tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg March 28, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
♪ >> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: we begin with politics. president trump is trying to bounce back from recent setbacks last week perpetrated by his efforts to repeal and replace the affordable care act. doubts are rising about the president's ability to achieve progress on other aspects of an ambitious agenda as the white house begins turning its attention to tax reform. joining me is robert costa of "the washington post." on friday, he received a phone call from the president breaking news that a vote on the gop health care bill would not proceed. i am pleased to have robert costa back on the program. welcome.
robert: thank you, charlie. charlie: i once asked donald trump who he thought understood him, and he mentioned your name. how did this happen so that you are the reporter he wants to call to say, "we are pulling the bill?" robert: we discussed before, i have been covering him for quite some time. i have gotten to know him as a candidate, as a businessman and as president of the united states. i was working with colleagues on a story about trump as a dealmaker. could he cut his first deal, his first legislative test with health care trying to wade into the congress realm he did not really know, didn't understand all the factions or the players. i had been working on this for about a week and as usual put in an interview request, but did not expect anything. i had not interviewed the president since before the inauguration. i got this call out of the blue on friday afternoon and he was pretty even-tempered, muted in tone, and he said the bill had
been pulled. he started piling on the democrats and turned his attention to other issues. charlie: we will talk a little more about that in a moment. now he has turned his attention on to the republicans. what do you make of that? robert: one of the most revealing moments in my conversation with the president was when he said, "i just did not understand all this anger." i said, "what do you mean by that?" he said, "the anger in the republican party and congress." he meant the freedom caucus, a group of hard-liners on the right, and their contentious relationship with speaker paul ryan and the moderate tuesday group in the house had their own uneasy relationship with the leadership. he thought the party would be in lockstep or at least be willing to help them with a major legislative project this early on in his presidency. he walked into a storm with all this simmering factional politics that had been playing out long before donald trump came on the political scene. we had been talking for years about speaker boehner and then
speaker ryan and the upsets over government funding. he is now face-to-face with that long-simmering drama. charlie: the other thing you said to him, to reflect on the lessons he learned, and he said what? robert: he is not a reflective sort. i tried to pull him out in charlie rose style, i said please reflect, this is a big crisis. he said flatly, this is another day in paradise. charlie: how do you think he has viewed the experience he has had the first 50 plus days? robert: he knows he is a non-ideological republican. he did not come out of the reagan movement like so many republicans that think about themselves at their core as tax cutters and people who want small government. that grover norquit phrase, "put government in the bathtub and let it drown." a real hatred of the government. trump does not have that. but he has embraced the ideology of paul ryan, because ryan and
mcconnell, they seem to understand how government works and donald trump is such a rookie. he has gone along with them. the question i have as a reporter, and i am sure many people do in the country, is what now? it has not worked to go along with speaker ryan on health care. will he continue to go along with ryan and mcconnell on taxes and infrastructure? or will he listen more to steve bannon, his chief strategist, and take a more populist direction, work with democrats? democrats are not exactly jumping at the chance to work with him. charlie: where does that leave him? robert: in a very difficult position. a new president who does not fully understand yet all the different power dynamics within his own party. a democratic party that is digging in the same way republicans did in the obama era. still testy, many democrats i speak to about the obama era and the way the republicans acted. trump has a challenge, 60 votes
needed for most major pieces of legislation in the senate, and in the house you will always have this group of 20 to 40 members of the freedom caucus that don't want to legislate at all unless it truly takes an ax to the federal govnerment. how does he navigate it? this is something most presidents confront a little longer in the presidency, and he has to deal with it now. charlie: it is said that the freedom caucus does not fear him. robert: they don't. he has political capital. he has done well in many of their districts, but they are much more of the ted cruz wing of the republican party, the texas senator and the freedom caucus were part of the government shut down in 2013. they see the government as out of control and they see themselves as movement activists. they like that trump is antiestablishment but when it comes to policy, they see an
opening that he does not really have a policy blueprint he is trying to enact. trump was befuddled in the sense he thought he could win over the freedom caucus and everyone in the group would be transactional. in the real estate world, you have transactional deals, but when you are dealing with ideologues, it is something very foreign to our president. he has not dealt with ideological. send people who do not want to have a transactional deal. charlie: it was once said that everybody has their price. robert: exactly. charlie: when you look at his relationship with paul ryan. he said very nice things to you about paul ryan. clearly they worked hard on this. he was supposed to be the closer and could not make the deal because of all the reasons you just said. do you think he has any doubts about two things, first, his ability to close, or does he blame the circumstances he finds himself in? robert: he is not animated against ryan in a personal way. i asked him repeatedly about
ryan and he kept saying, "i do not blame paul," he kept repeating the phrase. trump and speaker ryan are kind of like a couple that everyone says it is fine, and you talk to them and they say it is fine, but all their friends are buzzing about their relationship and not in the best way. i have talked to allies of speaker ryan and allies of president trump over the weekend and they are concerned. it is a complicated relationship. both of the president and the speaker spoke over the weekend, talked through tax reform, but there is still not a lot of trust there according to the allies i have spoken to. they know ryan turned against trump in some respects during the campaign and trump is disappointed about health care. who else is there to work with? he could work with mcconnell on some things. the democrats are not making overtures. ryan is what he has got. he hasn't had a full-scale revolt againt ryan, but remember he told everyone to watch judge janine -- charlie: i know. who asked for ryan's resignation. robert: at the top of her show on fox news.
and then the white house officials and ryan spokespeople said there was nothing to see here. he was trying to promote a friend's show. that is the line, but around town and behind the scenes, people are saying the president knew what he was doing when he told people to watch her show. charlie: he knew she was going to say that and wanted people to consider that question. robert: if not explicitly knowing it, i've been told by top sources that he at least knew the direction that she was likely going to head, that she was frustrated on trump's behalf, whether she might take a knife to ryan politically or not, maybe he didn't know that. it was not in the script. but the president is not tweeting about every television show out there, but he did tweet about the one show that went after the speaker. charlie: breitbart is opposed to paul ryan, correct? robert: they are, and they used to be run by steve bannon. charlie: but where was bannon? was he saying that to trump and
was overruled or was he saying something else? robert: i call them the bannonistas, the people at breitbart who are his friends. they are certainly against the speaker. they are running a campaign against him at breitbart almost daily. inside the white house, bannon is more intriguing because he has to be careful. he has been careful and he has not mounted any kind of campaign inside the white house against ryan. they had some tensions over strategy. bannon went to the house on thursday night last week and said, "i want a list of who is with trump and who was against trump on health care." the leaders said, this makes us uncomfortable. and that is where they had a break. charlie: that is what? robert: where they had a break between ryan and bannon on strategies. ryan did not want to vote on a bill that would fail. you know congress, charlie. everyone knows the vote is going to fail, you have votes fall even further on the floor, so
they might have only had 150 votes for the health care bill. charlie: who talked the president into having made a statement that he wanted to put it out there and have people vote it down, and so obamacare would still exist -- what convinced him not to do that? robert: it was high drama. thursday night, bannon goes to the house and says the president wants a vote you all had better , vote for it, an ultimatum. by friday, the speaker goes to the white house, everybody knew it was bad news for the bill but the news had not broken. he said to the president, this is what the president told me, the speaker says we do not have the votes. you have a decision to make with me, what are we going to do? ryan had talked it over with his members and they did not want to have the vote. they talked it through and they decided to pull the bill. that is when i got the call. charlie: where is it expected to go now? could they refashion the bill that might get democratic votes or something that might find common ground between the
moderates and the freedom caucus? or do they want to simply take a breath and get tax reform? robert: i think it is more than l -- the latter. i think they want to put it on a shelf for months, see where they are at in six months to a year, see if the democrats are willing to work on any piecemeal legislation. but it is hard for republicans to give this up. they've been fighting against obamacare for years, and today, monday, the speaker went on a conference call with his biggest donors and said that they are going to keep moving forward on health care and the fight is not over. you're probably going to see legislation on different fronts, but this wholesale overhaul of the health system, there is not a consensus within the republican party in congress. charlie: will tax reform be compromised by what happened on obamacare repeal and replace? robert: i think so. i was talking to some congressmen today and they said, look, tax reform is a big ambition. how is that going to happen? how are you going to get the votes for tax reform in terms of a lot of different things
involved with cutting different deductions, getting rid of subsidies and rates for people? what is more realistic for members of the house is some kind of tax rebate, a minor tax cut plan that comes through the house just so the president has some kind of tax plan he can tout. charlie: corporate tax reform probably has a chance? robert: it does. they are not worried about these tax cuts being paid for. trump is not a deficit hawk. the speaker is. over the weekend, mark meadows, the chairman of the freedom caucus, said in so many words he would be willing to do tax reform without having it paid for with different kinds of deficit reduction offsets. that means tax reform will likely move forward slowly. the question is, what is the number? will there be a border adjustment tax? will trump have any populist flash in the tax plan? charlie: the border tax, ryan is for it. the president is against it.
robert: he is for it. the president has said he wants tariffs, he wants to tax people at 30% coming from other countries. a border adjustment tax was included in the house republican tax plan as a means of nodding toward the president's populism in his policies. but you have a lot of pressure from retailers like walmart on senator cotton from arkansas, and those situations where you have small states and poor states with major retailers. they do not want a border adjustment tax. if they don't include the border adjustment tax, they will start tweaking it and reform loses some of its luster. they lose revenue to offset the cuts. it is a very complicated process. at the moment, there is no consensus. charlie: speak to the question of those people who were very upset when they saw some of this bill who had been strong trump supporters and they believed they wanted a repeal and replacement of obamacare, yet when they saw this, they were in a sense, they could feel the
cutting edge of how it affected them and they were upset about that. robert: that is what i wrote about a lot last week. you look at the states trump won, the rust belt, states that have difficulties with opioid addiction, high medicaid populations like ohio and pennsylvania, you saw a real reservation about the republican plan in the way it phased out the medicare expansion. -- the medicaid expansion under the affordable care act. some of trump's closest friends said to me, he is making a real mistake here, he is going in the ryan direction. the reason trump won the electoral college is because he won states that had working-class populations, some of them really rely on medicaid. for the first act to phase out medicaid and make major cuts, they thought it was cutting his political base. throwing them a punch unnecessarily. charlie: trump regrets going with repeal and replace?
robert: that is the whisper around the white house. when i asked the president directly about that he said no he did not have any regrets. publicly he does not have any regrets, as we know. but some of his top allies say they wish, in a way, they could've done infrastructure first, pulled in democrat taxthing so they could do cuts and spending. doing it in march and april after gorsuch and health care falls it is a harder challenge. charlie: the president has insisted that the affordable care act will explode of its own nature. do people in washington and people you know who are independent of political opinions on this believe that is going to happen? robert: there is some concern that premium increases could lead to collapse in some insurance exchanges and insurance markets. but democrats tell me that will be fine, because it will be trumpcare.
the president stepped away from health care. i think when you look at obamacare and how it plays out across the country, some states do better than others. both parties know there have to be changes made to it but no one is a willing to have a bipartisan coming together on that. charlie: and democrats who supported it, including some of the people i assume in the obama white house who fashioned it, know that some of the things they said were going to happen to not happen. robert: if there is any president who can wade into this and say i can work with democrats, it is trump. he's a former democrat. he does not think like a republican when it comes to health care policy. he railed against obamacare as a political issue. when i said to him i thought it was a very revealing moment, i said, you are maybe more natural negotiating with democrats down the line after this explodes, in your view. he said, some people might say that, and then he laughed. i think he knows deep down, it may be a political disaster the way this all unfolded but he
could negotiate with democrats in the future. but if you are chuck schumer or senator warren, would you really want to work with president trump on president obama's signature law? that is a question. that is i political hurdle democrats will have to confront. charlie: back in a moment. stay with us. ♪ ♪
charlie: president trump suffered his first major legislative defeat on friday. his signature campaign promise to repeal and replace obamacare unraveled when paul ryan with true the gop health care bill after failing to secure enough votes despite having a majority in the house. the president and his team could -- proved unable to bridge deep divisions within the republican party. joining me is robert draper. his new feature in "the new york times" magazine is called "trump versus congress: now what?" welcome. about? this piece come robert: i have been talking to trump on the campaign trail, getting a sense from him of what he would like to do. he told me the two good things he wanted to do most of all work three jobs and negotiate with foreign leaders.
but he had made a series of promises on the campaign trail. and i thought given this is a man who is new to washington and he has some unorthodox notions and he and his senior adviser stephen bannon, they cut across party ideologies. and given the fact that the republicans had not been in charge for a while and frankly, they controlled one part of the legislative branch and did not govern so well, it would be interesting to see exactly how their legislative agenda rolled through. i began on a leisurely basis and begin to pick up speed as obamacare began to implode, i interviewed a number of people in the trump white house, including the president himself. when the replacement did implode on friday, we finished out the story and put it out on the web 48 hours later. charlie: it is called good timing. robert: better to be lucky than good. charlie: where do you think the
president sees himself going now? robert: i think he has convinced himself it was never his idea to begin with to repeal and replace obamacare as his opening gambit. i think that is right. i do think that a number of people had convinced him this would be a chip shot, something he could do in his first couple of weeks in office and move on to things that were of greater interest to him. i think he is a bit disappointed that people led him astray. paul ryan, he is not throwing to the wolves just yet, but it is clear that speaker ryan is on probation. i think frankly, the chief of staff, reince priebus is, as well. the health and human services secretary tom price, this is supposed to be his baby, and it is not clear what he did to advance the ball. the president is going to turn the page, go on to tax reform. he is eager to put out, as he puts it, a "win." the problem all along has been
what constitutes a win. he did not have much of a vision for obamacare and his vision is shifting on tax reform. charlie: he has a new realization about the nature of republicans in congress. he may have thought he had the ability to convince them of something that they ideologically were not prepared to accept. robert: that is right. i think he came in figuring if republicans, 237 he invites them to the oval office, he lets them sit in mike pence's chair, they would let him do whatever he wanted. the freedom caucus may have trouble saying yes but they do , not have trouble saying no and that is precisely what they did to the president. charlie: and the president saying it, look how much better i did in your district than you did.
robert: that is an interesting point. a lot of us thought, and steve bannon said this to me and kevin mccarthy, that donald trump is very popular in these districts. these are not so much conservatives as working-class voters and they will basically sign on to whatever the president endorses. that turned out not to be the case. i have been hearing from a couple members of the freedom caucus who said they would vote no on this that they have been treated just fine back home. essentially the constituents are willing to blame speaker ryan. they certainly don't blame the freedom caucus for having refused to budge. charlie: and they don't blame the president. robert: they do not blame the president yet. i think in the end they will blame their own house members, their duly elected officials before they blame trump. his base remains strong. his approval ratings are down
to 37%, maybe 35% in one poll. but his base remains intact. charlie: tell me about the work inside the white house. i read one story after another. how did you find that faction looking to you? whent: there been times reince priebus and steve bannon found themselves to be allies. they see i tie on certain issues. i do think it is right, there is a more left of center contention in the white house healing from the west coast. that there are people like stephen miller, the senior policy advisor, who occupied the hard right. he came from jeff sessions' world. bannon is a clever operator and understands when it is time to give up the fight. like president trump, bannon was not married to repeal and
replace. it is not economic nationalism. it was campaign mop up work. it was about fulfilling a campaign pledge and moving on to a populist agenda. i do not think his heart was in it. for whatever collateral damage will take place, steve bannon will be fine for now. charlie: look at what bannon said about ryan's tax reform plan. "i think it comes as close to a first step of economic nationalism as there is." when you think of economic nationalism, you think of steve bannon. robert: that is what he told me that he had said to paul ryan when they met before the inauguration to hash out tax reform. up to that point, bannon pretty much loathed ryan. he believed that paul ryan stood for everything that was reprehensible at the -- about the republican policy.
austere fiscal conservatives that did not understand what the working-class was feeling. on tax reform, they achieved a kind of bromance. particularly over the border adjustment tax. i asked president trump, are you in on this? i have heard mixed messages from the white house about whether this is your thing. he said, i am the king of that. he then went on to explain to me that every other country has an import tax except for the u.s.. he said we are the only fools that do not have it. that is factually inaccurate. what other countries have is a value added tax. that is not corporate tax grafted onto an import tax that he is proposing. charlie: how did steve bannon and donald trump come together? robert: they met in 2011 or 2012. amandare introduced by
later became the campaign manager. but the evolution of stephen bannon coming into donald trump's world was a dinner with senator jeff sessions and stephen miller at the so-called breitbart embassy in 2013. during that time, romney had just gotten clobbered. the belief among republicans was we have to do something about the latino voter. romney lost by 44 points in the hispanic demographic. bannon, sessions, and miller were of a separate mind. they believed there should be a more hardline view on immigration and trade. that very evening, bannon tried to convince jeff sessions to run for president. and the sessions looked into his 1/8 of a second and said no, i am not that kind of guy i am content in the senate.
, bannon went looking for another candidate and a couple of months after that dinner, he saw trump speak at cpac. he had met him before but have never heard the fiery rhetoric. he told me trump brought the house down. bannon had been interested in sarah palin. he tried to get her to run for president. he saw in a trump someone at least as charismatic if not more so than her, but connecting with the public more so. it was through a series of events that he insinuated his way into trump world. charlie: for people who have not read about steve bannon, how would you define him? robert: he is a very smart guy, he is an autodidact. he reads a lot of books but he is one of those guys who does not complete a book, he will read certain passages of a book took -- but them down and pick another. he works late hours. he is a self-styled loner and likes being a rebel. he likes the fact that he has an unusual portfolio having worked
at goldman sachs, having been in the navy, having gotten rich on seinfeld reruns and ultimately becoming the ceo of breitbart and working his way into right-wing politics. believing he saw something about the american electorate that all of these self-styled and wealthy political consultants did not. he is very proud of the fact that he could see in wisconsin, for example, discontent among the working-class electorate that locals like reince priebus and paul ryan failed to see. it was for that reason that trump honed his message of economic nationalism and populism to those type of voters and prevailed in states like wisconsin. charlie: your book is "trump versus congress: now what?" now what is tax reform and perhaps infrastructure spending? robert: perhaps. this is what the trump white house and the speaker have been saying, tax reform is going to be a win because it is a natural territory for republicans.
we love to cut taxes. that is true but the border adjustment tax is very controversial. big businesses hate it. my suspicion is they will drop it. they like it mainly because it scores $1.2 trillion or something like that. it is worth pointing out that we've been talking about these difficulties of us far of trump having with congress. but who does that consist of? house republicans. though should be the people easiest for him to communicate with. he has yet to deal with democrats or the senate. in tax reform, lindsey graham and others say, that package if it includes a border adjustment tax is dead on arrival. it remains to be seen if this is the sought-after win for the trump administration. house republicans don't like the idea of spending a ton of money. essentially, a stimulus project. there are a lot of moderate republicans would go for it a , lot of democrats might play
along, but as bob was saying earlier, it remains to be seen whether democrats will want to give donald trump a win. if he is really bleeding, a literally speaking and in terms of approval ratings they may , just let him founder. they may sense of possibility to take back the house and possibly the senate. and of course have an inside path to 2020. charlie: it is a fascinating article, thank you so much. robert draper in the new york times magazine this weekend. back in a moment. ♪ ♪
charlie: "the glass menagerie" is one of tennessee williams' most beloved plays. the semiautobiographical play has been on broadway eight times since first in the current 1945. production is running at the belasco theater. here is a look. >> do you think i'm crazy about the warehouse? to think i am in love when i spent 65 years down there in the interior of fluorescent tubes? i would rather somebody picked up a crowbar and bashed in my brains and then go back. but i go every time you come in yelling rise and shine. i say to myself how lucky dead
people are. but i get up and i go. for $65 a month. i give up all that i dreamed of doing and being. self is all that i think of? listen mother if self is what i , thought of, i would be where he is. gone. charlie: joining me are the four stars of the play. sally field, joe mantello, and finnerris whitrock. i am pleased to have them here. let me start with this. this is where you were. you don't want to see or hear. brilliant performances. joe: we have to go back tomorrow night and all we will be able to think about is seeing ourselves. charlie: why is this such a great play? sally: first of all, people would say the language is so beautiful and poetic, but i
think ultimately it is about things that stay relevant no matter what era you are looking at it in. it is about family and love and the complications of that. of trying to grow up and move away from your family. and live through a complicated time and complicated family, and that it is autobiographical, and tennessee really never did quite survive, he was a great artist, but the ramifications of leaving his sister stayed with him all his life and tortured him. charlie: how long have you wanted to play amanda? sally: all my life. certainly it is one of the great roles for a woman. hamlet, especially for an older woman. always. every woman wants to play amanda. it is as complex as you possibly can imagine or make it.
we make it very complicated. it is a great role, a wonderful role. charlie: you in part wanted to play it because you wanted to watch sam direct? joe: yes. that is the primary reason. i think mike nichols said the thing about directing is, it is like sex, you never get to see anyone else do it so you don't know how good you are. charlie: mike nichols would say that. [laughter] joe: yes. i wanted to be in a room with sam. i said, your metabolism as a director is so radically different than mine and i want to know what you know. it has been an extraordinary experience from that alone. charlie: what is the relationship between laura and tom? joe: my playing tom is an older man looking back on his time
with his sister and his mother, and it really is, the thing about this production is sam has embraced the memory play aspect of it, obviously. charlie: why do you call this a memory play? joe: i think it means different things in different productions. at 54-years-old, looking back at the story that happened when i was 21 or 22 has different stakes. at 54 to be rehashing this story, being haunted by the story is different than a 31-year-old looking back. it is about how memory is refracted, what are the things that are remembered accurately or inaccurately, what are the things that get expanded? we talked about all of that as we worked on it. charlie: a bare set.
nothing. does that make it easier or harder? finn: you feel very naked up there. there is nothing to hide behind or lean on except for each other. joe: first it is complicated because you don't have anything, then once you figure out the version of the play, there is something liberating about it. sally: i think it is difficult on so many levels. the space gets smaller and we own it in a certain way. but it is so enormous, the real seee is higher than you can and there is nothing to let the sound bounce off of. we are trying to fill this, or at least i am, this huge, cavernous space.
for me, i think i am aware of that and the kind of energy it takes to do that. charlie: tell me about laura. madison: laura is in this production trying to keep her mother and brother together, and she is very sweet, i don't think she is very extroverted, i think she likes to be by herself and she is an artist, she likes movies, she likes going to the zoo and plants, and for some reason, that is weird. charlie: to the family. [laughter] sally: her mother doesn't get that. charlie: this is a play you can go see on videotape, you can see how many performances have been done. there was a revival three years ago. do you do that?
do you want to see how other people have interpreted a character? madison: i don't. sally: i don't even want to see how i have interpreted it. charlie: is amanda the same as how you imagine her before you took on the role? sally: i don't think so. i played amanda once before at the kennedy center however many years ago that was, 10, 12 years ago. in a straightforward production in the pastely way it is usually done. charlie: pastely. sally: yes. the very soft memory. this is like a whole other play, a whole other character. even though i have played it before. charlie: what do you think you know about her now? sally: i wonder if i have really come to any conclusions about her.
i hope i have not come to conclusions. charlie: you continue to explore? sally: i think so, i hope so. that is the task now. the first run will be fairly long. every night, there are certain ingredients she has, a fierceness about her that she is so deeply frightened of destruction because she has no choices as a woman in this era that she is in. it comes out fiercer in her attitude than i imagined. i think every night i discovered certain aspects of how much she feels about things and how much, how much an illusion she lives in and yet accuses him of it. charlie: has everyone suffered the father's abandonment?
sally: i know amanda does. i don't know about whether they do or not. even as amanda i have not bothered to ask. madison: i imagine laura was six when the father left, so i think she has memories of being with him, possibly the night he left. they are not all negative memories. charlie: sometimes there is guilt like in divorces. madison: children blame themselves. and then to have a younger brother to look out for who maybe has one or two memories with him at four. charlie: what does the genome caller bring to this play? [laughter] finn: he is almost filling a void i think that was left by
the father. he is totally a different person, incapable of doing that, but all of these people really need something from him. he said at the beginning, always delayed but always expected, something we live for. in some ways, jim senses that, maybe even unconsciously that he means something very strongly to these people. in an idealistic way he tries to become that. he believes in the american dream and the old-fashioned sense of that, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, if you believe in it you can make it happen. life is not quite giving back to him in a way he expected it would. he was a star in high school, he was the main guy on campus, you know, and since graduation, he
has fallen off that pedestal. he comes back to laura, who store members him in that way remembers the heroic side of , him. it reminds him of that. charlie: his best years. finn: yes. themlso i think the two of in their scene have an unusual -- it doesn't go the way he expects it to. he falls as enamored and in love with her as she does with him. charlie: is that how he gets her to open up? finn: i think so. madison: i think it starts out with laura thinking she is going on a date with some joe schmo, then she realizes it is the guy. it is intimidating and scary, so much that she shakes.
but she rallies. it is a familiar story of meeting someone that was the it man on campus and six years later they are much more humble. that really allows her -- charlie: the world outside is humble. madison: exactly. that allows her to blossom in front of him. charlie: it is in fact that he is no longer the big man on campus, he has been chastised or somehow had been leveled by the outside world. he makes her identify with him a bit. madison: i think i have always had a little bit of a connection but this is where we get to test those waters. i think they do, they really click, i think they fall in love, however briefly. charlie: is this what tennessee
williams had family, to relate to? joe: he was haunted by this story and what happened in this time in his life. he wrote about it many times. he wrote short stories, screenplays, there are a lot of different -- as we did research in the beginning, there was a lot of material that involved these characters. on some level, he was consumed by those early days with his mother and sister, and you know, i think those characters became, blossomed and became blanche dubois. sally: you can find little pieces in other works. amanda is in streetcar, in blanche. charlie: what have you learned
by watching the direction of this? joe: i think what i admire so much about this, it is a really bold and modern take on the play. it is very unorthodox and probably unlike any production of the play you will see. i admire that sam took tennessee williams' charge very seriously, and said we must get beyond naturalism, we must get beyond the refrigerator and sofa and you can get closer to the truth through abstraction. to watch sam a struggle with what does that mean in 2017 as opposed to 1945, we took that charge is a group of very seriously. that were made were not cavalier, they were not meant to disrespect -- charlie: how do you mean we took
it as a group? joe: we took his idea of how we were going to tell it and we thought, what does this mean with this particular group of people? sally: and it wasn't always easy. it was hard to understand how you perform what his concept was in a lot of ways. i think i was probably the one that went, what? [laughter] sally: i don't understand. maybe that was a good thing because sam had to think of how to explain that to me. in my training, the kind of actor i am, coming from the actors studio, i would go, how do i play that? i am not sure what that means. i do know that having done this now, 51 performances, that you can feel the audience when we come in, they don't know what to make of it. it is so unorthodox.
you do feel the audience go, and they sit forward. they know it is going to be this and that, we are just going to be delighted by it, and all of a sudden they go, and you can fill -- feel the room shift. at first, they are kind of annoyed. wait a minute. charlie: i worked for this? [laughter] sally: there is nothing to look at, it is not pretty. there is nothing pretty about it. it is stark and the lights are on, we are in costume and we are saying things that don't really apply to what is happening. all of a sudden, because we made them or sam made them sit up and either be annoyed or something they were not expecting, we slowly weave around into the play without them even knowing
we are quite in it, without us even knowing we are quite in it, until slowly the lights are lowering and we are in different costumes we were not in before and then it is in. we don't have an intermission or scene breaks, all the scenes are woven together like a memory. you cannot tell when one scene is over and the next is beginning. charlie: what we know from what tennessee wanted this play to be? was there any sense of what he wrote about the --"the glass menagerie?" joe: we were working from the published version, what he envisioned what would be quaint now, a projection and things that were groundbreaking in 1945. it was not done that way. probably the actors could
not figure it out. he wanted something in for 1945, all the characters to come out and say this is me, i am the narrator, you will see my sister and mother. i think it must have been startling in some way. again, i think that is what we were trying to capture, that extraordinary voice burst onto the scene as a young man. i think the greatest compliment that has been paid to the production is when people come back and say i heard things in the play i have never heard before. we have not changed a word. isn't that the sign of an extraordinary, a masterpiece? it's like a standard. ella fitzgerald can do it in you hear this, frank sinatra can do it and you hear this. they are sturdy and they take interpretation.
sally: they invite. joe: they invite interpretation. charlie: the gentleman caller, what did you look to? finn: there is a great book called "how to win friends and influence people," i read a little bit of it every night before i go on. charlie: it is very popular. finn: it is great, it is written very much like how jim speaks. charlie: that kind of optimism. finn: optimism and american vitality. that book is all about listening to people and engaging them and making what you want from them sound like the thing they want to make it all about how to make someone else want the thing. sally: that is political. [laughter] charlie: carnegie knew quite a bit about that. finn: in a seemingly genuine way.
he says hold your own on any social level. i think his extrovertism is a big contrast, especially in this house, although he and amanda are on a similar wavelength. i also read there was a certain man tennessee had in mind in his youth. that he had a crush on. joe: the character is named after one of his fraternity brothers. charlie: who was in fact the one that -- joe: i think he is just named after this young man. finn: it may have been more than a friendship. this was just a outgoing, gentle guy who did not judge and like other people did. but he was also full of
self-delusion and self hypnosis. charlie: finding a play like this with all of the success it has had, does it make you want to spend a lot of time in theater? madison: oh yeah. me? totally. i would have been happy doing this play in my basement. with this crew and this direction, i would be happy to do it anywhere. charlie: you said it will be on for a long time? sally: yeah. [laughter] sally: not that i am not glad. [laughter] sally: but it is a mountain every night. a mountain to climb, a real mountain. charlie: thank you. "the glass menagerie" at the belasco theater. thank you very much for joining us. see you next time. ♪ >> president trump has signed an
executive order to roll back the clean plan. mr. trump says the order will create jobs and marks a new era in energy production. new york's attorney general is leading a coalition of states and counties mobilizing against the order. it includes the attorneys general from california, massachusetts, it illinois, washington, and the district of columbia. 20 senate democrats are on record opposing judge neil gorsuch. he is president trump'