Dick and Mary are ideal for this piece because there is undeniably a chemistry between them that is remarkable and profound. Even though they haven't been married for 40 years like Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy were, they've been working together and have been friends for 40 years. They bring a kind of trust to their work that is imperative in a piece like this, where the actors run the gamut from comedy into strong, exposed dramatic work.
Dick and Mary are two of the most skilled comedians in the history of television, and two of the finest actors. That's a rare combination. Their great skill as comic actors gives them an extraordinary understanding of where the humor is in the play. Each has a distinct antic personality. There's a devilish girl in Mary. There's an impish guy in Dick -- who works beautifully with the lighter competitive aspects of the play.
The darker aspects of the character are perhaps more immediately available to Mary. She doesn't shy away from them at all. Whereas with Dick, I think, because he's such a song-and-dance man, I don't think he readily likes to go to those places. But as he's a great actor, he's more than capable of doing it. They're both tremendously inventive and directable. They were both totally open to suggestions and were able to turn on a dime.
Their working methods are similar, but Dick is more able to jump from his light, kidding-around persona into the play's seriousness. Mary wants a little bit of a buffer zone between clowning around on the set and the moment when she has to face the camera and do something that's fairly deep.
The atmosphere on any set is conditioned by the behavior of the stars, and when there's Dick's life force, and Mary's vitality, it colors everyone's moods. It was a joyous experience to work with them and feel a part of their very active present and share memories of their past.