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PRESENT LAUGHTER’s Victor Garber on NY Times website

Roundabout’s Present Laughter opens on Broadway tonight at the American Airlines Theatre.

The New York Times
January 20, 2010

Five Questions for Victor Garber
By ERIK PIEPENBURG <http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/author/erik-piepenburg/>
Victor Garber is tired of people telling him how closely he resembles Garry Essendine, the womanizing, petulant, vain, showy-rich actor he plays in the Roundabout Theater Company’s Broadway revival of Noel Coward’s comedy “Present Laughter.”
“The number of people who said ‘It sounded like you talking’ is terrifying,” Mr. Garber said with a laugh.
During a break in rehearsals, Mr. Garber answered a few questions about the show and what it’s like to portray a character that Coward himself played in the original British production in 1942. Following are excerpts from his conversation.
“Present Laughter” was last on Broadway in 1996, with Frank Langella and Allison Janney. What makes this revival different from that production or any others?
There is a poignant aspect to these people and a kind of depth that often is not explored. That’s what we’re trying to do. In no way are we deconstructing, God forbid, but we are making it as human as we can.
Also, I think it’s a very timely play in that it deals with resenting getting older, hitting middle age and the power of friendship.
But how do you keep the play, set in a world of elegance and servants of the late 1930s, relevant for today’s audiences?
I think this is maybe Coward’s best play. If it’s done well it will have relevance. It’s not a question of the social implications or what he was saying about society of the day. It’s the fact that it illuminates the human condition. That’s always relevant.
How does this production bring out what Coward was trying to say about this people?
He was very aware of, and unabashedly so at that time period, about love and marriage. He was as open as he could be in his time. I think it’s a really honest representation of the play.

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