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Gin Game HomeInterviewsAbout the ShowRemembering...How to Play GinGlossary

The Director
Playwright D.L. Coburn
Dick Van Dyke
Mary Tyler Moore
Playing Fonsia
Themes and Conflicts
The Shoot
Key Scene Study

The Shoot

The Challenges 

It's one of the most challenging roles of my life. And the fact that I am doing it with Dick enabled me to take it on because I knew I would feel supported and I would be comfortable and I would be working with somebody who was going to bring a great deal to it. It's just so much fun. When we're not on camera playing these characters tearing at each other's souls, we have so much fun reminiscing and talking about mutual friends and so on.

It's a lot of dialogue to memorize. And, for us, in this project, where we are locked at a table for a good portion of it, playing cards which had to be dealt and drawn and taken and gin that has to come at a certain point. And Dick can do sleight-of-hand like a pro. He can make cards flip and disappear, but shuffling was something he had to really work at. It was a tremendous challenge because it's hard enough to memorize a two-character play to begin with but when you add all of that to it, it's a steep mountain that I found that I was climbing every morning.

I think we've done it: Getting up extra early, studying the lines, letting them digest, buoying Dick's spirits because he's used to doing comedy and this is kind of oppressive in certain ways. I think we've done a really good job.

Actors At Work 

Coburn was there with us for three days, three, four days of rehearsal and the first two or three days of shooting. And it was great. I mean, the best thing he did for me was come over and squeeze my arm and grin from ear to ear after I would do a scene and I knew I had pleased him, and you can't ask for more than that.

Arvin Brown was the best director. He knows when to push and when to withdraw and how to get us going at our peak production. He made me feel so up to the role. I came into it feeling this is a heady piece of work I have to do, and I want it to be really great. He allowed me to do that. And he modulated us. He brought out the best of our abilities and helped us find some moments that I didn't know were there.

I was talking with Dick about the difference between doing comedy and drama. Drama is slower and comedy is fast. Timing, pace. In comedy, if there's dead air, you want to cover it and get going. On to the next line. And in drama, you really have to believe in yourself enough to know that space is not necessarily dead air. That's an opportunity to find another color.

It would take a different kind of mechanics to do this for the stage. We have the luxury of tape. We were only given ten days of rehearsal to put this together and 12 days of taping. As a result, we are not perfect in the roles when we're performing, but because of the magic of tape, we can go back and do it again and again and again until it is right. You don't have that luxury on stage. But what you do have on stage is three months of rehearsal. So that it is a part of your being and you don't even think about it anymore.




Mary Tyler Moore



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