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Elliot Norton Reviews; Uta Hagen: Charlotte


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Elliot Norton Reviews
Uta Hagen: Charlotte
Series Description

Boston theatre critic Elliot Norton interviews prominent actors, directors and producers on their craft. (Aired from October, 1958 to 1982. Winner of both Peabody and Tony Awards.) Series release date: 1958

Program Description

Elliot Norton interviews actress Uta Hagen about her title role in Peter Hack’s Charlotte at the Spingold Theater at Brandeis University. The play has been translated from German and adapted for the American stage. Hagen is known for playing the original Martha in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolfe.

The play, Charlotte, centers on the relationship of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Charlotte von Stein in Weimar, Germany in October 1786. Charlotte is the only speaking character, while her husband, Herbert, is present onstage and remains silent. Goethe has left Weimar suddenly and Charlotte rehashes her relationship with him over the past ten years. What fascinates her about the play is that it is a “complex work of the development of the crisis in a woman’s life, seen through five scenes, almost as in a prism. How differently the light hits it, something else seemingly the opposite is true as from a different angle.” Charlotte comes to terms with the fact that she has destroyed the relationship in the desire for power and to prove that she is right and in doing so, she exposes her mistakes. She says that the conflict in the play is within herself and she must battle with herself about the decisions she has made. Hagen loves the play because she finds it bottomless and keeps finding new things. She does not think that the American audience understands the relationship between Charlotte and Herbert. It was a court marriage, in which both had affairs and he knew about her relationship with Goethe. Norton and Hagen discuss the real Charlotte and Goethe and touch on their relationship, her sex life, his relationship to Christine Vulpius, and Charlotte and Herbert’s marriage. They differentiate between what is made up for the play and what really happened.

Director: Joanna Lu. Taped 3/26/1982.

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Talk Show
Performing Arts
Chicago: “Elliot Norton Reviews; Uta Hagen: Charlotte,” 03/26/1982, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 22, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_3F0E2059C3CD4AE983FDD31DCDEFE180.
MLA: “Elliot Norton Reviews; Uta Hagen: Charlotte.” 03/26/1982. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 22, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_3F0E2059C3CD4AE983FDD31DCDEFE180>.
APA: Elliot Norton Reviews; Uta Hagen: Charlotte. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_3F0E2059C3CD4AE983FDD31DCDEFE180
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