Law student Paul Cunningham arrives for his first day at a job typing advertisements where he meets supervising typist Miss Sylvia Payton, a day evolves fragmentedly showing many days of ... See full summary »

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Sylvia Payton
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Paul Cunningham
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Law student Paul Cunningham arrives for his first day at a job typing advertisements where he meets supervising typist Miss Sylvia Payton, a day evolves fragmentedly showing many days of their relationship, indicated by costume changes for flashforwards and flashbacks as they learn more about each other and hint on and off about romance, despite the fact that Paul is married with children. Written by Scott Andrew Hutchins <scottandrewh@yahoo.com>

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7 October 1971 (USA)  »

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Broadway Theatre Archive: The Typists  »

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1.33 : 1
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Incredible Performances from Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson
14 January 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I believe this was first presented off-Broadway in New York and after it got such rave reviews, was re-created for PBS TV's Great Performances (I might be wrong with the program). But, it was wonderful. It shows why Wallach and Jackson are among the great acting duos in theater history like Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Alfred Lunt & Lynn Fontaine, even George Burns and Gracie Allen! The realism in these performances was especially striking. For anyone who has studied acting, THIS is where you want to end up, like these two: KNOWING YOUR CRAFT. Getting yourself INSIDE the character and becoming that person is the goal and that's exactly where Jackson and Wallach are in this play. They know how to use props, just HOW to react to a line and they are perfectly prepared to give just enough to bring these people to life. I studied at the HB Studio in NY and recognize their technique. It works!

Working every day can be a tough grind. In a small office like this one (two people) and a boss you never see in the inner office, you get to know one another very well. During the course of the movie (play) these two not-so-young adults, laugh, argue, share stories, have lunch, get involved in office politics, power-grabbing, grow older, and eventually, face hard realities as the years drift by, leaving them two old people, still working at the same job 40 years later. It teaches people in their 20s that youth is fleeting and before one realizes it, middled-age arrives and suddenly, out of nowhere, you're old. All the hopes and dreams of "becoming a lawyer" or "having my own business" are nothing but childhood dreams, unless you have adult support to attain those goals. This is a heartbreaking play -- joyous, sad, funny and thought-provoking. The whole effect here is like sitting in a theater.

I hope this is out on DVD. I have a good VHS copy from PBS, but I'd love to have it on DVD, hopefully with comments from my former neighbors, Wallach & Jackson, from the west 70s and 80s (I used to see them walking their dog when I lived up there).


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