MW: Cynthia, you have played many different characters throughout your career on Broadway as well as in television and film. Which character has been your favorite to play and why?
Cynthia: I rather fall in love with each character as they come along, so right now it’s Mrs. Hardcastle. I love the language, and the Restoration Period.
MW: John, during the course of your career what would you highlight as the most important lesson you have learned?
John: I’d say the most important lesson is the enormous importance of specificity. Every moment involves a choice of what and how to play a line, an emotion, and objective and the more specific that choice is more alive and fun it will be for the audience. Also I must say learning my lines as soon as I possibly can. Finally, perseverance, patience and keeping the faith. It is not an easy game and it has to be played for love. I have been at it for more than 40 years now and they’ve all been good years in their way. But these last years, have been some of the best.
MW: Can you tell us a little bit about your character in ‘She stoops to Conquer’
Cynthia: A slave to fashion and all things London, Mrs. Hardcastle pines for the latest fads but is denied first hand knowledge of city society by her stuffy, old fashioned husband. She is besotted with her mischievous son Tony. Somewhat blind to his faults, her devotion to him is fierce, but she also spars with him just as fiercely.
John: I am the father of a beautiful girl myself, I have a son as well, (who sometimes reminds me of Tony Lumpkin my step son in the play- but in a good way.) Anyway, Mr. Hardcastle’s desire to see his daughter married to the best young man in town is something I totally identify with. Mr.Hardcastle is old school, loves old things and is not into trumpery. I find his behavior totally defensible.
MW: If you could use only one sentence to describe ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ what would it be?
John: Strangely enough, Oliver Goldsmith actually coined the term ” laughing comedy” to describe the work. It holds. It is very very funny.
Cynthia: The mistakes of a night whipped into an hilarious, frothy confection.
MW: Why should people come and see ‘She Stoops to Conquer’?
John: People should come see this play to be reminded that in matters of the heart very little changes over the centuries and when a genius of a writer finds his way into the heart of the matter, the shock of recognition for his audience is one of the most satisfying and delightful surprises available to theater going human begins. The play has stood the test of time for a very good reason. It lives and breaths and laughs now and forever- better than Cats!
Cynthia: Restoration comedy is not revived all that often. If one is unfamiliar with this genre, you couldn’t pick a better play to start with. The language is delicious, this cast, a merry band of comedic actors, the entire evening a delight. Give yourself a treat, I guarantee you’ll have a good time !
She Stoops to Conquer is playing at the Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues). For more information visit tactnyc.org.