Can I Call You F?

By amazing coincidence I just got to hear an NPR interview with F. Murray Abraham, who is currently playing Shylock here in Boston. Did anybody else catch it?
Normally I listen to my iPod on the ride home. Today for some reason (fate!) it hid itself in my bag and I could not find it. Normally I would have sat and dug for it, but I had places to be so I just flipped on NPR instead. Lucky me!
* He’s rather patronizing. Some noises were made by the setup people in the background and he stops the interview to say “We’re doing a thing over here, so quiet please, thank you.” Later when he references Burt Lancaster in a story he adds to the interviewer, “I don’t even know if you know who that is.” Total name drop.
* “Shakespeare invites you to try anything. Try your voice. Try your imagination. He can take it.” I love that quote.
* He found Macbeth harder to play than even Lear. Although he doesn’t elaborate terribly as to why.
* Being inside a theatre, he refers to the Scottish play. I was amused by how naturally that came to him, and was going to comment on it when I got home. Then the interviewer says, “I notice you called it the Scottish Play…can I just” and she didn’t get to finish the sentence, which I would assume was going to be “say the name” before *I* was screaming at the radio “DONT YOU F%^&*ING DARE!” But he calmly informed her to wait until she got outside. Which she did. Why she felt obliged to say the name, since this interview was not about that play at all, I have no idea.
* I always thought he was Jewish. He’s not.
Should be an interesting show. Apparently set on modern Wall Street (or a reasonable facsimile), with obvious connection to the modern day banking crisis.

3 thoughts on “Can I Call You F?

  1. I saw the production in NYC. It was quite good and F. Murray gave a creditable performance.
    Overall, I liked it better than the Pacino.
    I'm still waiting for a better one, though.

  2. I wasn't going to miss the "Merchant of Venice"/"Jew of Malta" doublebill that F. Murray Abraham headlined for Theatre for a New Audience in spring 2006, playing Shylock and then Barabas on the same day. "Merchant" was the superior of the two productions, with the staging of Marlowe's revenge play "The Jew of Malta" the more stylized, which I took as the director's parody of the Miracle Play. (What can you say about Barabas, a character who takes out an entire nunnery with poison-laced porridge just to get to his treacherous daughter!!!) One of the best moments in "Merchant" was when Kate Forbes's excellent Portia, disguised as a lawyer, asks, with Antonio in an orange prisoner's jumpsuit and Shylock with his yamulke plainly visible to all, "Which is the merchant here? and which the Jew?" Everyone in the courtroom threw up their hands and shouted in disbelief over the idiocy of the question. No doubt at all that Abraham was having the time of his life playing these two roles.

  3. I have a copy of the audiobook for THE GRASS CROWN by Colleen McCullough, read by him. It is absolutely and amazingly splendid – he captures Sulla like no one else I've heard.

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