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Podcasts with America's seminal directors and choreographers

Enjoy rare insights into how theatre is made with this podcast interview series produced by Stage Directors and Choreographers Workshop Foundation (SDCF) and co-presented by TDF. Browse three decades of priceless one-on-one conversations and panel discussions with distinguished theatre and dance luminaries.

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Arthur Penn

Date: May 14, 1987


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In this ninety minute discussion with Arthur Penn, catch a glimpse of the artistic processes which make this legend of directing such an artistic triple threat. To date, he is still the only individual to be nominated for a Tony, an Emmy and an Oscar for the same property - The Miracle Worker. In May of 1987, Penn sat down with Melvin Bernhardt for this candid discussion on his style of directing and its application to stage and screen. We learn that Penn's direction is one of calculated chaos, never telling one actor what he says to the other and staving off, for as long as possible, wedding the action of the scene to the actual words of the text. It is a style that has worked brilliantly, but has also engineered conflict with those not willing to fully embrace its method - specifically Henry Fonda on Penn's Broadway debut, Two for the Seesaw, about which he speaks frankly in this interview. He also tells of his artistic development, learning to direct for the stage through working in live television. Penn reminisces on the Broadway of the late 50's and 60's and the sense of artistic community which no longer exists in the same manner it once did. This is a discussion we enlightens us to the artistic aesthetic of one of entertainment's most prolific auteurs, and the steps he takes to create his unique imprimatur.