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Elliot Norton Reviews; Journey of the Fifth Horse


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Elliot Norton Reviews
Journey of the Fifth Horse
Program Number


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 director Adrian Hall, and actors Cherry Jones and Paul Benedict about their production of “Journey of the Fifth Horse” by Ronald Ribman at the American Repertory Theater’s Loeb Theater in Cambridge. Norton calls Ribman’s play an “unusual comedy about a romantic fellow who dreamed of love and wrote his dream in a diary and about a surly editor who reads the diary in the boisterous surroundings of his rooming house in old St. Petersburg, where by high and happy theatrical magic, the dream comes alive in all its charm and gentleness and rueful wonder.” The “romantic fellow,” Nikolai Alexeevich Chulkaturin, is played by Benedict, and his love interest, Elizaveta Kirillovna, is played by Jones.

They discuss how the ART is a permanent repertory company, allowing them to chose the material for the repertory actors, versus picking the material first and then finding actors the play the roles. The guests discuss the onstage relationship between the two lovers as well as the offstage relationship between the actors and director. Norton comments on how full of life each of the 20 characters, played by 8-10 actors, were. He compares them to Charles Dicken’s characters, including Nicholas Nickleby and the guests agree with him.

Adrian Hall talks about Ribman’s process of adapting Ivan Turgenev’s short story, “Diary of a Superfluous Man,” to create the script for Journey of the Fifth Horse, including the formation of the editor character, Owen Zoditch, played by Richard Grusin. The guest and Norton compare this story to other Russian literature, likening it more to Gogol than Chekhov.

Director: Joanna Lu. Taped 1/28/1982.

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Talk Show
Performing Arts
Chicago: “Elliot Norton Reviews; Journey of the Fifth Horse,” 01/28/1982, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 18, 2018, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_5380B1A7ED4440EE93E0281F58EEDDC8.
MLA: “Elliot Norton Reviews; Journey of the Fifth Horse.” 01/28/1982. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 18, 2018. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_5380B1A7ED4440EE93E0281F58EEDDC8>.
APA: Elliot Norton Reviews; Journey of the Fifth Horse. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_5380B1A7ED4440EE93E0281F58EEDDC8
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