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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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Gene Saks

Date: Jan 29, 1987


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In January of 1987, SDCF brought one of Broadway's most beloved directors to New Dramatists for a conversation about comedy. Collaborators are quoted as saying "I would like to be surgically attached to his hip" and "I wouldn't mind if I never worked with another director again". In this 90 minute interview, you'll learn how Tony Award winner Gene Saks has engineered a career as one the most respected directors in American theatre. He is known for his understanding and protection of the actor's process, stemming from years as a performer on Broadway. Moreover, he is known for the rapport he develops with his casts. In this interview Saks admits that his relationships begin during casting where he looks for actors that he can "fall in love with", albeit for a limited period of time. He also looks for intelligence, and acknowledges that intelligence and a sense of humor go hand in hand. The discussion covers personal relationships with both Neil Simon and Simon's plays. He confronts what has changed about the nature of comedic entertainment as he explains that the world has become "more serious, today". He illuminates his process and his manner of "over-directing" in the early stages of a production, only to later trim down the stage business as a sculptor would excess. He talks of the humoristic mentality and maintains that he is not a director of comedy at all; rather, that he approaches all stories, serious or humorous, with an eye toward conveying its message through the vehicle of comedy.