Mar 27, 2008

First Impressions

They don't always stick. Austin Pendleton on Steppenwolf:
"The first contact I ever had with them was by a fluke," Pendleton recalls. An outside producer saw a play Pendleton directed Off-Broadway in 1979, Ralph Pape's Say Goodnight, Gracie, and wanted to take it to Chicago. But there were catches on both sides: The play's New York producer would only let the play move only if Pendleton was kept on as the director, and the Chicago producer would only accept that condition if his own special terms were met.

"He said, 'OK, but you have to use the members of this new company called Steppenwolf,' " Pendleton recalls. "At the time, I thought: 'There's a group that actually calls themselves "the Steppenwolf"? That's pathetic. Either they're trying to borrow the energy of a rock group, or, even worse, they've named themselves after the Herman Hesse novel.' I wasn't interested, but the producer insisted.

"So, grumpily I went off to Chicago, and as soon as I began to work with the company, I got swept away by them."

An interesting blog post on Cormac McCarthy, by Pendleton himself, is here.

(Photo by Richard Termine, NY Times.)

No comments: