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He also did a second review for Johnny notrump didn't he or another second to gaze a little mention there that the phone you know I think he personally regretted that he said it was the superbly acted and while it was not a brilliance it was a promising play and even he seemed to have felt the same kind of pain at the fact that it was before it had a chance to get to feel something because he didn't see the point is that Mr. Barnes and I talked with Pat Hingle about it the day after we opened and closed and Pat said that he kind of had a feeling that Mr. Barnes was like a man who always had and like a young young boy who always hadn't been put in a different position and was talking a little loudly to kind of make an impression. Now if he had opened his review with why I don't think that Johnny notrump is a brilliant play it is definitely a promising play and and took that telling which obviously he thought because he wrote it later we might still be playing and you might have been able to see it and enjoy it and but instead this was an
afterthought. You know when they would have had I would have had Mr. Barnes down to talk to in our studios to talk about it he was talking about dance with and one of our other shows. Because originally as I think everyone knows he was the dance critic for The New York Times when quite a few months ago and he's from England and he writes well there is no doubt that critics have a great deal of power along with that power responsibility for what they say and I think that I don't think anyone intended as anything loosely or irresponsibly depends on a set of values and what one is using as some frame of reference. Well I know I'm not blaming Mr. Barnes or any of the critics there. People don't tell their opinion that's their job and they have to tell it the way they see it to their readers and things like that. But I don't think maybe now he is but I don't think that he's really aware. That this is why Walter Curry wanted to leave you know and write
Sunday pieces because it's just unfortunate we have three papers left in New York and that's it that's the paper. That's true. And by closing one night which I hope to point up the fact that this cannot be any longer because you get a play that four or five years ago would have run and found its audience and you know we've made a reputation for itself and now it's impossible unless the players you know mingle huge smash Mary said. It is somewhat tragic for the theater. What would you like. How would you prefer to see the system I mean even in spite of the fact that you never wrote it weren't too keen. I mean you didn't have it uppermost in your mind. It's going to be produced. What what other method would you say would be beneficial to the theater and to the audience the people that go to the theater here in New York or throughout the nation I imagine this play. Do you think it would be more successful in the Midwest if it that was produced at this time at this point than it let's say would be given a better chance
that I don't know because I don't know who is the major critic in the Midwest. You know in whatever town is there I mean I I do anticipate a great deal of trouble that's a lot of it was produced did not depend upon the favorable or unfavorable review of a critic would say it was put on and several universities that had certain amount of funds to put the play on. Yes that would be valuable because then you would see the production and get your audiences you know and their reaction and learn something from that and they would not be driven away presumably. Do you think this play should have been produced off Broadway here in New York instead of Broadway. Did that ever come up into anyone's. About six months after it was written. My ambition then became a like maybe I could do it in a loft
and just see the thing on its feet. And then invite some people to see it. And you know that might easily have been much more beneficial to me as a as a writer. But then suddenly it got you know a literary agent and was sent to Broadway producers and was optioned for Broadway. Have you become discouraged by that by this experience from writing any other players. I was in the middle of another and had done the preparation work and will probably finish that. I just say that they frighten me to death is absolutely true. I will be amazed if I have the courage you know to get to go see a production.
If there is ever one of the second play well of course on the other hand you know while you were stoned so to speak you were praised equally. I mean by the critics they did this in any way counterbalance or did it just throw total confusion and on the whole thing. I mean because a lot of critics came out of this. Your name has now been associated in a way with theatre that is meaningful. I mean I don't think anyone really considers the I mean I think your talent is being considered not the fact of the play close door or the door ran or didn't run but out of this. There is evidence that there is a playwright afoot in American theater that which we have a dearth of. We don't have any playwrights and they sign seems to be saying well here's a good playwright let's wait let's see what her next play is going to do. I mean this is this is humanitarian. No this is not your challenge now but.
What it is but I think it's an instant in some ways it's an inspiring thing if you know you don't see total zeros there at all. How do you feel about that. Well no I think if I finish the second then I would definitely put that on in a loft and very secretly you know and and do what I should've done with this one maybe and see how things work out that way. Do you think the off-Broadway situation is those of the the most encouraging climate and area for beginning playwrights Maybe I don't know. Or do you think playwright should go right I mean write a play. I guess it depends on their motivation the aim of the playwright. But do you think he has a better chance for survival if he sort of dips his foot in the water off Broadway first before going to Broadway with it with the work of his or does he take a
chance as he knows let's say the play is a big hit off-Broadway. Does he lose something by opening off-Broadway that he would gain if he had opened on Broadway. I mean I don't know I think definitely that for a new playwright I don't think so in this case as far as Johnny notrump was concerned but I do think that most of the times it's beneficial off-Broadway if you're a new playwright. I know a friend of mine I was in one of his plays down the Cherry Lane Lanford Wilson who is a playwright with talent. You know I don't think he's a playwright yet. I mean a real playwright yet but I think he's a player talent. And for instance Reimers of eldritch which was in some ways new and different as far as theater was concerned. And he get he had a very good treatment of it Michael Kahn directed it very well. And so off-Broadway the reviews were very good and favorable and they pinpointed him as a new playwright a young playwright with talent with a great deal of talent who still has a few rules to learn but
nevertheless a playwright with talent. And I think of a play like that would have been done on Broadway it would have never come close to the kind of thing that Johnny notrump received ever. I don't think so Don. Have you studied acting formally. Only I went to the High School of Performing Arts for a year and then decide I want to get out and work. A lot of I don't know. Lot of students at the high school performing arts and it seems to be one of the. Interestingly enough from what I hear about one of the best breeding grounds for a young town it's a good school mainly because it's it combines theater dance and music and three separate departments. Yet all three departments except the music department really. Dip into each other to learn what they can you know in other words in the drama department you would get a class or two of dance a week and how to use that in the theater how to use that as far as your body was concerned on
stage or just dancing and the dance department had drum instruction as well. However I think that the basic premise of the school is hasn't really been realized for some reason. I don't know I don't know whether it's the teacher's fault or what but it was it was great like for him to sit in a geometry class and hear music floating up from another floor. You know jazz experimental jazz kind of music and walk past another room and hear people Shakespeare on your way to algebra. You know that's kind of exciting. So I think I think the school is really a very very good school. Well we're going past high school. Many of the things that we talk about on this program is the basic premise of why this program is out there and that is the basic premise has been established that we do not have ample schools on a college level or on a professional level that can equip an actor with all the necessary tools for his craft
to two to engage in it on every level. And this oak what I said earlier so-called classical plays. There shouldn't be anything. I mean we're not talking about the most actors referred to. And once they get involved in Shakespeare or anything else that goes beyond a contemporary playwright or immediately the classification is classical Are you a classical actor. All these artificial terms I mean an actor is an actor. But there is still is not the training ground available to teach an actor how to handle any any any. I think you're very right because when I did the Unknown Soldier and his wife. After we had opened I was speaking to John Dexter about it who is one of the top directors in England you know directing a Livia in Othello and now a very busy director here in America. And he said he just had. The worst time trying to find American actors that could act. You know he said that they are actors but they're not craftsman this was his now whether I agree with that isn't anything on there because I really would know my
experience is very limited. However he seemed to think that there are very few American actors who can really play anything you know have the craft and the skill. You know and although I know a lot of people who left rather pretty fast. Well I don't know you know well I have from time to time we've talked about this with English actors we had the company of the Bristol Old Vic here when they were here with Hamlet and they had they had mid to certain areas of deficiency in their training and they admit that they are learning some things from American actors but I think the balance is wanting the way they are undoubtedly have a tradition undoubtedly have schools that are geared to train the actor totally. What we have here and I should qualify this because I want to be on the. I don't want to get the wrong idea that I think we have individual teachers here that teach individual aspects of the craft beautifully. But what I'm talking about is a collective thing in Lincoln Center has been
attempting and the job has been put upon the heads of the people there now to establish a repertory theater which is not really a repertory theatre. So I always bring the question to the guests on seminars and later of their experiences in the ER and where it goes from here. Now you left the High School of Performing Arts. You're you are fortunate let's say in this as this world goes. You are fortunate because you were able to get work at a very young age. But what happens. There are thousands and thousands of individuals that want to go in the theater. They try to learn how to act they try to learn their craft the craft of acting and they have really nowhere to turn to so it's sort of a school of hard knocks and experience and so forth. But what about you Don at this point. Would you go on to college or will you just continue to work in the theater. Well my career is really uppermost and that's partly because I suppose I'd be going to college full time had I not gotten started when I did
you know strictly on my own decision to go into the business and the now that I've found it and found that I've had a great deal of success with it. And you know I want to stay there and you know I was trying to manage school part time when I was working but the career just moved faster than my school career did. And unfortunately that's where my interest really lies. What about your musical group another fine mess is that still the nicest house. Sort of that's that's hard to manage too because of the acting you know. My parents are both musicians and music is a big part of my life and I write songs and things like that my songs are sort of like Mary's idea for writing. They're sort of like hobbies and I play them for people and people say gee those are great you could be number one with that you have teenage girls screaming and the whole thing. But. That's why you know so I'm very Getting back to you ARE YOU been an actress and have you
acted. Are you giving up acting altogether or are you just going to concentrate on writing. And I don't know if someone calls me for something I suppose I would do it. I thought maybe now. So it was quite a shock to sit in the front of the House really for the first time because when you're. An actress you're just responsible for your part of the show. You don't have to worry about whether the set looks good or whatever that's not really your problem. And so it I think might be beneficial to me if I went out as like an assistant to a director and watched from the front of the house much more you know because it is a different experience to sit through something during the rehearsals of Johnny or drug were you involved. Did you involve yourself or did you just stay out of the way.
Just observed. No pretty much I just observed and there were a few rewrites in the second act. Did that bother you. What in the rewrite. No noun in fact I was ready to rewrite everything he writes. House I always read now and again that's another strange behavior. I mean relatively for playwrights I know why so yes it was two years you see from when rehearsal began the play was written finished two years ago so that when I came to hear it I was ready to rewrite a great deal of it as a matter of fact. The new play that you're working on can you talk about the subject or others would be similar to the subject you were tempted to cover in Johnny notrump or are you writing about something entirely different. Yes when you talk about it. Well that makes us all anxious I mean to find out just what new
ideas you will be attacking. However if it's in a loft will the public be able to see it and get to it. Well I'll invite you to meet him at the door. We will talk about it if I go see it I'll talk about it and when I was there you can't hide it. But how far how far is it going to be a three act play or when I put it. No that's just many scenes. I don't quite know maybe I guess one intonation to act play I guess. What have you seen. Assuming that you've been going to plays this is to both Dawn and Mary. That you would consider good good theater that you enjoyed. I thought Broadway or on Broadway recently. Well I love the production of The Homecoming contemporaneous and that not everyone did.
I thought that was you know I suppose we had James Patterson and and a few people connected with the birthday party here talking about Pender and Pender as you know and as the public now and I was as quite the fair haired playwright I'm VERY with the play he wrote one in one thousand fifty eight quite some time ago and there are better advocates and Petr detractors nor what is your feeling about painter as a playwright. Do you like his work. Oh yes I think he's a major playwright and very talented. Do you feel that there's any reason or justification for it. Part of the audience or members of the audience or critics are saying that they don't understand better and I'm really trying to say in the homecomings we are in any of his plays because I didn't see the
homecoming but the homecoming is representative of a panther's style just as much as is as much as other players are. And in the homecoming I know the thing that is quite I mean it's understandable but the overall idea of the play. But what gets lost are individual actions or individual statements. They seem gratuitous they seem I'm talking about the reaction that I've heard from critics and the members of the audience do you ever get the same reaction. No to me Friend says the homecoming was very simple it's about a. Family that is bound together by hate. And they were not likable people on the stage I mean you didn't want to run and have coffee with this family and I think that's really what upset people in the audience. Well getting back to Johnny notrump because I feel that you will be getting back to what I think Dawn said.
There is the attempt to really mount this is there's a definite plan or is this just tentative or is up in the air or is this going to it are you is it going to be put on again. I think so yeah. And as close as December I don't know I don't know that depend planned this will be off Broadway. It depends there. There's a local television station. Might want to do the play in its entirety but only be seen in New York of course that channel 13. That's five now far out of interest and General I did very much yes Christmas to come here. And Richard Barr has hopes for either in the repertory company or in off by that I think would be a crime if he doesn't since since he closed it you know with the intention that well we'll close it and let the storm and the controversy go on and then we'll put it on again and then we can really see the play
for what it is and I think since you decide to close it in one night I sure hope that he does follow through with it. I know there are problems naturally but they have a great deal of money left from the budget and I would think that maybe they would you know. Well Dawn what's your next move at the moment where you are you going to be in any production upcoming that might be fighting the VC you're not going to see you. I was going to draw I don't know. So far we really don't know I have a spinal separation whether that will keep me out or not I don't know. Right now they seem to be taking people if you're warm you know. But in the I mean right now you're in the event that Uncle Sam doesn't think I'm going to qualify for his club then. I might do shortly do a two part television thing for Disney. And also there's next season a musical with Richard Rodgers that
we've been meeting about he saw Johnny notrump and loved it. Every bit of it. And so he's been talking to me about it. The lead in his new musical whether that will come about that's next season or not I have to meet the director next. Well Don it's refreshing talking to the likes of you. For several reasons. There is an enthusiasm and there is there's a kind of freedom to say what you feel and fortunately what you feel and think is rather intelligent and I like what you say and that's refreshing because it's so hard to get people to say what they think on the air. I had an experience where someone said what he thought but wanted to retract it and I let him retract it. Maybe I'll find out that I shouldn't say well yeah yeah look at that right now. And Mary it's been a delight to get some interesting viewpoints about your own work and about when and how and
why you wrote it and I hope that I for one and the members of the public will get a chance to at least see the work and come to some conclusion about it on their own to have hope they have that opportunity. And so we'll be looking forward to. I think I did mention the name of your new play if that's going to be the new play. What was it that ended with a particular Charlie particular which is an interesting title. Thank you both for joining us on something large in the here and this was seminars in-theater a recorded series of discussions with leading members of the theatrical profession. Join us again for our next program when host Richard Pyatt will lead another conversation about life in the theater seminars in theatre is produced by radio station WNYC in New York City and is distributed by the national educational radio network.
Hard travelin'
Travels end
Producing Organization
University of Texas
KUT (Radio station : Austin, Tex.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Malvina Reynolds, Pete Seeger, and Will Geer recall Woody: His life, music, and hard travelin'.
Series Description
A series about Woody Guthrie and his Depression-era folk music.
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Host: Adams, Judith
Performer: Guthrie, Woody, 1912-1967
Producing Organization: University of Texas
Producing Organization: KUT (Radio station : Austin, Tex.)
Speaker: Seeger, Pete, 1919-2014
Speaker: Reynolds, Malvina
Speaker: Geer, Will
Writer: Tangley, Ralph
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-11-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:13
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Chicago: “Hard travelin'; Travels end,” 1968-01-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 4, 2023,
MLA: “Hard travelin'; Travels end.” 1968-01-29. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 4, 2023. <>.
APA: Hard travelin'; Travels end. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from