Growing up in New York I got to see lots of great theater, including James Earl Jones in The Cherry Orchard, Julie Harris in The Belle of Amherst, and Brian Bedford, who's just died, in The School for Wives. He won a Tony Award for that performance and rightly so.
Molière was a favorite playwright of mine in college. At the time, I was still feeling the glow of having been my high school's star French student. In recognition of that achievement, I got a pretty certificate and a handshake from the French ambassador at a ceremony at New York's Alliance Française. Molière was as important to me as Shakespeare, maybe even more so, and Richard Wilbur's deft translations were a revelation.
So of course was Bedford: witty, magnetic, dynamic. I was thrilled when I attended the Stratford Festival in Canada years later and found that he was a regular performer, and especially looked forward to seeing him in Molière. In one preview, when he was shouting at a maidservant, his elaborate bloomers fell around his ankles. Silence in the theater. He glanced down in mock horror. "Look what you made me do!" he ad libbed. The audience loved it.
When he played inThe School for Wives, I went backstage to praise his performance and told him I'd seen the play many years ago when I was in college.
He squinted at me and said, "You don't look old enough." I laughed and went on to note that at a certain point in the play he went downstage to deliver a speech.
He nodded, waiting.
"And I'm sure that your blocking was exactly the same in the 70s."
Deadpan, he replied, "Well why change a good thing when it works?"
Lev Raphael is the author of The Edith Wharton Murders and 24 other books of fiction and nonfiction
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more informationTrack ballot status
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place