In Conversation with Mrs. Robinson

What drew you to The Graduate?
The role of Mrs. Robinson. I loved the movie, and she is an icon. The first cougar. An archetype.

Barbara Malangoni with co-star Dean Perrine at the Bon Femme for the Opening Night celebration.What is your experience with the material? Have you ever seen the play? The movie?
I had never read the play. I had seen the movie--a couple of times. I loved it.

What do you think makes this story such an American classic?
First of all--it is edgy. It explores all kinds of things that were hovering around the periphery of discussion in the 1960s: sex, the youth movement, the breaking with conformity, post adolescent angst. These are all things that the previous generation did not have time to do...because they were too busy trying to survive and make a living/life. The character Mrs. Robinson is very well known in both theatre and film - does that affect your approach to the role at all? Yes and no. I loved Ann Bancroft in the movie, but I think the script for the play lends itself to a whole character, while the movie--though it tried not to in a couple of scenes--made Mrs. R. two dimensional at best. Mrs. R. is a real person. She is just trying to survive.

What are some elements to the CST production of The Graduate that you think add a different or fresh twist to a well-known story?
Well, Mrs. R., for example, has redemptive qualities, and we get to see what transpires between Elaine and Benjamin after the wedding. They are not just on a bus with stunned looks on their faces.

What are your thoughts on the cast and crew?
This cast and crew are second to none. I love them all. They all worked very hard to make this show a success. I couldn't be happier with all of them.

What can audiences expect from this production?
Everything they got from the movie x 10

What makes Chicago Street Theatre such a unique venue?
It is intimate, edgy, and dedicated to making Live Art. All who see this show will come away happier for it.