Posts Tagged ‘elaine may’


October 24, 2018

Watching Elaine May’s shattering performance on Broadway in Kenneth Lonergan’s The Waverly Gallery as a feisty West Village widow descending into dementia threw me back in time to 1983, when I spent an entire summer on her trail as an earnest young arts reporter working on a magazine profile for Esquire. It was a plum assignment. Not too many interviews with Elaine May had ever been published. Just about the only ones I could find were the couple of riotously funny self-interviews that the New York Times Arts & Leisure section talked her into doing over the years. I quickly learned why you haven’t read many stories about her: she hates doing interviews and will do anything she can to avoid them.

The story I wrote has never appeared in public before now. I call it…

“One Moment with Miss May

Quote of the day: DIFFERENT

December 30, 2012


Elaine May: “What have you learned, Mike?”

Mike Nichols: I’ve learned that many of the worst things lead to the best things, that no great  thing is achieved without a couple of bad, bad things on the way to them, and that the bad things that happen to you bring, in some cases, the good things. For instance, if you grow up odd and—what is it when you’re left out? You’re not an extrovert—“

Elaine May; “Introvert?”

Mike Nichols: “No, when you grow up—“

Elaine May: “Peculiar?”

Mike Nichols: Peculiar. Different. The degree to which you’re peculiar and different is the degree to which you must learn to hear people thinking. Just in self-defense you have to learn, where is their kindness? Where is their danger? Where is there generosity? If you survive, because you’ve gotten lucky—and there’s no reason ever to survive except luck—you will find that the ability to hear people thinking is incredibly useful, especially in the theater.”

Vanity Fair (read the whole thing online here)


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