Hal Holbrook on ...

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

... Mark Twain and Shylock

Both men are at heart realists. Both men witness cruelties and the inhumanity of man's behavior....

But neither man goes wailing off, and neither wears his heart on his sleeve.

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... Shylock and Antonio

Something happened between Keith [Baxter, who plays Antonio] and me after several weeks of rehearsing.

There is an instant when [our characters] almost end up respecting each other. I would never have thought of it; it came out of the play.

I am now seeking - as one does when you're performing a role for a long time - a point in the trial scene when his respect for Antonio's courage can come out.

... Shakespeare and Jews

Some scholars say that Shakespeare could never have known any Jews. If he didn't know any Jews, how could he have written such eloquent speeches about racism from the point of view of the Jew - speeches that have a total understanding of what the racism is about?

Sometimes the best way to do research is to forget the scholars and just use your common sense.

... education

It is a crime that this country, with all its wealth and all its basic goodness, has allowed itself to slip from its preeminence as an education nation.

... culture

There is no real solution to any of our problems, certainly not the problems of racism and poverty, other than education. You can't legislate education. You have to make education desirable.

You have to make it honorable. You have to make it popular. You have to inspire children to want to be educated.

This is where we've fallen down most of all, because the superficiality of our culture is not inspiring children to get educated.

... celebrity

It's a crime that more of the people [who] are tremendously successful, particularly in the sporting world, don't use their great advantage to do more for the healthy development of children today, who admire them and ape them.

We are all living out this cartoon of the macho man and macho woman: Everyone is concerned about their abs instead of their brains.

We've got a lot of firm abs in this country and a lot of dusty, dried-up, unused brains.

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