Transcript: Tony Van Bridge | Dec 21, 1997

(Rhythmic string and wind music plays)

In animation, a word in pink slides by against a gray background as hands paint strokes using paintbrushes, play a piano, and touch as in a ballet performance.

The title of the show reads "Dialogue."

The title of the episode pops up against an image of Richard and his guest sitting in a backyard on a sunny day: "Neil Munro. Actor."

Then, Richard Ouzounian appears facing the screen. He's in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short side-parted blond hair. He's wearing rounded glasses and a striped blue shirt with a matching tie.

He says WELCOME TO
DIALOGUE.
I'M RICHARD OUZOUNIAN.
YOU'RE ABOUT TO MEET A MAN
WHOSE ACTING PERFORMANCES
I HAVE ENJOYED
TREMENDOUSLY
FOR OVER 30 YEARS.
BUT, I DIDN'T KNOW A
GREAT DEAL ABOUT
THE MAN HIMSELF, UNTIL
I READ THIS BOOK.
ALSO IN THE CAST.

He shows a copy of the book, which features a picture of a bearded man on the cover.

He continues
IT IS THE MEMOIRS OF
THE PERSON IN QUESTION
BUT IT'S SO MUCH
BETTER TO HEAR IT
FROM THE PERSON
HIMSELF.
THIS DIALOGUE IS
WITH TONY VAN BRIDGE.

Tony Van Bridge is in his late sixties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He's wearing a beige corduroy coat over a gray shirt.

Richard continues TONY, CONGRATULATIONS
ON A WARM AND CHARMING
MEMOIR WHICH I
ENJOYED TREMENDOUSLY.
THANK YOU.
BUT SINCE I HAVE
YOU CAPTIVE HERE,
THERE ARE SOME STORIES
IN IT I WOULD LOVE
YOU
TO ELABORATE ON
OR SHARE WITH US
OR TALK ABOUT
YOUR LIFE.
THE FIRST THING, WHICH
SURPRISED ME ON THE VERY
FIRST PAGE, OF COURSE,
BUT BEING A GOOD ACTOR AND
WRITER, YOU KNOW HOW TO
GRAB MY ATTENTION RIGHT AWAY,
IS THAT TONY VAN BRIDGE IS
NOT PURELY SPEAKING
YOUR REAL NAME.

Tony says NO, NO, NO. NO.
IT'S AN ADAPTATION.
WHERE DID IT
COME FROM?

Tony says WELL, IT COMES
FROM MY FULL NAME
WHICH I HAVE TO -
OBVIOUSLY YOU'RE
TRAPPING ME TO MAKE
IT PUBLIC RIGHT NOW.

Richard says ABSOLUTELY.
WHICH IS FAIR ENOUGH.

[laughing]

Tony says I HOPE PUBLIC IN THE BOOK.
AS MUCH.
MY NAMES ARE VALENTINE
ANTHONY NEIL BRIDGE
AND I HAVE MY MOTHER
TO BLAME FOR THAT.
SO, IT'S A FINE NAME AND
ALL THAT BUT I GOT
A LOT OF TROUBLE WITH IT
WHEN I WAS AT SCHOOL.
IN THE EARLY DAYS.

Richard says VALENTINE MUST BE A
BIT TOUGH ON A BOY.

Tony says IT WAS
A BIT TOUGH FOR A SMALL
BOY IN A SCHOOL, YES, THEY
THINK THAT'S A BIT SISSY.
SO, BUT A PART FROM
THAT NO PROBLEMS.
BUT, WHEN IT CAME TO - I
WAS ANTHONY BRIDGE
TO START WHEN I FIRST BECAME
AN ACTOR AND IT SOUNDED -
IT WAS ALL RIGHT, A LITTLE
ORDINARY AND YOU KNOW.
THERE'S NO DOUBT ABOUT IT,
IF YOU'RE GOING TO BE
IN SUCH A BUSINESS,
IT'S A GOOD IDEA
TO MAKE YOURSELF AS
UP FRONT AS YOU CAN.
LIKE HAVING A NAME
THAT CATCHES THE EYE
SO, YOU MAKE IT
SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT.
AND ALL I DID,
AS YOU CAN SEE,
IS TO TAKE THE INITIALS
OF MY CHRISTIAN NAMES.

Richard says VALENTINE.

Tony says REDUCE THEM TO
SMALL CASE AND PUT THEM
IN THE MIDDLE AS THE VAN.

Richard says BECAUSE PEOPLE ALWAYS,
WE ALWAYS WONDERED,
IS HE DUTCH?

[laughing]

Tony says PEOPLE OFTEN ASK ME
IF I'M DUTCH AND
SOMETIMES I SAY YES.
[LAUGHING]
IF I FEEL IN THE RIGHT
MOOD TO GO INTO A STORY
ABOUT MY DUTCH ANCESTRY.

Richard says ONE OF THE OTHER THINGS
THAT I LOVE ABOUT
YOUR MEMOIR IS THAT WHILE
GOING THROUGH ALL
THE THINGS ONE WOULD EXPECT TO
HEAR ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND
AND WHERE YOU CAME FROM,
OCCASIONALLY THERE'S THESE
UNEXPECTED, GREAT PERSONAL
STORIES AND I'M CURIOUS WHY,
FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN YOU
TALK ABOUT AT ONE POINT
EARLY ON IN REP YOU FOUND
YOURSELF IN LOVE WITH
TWO GIRLS SIMULTANEOUSLY.

Tony says OH YES, YES.

Richard says AND
VERY MOVINGLY,
YOU TALK ABOUT HOW YOU
LEFT ONE AND NEVER SAW HER
EVER, EVER AGAIN AND YOU
TOOK THE TRAIN KNOWING YOU
WERE GOING TO DO THAT.
WHAT MAKES YOU DECIDE TO
SHARE THOSE ELEMENTS WITH
US AS WELL AS THE MORE
PROSAIC AND THEN I PLAYED?

Tony says I DON'T KNOW.
I THINK IT'S
PROBABLY GOT TO.
AND IT'S VERY INTERESTING
BECAUSE YOU ARE THE FIRST
PERSON WHO'S BROUGHT
THAT SUBJECT UP.
I GUESS IN YOUR
POSITION IT'S POSSIBLE
THAT YOU WOULD BE.
BUT I'M VERY GLAD
BECAUSE THOSE ARE THINGS
THAT AFFECT US ALL,
ESPECIALLY WHEN
WE'RE YOUNG AND
IT'S KIND OF
STAYED WITH ME.

Richard says RIGHT.

Tony says AND I MEAN, IT'S A DEAD
GIVEAWAY WHEN YOU TURN
TO THE PICTURES, THE
PICTURE PAGES IN THE BOOK
THAT THIS FIRST GIRL HAS HER
PICTURE IN THREE TIMES.

Richard says AH HA.

Tony says THERE WERE THREE PICTURES
I JUST HAD TO PUT IN THE
BOOK AND THE MEMORY OF
THAT YOUNG ROMANCE
HAS STAYED WITH ME
AS A KIND OF,
A KIND OF A MARK SOMEWHERE
IN MY YOUNG LIFE THAT I,
YOU KNOW, I DON'T
BROOD ABOUT IT
BUT I THINK ABOUT
IT QUITE A LOT.
IT WASN'T
DIFFICULT TO WRITE,
IT WAS QUITE PLEASANT
TO WRITE EXPECT THAT,
YOU KNOW, THE PAINFUL
THING OF BREAKING
IT UP WHICH IS
NEVER GOOD.
IN ANYTHING.
BUT, APART FROM THAT, IT'S
ONE OF THOSE THINGS
THAT I THINK WE
SHOULD REMEMBER.
I THINK THEY HAVE TO BE
PUT UP FRONT SOMEHOW.
IF YOU CAN DO IT
WITHOUT, YOU KNOW,
I DON'T THINK PEOPLE
SHOULD BE HURT BY WHAT
YOU SAY YOU IN A BOOK.

Richard says NO.

Tony says SO, THAT ONE COULD MAKE
ALL SORTS OF SNIDE REMARKS
AND ATTITUDES TOWARDS
IT WHEN YOU'RE WRITING,
I DON'T BELIEVE IN THAT
KIND OF THING AT ALL.

Richard says WHAT THIS DOES DO IS IT
HUMANIZES IT GREATLY.

Tony says WELL, THAT'S WHAT I TRY
AND MAKE IT DO, YES.
IT MAY MAKE ME SOUND LIKE
SOME LITTLE GUY WHO WAS
A STUDENT AT RADA WHO
FELL IN LOVE WITH A GIRL
WHO WAS IN THE SAME COURSE
AS HE WAS, THAT'S ALL.

Richard says BUT YOU KNOW, IT'S
INTERESTING BECAUSE ONE OF
THE THINGS YOU
SAY JUST SOME GUY,
ALL DURING THE BOOK, YOU
DO KIND OF PAT YOURSELF
ON THE SHOULDER
THE WRONG WAY.
YOU KNOW, YOU'VE CALLED
IT
ALSO IN THE CAST,
YOU'RE ALWAYS
REALLY SAYING,
WELL I REALLY DIDN'T
TRY THAT HARD,
I DIDN'T WORK
THAT HARD.
ARE YOU TRULY THAT
SELF-EFFACING?

Tony says WELL, NO, BUT I
PRETEND TO BE.
LET'S PUT IT
THAT WAY.
[laughing]
NO, I'M NOT REALLY.
I THINK IT'S A WAY OF
BRINGING ATTENTION
TO MYSELF WHICH, AS AN
ACTOR, ONE SHOULD DO.

Richard says IS IT LIKE MY
MOTHER USED TO SAY,
OH THIS PIE ISN'T
VERY GOOD TONIGHT.
SO THAT WE WOULD ALL SAY,
IT'S A WONDERFUL PIE!

Tony says ABSOLUTELY.
IT'S ALMOST EXACTLY THE
SAME THING, I'M CERTAIN.
NO, A LOT OF PEOPLE
HAVE SAID THAT.
THEY'VE SAID, YOU SEEM TO
BE A VERY MODEST PERSON.
I'M NOT THE
LEAST BIT MODEST.
BUT I PLAY AT
BEING MODEST.
RIGHT.
ESPECIALLY IN THE BOOK,
I DO THAT QUITE A LOT.
ALSO IN THE CAST
YOU SEE.

Richard says YES.

Tony says WHY IT CAN BE
TAKEN THAT WAY,
IT'S THE OTHER WAY
AS WELL, YOU KNOW.
IT'S ALSO IN THE CAST,
NOT ONLY ABOUT ME.

Richard says ALL THE OTHERS WHO
ARE IN YOUR CAST.

Tony says WITH ALL THE OTHER
PEOPLE WHO WERE IN
MY CAST AS WELL.
SO IT, YES.

Richard says I SEE, SO
THAT GOES BOTH WAYS.

Tony says IT CUTS BOTH
WAYS, YES.

Richard says WHAT IS AMAZING TOO, IS
YOU KIND OF HAD A GREAT
CROSS SECTION OF A LOT
OF WHAT WE THINK OF
AS THE WONDERFUL, FORMATIVE,
BRITISH EXPERIENCES.
YOU KNOW, THE GREAT SCHOOL
TRAINING EDUCATION AT RADA
AND THEN WORKING IN THE
YOUNG VIC AND THEN WORKING
IN THE MAJOR COMPANY
AT THE OLD VIC
AND DOING A FAIR BIT
OF INTERESTING REP.
I MEAN, I WAS CHARMED
TO HEAR ABOUT THE ONE
PARTICULAR TRAIN STATION
WHERE EVERYBODY
COULD MEET EVERYBODY
ON SUNDAY.

Tony says OH, IT'S FAMOUS CREW.

Richard says CREW!

Tony says OH, IT'S VERY FAMOUS, VERY
FAMOUS THEATRICAL STATION
IN BRITAIN.
WHETHER IT STILL
IS, I DON'T KNOW.
IT COULD BE BUT I SUPPOSE
A LOT OF PEOPLE TRAVEL
BY CAR NOWADAYS AND WE
WERE BEGINNING TO
IN THE VERY LAST DAYS I
WAS TOURING IN BRITAIN.
BUT IN THE OLD DAYS,
YOU GO BY TRAIN
AND YOU GO IN THE SAME
TRAIN AS THE SET.

Richard says RIGHT, ON SUNDAYS.

Tony says ON SUNDAY.
ON SUNDAY, YES, THE
SET WOULD BE PACKED IN
SATURDAY NIGHT AND YOU
TAKE OFF ON SUNDAY.

Richard says AND YOU SAY,
WHAT IS IT?
ONE MAN, THE
LEGEND HAD IT,
ENCOUNTERED ALL OF HIS
THREE WIVES, IS IT?

Tony says YES.
[laughing]
IT'S A SILLY STORY.
I DON'T BELIEVE
IT FOR A BIT, BUT.
[laughing]
I FORGET HOW IT GOES
SOMEWHAT BUT IT GOES,
HE WAS ACCOMPANIED
BY HIS THIRD WIFE
AND MET HIS FIRST
WIFE ON PLATFORM FIVE
AND HIS SECOND WIFE,
OR SOMETHING,
ON THE OTHER PLATFORM,
SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

Richard says AND YOU KNOW, YOU'RE
AFFECTIONATELY HUMOROUS
ABOUT THE DIGS, THE PLACES
THE ACTORS HAD TO STAY
AND THINGS LIKE THAT.
BUT OVERALL, REMOVED FROM
ALL THE FOND MEMORIES,
WAS THAT TOURING SITUATION
CONDUCIVE TO GOOD THEATRE?

Tony says IN THE LONG RUN, YES.
IN THE LONG RUN,
IT WAS.

Richard says HOW COME?

Tony says BECAUSE ONE'S LIFE WAS
COMPOSED OF TRAVELLING,
GETTING LAUNDRY
DONE, BUYING FOOD,
FINDING SOMEWHERE
TO LIVE AND OH THEN,
PUTTING ON A PLAY.
THE PLAY WASN'T THE THING
THAT YOU ALWAYS TALKED ABOUT.

Richard says RIGHT.

Tony says AND I THINK THAT BECOMES
AN IMPORTANT PART
OF THIS BUSINESS.
I THINK, APART FROM
SPECIAL OCCASIONS
LIKE WHEN YOU WOULD TALK
TO PEOPLE ABOUT IT
AND THIS KIND OF THING;
WE'RE INCLINED TO OVERDO
OUR IMPORTANCE TALK
ABOUT THEATRE.
AND ABOUT ART IN
GENERAL, I THINK.
ART IS SOMETHING THAT,
I THINK, IS DONE.
RATHER THAN
TALKED ABOUT.
DOES THAT MAKE
SENSE TO YOU?

Richard says ABSOLUTELY.
I'M THINKING
ABOUT IT.

Tony says I THINK ONE HAS TO SORT OF
TALK ABOUT IT AND ALL THAT
KIND OF THING, BUT I
FIND THAT ONE CAN GET
CLEVER TALK ABOUT IT.
THAT REALLY DESTROYS
WHAT REALLY GOES ON
ABOUT PUTTING ON
A GOOD PLAY.
ABOUT PUTTING ON A
PERFORMANCE THAT IS
GOING TO MEAN SOMETHING
TO THE PUBLIC.

Richard says AND IS IT DELIBERATE
THEN THAT IN THE BOOK,
ALL OF THE GREAT
ROLES YOU'VE PLAYED;
FALSTAFF AND GALILEO
AND CAPTAIN SHALLOW
AND EVERYONE.
YOU TELL US WHAT IT WAS
LIKE TO BE IN THOSE
PRODUCTIONS BUT WE NEVER
GO IN DETAIL ABOUT
HOW YOU GOT INTO
FALSTAFF OR DID THAT,
AND THAT'S A
CHOICE ISN'T IT?

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Tony Van Bridge. Actor."

Tony says WELL, IT IS A CHOICE
BECAUSE I DON'T THINK
I WOULD BE AT ALL HONEST
IF I TRIED TO WRITE
A WHOLE CHAPTER ON
DISCOVERING FALSTAFF,
OR DISCOVERING
GALILEO, YOU KNOW.
WHAT YOU DISCOVER IN
REHEARSAL IS HOW
TO GET FROM THAT POINT
TO THIS POINT
IN A CONVINCING THEATRICAL
MANNER.
WHETHER THE THEATRICALITY
HAS THE REALISM
YOU WANT UP FRONT
IN IT OR NOT.
ALL THE TECHNICAL THINGS
THAT MAKE A PERFORMANCE,
I THINK, HAVE TO BE IN
THE MIND AND I JUST
DON'T LIKE TO HEAR THE
KIND OF THING WHEN,
WHEN YOU FIND PEOPLE
TALKING AT DEPTH
ABOUT HOW I HAD
TO FEEL INSIDE.
BEFORE I PLAYED, I FEEL
INSIDE DIFFERENTLY
EVERY TIME I DO A PLAY.
EVERY TIME I WALK ON THE
STAGE IT'S DIFFERENT,
BECAUSE IT'S
DIFFERENT HOUSES,
DIFFERENCE AUDIENCES,
DIFFERENT PEOPLE,
THINGS THAT MAKE
A DIFFERENCE.

Richard says BUT IF THE
PERFORMANCE REMAINS
OF A CERTAIN GOOD
CONSISTENCY AND OF AN ART.

Tony says YES.

Richard says IS THAT THE
PLAYWRIGHT AS WELL?

Tony says YEAH, I THINK SO,
YES, I THINK SO.

Richard says I THINK BACK WHEN
I WAS A TEENAGER
I WENT TO SEE YOUR FALSTAFF
AND I STILL REMEMBER -
IT'S FUNNY, I DON'T REMEMBER
THE FUNNIEST SCENES
AS VIVIDLY AS I DO THE
MELANCHOLY ONES.

Tony says OH, YEAH.

Richard says YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU'RE
SITTING THERE WITH
SHALLOW AND SILENCE
AND THE ORCHARD.
AND YOU REALIZE TIME
IS KIND OF PASSING BY.

Tony says YES, YES.

Richard says AND, I MEAN, I ALWAYS
THOUGHT IF I GOT TO SIT DOWN
AND TALK TO YOU ABOUT
IT, I WAS GOING TO SAY,
WHERE DID THAT
ALL COME FROM?
AND I HAVE THE FEELING
YOU'D SAY TO BE NOW,
IT CAME FROM WILLIAM
SHAKESPEARE,
YOU SILLY TWIT.

Tony says YOU'RE ALMOST
EXACTLY RIGHT.
YOU'RE ALMOST
EXACTLY RIGHT.
YOU FIND A WAY OF MAKING
THE LINES MEAN SOMETHING
AND IT'S NOT A MATTER OF
GOING INSIDE FOR SOME DEEP,
PSYCHOLOGICAL
FEELING IN YOURSELF.
BUT, WHAT DOES
THIS GUY FEEL LIKE?
MAYBE IT WAS LIKE THIS
AND THEN HOW
DO I EXPRESS THAT?
WHAT IF I DO
IT THIS WAY?
OR IF I DO IT THAT
WAY, YOU KNOW.
AND THAT'S WHAT
YOU REHEARSE FOR.

Richard says RIGHT.

Tony says YOU EXPERIMENT WITH
ALL SORTS OF THINGS.
AND THE KIND OF, PATHOS
SIDE OF IT THAT YOU
MENTIONED OF FALSTAFF,
IS VERY IMPORTANT.
BUT, THAT'S ALSO A KIND
OF ACTING TRICK TO ME.

Richard says RIGHT.

Tony says NOW, I
KNOW I SOUND A BIT STRANGE
ABOUT THIS, I KNOW.
NO, NO.
BUT I'M DOING IT
DELIBERATELY.

Richard says WHAT DO YOU MEAN
BY AN ACTING TRICK?

Tony says WELL, I DON'T HAVE TO
FEEL THAT PATHOS MYSELF.

Richard says RIGHT.

Tony says BUT I HAVE TO BE ABLE
TO SAY TO MYSELF, NOW,
IF I PLAY IT
LIKE THIS,
THIS IS GOING TO
MAKE THEM CRY.
OR IF I PLAY THAT
LINE LIKE THAT,
THAT WILL MAKE THEM SMILE,
OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

Richard says RIGHT.

Tony says IT'S THE SORT
OF THING THAT,
I'M NOT AS KEEN ON
THESE DAYS BECAUSE I,
BECAUSE A LOT OF GOOD
ACTORS ABOUT WHO AREN'T
ALLOWING THEMSELVES TO
COME OUT OF THAT, SOMEHOW.
RIGHT.

Richard says THAT CAN BE A TRAP
TOO, CAN'T IT?

Tony says OH, IT
CAN BE AN AWFUL TRAP, YES.
AN AWFUL TRAP.

Richard says NOW, AWFUL TRAPS, YOU FELT
LIKE YOU WERE SORT OF
IN A TRAP AT THE OLD VIC IN
ENGLAND FOR A WHILE.
YOU SAID YOUR
CAREER WAS MOVING,
I THINK YOU PUT IT,
NOT AS QUICKLY
AS I WOULD'VE LIKED.

Tony says THAT'S RIGHT.

Richard says AND INSTEAD OF MAYBE
TRYING TO GO TO ANOTHER
COMPANY OR ANOTHER THING,
YOU CAME TO CANADA.

Tony says YES, I CAN'T REALLY
REMEMBER HOW THAT HAPPENED.
WELL, I CAN, BUT IT
CERTAINLY FROM
THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE
WORK, YOU KNOW,
I'D BEEN IN THE ARMY AND I'D
COME BACK AND AFTER THAT,
WE WANTED TO
GET ON WITH THINGS.

Richard says RIGHT.

Tony says WE HAD TO GET THINGS
MOVING AGAIN.

Richard says I GUESS IT WAS THAT
URGENCY THAT YOU HAD LOST
SOME YEARS IN THE WAR.

Tony says IT WAS INDEED BECAUSE
ALL MY TWENTIES WENT
DURING THE WAR, YOU SEE.
I WENT IN THE ARMY
WHEN I WAS 23
AND I WAS PRACTICALLY
30 WHEN I CAME OUT.
SO, THAT, YOU KNOW, THAT'S
THE WHOLE OF ONE'S 20'S
WHICH ARE A VERY,
VERY IMPORTANT PART
OF A YOUNG LIFE.

Richard says A LIFE IN THE
THEATRE, ESPECIALLY.

Tony says OH, ABSOLUTELY.
SO YOU TRY AND SORT OF
FIGHT TO GET THAT BACK.
BUT COMING TO CANADA,
THIS ISN'T IN THE BOOK,
BUT MAYBE IT SHOULD BE,
IT'S VERY INTERESTING.
NOW, I CAME TO CANADA
QUITE BY ACCIDENT.
WE WERE, FIRST OF ALL,
GOING TO AUSTRALIA.
AND NOW, WE'RE TAKING A
FAMILY AND ALL THIS
AND I'M AN ONLY CHILD AND
MY PARENTS ARE GETTING OLD
AND THE DISCUSSION WENT
FROM ONE THING TO ANOTHER,
ONE WAY BACKWARDS AND
FORWARDS 'TIL EVENTUALLY,
WE HAD SOME HITCH WITH
THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE
WHO DIDN'T WANT US JUST
YET OR SOMETHING.
SO, WE CHANGED.
[laughing]
AND APPLIED TO
COME TO CANADA.

Richard says SO, BECAUSE THE
AUSTRALIANS DIDN'T
WANT YOU, WE GOT YOU.

Tony says YES, EXACTLY.

Richard says IT WASN'T MORAL GROUNDS
OR ANYTHING, WAS IT?

Tony says NO, NO, NO.
OH, NO, NO, NO.
IT'S AN ACCIDENT
ENTIRELY AT THE TIME.
WELL, PARTLY
AN ACCIDENT.
BUT IT'S THE RIGHT KIND
OF ACCIDENT TOO BECAUSE
I THINK I WOULD'VE BEEN VERY
UNHAPPY THAT FAR AWAY
FROM MY BASE.

Richard says ABSOLUTELY.
BUT IN THE BACK OF
YOUR HEAD AT THE TIME,
TYRONE GUTHRIE WHOM
YOU HAD WORKED WITH.

Tony says YES.

Richard says AND MICHAEL LANGHAM, I
BELIEVE, YOU WORKED WITH.

Tony says THAT'S RIGHT, YES.

Richard says WERE HERE AT THE
STRATFORD FESTIVAL.
WERE YOU SUBCONSCIOUSLY
THINKING I CAN GO
WORK WITH THOSE CHAPS?

Tony says I CAN'T REMEMBER NOW.
PROBABLY.
PROBABLY.
SEE I KNEW DOUGLASS
CAMPBELL WAS HERE TOO,
YOU KNOW.

Richard says RIGHT.

Tony says AND I HAD WORKED WITH.
BUT I DO REMEMBER BEING
QUITE CONVINCED THAT VERY,
PROBABLY IN ORDER TO
KEEP FAMILY GOING,
I WOULD HAVE TO FIND
SOME OTHER WAY
OF MAKING A LIVING.
SO THAT WAS
CERTAINLY IN MY MIND
WHEN I CAME TO CANADA.

Richard says ONE OF THE THINGS YOU
MENTIONED ABOUT HAVING TO
KEEP THE FAMILY GOING THAT
APPEARS IN THE BOOK IN,
AGAIN, IN A GOOD
PERSONAL WAY,
IS THE CONSTANT
REINVENTING THAT YOU
AND YOUR WIFE BETTY
HAD TO DO TO DO
THE ECONOMICS OF EVERYTHING.

Tony says OH, ABSOLUTELY.

Richard says IT WAS LIKE HOW DO WE, WE
HAVE TO SELL THIS HOUSE
AND MOVE TO THIS ONE AND
MAYBE I CAN VOLUNTEER
TO DO THE MILKING HERE.

Tony says SHE WAS
EXTRAORDINARY.

[laughing]

Richard says BUT, AGAIN, PEOPLE
SEE, OH YES,
WORKING IN THE CLASSICAL
COMPANIES YOU OH,
MUST'VE HAD A
LOT OF MONEY,
MUST'VE BEEN
COMFORTABLE.

Tony says YES, YES, YES.
OH MY GOODNESS, NO.

Richard says WAS THE WOLF NEAR
THE DOOR A LOT OF THE TIME?

Tony says YES, VERY TOUGH.
THE EARLY DAYS WERE VERY
TOUGH, INDEED, VERY TOUGH.
IT WAS QUITE A
LOT OF THE DAYS,
NOT ONLY THE
EARLY DAYS.
IT DOESN'T STOP.

Richard says LIKE INTO THE 60'S,
1960'S AND ALL.

Tony says OH YES, YES.

Richard says BUT WHAT MADE YOU
KEEP SLUGGING ON?

Tony says I DON'T KNOW.
THERE CAME A POINT WHERE
IT SEEMED I MADE A CERTAIN
IMPRESSION ON CERTAIN
PEOPLE IN THE THEATRE
THAT MIGHT LEAD TO SOMETHING
EVEN BETTER AND I JUST KEPT...
THERE WAS JUST ENOUGH OF
IT TO KEEP ME SAILING ALONG
IN THE EARLY DAYS
UNTIL I REALIZED THAT,
YOU KNOW, THAT I COULDN'T
DO ANYTHING ELSE ANYWAY,
IF I WANTED TO.

Richard says RIGHT.

Tony says I MEAN, I COULDN'T.
IF YOU PUT ME BEHIND A
DESK AND SAID DO THAT
AND DO THESE FIGURES AND
HAVE THEM READY
BY FIVE O'CLOCK.
I'D JUST FAINT
DEAD AWAY.

[laughing]

Richard says BUT YOU ALSO SAY ABOUT
YOURSELF IN THE BOOK,
YOU SAY I'M A VERY ENGLISH
KIND OF ROMANTIC THAT
I WANT THINGS DONE MY WAY
AND I GET VERY IMPATIENT
WHEN THEY DON'T HAPPEN
THAT WAY QUICKLY.
YOU KNOW, YOU THINK IT'S
GOING TO GO YOUR WAY.

Tony says YES, YEAH IT'S TRUE.

Richard says AND THE WORLD
WASN'T GOING EXACTLY
THE WAY YOU WANTED.

Tony says NO.

Richard says WHEN YOU SAT THERE
IN ENGLAND AND I REMEMBER
IN THOSE POST WAR YEARS,
REMEMBER THE VIC COMPANY
WITH THEIR GREAT
SUCCESSES OF OLIVIER AND
Richardson AND EVERYTHING.

Tony says YES.

Richard says AND EVERYTHING GOING ON.
IS THAT WHAT
YOU ASPIRED TO?
DID YOU SEE YOURSELF
BEING LIKE, YOU KNOW,
HAMLET OR ANYTHING?

Tony says NO.
NO.
NO.
I DIDN'T.
I'M REFERRED
TO SOMETIMES AS THAT
VETERAN SHAKESPEAREAN
ACTOR, YOU KNOW, WHICH I -
[laughing]
ALWAYS FIND FUNNY.
BECAUSE IT'S NOT TRUE.
I'M NOT REALLY A
SHAKESPEAREAN ACTOR.
I THINK THAT MIGHT BE WHY
I'VE HAD A CERTAIN
AMOUNT OF SUCCESS WITH
IT IN RECENT YEARS.
I DID SHAKESPEARE BECAUSE
IT'S WHERE THE JOBS WERE.

Richard says RIGHT.

Tony says AND I LEARNED HOW TO DO IT
BY BEING IN THAT POSITION.
BUT I CAN'T SAY THAT I
SORT OF SAT DOWN AND SAID
I'VE GOT TO BE THE
GREAT HAMLET OR THE
GREAT LEAR OF
ALL TIME.
I DON'T THINK
I EVER DID.
THE BIG PARTS HAPPENED
BY BECAUSE SOMEBODY,
THEY OFFERED
THEM TO ME.
THE FALSTAFF, WHICH IS
THE GREATEST PART,
THE GREATEST ROLE, I
THINK, I'VE EVER PLAYED.
IT HAS TO STAND AT THE
PEAK FOR SOMEBODY
WHO CAN BE CALLED A
CHARACTER ACTOR.
WAS OFFERED TO ME IN
PASSING IN THE CORRIDOR
OF THE MAIN THEATRE
IN STRATFORD.
I WAS COMING UP TO GO TO
LUNCH AND MICHAEL LANGHAM
WAS COMING OUT OF AN
OFFICE AND HE SAID, TONY,
WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY
FALSTAFF NEXT YEAR?
IT'D BE THE TWO PARTS
AND YOU WOULDN'T
HAVE TO DO
ANYTHING ELSE.
THAT SOUND ALL RIGHT?
WANT TO HAVE A SHOT?
I SAID, YES,
YES OF COURSE.
IT WENT VERY QUICKLY
AND THAT WAS IT.

Richard says BUT YOU DO SAY
IN YOUR BOOK,
AFTER THAT CONVERSATION
YOU STARTED
TO THINK TO YOURSELF,
MAYBE I'LL BE A STAR NOW.

Tony says OH WELL YEAH, THAT
ALWAYS HAPPENS.

Richard says RIGHT.

Tony says EVERY TIME YOU GET, EVERY
TIME YOU DO A PLAY,
IT WAS THE SAME IN THE
YOUNG VIC WHEN I GOT
THE NOAH, AGAIN
BY ACCIDENT.
BECAUSE I WAS ENGAGED
TO PLAY SMALL PARTS -

Richard says RIGHT.

Tony says IN THE NOAH THING.
ONE OF THE ANIMALS;
THE ELEPHANT.

Richard says IN FACT, I DESCRIBED
MAKING THE ELEPHANT NOISE.
AND
I'M NOT GOING TO
REPEAT IT FOR YOU.

Richard says NO, NO.

[laughing]

Richard says OUR MICS
ARE TOO SENSITIVE.

[laughing]

Tony says AND YOU KNOW,
THAT'S ALL RIGHT,
I WAS GOING
TO DO THAT.
AND THEN THE FELLOW WHO
WAS PLAYING NOAH WAS SICK.
AND LEFT THE COMPANY AND
I'D BEEN FILLING IN
FOR HIM AT REHEARSAL
AND THEY SAID TO ME
ONE DAY, HE SAID, YOU
WILL PLAY NOAH,
ALL RIGHT?
I SAID, FINE, I SAID.
SO, THEN AGAIN YOU
GET, OH, IT'S STARTED,
YOU KNOW.

Richard says RIGHT.

Tony says YOU KNOW, THE GREAT
FIGURES, IT'S STILL,
IT'S JUDY GARLAND AND
MICKEY ROONEY IN THE BARN.
[laughing]
WE'RE GOING TO MAKE
THE BIG SUCCESS.
IT'S ALWAYS A FANTASY
IN THE BACK
OF EVERY ACTOR'S MIND.

Richard says HAS YOUR FANTASY,
YOUR STAR FANTASY,
CRYSTALLIZED EVER?
WHAT WAS IT?
WAS IT YOU BEING
GRACIOUS AT THE OSCARS?
[laughing]
OR YOU BEING
SIR ANTHONY?

Tony says NO.
I DON'T KNOW, REALLY.
I MEAN, THINGS ARE
CRYSTALLIZED HERE TO
A LARGE EXTENT BECAUSE
IMAGINE IT WAS MY
80TH BIRTHDAY A LITTLE
WHILE AGO AND THE THEATRE
PUT A GREAT THING ON.
AND IT WAS QUITE
EXTRAORDINARY TO SEE
ALL THESE PEOPLE
MAKING A FUSS.
YOU KNOW, AROUND ME AND
ALL THAT AND SO THAT
IN A SENSE, THAT BECAME ONE OF
THOSE POINTS IN WHICH
YOU SAID, OH, WELL I SUPPOSE
I MUST'VE DONE SOMETHING
RIGHT SOMETIME.

Richard says I HAVE DONE IT.

Tony says YES, OR SOMETHING.
BUT AGAIN, IT'S A ROMANTIC
THING THAT IS ALWAYS THERE.

Richard says AND YOU KNOW, YOU
ACTED ON IT A BIT.
AFTER THE FALSTAFF, YOU
IMAGINE THAT YOU TALK
ABOUT HOW THAT BROUGHT YOU
SOME SUCCESS AND YOU HIT
YOUR STRING OF GALILEO'S.
YOU PLAYED GALILEO.

Tony says YES, THAT'S RIGHT.

Richard says IN A QUITE A
LOT OF PLACES.

Tony says YES.

Richard says AND THEN YOU ACTUALLY WENT
TO HOLLYWOOD AND TRIED
TO CRACK THAT DREAM MILL
OUT THERE AND YOU TALK,
RATHER AMUSINGLY, AT FIRST,
ABOUT SITTING THERE
AND GETTING THE PILOTS.
AND YOU WERE ACTUALLY
NOT DOING BADLY.

Tony says NO, NOT BAD, REALLY.

Richard says BUT THEN YOU SAY, ONE DAY
YOU SAT THERE OPPOSITE
A MAN AND HE SAID TO YOU,
SO WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
AND THIS BURNING MONOLOG,
DO YOU REMEMBER THAT
OCCURS IN YOUR HEAD?

Tony says YES, IT WAS SOME DIRECTOR
I HAD BEEN SENT TO SEE
AND HE COULDN'T
CARE LESS.
HE WAS JUST
PASSING THE TIME,
HE HARDLY LOOKED
AT ME REALLY.
AND DID THAT FAMOUS LINE,
TELL ME WHAT YOU'VE DONE.

Richard says YEAH.

Tony says AND I SUDDENLY
FELT, NO.
I'VE DONE THAT SO MANY
TIMES TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE,
SOME OF WHOM,
SHOULD'VE KNOWN
AND SHOULDN'T
HAVE ASKED.
BUT, YOU KNOW, I HAD TO
SAY, WELL, YOU KNOW,
I APPRECIATE THE FACT
THAT HE WOULDN'T KNOW,
HE WAS MAKING MOVIES
ON THE WEST COAST.
OR THE COAST
AS THEY RATHER.

Richard says THE COAST, YES.

Tony says WILL INSIST ON CALLING IT.
WHEREAS ALL MY WORK ON
THIS CONTINENT
HAD BEEN WITH THE OTHER
COAST, REALLY, VIRTUALLY.
OR IN CANADA.
AND SO HE'D HAVE NO REASON
TO KNOW ANY OF MY WORK.
BUT, I GOT, CERTAINLY
SICK OF THE WHOLE IDEA
OF HAVING TO CONSTANTLY
EXPLAIN WHO I WAS.
I HAD DONE IT ENOUGH
BECAUSE I HAD TO
DO IT WHEN YOU FIRST
START SEVERAL TIMES
IN BRITAIN
AFTER THE WAR.
WHEN WE CAME BACK
FROM THE WAR.
AND YOU HAD TO
RE-INTRODUCE YOURSELF
TO A LOT OF PEOPLE.
AND THEN AGAIN INTO THE
OLD VIC AND STUFF
LIKE THAT AND THEN I
CAME TO CANADA,
I HAD TO START DOING IT
ALL OVER AGAIN HERE
TO PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T KNOW
ANYTHING ABOUT ME,
WHY SHOULD THEY.
AND THEN I FOUND, I FOUND
MYSELF PLAYING PARTS
THAT I HAD BEEN OFFERED
IN THE STATES,
THE GALILEO BEING
ONE OF THEM.
AND A COUPLE OF TIMES, I
THINK TWO OF MY GALILEO'S
WERE IN THE STATES.
THE FIRST WAS IN,
WHERE THE HELL WAS IT?

Richard says BOSTON.

Tony says BOSTON, THAT'S RIGHT.

Richard says AND THEN
HOUSTON LATER, RIGHT?

Tony says AND THEN IN HOUSTON WAS
THE LATER ONE, YOU SEE.
AND I WAS ASKED TO
DO WORK IN NEW YORK,
THEY WERE PLAIN OFFERS
FROM PEOPLE WHO HAD SEEN ME
AT STRATFORD.
SO THAT IT WORKED
IN THAT WAY.
SO, SUDDENLY YOU FIND A
GUY OVER THERE WHO WANTS
YOU TO REPEAT ALL THAT AND
YOU SAY, NO, I'M SORRY,
I DON'T WANT TO DO THAT.

Richard says AND THE IRONY IS,
YOU TALK ABOUT IT,
AT THE SAME TIME THAT
YOU WERE FEELING
THIS LACK OF
APPRECIATION.

Tony says YES.

Richard says PAXTON WHITEHEAD, WHO
WAS AT THAT POINT
WAS RUNNING THE
SHAW FESTIVAL.

Tony says THAT'S RIGHT.

Richard says WAS ON THE HONKER TO
YOU, CONSTANTLY GOING
WE NEED YOU TO PLAY
MOREL IN CANADA.

Tony says YES.
IT WAS A TERRIBLE
MOMENT REALLY BECAUSE...

Richard says AND
CANADA WON OUT.

Tony says YES.

Richard says AND YOU
CAME BACK.

Tony says YEAH, IT WAS ONE OF
THOSE THINGS AGAIN,
BECAUSE I WAS DOWN TO
PLAY IN A SERIES,
WE HAD MADE THE PILOT OF
THE SERIES AND I WAS,
IT WAS QUITE A GOOD
PART, IT WAS 10 OUT
OF 13 CONTRACTS
WHICH IS, YOU KNOW,
YOU MAKE 13 AND I
MAKE 10 OF THE 13.

Richard says RIGHT.

Tony says AND CONTRACTED
TO DO SO.
HAD THE THING BEEN A
SUCCESS, WHO KNOWS.
I MEAN, I COULD'VE BEEN
LIKE BILL CHRISTOPHER,
IF YOU LIKE.

Richard says RIGHT.

Tony says WHO I FIRST MET IN
WINNIPEG WHEN HE CAME AND
PLAYED WILLIE MOSSOP
IN HOBSON'S CHOICE.

Richard says AND THEN HE WENT ON
TO DO MASH, OF COURSE.

Tony says AND THEN HE WENT BACK UP
AND GOT THAT PART IN MASH.
SO YOU THINK OF THINGS
LIKE THAT, YOU SEE.
OH, MAYBE I'LL DO THAT.
AND THEN PAXTON CALLED IN
THE MIDDLE OF THAT
AND THAT OTHER THING
WAS HANGING ON.
AND I SAID TO THE
LADY AT THE STUDIO,
I EXPLAINED IT TO HER AND
SHE LOOKED VERY GRIM AND
SAID, YOU KNOW, IF IT GOES
AND YOU'RE NOT AVAILABLE,
YOU'VE HAD IT.
YOU KNOW.
[laughing]
SO I WAS REALLY PUTTING
MYSELF IN A BAD WAY
FROM HOLLYWOOD'S
POINT OF VIEW.
BUT, THE THING DIDN'T
GO SO IT WAS ALL RIGHT.
BY WHICH TIME,
INCIDENTALLY,
I WAS BACK IN CANADA.

Richard says RIGHT.

Tony says BECAUSE I DID TAKE
THE CHANCE OF MESSING
EVERYTHING UP IN MY
HOLLYWOOD CAREER.

Richard says AND YOU CAME
BACK AND AGAIN,
A LOT OF HAPPY WORK.
INTERIM ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
FOR A YEAR SUBBING
FOR PAXTON, DIRECTING.
YOU GET INTO,
FROM MY MIND,
THE MOST MOVING PART OF
THE BOOK WHEN YOU
TALK ABOUT THE DEATH OF
YOUR WIFE, BETTY.
AND MENTION HOW YOU WERE
GOING BACK AND FORTH
TO REHEARSALS AT THE TIME
AND YOU'RE RATHER HARD
ON YOURSELF RIGHT THERE.
WHEN YOU SAY, PERHAPS I
MADE THE WRONG CHOICE
AND I COULDN'T FACE THE
THEATRE FOR A WHILE.

Tony says WELL, I COULDN'T,
I COULDN'T.
I DIDN'T FEEL LIKE DOING
ANYTHING ELSE
IN THEATRE BECAUSE
THOSE DAYS WERE...
THEY WERE DIFFICULT
INDEED BECAUSE...
YOU KNOW, YOU WERE TORN
BETWEEN THE FACT THAT
THE TRADITION THAT YOU
DON'T MISS REHEARSALS,
THAT IF YOU'VE
GOT A PLAY TO DO,
YOU DO THE PLAY
NO MATTER WHAT
AND ALL THAT KIND
OF THING.
AND ALL THE WHILE
THAT WAS HAPPENING,
BETTY WAS DYING AND WHEN
SHE DIED IN HOSPITAL
IN NIAGARA FALLS,
I WASN'T THERE.
I WAS HERE DOING A
PREVIEW OF A PLAY.
AND I SAW THAT IN A
WAY, I STILL SEE IT
THE SAME WAY, REALLY.
I STILL SAY TO MYSELF, I
KNOW ALL THIS STUFF
ABOUT THE PLAY IS THE
THING, YOU KNOW.
AND THE GREAT SENSE OF
HONOUR WE HAVE ABOUT IT ALL
AND I HAVE TO SAY
TO MYSELF THAT OKAY,
UP TO A POINT
THAT'S FINE.
BUT THERE IS A POINT
WHERE THERE'S A CUT-OFF
AS TO ONE'S
RESPONSIBILITIES AND YOU
HAVE TO TAKE A DIFFERENT
LINE SOMEHOW AND I DIDN'T
DO IT ON THAT OCCASION.
AND I SHALL
LIVE WITH THAT.
AND I MEAN, PEOPLE SAY
OH YOU SHOULDN'T WORRY.
WELL, IT'S ALL
VERY WELL BUT
I SHALL LIVE WITH
THAT, I THINK.
FOR HOWEVER I'VE GOT
TO LIVE ANYWAY NOW.
[laughing]

Richard says THERE'S A WONDERFUL STORY
ABOUT HOW ON YOUR 75TH BIRTHDAY,
YOU WEREN'T IN THE REP
AT THAT POINT BECAUSE
THEY DELAYED IT
BECAUSE OF YOUR HEALTH.

Tony says YES.

Richard says SO, THEY CREATED A ROLE
IN CONCERT LAW SO
THAT YOU COULD STAY
THERE AND BE ON STAGE.
AND I THOUGHT NOW THIS IS
TRULY WHAT IS MEANT
BY HAVING A LIFE
IN THE THEATRE.

Tony says YES, THAT WAS
WONDERFUL.
[laughing]

Richard says AND THEN THEY
CAME AROUND AND OF COURSE
YOUR 80TH BIRTHDAY
THIS PAST SUMMER,
HUGE CELEBRATION
HERE AT SHAW.
THERE'S A PASSAGE IN YOUR
OWN BOOK THAT I WANTED TO
READ TO YOU TO END.
BECAUSE THIS IS THE
THOUGHTS THAT KEEP
COMING BACK TO ME.
IT'S TALKING ABOUT THE
NIGHT THAT LILLIAN DRAKE,
THE STAR OF THE MUSICAL
WHO WAS ACTING LATER
IN HER CAREER WITH YOU,
DID A PERFORMANCE.
AND YOU SAY, "WE THEATRE
PEOPLE ARE SIMPLE IN OUR
SENTIMENT AND WE CLING
TO A KIND
OF FAIRY TALE IMMORTALITY.
ON THAT NIGHT,
LILLIAN CONVINCED US
THAT WE WOULD NEVER DIE.
THAT WE WOULD NOT EVEN
FADE AWAY LIKE OLD SOLDIERS,
BUT THAT ALWAYS,
SOMEWHERE THERE WOULD BE
A THEATRE, AN AUDIENCE
AND A THUNDER
OF HEAVENLY APPLAUSE."

Tony chuckles and says
DID I WRITE THAT?

Richard says YOU DID.
[laughing]

Tony says OH, JOLLY GOOD.

Richard says AND IT'S BEAUTIFUL.
THANK YOU FOR THAT.
AND I HOPE THERE ALWAYS
WILL BE THE THEATRE,
THE AUDIENCE AND THAT
THUNDER OF HEAVENLY APPLAUSE.
TONY VAN BRIDGE,
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Tony says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Richard says FOR DIALOGUE, I'M
Richard OUZOUNIAN.
GOODBYE FOR NOW.

Music plays as the end slate reads "Dialogue."

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 1997, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Tony Van Bridge