Friday, September 10, 2010

Tyrone Guthrie Tribute

Stage directors and performers should be ever grateful for the legacy of the great director Tyrone Guthrie.
Guthrie was not only a great director (including the world and Met premieres of PETER GRIMES) but the pioneer of regional theater in the U.S. He founded the Stratford Ontario Shakespeare Festival and then the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. These were the precursors to ACT in San Francisco, the Ashland, Oregon Shakespeare festival, the theater in La Jolla, Portland and probably in every medium and large city in our land.

Here are some brief anecdotes and quotes from this brilliant and often outrageous artist.

TYRONE GUTHRIE: "Don't you love your character?"
LAWRENCE OLIVIER: "Tony, How can you love a man like Richard III?"
GUTHRIE: "If you can't love him, you'll never be any good as him, will you?"

GUTHRIE:" If you want to know what HAMLET means, don't ask Shakespeare. He only wrote it."

GUTHRIE (DIRECTING ACTOR  ALEC GUINNESS): "Don't write it down. You'll remember the good stuff and forget the bad."

GUTHRIE: "The best ideas I ever had just popped into my head out of the blue."

Opera director/translator Ross Halper reveals how his high school field trips to "The Guthrie" sparked his life in the theater.
"Our theater teacher in high school, the wonderful and wonderfully named Les Schimmelpfenig, would prepare us by readings and lectures for the plays we would experience at the Guthrie and other adventurous  places in theater-rich Minneapolis. Guthrie based his two North American stages on Shakespeare's own Globe theatre, where the magic was created by the spoken word rather than by lavish sets and productions. I don't recall ever seeing Guthrie's own productions, but I experienced how the synopsis and the text was but a skeleton to be fleshed out by living actors. After college, I had the chance to sing in the Guthrie's MERCHANT OF VENICE and got to rub shoulders with future stars such as Mark Lamos, Blair Brown and Len Cariou."

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