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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  May 4, 2016 12:00am-1:01am PDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin with soccer, as we call it in america, football in europe, and talk about the remarkable rise of the team from liecester. we talk about it with tommy smyth, roger bennett and john miklowait. >> this is a 132 history of liecester football club. they've never come close to winning the trophy. english football is run by money. the common wisdom off the field, bank accounts determine section. >> rose: we turn from football in england to broadway in america. a new play called "the humans." the playwright stephen karam, director joe mantello and tony
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nominated stars reed birney and jane houdyshell. >> i started talking about how it's from the fear-based place. but ultimately the plan ends up being the way this particular family vanquishes their fears or comes together through this imperfect but really deep love. you sort of see the way that they have this astonishing resilience. >> rose: we conclude with jim steyer. his life-long effort has been about children's education. we talk about common sense media and all the efforts he makes to make childhood education more available. >> politicians love to kiss babies and say all the platitudes about how they care about children and then at the end of the day they cut the budget for early childhood and schools and kids are the poorest americans. truthfully, i kids don't have power. the reasons we built the media platform was to give stuff away for free to parents to they
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would join an organization and advocate for kids. >> rose: football, broadway and children's education, when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the following: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: we begin this evening with sports and one of the biggest upsets in european football history, if not sports in general. underdogs liecester city won tension monday after strong season under coach claudio ranieri.
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they competed against chalsy and manchester united. some of their players even competed in amateur leagues only a few years ago. here to talk about this fairy tail championship is john micklethwait, editor-in-chief of bloomberg news and life long liecester fan. tommy smyth, espn soccer analyst, and roger bennett, and they're all about soccer. john micklethwait just ce to bloomberg a year and a half, two years ago, from london where he was editor of the economist. every year for 20 years he placed a 20-pound bet that liecester would win. every year, they lost! pick up the story. >> to be stric strictly accuraty didn't lose quite every year, when they were in the lower
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divisions, they won a bit that year. but it's fair to say my failure to bet last year was a disaster. >> rose: the one big year and there's no payoff. and the odds are 5,000 to 1. >> a hundred-grand. >> rose: if you put uh 20 pounds down? >> i have two confessions to made i've made repeatedly in the past few days. i used to do it august 11, my birthday, pretty the beginning of the english soccer season. this particular time, once i began to do well, through october, november, maybe i should have gone to bet then when their odds came down to 200, 300 to one. the silly thing is i miscalculated the odds so i thought i lost 10,000 pounds sometime around january. i'm a financial journalist and thought i got it wrong. but i'm so excited about them doing well.
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it's like a lottery ticket in tend. you do it every year and you never imagine you're going to win. >> rose: how big an upset is the season this football team is having? how big is it to go from here to here? >> charlie, this is the medieval ages. we would be writing ballads about this and singing them for centuries. it's a 132 year history of liecester football club, they eve never come close to winning this trophy. english football is run by money. the common wisdom off the field, bank accounts determine success. it's a game of oligarchs. it's high duty for the entrepreneur. the money they have spent compared to the big giant is minuscule, a town in the mid of the country, wichita, cast kansas, is about the equivalent,
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being the birth place of engle bird humper dink and place to have the potato kipp. and the team that comes in the bottom three, they go to single eight, triple eight baseball equivalent, lest the city were in that equivalent, they escaped and never stopped. they were favorites go down this season but defied common wisdom. it was like watching seabiscuit on a pair of cleats win race after race after race. >> when i took that bet, 5,000 to 1, although now it seems absurd, at the time it didn't seem that odd. the premise has always been one by the big clubs in the last 20 years. >> rose: united, chelsea. and with liverpool as the
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ornery one who never won it and then liecester. >> to put it in perspective, the odds on any of us being found alive were 5,000 to 1. >> rose: 5,000 to 1. ight. >> rose: so how did they do it? >> they did it with hard work. they did it with honest endeavor, and they did it with a bunch of guys who wanted to play for a manager who everybody ridiculed when he came in halfway through the season. >> rose: claudio ranieri. yes. and he was known as the tinker man when he was with chelsea. he made that many changes in the week. nobody ever knew what the changes would be. with liecester he couldn't make the changes because he didn't have the depth on the bench so he made 25 changes all year. if somebody had said to me last year that liecester were going to win, i would say tommy smyth has a better chance of riding the winner of the kentucky derby
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this year than liecester had of winning it, they have no chance. >> i'm not going to miss it again. another thing, the spring training, the phillies and the colorado rockies, the odds of them winburg only 500 to one then. liecester was ten times less likely. >> the odds of the u.s. winningg the world cup. >> rose: this is like when the american college kids in hockey beat the russians. it's that big an upset. >> it's game after game after game in. march madness. you have to get lucky, six games hot streak and win it. this is a marathon. i've spoken to liecester players all season and said how are you doing it and they don't have an answer. they talk about incredible team spirit, a chip on the shoulder of a ragtag bunch of journeymen,
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has-beens, all come together to prove -- it's like enthusiasm packed into the body of gan dolph. >> his last job was to be the manager of greece and he got fired after four games when mighty greece lost to the pharaoh islands. >> there was this kind of dirty dozen effect. a bunch of misfits, rejects from other clubs. also true that the big clubs all have bad years. the last thing is there was something at least vaguely scientific. >> rose: i want to hear about this. >> what they did is they bought people unbelievably well. they actually looked at the statistics and they plucked from the second division of french
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football an unusual amount of being able to dribble past people, the skill. kante, the midfield guy, they bought him for two years in a row in france. highest ranking in tackling. nobody looked at him. they bought spee speedy players. the other element of science is they looked at the idea of the counterattack. >> rose: explainkiñ[ki you let the other people basically play with the ball, and when you get it -- i mean, he headed for the 18-yard box quicker than i've ever seen anybody in football. as soon as his -- tommy dockerty would say, my dak ticks, are when you have the ball, you are an attacker. when they have the ball, you are the defender, and that's exactly the way liecester played.
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varty would head for the box and manchester city bought a lad from germany and he cost 83 million, so this lad cost 400,000 pounds and he was the catalyst of the whole team. varney would get himself into a position and then brinkwater. >> this little man with the face of a medieval pikeman six years ago was playing in the equivalent of single a for a team stockbridge park steals. he was earning $43 a week, part-timing, working a plastics factory. everybody else has a lot of problem, a very complicated gentleman. we air brush out all of the details. don't take away our heros, charlie. we have so few nowadays. (laughter) this gentlemen has come through
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with an incredible chip on his shoulder. marez just turned 25, algerian, fantastic dribbler. the big team said too slight, he'll get knocked off the ball. doesn't have the body. this never stopping midfielder with the heart of a dynamo playing in the fifth division of french football a couple of years ago. they scouted better, knew the big teams were complacent. the big teams were, like, big players, big money will bring them in. they pieced this team together. i watched them, they never wanted the ball. they were waiting for siege moment to spring forward. it was like watching ninjas fight sa sam ma rye and -- samui and play with different rules. >> in counterattacking, they have incredibly low possession. all the teams people revere,
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they tend to always have the ball. what liecester did was, no, you have it and we'll attack you. >> everyone knew what lest was going to do but nobody can stop them which ultimately is a hallmark of champions. everybody who also thought they would fade away come november, december, this little team would run out of energy and the miracle, charlie, is they never did. >> and i think one of the things that was really impressive was so many other players from so many other teams said we want lest tore win. the guy who scored the goal last year hazard, he scored the goal that won the champion for chelsea, he scored last night because he said i want lest tore win this championship. >> rose: everybody wants lest tore win. >> charlie, i went to a couple of games because it's hard to get tickets as an away supporter. you hide with the southampton supporters and as normal they
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scream abuse at liecester supporters, but the completely unusual thing is when the game with was over and liecester won both times, the away fans, the southampton and other fans applauded because it's every football player's dream. if you support a small club you think you might win a cup if you're really lucky due to that winning six or seven, but winning the league is ridiculous. >> rose: why did you hang on all those years? >> because i grew up outside liecester and i still get back there. >> rose: that's the beauty i think about football and most of you guys will agree with me. i support the champions two years in a row. they're always going to be my team. i'm never going to switch. they'll tell you in england a guy night heighth have an affair with his next door neighbor but will never go see the other team play. he follows the one team.
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>> rose: i understand that. (laughter) >> you can change your wife or your husband, you can change your underwear but you can never ever change the team tha. >> the matches in the 1990s, tommy was the commentator and me and one other liecester guy, in the times they were shown on pubs on the east side they tended to be with huge clubs like liverpool, and you would be hopelessly -- >> they have been flooded by fowrn journalists. they think $250 million has flowed into that club in the past weeks and winning money and endorsements. >> even the college has had more inquiries about open supposedspots in their classes in the last two days. >> come and stay with me -- (laughter) >> so what's this going to do for socker in america? >> more americans can say the word liecester now than they probably have in the whole human
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history. it is, over the past 10, 15 years, the sport has been on the rise. you always joke soccer is america's sport of the feature as it has been since 1972. the nasl, they boom and bust soccer's history has always been but the tectonic plates of sports have shifted and thanks to the internet you can follow a team like liecester as closely from l.a. as you live from the stadium. baseball grew in the golden age of radio, the n.f.l. in the golden age of television, global soccer is a great internet sport. >> rose: can they do it again next year? >> i'll have to say yes. i think my heart says sorry but my head says -- the other clubs will be back and bigger and have more money. they're already saying if they finish next year in the top ten that would be a great result. >> plus to go in the champions lead next year they go and play with the rest of the champions
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of europe in the top four teams, so they will have a lot of fronts to fight on next year. i guess if they went the right way about it and bought the right players, maybe they can be up in the top four, but, you know, i said it last year, i'm going to say it again at my own risk, i don't think they're going to win it, charlie, but i said that last year, too, didn't i? (laughter) >> rose: it's amazing. all of us love sports for so ny reasons and it is because of a story like this and when a combination of things come together at one point andist like a perfect season. >> this feels like a miracle, charlie, is the honest truth. i have been watching the parting of the red sea or walking on water over the course of 38 weeks. it makes everything in life feel possible. >> rose: thank you. thank you. >> rose: congratulations. come and watch. i will take you, i promise you. >> rose: we'll be right back. stay with us. >> rose: "the humans" is the latest work from playwright
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stephen karam, now playing at the helen hayes theatre. the plays follow the blake middle class pennsylvania family celebrating thanksgiving dinner in lower manhattan. the "new york times" calls the play a piercingly funny, bruisingly sad comedy drama about an american family teetering on the edge of the abyss. "the humans" was a finalist for this year's pulitzer prize for drama, nominated for six tone yea wards including best play and best direction of a play, joining me is playwright stephen karam, director joe mantello and two of its tony-nominated stars reed birney and jane houdyshell. am pleased to have them all here. did i say yr name right? >> you did! >> rose: tell me about this. what did you want to do? >> i wanted to write about the
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things that were keeping me up at night. i started to think about the way we all, all of us cope with our basement-level fears, and the first impulse in terms of story was constructing a family that -- in which each family member was sort of borne out of a big extensional human fear -- like fear of poverty, fear of ill health, fear of failure, criticism, fear of death, and that was sort of the -- >> rose: all the fears most of us are familiar are. >> exactly. the whole point is these are things we all at some point or another are grappling with. >> rose: but you take this one family, and they're going for thanksgiving dinner in man hasn't. >> it's a real-time play. >> rose: straight through for what? >> straight through for 94 minutes. >> rose: yeah. so when you get this guy who is as good a director as anyone
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around -- it's true. >> it is true. >> rose: we all know this. tell me how you approached it. what was it -- you knew you had a family, it's thanksgiving, it's part comedy, tragedy, sad, funny, it's part about who we are as human beings. >> yes. well, i don't think you can have that kind of pressure weighing on you when you walk into work every day. so you cast brilliant actors, you have brilliant designers, you have a brilliant script, and then everybody comes up and shows up every day and, together, as a group, you make this thing. and we were very important in that we were -- very fortunate in the roundabout. we started off broadway. the set is a duplex. we rehearse from day one on the set. so for three weeks, all of us moved into this little chinatown apartment and we got th know the space and each other really well. >> rose: how long before you had your first show? >> it was probably about three
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and a half weeks. it was really quick. >> rose: not much. we had two weeks of rehearsal before tech started. which is crazy. joe asked us to be all off book and know all our lines on the first day. >> rose: oh, i see. and not all of us had done that. but it was a fantastic challenge, and we all were, i think. >> rose: an important point is some people say you have to have some celebrated actors who are celebrities and you decidedly wanted great actors, period, whether they were celebrated or not. >> these guys to me are stars in their own right because i had seen them in so many plays over the years. but, i mean, the gift of, like joe said, just having six brilliant actors. i mean, there is no better starting place, and there is no better -- for a new play, you end up learning so much about what works and what doesn't. >> rose: take me through the process for a writer. >> sure. >> rose: all of a sudden, you are seeing what you have written
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which is in your mind and then you're seeing it with real, live actors who add something to it. there is value added at every step. >> of course. my favorite part is when you know the people who are actually going to be bringing it to life. you get inspired to sort of tailor and make sure that the role fits each one of these impossibly special and unique human beings and you make sure it fits perfectly. i feel the energy that jayne and reed bring as complex, interesting, funny people, it definitely informs -- >> rose: they take on a life of their own. >> of course. that's a gift to a writer. i feel like you actually want those actors who can imbue a role like only they can. that's a gift. >> rose: take me through your characters. married? >> married since probably high school.
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>> rose: yeah. which is a long time ago, and with all the ups and downs, but i think very much a team. one of the things that's fantastic and brilliant about the play is stephen has said it, in our younger daughter's unfurnished chinatown duplex, so we are all fish out of water. there is very little to sit on. nobody's comfortable in the place. so rather than having it be at the family homestead, there is this added discomfort which very much plays into the play. but i think we're a great couple. i think we really, you know, joycjoys and sorrows. >> rose: because you know each other? >> we know each other. the love is deep and enduring. we share a very deep faith in the catholic church and that informs our marriage and how we weather things and we are indeed weathering things that involve
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the relationship, and we're also caring for eric's aging mother who is really living with advanced dementia, and that brings challenges to the relationship. >> she's come with us for thanksgiving. >> and one of our great challenges. and we're also facing extreme financial crisis. the catholicism they share is something that brings them through with a lot of strength and dignity and respect. >> rose: speaking of that, take a look at this scene. here it is. this is the blake family singing the classic irish song to eric's ailing mother. here it is. >> we're waiting for you. you want to start us off? >> no, i always start too high. you yell at me. ♪ oh of all the -- >> that's a terrible key for me! (laughter) ♪ of all the money i had
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♪ i lost it in good company ladies... ♪ and of all the harm that i have dope ♪ have done ♪ ♪ alas was done to none but me ♪ and all i've done for want of wit ♪ ♪ till memory now i can't recall ♪ ♪ lay down your fears and raise your glass ♪ ♪ may peace and joy be with you all ♪ your turn. ♪ may all the friends that er i had, they would be sorry at my going away ♪ i'm a lawyer, rich. (laughter) ♪ and may all the sweethearts that er i had ♪ >> oh... ♪ they would wish i stay
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♪ and if i had money enough to spend and leisure time to sit, there is a maiden in this town who sorely has my heart beguiled ♪ >> yeah, better be me. >> rose: two challenges, one to do it in real time? >> sure. made me realize why a lot of writers don't write realtime plays, especially to do it on two levels, you know, to keep live active and joe's been incredible with that. >> rose: in terms of the set. yeah, there is no blackouts or scene changes. but it does facilitate this idea of exploring the horrors of everyday life, sort of the horrors of these quieter moments, you know, moments that might even occupy the blackouts of other family dramas. >> rose: but are they big moments here, joe, or is this something else? >> there are big moments.
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but it's interesting to hear us all talk about it. we talk about it like it's a very depressing evening in the theater. even it deals with these things, it truly is wildly entertaining. you guys can attest to that fact. so in some ways i'm always kind of just so impressed at how someone so young was able to write such a wise play that is extremely entertaining and yet about what is going on in our world today. >> rose: you have been so wise and insightful -- >> four years ago, because that's when you started, four years ago, right? >> i think to your point about the play being celebratory and funny and joyous, although i started talking about how it's from this fear-based place, but ultimately the plan ends up being the way this particular family i think vanquishes their fears or comes together and through this kind of imperfect
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but really deep love, you know, you sort of see the way that they have this astonishing resilience. >resilience. one of the things we've talked about is it's an accurate tore trail of this is what love looks like. sometimes it's messy. sometimes it's quite vicious, and they exist side by side, and it's -- that's the overriding thing in the play, to me, i think people respond to, when they say that's my family, because it gets at something very, very true. >> rose: i want to continue this but i want to bring scott in. he saw this at what stage? >> before it opened. one of the matinees. walks in, sees the play. >> rose: and says i want to take broadway. >> yes. he called that night. >> rose: he's got 25 tony nominations. >> yes, it's incredible. >> rose: it is incredible, isn't it, to be able to to that?
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>> it's one heard of, truly. in the landscape of broadway now, it's unheard of someone would move a new american play without movie stars to, you know -- it's fantastic. and he never -- >> critical reviews. but he made the commitment before a single person had chimed in. that's a producer. >> rose: it is. but it's also someone who knows his own mind, too, who really understands what's good and has some combination of understanding quality and also understanding what the public will respond to, right? >> yeah, i think he has sort of a keen understanding of that. >> i think we all are in great awe and shock at how good he is at his job. >> rose: but does he change a play at all? he simply assembles you guys and says, do what you're doing. >> he had thoughts, but he didn't put any pressure on me to change a syllable.
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i feel like he embraced the play as it was and just enabled us to do whatever we needed to do to make it better. >> rose: that's what a good producer does. had the characters changed view between the day one and last night? >> the basic character in terms of who i'm playing has not changed very much. >> rose: what changed? does the audience inform you? >> the audience informs us, certainly. but when you he the grace of playing a play over a long period of time and if the play is beautifully written, as the one is, and really well directed, as this one is, you can only get better and better and deeper and deeper into the truth because we started from a very true template to begin with, with the writing and the directorial help and concepts,
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and, so, the only way in which the character has changed for me is i know her better and better. >> rose: but that's pretty big, isn't it? >> yes. my character changed from off broadway to broadway. >> rose: how? well, i think i was a much more sort of affable, catholic irish father and joe has been fantastic at leading me to a man who lives in a house full of women, and i think a lot of those guys go away, they watch the game in the other room, and he's taken a lot of that stuff away, which was absolutely right, so that stuff that felt weird to me off broadway, like i hadn't solved it, now feels solved. >> rose: what do you do after a play has really been established, after it's gotten terrific reviews, after it's going night to night?
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do you check in every couple of weeks? >> well, if you're smart, you hire an incredibly brilliant stage manager which i think we would all agree. you do because that is a person who on a nightly basis steps in for me and for us and keeps it in shape, and billy barns is our stage manager and he's invaluable. >> rose: he's there every moment. >> he was there every day in rehearsal, so he heard the conversations and the decisions, and, so, he will be the gentle eye to remind us that perhaps we've strayed a little bit this way or pick it up or -- >> yeah, he's very perceptive and he also has the gift of knowing how to speak to actors in a way that is nurturing and that's nice to have that kind of presence, watching over us. we feel safe. >> rose: and the safer you feel, the more you can let go.
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>> that's right. that's exactly right. >> rose: confidence is what a director gives you. >> yeah. what's thrilling for all of us, i think, in the play is to be in a play that is speaking to an audience in such a profound way, the response that we get afterwards are audience members saying they'd never seen anything like this play. >> rose: i want to understand, i've not yet seen it, what is it? because i know people say i feel something in a profound way. >> we are capturing something about what it means to be alive in america in 2016 in a family. >> at this moment. >> rose: at this moment, right. >> it's funny. even if it's not your socioeconomic range, you -- it's so clearly recognizable, the dynamic, the family dynamic, and i think people are not used to seeing that in a play, and it's thrilling. and it's thrilling to do. >> and it's also, i mean, you know, we're living at a time when the middle class is
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disappearing. it's what's remarkable about the play because you started it four years ago and somehow the play and the world have kind of merged at the absolute right moment. >> rose: but were you thinking in any way in terms of politics? >> no. i mean, that was kind of an amazing, you know -- i do feel like there might be something about the way politicians are, i think, similarly obsessed with tapping into the fears of americans especially during this election cycle. so i think, you know, the fact that i was similarly just thinking about the things keeping me up at night and the people i love, i guess in that sense i can see how the two merged. i mean, i'm from scranton, pennsylvania. i come from a place where politicians come all the time. biden has connections there, hillary clinton. but i feel like it's that kind of hard scrabble place where -- >> rose: but i'm telling you, this year when the candidates
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set off, especially secretary clinton, especially sanders, on the republican side several at the same time, and even if they had a different view of what was the solution to the problems, the idea of what's happening to the middle class in the country today is as big a theme as there is in politics and has to do with their fears about their lives, that their kids are not going to have it as good as they did, you know, that the dream has been tarnished, you know, and you show this because, when it happens, whatever year, whatever election cycle, it is about the core of people and the closest to them and how they're responding to the circumstances around them in basic human qualities -- jealousy, fear, pain, hope. >> and that's exactly played out in this play. you see it in all these people.
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>> right. powerlessness that we all are terrified of, and yet the play is incredibly hopeful about how we as humans endure, despite all of this that we deal with. >> rose: you two have different ideas about the children. >> the characters of the children? >> yeah. >> rose: right. well, it's two daughters, so they're my little girls. i think they tend to bicker with the mother, perhaps more, and come to me for -- to side with. >> rose: there is a little bit of that in the papers today because the president announced his daughter is leaving the nest to go off, you know, and he's talking about what a struggle it is for him, and one of the joys was to come to one big house where they all live and be able to see them. >> but i think that's a thing a lot of families, the fathers and the daughters, and the mothers and the daughters. >> the mother-daughter relationships are relatable for
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many women who see this play. they're complicated, those relationships. so it's not as easy. they don't have as easy a time. >> rose: it's hard to be protective and at the same time give strength. >> that's right. and also hopefully, constructive criticism. (laughter) >> rose: but you're not approving of the lives they're living. is that a fair thing to say? >> yes, i think that's fair to say, yeah. absolutely. >> i had a friend who came to the play and said it was painful to watch because every time her mother comes to visit, she swears she's going to be nice to her. the mother walks in the door and the first thing out of her mouth is some criticism of her mother. she can't help herself. >> rose: oh, criticizing the mother. >> back and forth, and the mothers do it to the daughter, too. and she saw it in the play and it was too close. >> and i think the audience's response to this play, also, is extraordinary. you know you're in a really fine play when, after the play, people come up to you and say, i
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loved it, and then they immediately start talking about their own lives. >> rose: yeah, the connection. that's it. they have a need to -- >> rose: it helps people -- it gives a voice to people's own hopes and aspirations and fears. >> validity. >> rose: it says you're not alone. >> and confirms their life. and it's a beautiful gift to receive that from audience members rather than, you know, talking about, oh, i thought this person or that person was so funny, i sure liked when that happened. >> rose: right. you know, they're talking about themselves and their real concerns and it's quite beautiful. >> rose: is that what the connection is to make this so real for the audience? >> i guess in some ways -- i mean, i feel like my job is just to tell the truth. so in this case, in writing about a family i care about very much, i think it has become a kind of mirror for a lot of people. i mean, so many people have told
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me jayne and reed are their parents and people from all walks of life, every single kind of religion, and i think it's kind of the best gift, because, you know, in creating one mom and dad, it's overwhelming to hear the people that identify with this family. >> rose: you're also writing a screen adaptation of the seagull? >> i am. it's actually done. >> rose: house of that a different experience for you? >> well, first of all, i mean, you're just starting with a master work. so getting to spend time with chekhov, you're learning every second. it was my first time working and having a film made, annette bening was the star and others. >> rose: house o >> rose: how was that? it's very different. it's different to switch your
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playwright brain off and switch on the puzzle brain. >> rose: puzzle brain? screen plays are more like puzzles. plays are like poems and you can get lost in beautiful ways. >> rose: congratulations. so great to have you here. for me, it's a great honor. everybody i know is saying wonderful things about it. i just want to make sure that i have all the things right here about, it's at the helen hayes theatre, has no closing day which is good. nominated for six tony awards and nominated for all four of tad's guests. go see "the humans." we'll be right back. stay with us. >> rose: jim steyer is here, founder and c.e.o. of common sense media. common sense media is the nation's largest nonprofit dedicated to children's issues. it has rated over 25,000 films, television shows and video games
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on their suitability for children. steyer says the agency's mission is to build an army for kids. recently he launched two offshoots, the first called common sense education, rates educates and advocates for teaching technology. the second called common sense kids, action evaluates political legislation on its potential to help or harm children. the organization also lobbies for kid-friendly bill. called it an aarp for kids. i am pleased to have him at this table the first time. welcome. >> great to be here, charlie. >> rose: i saw an email from you, the blast. i said, we should do this now. my instinct in life is do it now. >> i agree. >> rose: so i fired away and e-mailed you and you said, hey, i'm going to be on the east coast, let's do it. tell me about how you came to do this, to be an advocate for children. >> i grew up here in new york,
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in manhattan with my brother. >> rose: tom is a helen fund guy, done well, supports environmental causes and democratic politics. >> and our mom was a school teacher in harlem and the south box. >> rose: your father was a big deal lawyer. >> he was, but not from a wealthy mcground. we went to school with anthony mason. >> rose: whom i know and love. he was in my class. we grew up thinking with a mom coming home every night and said, boys, you have a good education. i taught with my mom for a year in the south brokes. i went from one of the best high schools in the united states to one of the worst and decided this is what i want to do with my life. >> rose: at that moment? you were 22? >> no, 16, 17. >> rose: oh, 16? yes, i went to stanford, because i wanted to surf and meet girls and stuff like that, but the truth is i always wanted
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to do stuff around disadvantaged kids. and the influence of my mom and my brother who's become an environmental activist, he says the older i get the more i listen to mom at the dinner table waving her finger at us and telling us we were very lucky to have the education we had and we need to do something about it. we look at our mom and, both our parents are dead, and we think we have been fortunate and ought to do something about it. i'm a civil rights lawyer, ran a legal defense fund on the west coast and decided to work on poor kids' issues. the media stuff just happened. >> rose: the biggest part of it, isn't it? >> it is now. the truth is we were trying to build aarp for kids. i previously started children now which is like the children's defense fund, waned had no constituency base. politicians love to kiss babies and saw all the platitudes about
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how they care about children and then at the end of the day they cut the budget for early childhood or schools or whatever and kids are the poorest americans. truthfully, kids don't have any power and the reason we built the media platform was to give stuff away free to parents so they'd advocate for kids. >> rose: what are you proudest of? >> raising four children. >> rose: seriously. aising four kids. you know what's interesting, i would say one, the success of the common sense media platform, we have 70 million users now, is pretty amazing. we didn't know iphones and ipads and snapchat and facebook were going to happen. that whole digital world happened in the past ten years and common sense is there to give parents good advice. but the other thing is holding political and business leaders and people's feet to the fire
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saying this should be number one priority in society and it's not. and i'm proud of that. >> rose: it's the future. it is. i'll tell you this, charlie, you look at the anger going on in the presidential election and the frustration so many americans feel and i look at that and feel we ought to tap into this because most people are worried about kids will be worse off than parents. >> rose: you have this saying mobile devices and families. tell me what that's about? >> we polled 1200 parents and kids and asked are you addicted to your cell phone, and 50% of kids admitted that they felt addicted and 60% of parents said their kids were addicted and the truth is i will tell you digital devices are fundamentally changing human relationships. >> rose: no kidding. but unbelievably. they're changing the way parents and kids react, teachers, everybody, adults, the way they do their work. i was on the subway coming up here. everybody is glued to their iphone. i'm a stanford professor, and i had a couple of colleagues who
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did a study basically based on kids in their dorms who would be having conversations about serious issues and looking down at their devices all the time, and i think you're constantly distracted by this device, you're not paying attention to the other person and empathy is about face to face communications. >> if i use one in a circumstance like that, i feel like i have to apologize a because i have to call a person or b because i promise 5d person i would get back, otherwise don't do it. >> kids feel they have to respond. >> rose: because it is their lifeline. >> and they feel like -- our kids will be at something with us and they will get a text and they will literally pick up the the device and i will say put it away. they said, but somebody texted. i said, you can get back in an hour or two. >> rose: they feel like they have to respond now. >> at common sense, we're the
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biggest group in the country and i think we have a chance on changing people's behavior. >> rose: let me talk about your modus open randy. >> sure. >> rose: you are a guy who knows a lot of people. >> yep. >> rose: but you have the idea, the driven idea that if you want to have some impact, figure out the ten most important people and get to them. >> that's right. >> rose: right? that is right. >> rose: explain to me. well, i would tell you this, my number one job, i believe, is recruiting people who are smarter and more talented to me getting to work at common sense. there are way more smart people that work for us than me and my job is to find them and let them do their jobs and not get in their way. i think i learned that from my mom. growing up in new york, she was old days, 1950s, cbs news producer and she was a total connector of people. now that i look back, i think i learned that from her. the truth is, a lot of getting stuff done in life in this
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society and a lot of places is knowing the right people, and my job is to actually -- >> rose: discover who they are or how to get to them. >> and being really blunt with them. if you're talking about kids or education, it's not about you, you find you can get people interested, whether business guys or -- >> rose: go to washington to lobby. >> we do, and we talk to politicians. and i think you have to, when you come to kids, you have to speak truth to power, as they say. >> rose: yeah. i think the politicians in washington, by and large as a group, have fundamentally failed kids in this country over the past 25 years. look, the poverty rate -- >> rose: republicans and democrats. >> republicans and democrats. and it's because they have simply not paid attention to their best interests. it's all short-term decision-making. and i think you have to actually look at what our society -- how is it possible that young people are the poorest americans? how's it possible that we have a relatively poor public school system for half the kids? >> rose: what's the biggest crime against children? and it's a crime against
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children because it is something that is essential and it is something that the government ought to be doing or that the government ought to be stimulating the private sector to do it. the government ought to be, you know, engaging the ideas or at least, you know, wanting to stimulate a conversation. what is it that kids need they're not getting? >> the basics. a third of kids in california go to bed hungry at night. that's terrible. >> rose: food. food. shelter. you have millions of homeless kids in this country. you have kids who do not have all the basics from birth to five. >> rose: how can you learn when you go to school hungry. >> how can you starred kindergarten when you have no pre-school education, no healthcare,. >> rose: no books in your howls. >> your parts are struggling to keep their head above water. we as a society have failed our kids on so many different levels and politicians have sat there and kissed babies and say they
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care and talked about the future but the proof is in the pudding and, to me, bernie talks about a revolution and trump talks about a revolution. i'll tell you something, i don't subscribe to either of their particular philosophies per se, but we need a fundamental revolution when it comes to investing with kids. >> rose: in lots of areas. revolution is let's not allow kids to be at a disadvantage when they go to start their educational process. >> that's right. and then make sure that -- you know, make sure that they have the basics that we had when we were growing up. a roof over their heads, enough food, people who care about them. a lot of love and attention. but also good quality public schools. the idea that we defund food stamps for low-income families or, you know, we leave literally millions of kids in the foster care system, it's a reflection of our fundamental priorities. this is ultimately about the political will or lack thereof in this society. >> rose: you said we're not
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naive. there is a significant additional investment, meaning money, that needs to be made here to the tune of billions of dollars a year if we are going to provide every child in california -- >> alone. >> rose: -- with the right stuff. >> that's true. california, the golden state, we have the seventh or eighth largest economy in the world, i live in a beautiful part of san francisco, it's such an incredible state. but it's two states. we are 49th out of 50 in terms of child well being in california. >> rose: how do you measure child well being. >> educational achievement, healthcare for kids. 27% of children in california live below the official poverty line which is about $23,000 for a family of four. i spend more than that on one of our kids' private school education. try raising four kids. we have one of 50 kids in
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california who live in poverty. that's a fundamental oice we're making in society and the losers ultimately are all of us. i think that's the argument you have to make. >> rose: and how has technology been incorporated? >> it's very interesting. because on the one hand people love common sense because we're the consumer reports guide of media technology. we have 25,000 reviews so you can check any movie or video game or tv show or app on common sense and find out what age appropriateness there is, sex, violence, any concern. and also technology, comma, used wisely, comma, i think can transform schools because it allows you to do personalized learning. so if you're a school like i used to teach in harlem with 35 kids in a classroom, you can target kid with their ability to read and with their ability to do math in an individualized way. so technology can be great for kids and for learning and it's facilitated dramatic shifts in our economy.
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at the same time, used badly, it's a huge problem, everything from addiction -- >> rose: do you get involved in the political discussions about all kinds of different programs under different presidents, whether no child left behind or something else. >> absolutely we do, and we say what we think. >> rose: and you lobby for the legislative goals you think are appropriate. >> that's right. and the one thing we don't do is we don't do partisan stuff. we are kid partisan, not bipartisan. we don't care if you're republican, democrat, liberal, conservative. we care what you actually do for kids. i think you actually have to shame people in many cases -- >> rose: you would think the is obvious for a politician to want to support and an obvious thing that you do not want to be on the wrong side because it's a connection for every voter, how do my kids do and how do they do better than i do and what's an impediment to them having a good life? >> but the thing is kids don't vote. poor people don't vote anywhere near the same numbers as people
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from upper and middle income families do. at the end of the day, politicians say all the right things and cut early childhood, cut kids' healthcare, don't support education. in california we have proposition 13. you probably remember that, it gitd the public education system in the late 1970s. we're in the mid 40s in spending in what should be the wealthiest state in the united states. so action speak louder than words. >> rose: how close are you to your brother? >> my best friend. we're one year apart, we shared a bedroom forever. he's been my partner in everything, chept he went to yale and i went to stanford. i convinced him to come to stanford and i trust him and he's my brother and ever since we were three we shared that room and i trust him.
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he became very, very wealthy and is involved in politics, but he's the real deal. he doesn't care about money. he's a very nonmaterialistic person and he made a lot of it and now what he wants to do is focus on the change stuff where he's a big activist but also on poverty because he sees like i see the difference between the lives we've had and the lives that millions of kids have. >> rose: thank you for coming. great to be here. thank you for having pe. >> rose: thank you for joining us. see you next time. for more about this program and earlier episodes, visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com.
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>> rose: on tomorrow's pbs "newshour" the latest in the race for the white house after indiana's crucial primary.
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this is "nightly business report." with tyler mathisen and sue herera. market slide. why three factors that propelled the recent rally may be starting to reverse. costly defeat. johnson & johnson lost another talcum powder cancer case and a lot more are looming. hitting the gas. why the boom in auto sales isn't tapping the brakes just yet. >> all that and more tonight on "nightly business report" for tuesday, good evening and welcome, i'm sharon epperson in for sue herera. >> i'm tyler mathisen. global growth fears found their way back into the market today and some of the reasons for today's triple-digit decline are all too familiar. a fall in oil prices. a drop in chinese manufacturing activity.