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Edie Falco on Terrence McNally’s “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune”


Edie Falco on Terrence McNally’s gift for writing and what it was like for her to star in the 2002 Broadway revival of  “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.”

American Masters – Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life is available for 7 days only starting March 25th at and the PBS Video app in honor of the playwright, who died March 24th.


- It's like, you know, the plant that insists on finding the light through the cracks in the sidewalk, you know?

People will search for that connection.

You still want a sandwich before you go?

- Yah, I still want a sandwich.

- Then you're going, you're not staying over.

- Well, we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

- There is no bridge to cross.

- What are you scared of?

- I'm not scared.

I'm not scared, I'm... - Yes, you are.

- (mumbles) Not like in a horror movie.

I don't think you're going to pull out a knife and stab me, if that's what you're talking about.

Could we change the subject?

- What do you mean?

- Oh come on!

You're gonna stand there and tell me you're not weird?

- Of course I'm weird!

- There's a whole other side to you I never saw at work.

- Well, what'd you think?

All I did was cook?

- There's a whole other side of you I never saw when we were doing it either.

- Well, that's because it was probably your first time with a passionate and imaginative lover.

- [F. Murray Abraham] At last I get and see and talk to you, you know?

- To think that we both sat and memorized these lines and worked on them, and dealt with blocking, and had opening nights and, you know, of the same stuff, two very different people, different times in our lives and you know, different productions.

But it's all Terrence.

- Did you ever feel... - He got it from me.

- Did you think you were attractive at growing up?

I never thought I was attractive.

- No, and feeling like kind of the outsider and not quite knowing how to connect.

All that stuff.

- What a drag, and what a nice discovery late to find out that I'm terrifically attractive.

- Yes, yes, absolutely, I'm with you on that.

- Better late than never.

- Oh my God, absolutely.

- How do you feel about taking your clothes off?

Is that the first time you did it?

- Yeah, it was.

I was nervous as hell.

The nakedness in 'Frankie and Johnny' isn't just physical.

I mean, they clearly, on some level want to connect, want to have someone see their insides, though there's so much fear attached to that as well.

And I think that's what the play's about.

- He really, he can write.

- Yeah.


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