American Playhouse: Season 1, Episode 4

Who Am I This Time? (2 Feb. 1982)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Drama
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 567 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 2 critic

From a short story by Kurt Vonnegut. Christopher Walken is a shy hardware store employee. But whenever he takes a part in a local amateur theater production, he becomes the part completely-... See full summary »



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Title: Who Am I This Time? (02 Feb 1982)

Who Am I This Time? (02 Feb 1982) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Episode cast overview:
Helene Shaw
Harry Nash
Robert Ridgely ...
George Johnson
Dorothy Patterson ...
Caitlin Hart ...
Les Podewell ...
Aaron Freeman ...
Jerry Vile ...
Paula Frances ...
Stage Manager
Ron Parady ...
Debbi Hopkins ...
Maria Todd ...
Sandy McLeod ...
Flirt #1
Edie Vonnegut ...
Flirt #2


From a short story by Kurt Vonnegut. Christopher Walken is a shy hardware store employee. But whenever he takes a part in a local amateur theater production, he becomes the part completely--while on stage. Susan Sarandon is new in town, a lonely itinerant telephone company employee. On a whim, she auditions for and gets the part of Stella to Walken's Stanley when the theater group does A Streetcar Named Desire. Before anyone realizes the growing affection between Helene and Stanley, she falls deeply in love with the sexy brute, not knowing what the real man is like. Written by Reid Gagle (with corrections by Fiona!)

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Comedy | Drama


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 February 1982 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The quotations recited by the actors in the various plays, from "Cyrano" to "A Streetcar named Desire" to "The Importance of Being Earnest", are often paraphrased. In the opening act, we watch Harry Nash deliver the final lines of "Cyrano," which were taken not from the well-known translations of the standard texts, but from the film adaptation Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) with translation by Brian Hooker. Edmond Rostand's final two words in the original French were "My panache!" which is usually used in translations. Hooker's version changes it to "My white plume!" Another slight variation occurs in the final lines, when Helene accepts Harry's proposal of marriage and says, "I hope that after we marry, you'll always look at me just like this... especially in front of other people!" In the original play by Oscar Wilde, the line is "I hope you will always look at me just like that, especially when there are other people present." See more »


[as Stanley Kowalski, in the audition]
Harry Nash: [shouting] Pearls, ropes of 'em. What is this sister of yours - a deep-sea diver?
See more »

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User Reviews

how to act and love, by Demme and Vonnegut, starring Walken and Sarandon, what more could you want?
24 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

To answer that question: that it was longer. Then again to counter that own point, maybe this was a film that was very close to Vonnegut's original story, thus not extending it to feature length or making it an actual theatrical release. As it is it should be just a trifle, but it's more than that. Director Jonathan Demme adds a light air of circumstance to the proceedings, and plants some of his trademarks (notably the precise positioning of the camera on faces, as we all know from most of his films) while letting the actors have at it. And it's quite an amazing piece for those who love theater, and how an actor's mind meets with heart. At the same time it's not sentimental; this story of a woman (Sarandon) who keeps moving from town to town and never settling anywhere or meeting anyone, and a man (Walken) who is an introvert who lets himself out through incredible community theatre productions, who meet on the set of Streetcar Named Desire and fall for each other in the oddest way is about as charming as one could imagine.

Aside from the power of seeing Walken take on iconic parts (i.e. Cyrano, Stanley Kowalski), he's fantastic at being incredibly subtle and at underplaying his meek clerk-turned-star. If you want to see him outside of being the Continental or giving gold watch speeches, come here. And Sarandon is excellent too, in a role that requires her to be compassionate and kind and understanding and blah blah and she does it without flinching in a step. It's short, and sadly not longer (though I'd love to see the 95 minute cut from Argentina!), but it's one of Demme's better efforts of the 90s, a true small-town chamber piece of love.

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