"You've got to talk to him. He's standing there."
"The dramatic moment is over when I don't kill him," I said. "It is a legitimate laugh, because it relieves tension. The only way I'm going to change it is if Joe comes down here and tells me to change it."
So Joe came down, he saw it, and he said, "Leave it in."
Joe would come down once a week and look at the play. "Take that scene out of there and put it here," he'd say. "Take that over there. Get that line away from here. And take that line and give it back to him." And it would work better.
"How do you know how to do that?" I said to him.
"How do you know how to delineate a character?"
"That's my job."
"That's my job."
Miller: It was like therapy, but it was beyond therapy. The play brought out some primordial male paranoia and competition and sense of betrayal that they could not leave on the stage.
Two characters would always band together against the other two characters. "What's he doing? Son of a bitch! Is he upstaging me?" And then the next week it would switch. Then, and this is just human psychology, they were in the grip of something that was a bit beyond them as human beings, they went after the Coach, who was the father figure. Finally, Joe Papp came down. He walked onstage after a rehearsal and he said, "You've got something here, boys, and the only ones that can destroy it is yourselves." And that's all he said. I'll never forget that.
Papp: It was a gorgeous opening, because I felt so proud of that company. I would say this was the best ensemble acting we've ever had. And I was so proud of Jack. The play won every prize.
Bernard Gersten, associate producer of the Public Theater: "Championship Season" was just a stunner, because it was a triple-crown winner, which in New York theater means the New York Drama Critics' Circle, the Tony and the Pulitzer Prize. To win any of these is quite something; to win all three is almost unheard of.