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The Director
Playwright D.L. Coburn
Dick Van Dyke
On the Play
The Characters
The Shoot
Mary Tyler Moore
Key Scene Study

The Shoot

Working With Mary 


Mary has such an easy temperament, and she's a happy gal. We were used to doing comedy. We never did anything this dark together, so we had some trouble. But the funny thing is, the relationship between us, and the way we worked, it was as if we'd seen each other yesterday. To me, it was like the years hadn't even passed. It was exactly the same. It popped right back and we had such a good time. Just working together again has been the reward for me - in something that's so completely different than anything we've ever done before. I wouldn't have done it with anybody but Mary.

I was asked, since it was done by Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, why anybody would want to ever touch it again. And my feeling was that Mary and I would bring something to it that wasn't there before. That the audience would want very much to see them get together and to have each other to hang onto as they went into older age. That's what I felt that we could bring to it - an attraction between the two of them. Yet at this point in life, I think it's very bittersweet.
 


Acting Challenges 


We've never faced anything quite like this one. We call it the Iditarod of acting, or the triathalon. You have to not only remember the lines, but you have to play gin at exactly the same time and you can't think on two levels at once. It's like this [pats head & rubs stomach] - hopelessly impossible! [Laughs] Your mind can bounce back and forth but you can't do it.

Mary's a card player and I'm not. I had to learn to shuffle and deal and everything. I didn't know how to do any of that. I don't know what they mean, all those pictures on them though. [Joking]

Arvin was perfect for us because he held us down. Mary and I together have a tendency to become otters at play, we horse around and we laugh. I drive everybody a little nuts. I'm hyper. I can't sit still so I have to dance and sing and whatever. So Arvin would always bring us back to these two characters and settle us down. It was a very very good experience, but I must say it was hard.


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