOT IN MY WHEELHOUSE AT THE TIME. I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO BE DOING THE CANON OF STRINDBERG, TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, ALL THE GREATS. >> I THINK IT WAS INTERESTING, I DO NOT WANT TO COME OFF AS- , BUT I READ A QUOTE IN COLLEGE THAT MADE A BIG IMPACT ON ME BY THE FRENCH POET JEAN COCTEAU, WHEREVER IT IS THAT DISTURBED PEOPLE, CULTIVATE THAT, BECAUSE THAT IS WHO YOU TRULY ARE. REALLY IT WAS SO TRUE ABOUT JULIE, BECAUSE WHEN I MET HER, I FEEL LIKE YOU GOT THE MESSAGE RATHER CLEAR, THAT YOU WERE TOO MUCH. SHE DID THIS WEIRD PIECE THAT I HAD SEEN HER DO, AND I THOUGHT SHE HAD NO TALENT, SHE WAS TRYING TO SMOOTH OUT ALL OF THE ROUGH EDGES, AND SHE PUT ON WHAT WE CALL HER "NICE LADY VOICE," TRYING TO SMOOTH OUT HER ACCENT. >> HELLO, PATRICK, HOW ARE YOU? >> "VAMPIRES" WHICH I WROTE LATER FOR HER, SHE REPLACED THIS LADY, BUT THE SECOND PLAY THAT WE DID LATER, THEODORA, PEOPLE SAID SHE IS SO GREAT, CAN'T YOU WRITE HER IN, AND I WAS LIKE YES, SHE WAS JUST SO FUNNY TALKING ABOUT HER LIFE AND JUST REACTION, SHE WAS JUST LIKE A DEMENTED TALK SHOW HOST. SHE WOULD SAY TO ME JUST IN CONVERSATION, CHARLES, THOUGHTS, REFLECTIONS. SO I JUST STARTED WRITING IN, I WOULD JUST WRITE IN JULIE-ISMS, AND IN A WAY, I WOULD LIKE TO THINK THAT THAT ALSO KIND OF GAVE HER THE FREEDOM AND >> PERMISSION. >> PERMISSION TO SAY THIS IS WHO I AM, I'M GOING FOR IT, AND SHE HAS HAD A WONDERFUL CAREER. >> CHARLES, WHAT IS THE THING THAT MOST DISTURBED PEOPLE ABOUT YOU? >> IN 1972, WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE AT NORTHWESTERN, AT THE TIME, I SEEMED TOO GAY. I WAS TO EVERYTHING. TOO ECCENTRIC, TOO THIN, TOO GAY. CERTAINLY AT THAT POINT, THERE WERE NOT ANY ROLES IN THAT REPERTOIRE FOR AN ANDROGYNOUS YOUNG MAN, THIS WAS BEFORE "ANGELS IN AMERICA" OR THE TORCH SONG TRILOGY OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. >> AND YOU BASICALLY SAID, "HELL, I AM GOING TO WRITE THE STUFF FOR MYSELF," AND THAT IS HOW YOU BECAME A WRITER, WHICH IS A GOOD LESSON FOR OTHERS. >> CHARLES LUDLAM, WHO IS A GOOD INFLUENCE ON ME, SAID ONE TIME THERE IS NO DOOR FOR YOU TO ENTER, BUILD YOUR OWN DOOR. >> ANOTHER GOOD QUOTE. A GOOD CATHOLIC GIRL FROM LONG ISLAND, A NICE JEWISH BOY FROM WESTCHESTER THEN TO MANHATTAN, HOW DID YOUR JUDEO-CHRISTIAN HERITAGE WORK INTO YOUR COLLABORATION? >> WELL I THINK OF MYSELF AS AN HONORARY JEW ACTUALLY. >> SHE IS MORE JEWISH THAN I AM. >> HE IS OBSESSED WITH THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS. >> I WAS NOT RAISED WITH RELIGION AT ALL. >> YOU WERE ADOPTED BY YOUR AUNT AT THE AGE OF 13. >> SHE WAS KIND OF A FREE THINKER, AND SHE HAD A FONDNESS FOR CATHOLICISM. WHENEVER WE WALKED UP FIFTH AVENUE, SHE WOULD DRAG ME INTO ST. PATRICK'S TO LIGHT A CANDLE IN MY MOTHER'S MEMORY OR HER FAVORITE SAINT, SAINT JUDE. SHE WAS ECCENTRIC. GROWING UP, I HAD NO RELIGION, BUT I WOULD WATCH OLD MOVIES ON TV, AND I JUST WAS ENRAPTURED WITH ANYTHING ABOUT JESUS AND NUNS. LATER WHEN WE DID A PLAY, MANY YEARS LATER, "THE DIVINE SISTER" WHICH IS A PARITY, REALLY AN HOMAGE TO EVERY MOVIE ABOUT NUNS IN THE HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD, IT WAS NOT A BLISTERING SATIRE, IT WAS BECAUSE GROWING UP, I HAD NO REFERENCE TO CATHOLIC NUNS AT SCHOOL, IT WAS ALL INGRID BERGMAN WAS SO LOVELY OR WACKY NUNS LIKE ROSALIND RUSSELL AND MARY WICKES IN "THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS." THAT WAS MY FRAME OF REFERENCE. >> AND ALL I WANTED WAS TO BE, YOU KNOW, A JEWISH GIRL, LIKE IN A COLLEGE DORM WITH MY JEWISH INTELLECTUAL BOYFRIEND, YOU KNOW, JUST READING A LOT OF BOOKS. [LAUGHTER] >> YOU KNOW, KAFKA, "THE STRANGER." >> HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH PHILLIP ROTH. >> EXACTLY. THAT IS WHAT I WANTED. I WENT TO CATHOLIC SCHOOL, CHRIST THE KING, THE HOLY FAMILY HIGH SCHOOL. HE EVEN SAYS TO ME EVEN TODAY, DON'T YOU THINK YOU'LL RETURN TO THE FOLD AT SOME POINT? DON'T YOU FEEL A LITTLE BIT CATHOLIC? AND I AM LIKE "NO!" [LAUGHTER] I WANT TO BE THAT GIRL, YOU KNOW. YOU KNOW, LIKE RITA GOLDBERG. THAT IS WHO I WANT TO BE, WITH NO BRA AND A LOT OF HAIR. >> ALL THE COMPLAINTS. >> YEAH, EXACTLY. >> EARLY ON, YOU MADE A DECISION, OR PERHAPS THE DECISION WAS MADE FOR YOU, TO BE SHAMELESS IN A WAY. YOU MAY HAVE SAID "WE DO NOT CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK," THAT THAT WAS AN IMPORTANT FORMATIVE DECISION THAT YOU MADE IN TERMS OF WHAT PEOPLE THINK. WAS THAT YOU? >> I DO THINK ONE GREAT GIFT THAT I WAS GIVEN, AND MAYBE THIS IS PART OF MY OWN PERSONALITY, AND THEN ALSO I THINK JUST GROWING UP WITH MY AUNT, AND MY WHOLE FAMILY, REALLY, I JUST NEVER REALLY HAD THE CONCEPT IN MY HEAD — WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK? WHICH IS EXTRAORDINARILY FREE BECAUSE THAT CAN STOP YOU IN YOUR TRACKS RIGHT AWAY. I DON'T THINK I HAVE EVER, EVER HAD THAT SENSE. SO THEREFORE, I ALWAYS WENT FOR THE EXPERIENCE THAT THAT WOULD BE FUN, WHERE I DECIDED TO PUT ON THIS PLAY IN THIS STRANGE EAST VILLAGE DIVE. TO ME, IT SEEMS LIKE IT IS AN EXCITING, SAVVY EXPERIENCE. IT SAVES YOU IN ALMOST EVERY AWFUL EXPERIENCE, EVEN TO THIS DAY, WHEN I AM TOURING WITH MY CABARET ACT AROUND THE COUNTRY, SOMETIMES IT IS MARVELOUS, SOMETIMES IT IS SOUTH BEND, INDIANA. [LAUGHTER] >> AND I WILL GO NO FURTHER. BUT IN A WAY, I AM NEVER ASHAMED OF IT, BECAUSE IT MAKES A GREAT ANECDOTE. >> UH-HUH. >> MY AUNT TAUGHT ME, WHEN I WAS VERY YOUNG, TO NOT LIVE IN FANTASY AND NEVER LIE ABOUT YOURSELF, YOU BECOME VULNERABLE. IF YOU LIE ABOUT YOURSELF, SOMEBODY WILL EXPOSE YOU. YOU NEVER, EVER WANT TO BE EMBARRASSED. SHE REALLY DRUMMED THAT INTO ME. AND SO I NEVER LIED ON A RESUME, I NEVER — AND I GUESS I LEARNED, I THINK THAT IT MAKES A BETTER STORY WHEN YOU'RE IN A SITUATION, YOU KNOW, THAT IS SO SLEEZY OR OUTRAGEOUS RATHER THAN TRY TO PUFF YOURSELF UP. IT IS A BETTER STORY JUST TO TELL THE TRUTH. >> JULIE, WERE YOU SPARED THAT IN TERMS OF SHAMELESSNESS? >> A LITTLE BIT, YEAH. MY MOM WAS IRISH, MY DAD WAS SICILIAN, HAD A VERY LARGE FAMILY. I THINK THERE WAS A PART, MY SISTERS AND I HAVE TALKED ABOUT IT, WHICH IS, YOU KNOW, MY FATHER WAS ALSO HARD OF HEARING, WHICH IS WHY WE ALSO BECAME VERY LOUD. [LAUGHTER] >> SO THAT IS WHY WE ARE SO LOUD TODAY. BUT IT IS ALSO WE ARE SICILIAN, AND WE ARE VERY PASSIONATE AND LOUD. I THINK THERE WAS THAT SORT OF LIFE, WHICH IS JUST HOW FINE, DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT — >> AND YOU KNOW HOW FAR TO PUSH IT. >> YOU KNOW HOW FAR TO PUSH IT. I THINK MY MOM WAS MORE CONSCIOUS OF, "OH, THE NEIGHBORS," BUT MY DAD PARTICULARLY WAS SUCH A FUNNY CHARACTER, ALWAYS TELLING JOKES, AND HE REALLY BECAME SORT OF THE MAYOR OF OUR NEIGHBORHOOD, AND HE WAS VERY SHAMELESS, YOU KNOW. >> A VERY GOOD REVIEW OF "THE DIVINE SISTER," I THINK IT WAS, SAID SOMETHING ABOUT GUTTER VULGARITY, IN A VERY NICE WAY. >> I DO NOT SEE IT THAT WAY, BUT BEN BRADLEY HAS BEEN SO GREAT TO ME. I DON'T WANT TO CRITICIZE HIM. >> HOW DO YOU MODERATE HOW FAR TO GO? >> WE USUALLY SAY "CHARLES, YOU WENT TOO FAR!" [LAUGHTER] >> HONESTLY, PERCEPTION OF WHAT YOU DO IS OFTEN QUITE DIFFERENT FROM THE REALITY OF WHAT YOU DO, AND I DO THINK THAT WHAT PEOPLE IN THEIR IMAGINATIONS LATER THINK OF MY SHOWS AND PERFORMANCES ARE ACTUALLY QUITE DIFFERENT FROM WHAT THEY ACTUALLY SAW. AND I THINK PEOPLE TEND TO THINK OF ME AS A RATHER BROAD PERFORMER, WHEN ACTUALLY I AM RATHER, CONSIDERING THE GENRE OF PARITY THAT I AM OFTEN WORKING IN, I PREFER TO HAVE PEOPLE AROUND ME, PEOPLE LIKE JULIE HALSTON, WHO IS ACTUALLY A MORE FLAMBOYANT PERFORMER THAN I AM. FRANK RICH, WHEN HE REVIEWED "LADY IN QUESTION," IT WAS SO INSIGHTFUL, SAID, I WAS THE "COOL EYE OF THE COMIC STORM." AND I THOUGHT THAT THAT WAS VERY ESTUTE. THERE WAS THAT WHOLE "SOUND OF MUSIC," MARIA LINE IN THE "DIVINE SISTER," BUT IN A WHOLE EVENING PLAY, THERE MIGHT BE FOUR MOMENTS OF REAL KIND OF VULGARITY, AND I AM VERY CAREFUL ABOUT WHO SAYS THE LINE. CERTAIN ACTORS CAN GET AWAY WITH IT FOR VARIOUS REASONS. >> HOW IS JULIE ABOUT GETTING AWAY WITH IT? >> SHE GETS AWAY WITH A LOT, BECAUSE SHE IS SO WARM AND LIKABLE ABOUT HER. >> AND INNOCENT? >> A LITTLE INNOCENT, YES. SHE CAN GET AWAY WITH A LOT. I CAN GIVE HER THINGS I WOULD NOT GIVE OTHER PEOPLE. I GET KIND OF EMOTIONAL WHEN I THOUGHT ABOUT JULIE, BECAUSE I LOVE HER SO MUCH BUT IN LIFE AND ON STAGE, SHE IS KIND OF LIKE A WARM TOAST WITH BUTTER AND JAM WHEN YOU HAVE A COLD. >> THAT IS A GOOD ONE. JULIE, THE PHYSICALITY THAT YOU PORTRAY IN CHARLES BUSCH'S SHOWS, IS IT DIFFERENT THAN YOU MAY EMPLOY IN OTHER SHOWS? IS THERE A SPECIFIC PHYSICALITY THAT YOU USE? >> YEAH, I THINK IT IS A LITTLE MORE ANTIC, YOU KNOW. I DO HAVE THESE VERY LONG ARMS AND LEGS, YOU KNOW, VERY CHARLOTTE GREENWOOD — LOOK HER UP. GOOGLE HER. THAT KIND OF PHYSICALITY IS USED WELL IN HIS WORK. OBVIOUSLY WHEN I AM DOING A MUSICAL, I AM ALWAYS LAUGHING WHEN THEY GO, NOW, THURSDAY, YOU WILL BE MEETING WITH THE CHOREOGRAPHER, AND I SAY "I WILL LAST A MINUTE." THERE WILL BE NO CHOREOGRAPHY FOR ME, BECAUSE I WILL NOT BE DANCING IN YOUR LITTLE SKIT. IN THAT SENSE, YOU KNOW, I ACTUALLY AM MORE PHYSICAL. FOR "THE DIVINE SISTER," I HAD TO DO THAT WHOLE BREAKDOWN SCENE, AND THAT WAS REALLY CHOREOGRAPHED, ACTUALLY. >> IN "YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU," YOU HAVE THIS WHOLE EXTRAORDINARY BIT. YOU CANNOT EVEN REALLY CALL IT A BIT, THE SEQUENCE THAT YOU WENT UP THE STAIRS, THAT WAS BIGGER THAN YOU HAD EVER DONE IN MY SHOWS. >> I HAVE TO SAY, THAT, I DID MYSELF. >> IT IS ONE OF THE FUNNIEST CROSSES IN THE HISTORY OF COMEDY. >> IT STOLE THE SHOW. >> IT IS ABSOLUTELY — I STILL CRACK UP. >> WHEN I SEE SNAKES, IT IS TIME TO LAY DOWN. [LAUGHTER] >> AND I GATHER THAT WHERE YOU LEARN, THE SCHOOL OF BUSCH, WHERE YOU LEARN THAT RAT-TAT-TAT DIALOGUE. >> IT IS SO IMPORTANT. >> IF YOU'RE DOING STYLIZED COMEDY- >> ALL THOSE MGM DIVAS. >> IT IS A SORT OF THING THAT YOU APPLY TO EVERYTHING. >> CHARLES, YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR, IS A BORN OUT OF PAIN OR ANYTHING? >> LOVE. IT DEPENDS, I HAVE WRITTEN IN SEVERAL DIFFERENT STYLES. CERTAINLY MY CLASSIC FILM PARODIES ARE BUILT OUT OF MY LOVE FOR THEATER CONVENTION. I AM NOT A BLISTERING SATIRIST. YOU KNOW, THAT IS JUST NOT WHO I AM. >> SNARKY. THERE IS NO SNARKINESS. >> NO. AND I DON'T WRITE OUT OF PAIN. I WAS BROUGHT UP IN A WAY OF NOT REALLY FEELING REALLY OUTSIDER. >> THERE IS NOT A FUNCTION OF ANGER IN IT. >> NO, NO ANGER AT ALL, VERY LITTLE EDGE, HONESTLY, AND I THINK MAYBE THAT IS WHY SUCH A VARIETY OF AUDIENCES HAVE COME TO SEE THESE SHOWS, SOMETHING LIKE A "VAMPIRE LESBIANS OF SODOM," WHICH YOU WOULD THINK THAT, OH, PEOPLE MIGHT HAVE STAYED AWAY FROM, BUT WHEN SOMETHING RUNS FIVE YEARS, IT IS NOT TYPICALLY THIS SOPHISTICATED CROWD, WE WERE GETTING A TITLE ATTRACTED OF DIFFERENT AGES, SO I THINK SOMETIMES PEOPLE WOULD COME TO THESE SHOWS, THINKING IT WOULD BE ONE THING, AND THEN THERE WAS ALWAYS KIND OF A WARM KIND OF THEME OF — >> FRIENDSHIP. >> SURROGATE FAMILY. YOU KNOW. YEAH. >> I THINK, JULIE, BECAUSE THERE IS AN AFFECTION FOR THE FLAWED CHARACTERS YOU PLAY. THERE IS AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE FLAWS BUT ALSO A REAL AFFECTION FOR THEM. >> OH, YEAH. >> AND I LOVE — AND IT HAS DEVELOPED MORE OVER THE PAST 40 YEARS OF MY CAREER AS A WRITER, BUT I LOVE THE ROLLER COASTER OF TONE. I PREFER AS THE AUDIENCE MEMBER AND AS A WRITER/ACTOR OF COMEDY, THAT CAN REALLY HAVE A MOMENT OF TRUE, YOU KNOW, EMOTION, AS OPPOSED TO THIS SORT OF FARCE LEVEL. FOR ME, THAT I PREFER, AND FOR MY PLAYS, EVEN IF IT IS A GENRE SPOOF, THERE ARE ALWAYS MOMENTS, AND IT GETS MORE AND MORE AS I HAVE GOTTEN OLDER, WHERE IT IS GENUINELY SUSPENSEFUL, GENUINELY TOUCHING. THE NEW PLAY I AM DOING NEXT SEASON AT PRIMARY STAGES CALLED "THE CONFESSION OF LILY DARE." HOMAGE TO MOTHER LOVE DRAMAS OF EARLY 1930'S LIKE "MADAME X." AND IT PROBABLY HAS THE MOST EXTENDED DRAMATIC SCENES OF ANY OF THE PLAYS I HAVE DONE. WE TRIED IT OUT FOR A FEW WEEKS. WHAT I REALLY WANTED TO SHOW IS, YOU KNOW, COULD WE REALLY HAVE OUTRAGEOUS HUMOR, WITH THE ANTIQUATED GENRE, BUT COULD I GET THIS SOPHISTICATED 2018 AUDIENCE TO ACTUALLY BE AS EMOTIONALLY INVOLVED AS THEY WOULD BE AT WATCHING THE MELODRAMAS FROM THE 1930'S? AND I WAS VERY PROUD. I THINK WE REALLY ACHIEVED IT. >> LIKE "IMITATION OF LIFE". >> YEAH. PEOPLE WERE CRYING AT THE END. I LOVED PLAYING THOSE SCENES SO MUCH. >> JULIE, YOU ONCE SAID THAT WORKING WITH CHARLES IS THE IDEA OF CONFIDENCE, THAT YOU ACTUALLY HAD TO HAVE CONFIDENCE TO PULL IT OFF. >> YEAH. YEAH. >> DO YOU EVER HAVE A CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE? >> OH, ALL THE TIME. >> HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THAT? >> I PUT LASHES ON FIRST. THAT'S NUMBER ONE. THAT HELPS. COMEDY IS ABOUT RHYTHM, BUT ALSO IT IS ALSO ABOUT CLARITY CONFIDENCE. ANY STANDUP COMIC WILL TELL YOU THAT IF YOU GO OUT THERE AND YOU ARE NOT CONFIDENT, THE AUDIENCE WILL SEE IT IMMEDIATELY, AND THEY WILL TURN AWAY. >> YOU HAVE TO COMMIT. >> YOU REALLY HAVE TO COMMIT. YOU HAVE TO BE CLEAR. COMEDY IS REALLY RHYTHMIC, SO YOU HAVE TO BE CLEAR, YOU HAVE TO HAVE CLARITY OF DICTION. COMMITMENT AND CONFIDENCE. AND WHEN WORKING WITH CHARLES, THOUGH, I NEVER REALLY SUFFERED THAT KIND OF — >> CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE. >> CRISIS IN CONFIDENCE, BECAUSE THE PLAYS WERE SO GOOD. THAT WE KNEW THAT THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. I REMEMBER READING TWO PAGES OF "THE DIVINE SISTER," AND I WAS LAUGHING SO HARD, AND I WAS LIKE OK, WE ARE READY TO GO, YOU KNOW. >> ALSO, I WRITE SO SPECIFICALLY FOR YOU. I MEAN, DOWN TO, AT THIS POINT, AFTER SO MANY YEARS, WHAT CONSONANTS OR VOWEL SOUNDS WILL SOUND FUNNY WITH HER VOICE. >> OH, REALLY! [LAUGHTER] >> I'VE WRITTEN MAYBE THIRTEEN PARTS FOR YOU OVER THE YEARS, MOVIES OR PLAYS. THE CHALLENGE, OF COURSE, IS TO ALLOW HER TO DO WHAT I CALL HER TRIP, WHICH SHE DOES, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, STRETCH IT AWAY SO SHE IS NOT BORED, OR THE AUDIENCE, A DIFFERENT FACET. >> YOU BROUGHT UP A FASCINATING QUESTION, THE IDEA THAT WITHIN THIS IMPROVISATIONAL FEEL OF IMPROVISATION, THERE IS REAL RIGOR THERE. >> THERE IS NO IMPROVISATION. >> IT FEELS THAT WAY THOUGHT. >> WHEN WE GET TOGETHER SOCIALLY, THERE IS A LOT OF IMPROVISATION. >> DOES IT WORK ITS WAY INTO THE PLAYS? >> IT DOES WORK ITSELF INTO THE PLAYS. >> THE THINGS SHE SAYS IN LIFE. >> SO HE WILL SAY, "HOW WAS YOUR DAY?" AND I AM LIKE "WELL, LET ME TELL YOU." BUT DOING THE PLAY, IT IS VERY RIGOROUS, AND IT MUST BE DONE A CERTAIN WAY, OTHERWISE IT IS NOT GOING TO WORK. IT IS REALLY THAT SPECIFIC. >> WE HAVE TO WRAP UP, BUT CHARLES EARLIER DESCRIBED YOU, JULIE, AS A PIECE OF TOAST WITH MELTING BUTTER. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE CHARLES IN GETTING THROUGH EVERYTHING YOU HAD TO GET THROUGH, WHETHER IT IS THE LOSS OF A HUSBAND OR ANYTHING ELSE? >> WELL, I ACTUALLY THINK OF CHARLES — AND I THINK HE WILL GET IT, WHICH IS THAT I THINK OF HIM AS A MULTIFACETED DIAMOND, YOU KNOW, IT IS JEWELED, SOMETHING WITH JEWELRY, SOMETHING MULTIFACETED, BUT DIAMONDS ARE PARTICULARLY MULTIFACETED, AND THEY HAVE A SORT OF CLARITY, AND THEY HAVE A SORT OF ICINESS THERE- >> YOU CAN'T BREAK IT! [LAUGHTER] >> CAN'T BREAK IT. BUT IT IS ALSO MULTIFACETED. WHEN YOU LOOK AT A DIAMOND, A REALLY, BEAUTIFUL, CLEAR DIAMOND, THERE ARE DIFFERENT COLORS, SOMETIMES FROSTY, SOMETIMES IT IS CLEAR. AND THAT IS HOW I WOULD DESCRIBE HIM. HE IS A MULTIFACETED DIAMOND. >> THANK YOU JULIE. >> THIS WAS DELIGHTFUL. >> THANK YOU, CHARLES. THANK YOU, JULIE. AND THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. WE WILL BE BACK WITH ANOTHER LOOK AT THE BOLD AND SINGULAR ARTISTS WHO LIVE AND WORK, ONLY TO ASTONISH US. SEE YOU NEXT TIME. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

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