This is an audio transcript of the FT Weekend podcast episode: How Shakespeare gave actor Michael Patrick Thornton his life back

Lilah Raptopoulos
When the actor Michael Patrick Thornton was in middle school, he saw the play that made him fall in love with theatre.

Michael Patrick Thornton
Is it permissible to swear in this podcast?

Lilah Raptopoulos
Sure.

Michael Patrick Thornton
OK, so at my first production that I saw, we were bused in. I think I was in seventh or eighth grade and it was Twelfth Night and the first line of Twelfth Night, if I remember correctly, the person comes out and says, If music be the food of love, play on. And the actor came out and it was like ten in the morning was a school show, you know, and he said, if food fuck. And they blacked out on them. And I was like, What just happened? You know? And then the lights came slowly back up, sort of music. And I think in that moment, like the sacred, the poetic and the profane were married. You know, for me, it was hilarious. It was vulgar. It was wrong. An accident was turned into an opportunity. And I think that was kind of the seed, you know.

Lilah Raptopoulos
That’s Michael, talking to me in our studio in New York. Michael actually lives in Chicago, where he has his own theatre, The Gift. You may also know him from the show Private Practice. He played Dr. Gabriel Fife. He was also in Madam Secretary and has been in a lot of other TV shows. For 15 weeks this spring, Michael is in New York. He’s in a new production of Macbeth on Broadway alongside Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga. But Michael’s relationship to Shakespeare goes way back and it runs deep. Shakespeare practically saved Michael’s life. It definitely saved his career.

Michael Patrick Thornton
And I remember reading Shakespeare in grammar school and like, you know, not understanding what the hell they were talking about. But it was it was just so attractive that, well, I know this is English, I know those words, but the arrangement of them, it seems like a code to break, you know. And that was attractive. And then I dropped out of the University of Iowa and kind of a Chicago theatre rite of passage was there is a theatre company called the Ivanhoe Theatre with a very bizarre man who ran it. And it was daytime Shakespeare, you know, miserable early mornings. But, you know, we did Midsummer Night’s Dream and we did Romeo Juliet. And then I got sick in 2003. I had two spinal strokes because the first one was so much fun. I figured, why not do another one? And in speech therapy, I suggested that we do some Shakespeare soliloquies and sonnets. And that’s kind of how I put my voice back together and breathing back together.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Today I talk with Michael about Shakespeare, about performing Macbeth during a Covid spike, about what his career has been like since he recovered. Michael is currently the only actor on Broadway using a wheelchair, and he has thoughts on that. Then we visit one of the UK’s most prolific forensic artists. You know, one of those people that police bring in to sketch criminal’s faces based on how witnesses remember them. She’s not what you might imagine a top crime solver to be. She’s sweet and she’s warm. And she starts by giving the witness a jar of strawberry jam. This is FT weekend. I’m Lilah Raptopoulos.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Lilah Raptopoulos
I went to see the new Macbeth on Broadway. It’s directed by Sam Gold. And in some ways, this is a Shakespeare production for Shakespeare lovers. Gold is a Shakespeare guy. He’s done King Lear. He’s done Hamlet, Othello. But the staging in this one is really contemporary. When you walk into the theatre, the three witches are just hanging out on stage in a kitchen, cooking and listening to podcasts. Michael, welcome. It’s so nice to have you here.

Michael Patrick Thornton
Thanks so much for having me.

Lilah Raptopoulos
So you are currently in Macbeth on Broadway, a very buzzy Broadway show. Can you tell me a little bit about the production and the roles you play?

Michael Patrick Thornton
Sure. I play Lenox, who is a Thane, a Lord and murderer number two, which is, you know, the two reasons you go to see Macbeth, of course, for those two characters.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Yeah.

Michael Patrick Thornton
And it is a very stripped down sort of punk rock-ish, bare-bones, naked aesthetic approach to it. Not a lot of adorned set design or costume design, but very intentional. Very minimalist. And a real lightning rod of conversation, as far as I can tell.

Lilah Raptopoulos
So you open the show and it plays a little with how we see Macbeth, the performance, and can we talk about that or is that a spoiler?

Michael Patrick Thornton
No. I mean, the only reason that exists is because of Covid. So I got Covid right before we opened, as did several of our cast members.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Yeah.

Michael Patrick Thornton
To such a degree that all our understudies were in. And the only way the show could continue that evening was if the director stepped in and took my place. So, Tony award winner Sam Gold goes in for me and just as a way to manage expectations, gave this little preamble on a microphone of, Hey, this is what you can expect. I’m stepping in for Mike. Here’s a little bit about the play and sort of blundered into a great device to sort of demystify the play, demystify Broadway in a way. Bring us back to a sense of maybe how it might have been to be in attendance at the Globe back in the day when people were just kind of carrying on and laughing and having a beer and it wasn’t so precious, you know?

Lilah Raptopoulos
Yeah.

Michael Patrick Thornton
But public address is something I’ve done a lot of my career. I’ve done a lot of one person shows. I love creating a relationship with the audience. It’s very scary. It feels like, you know, working without a net and it just seems very humane in a way and kind of the heart of what theatre is. And I love it, you know, it’s, it’s one of my favourite parts of the play.

Lilah Raptopoulos
So Michael opens the show and he’s a pretty prominent figure throughout it. He sort of reminded me of a gentle guide, like a friend weaving in and out. That’s partially because of this first moment where he literally welcomes the audience into the theatre. And it’s also because he delivers Shakespeare’s lines in a really conversational way, that way where you easily forget they were written 500 years ago. The story of how Michael got so familiar with Shakespeare, how Shakespeare practically became part of him, goes back to a life-threatening incident from his early twenties. Can you tell us what happened?

Michael Patrick Thornton
I wish I could. A spinal stroke is a medically idiopathic event. It’s a Dr House episode, and no one really knows why. It’s very rare. The short version of it was I had a pain in my neck on St Patrick’s day, at night, and within 30 minutes was on life support. It was a horrific pain. Felt like a football team wearing high heels, was standing on my neck. And then I was in a medically induced coma for five days. I remember it. I remember the sound of the ventilator and I couldn’t move anything. I remember people talking in my room. I woke up to a priest giving me my last rites.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Oh, my God.

Michael Patrick Thornton
I sort of did the sacraments in the wrong order and then was extubated and things were waking up. I got transferred downtown to recuperate and then, you know, out of nowhere, another one happened.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Michael was 23. He had just finished a training programme at the Steppenwolf Theatre, one of Chicago’s most prominent. He’d just gotten his union card as an actor. His career was on the up, and now suddenly he couldn’t move the lower half of his body. He could speak, but he couldn’t project or control his breathing. He had to relearn how to function in the world. And he had to learn how to act all over again. You said that one of the forms of restorative therapy was using Shakespeare. What did that involve?

Michael Patrick Thornton
Laura Hinkes Molinaro was the speech therapist and we would start small, you know, she would start a couple of feet away from me and see if I could make it through a line, you know? And my diaphragm didn’t know when it was depleted of oxygen because my spinal cord was in conversation with it. So I would start a sentence and then kind of get a third of the way through and kind of black out, you know? And she just kind of kept moving the goalposts. You know, she would sit farther away from me. And then we went into their small auditorium that they used for kind of presentations. And then we went into thinking what theatre might have been Steppenwolf or some theatre gave us access to their space on an off day, and we just kind of kept widening the aperture until I was able to fill a room, you know?

Lilah Raptopoulos
What worked? Like, what were the things that worked? What was it about Shakespeare that worked? Do you think that it was the rhythm of it? Was it like the iambic pentameter that helped with breathing, or was it just the fact that you were doing theatre and that . . . 

Michael Patrick Thornton
It’s a great question. I had never considered that the built-in sort of tempo and rhythm of Shakespeare would have contributed to a little bit of internal marshalling of breath. And I don’t know. And I, I simply remember being like, you’re going to have to kill me to prevent me from doing this. Like one way or the other, I’m getting back to acting. And I think that’s, that was an extraordinary gift because I think the kind of hidden opportunity in clawing your way back from death and learning how to speak and talk again is that I had to confirm for me that it was acting. That was kind of the thread that I was pulling on to find my way out. You know, it wasn’t doing it for my family. It wasn’t doing it for how I’d like to have kids someday and I need to, whether or not, be a little more independent. It was I need to act again. I don’t know why it was Shakespeare. You know, I don’t remember if it was Laura’s suggestion or mine even. But it was a hell of a of a breadcrumb to follow out of hell.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Michael remembers this one scene in particular that he used to practise. It’s from Othello, but the lines are from the villain, Iago. Iago is trying to endear himself to the audience. He’s trying to let them know that even though he’s about to do a lot of bad stuff, his motives are not all bad.

Michael Patrick Thornton
He says, for one, my outward action doth compliment the native act and figure of my heart. Uh, in complement extern ‘tis not long after. But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve, for daws to peck at. I am not what I am. And I remember just being like, OK, today I can’t move my left arm. That’s who I am today. And then maybe tomorrow I’ll be this other person who can push myself down a hallway. It just was a kind of a comforting line of, things are healing. It’s slow. It’s glacial. But you know who you are today is not who you’re gonna be tomorrow.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Eventually, Michael could control his voice again. He could move comfortably in a wheelchair, which is how he appears on stage today. But he was re-entering acting in a very different place. This world was not exactly welcoming to an actor with a disability.

Michael Patrick Thornton
It was like this double life or this weird Groundhog Day thing where I would go back to these offices where I had auditioned when I was, you know, non-disabled. And now all of a sudden it’s like, well, you can’t enter through the front door. You got to go to the back. And this like completely like bombed out looking alley and get wheeled up this rusted out ramp and then wait for like the freight elevator, which like reeks of spilt pop and like rotted produce. And that was demoralising and I couldn’t get seen for anything. It was like, have you been injured at work commercials, you know? And the only company besides my theatre company, besides my own, The Gift that would employ me as an actor, was Steppenwolf.

Lilah Raptopoulos
But eventually, with the help of a casting producer friend, he got an audition. It was for Private Practice, a wildly popular spin-off of Grey’s Anatomy, run by Shonda Rhimes. He played a recurring character, a doctor who happened to use a wheelchair. And it shifted the trajectory of Michael’s career. Now he’s on TV, he’s on Broadway, he has his own theatre. A few years ago, Michael played Richard III there, who’s a character that’s often interpreted to have a disability. I asked him about it. So, Richard III has a history of being played as a disabled character.

Michael Patrick Thornton
What? (laughter)

Lilah Raptopoulos
I say to audiences . . . 

Michael Patrick Thornton
I would assume all the actors playing him were disabled as well, right? What they what do you mean to tell me that, that non-disabled actors play disabled character in the entertainment industry?

Lilah Raptopoulos
Shocking. I’m sorry.

Michael Patrick Thornton
But what does that do to the morale of disabled audience members who watch and are waiting to see themselves represented?

Lilah Raptopoulos
Well, that’s why I brought it up . . .

Michael Patrick Thornton
Sure, your facts are wrong. This is the Financial Times. You should do your research better. (laughter)

Lilah Raptopoulos
Yeah. How do you feel about that?

Michael Patrick Thornton
You know, I think, look, we should live in a world where people could play, you know, many different things, but we don’t.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Right.

Michael Patrick Thornton
And you know that disability is the largest minority in the world and the least represented.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Yeah.

Michael Patrick Thornton
And that’s weird. It’s very strange and we should ask ourselves why that is. And we should ask ourselves why we’re interested in disabled stories. Where, at the end, the person can walk again. And I have been. I have tried to be very judicious. Sometimes you need to pay the rent. But I’ve tried to be judicious in my career to play characters where, for the most part, the wheelchair is not part and parcel of a plot device. It’s not a dramaturgical thing that needs to be solved. It’s there. It’s just there, you know? And the more I can force audiences into a sort of context, less crossroad, where they have to either spend time being like, I wonder what that’s about or just give that up.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Yeah.

Michael Patrick Thornton
And go along for the ride. I think a beautiful thing happens when they choose the second option, which is that they accept you as a human being, you know, and that’s kind of all we’re asking for. It has changed, the industry has changed a lot in the time that I’ve been working. But it is woefully under-represented. It’s really a crime, you know.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Yeah. How do you see it changing? I mean, what do you envision?

Michael Patrick Thornton
I mean, I think, I envision seeing disabled artists working in front of and behind the camera on TV sets. I see stories where disabled actors are, you know, part of the world and they don’t have to be objectified or turned into a feel good trope. You know, like, I’m not here to inspire you. You know, like, I know my story is kind of inspiring and weird and like, interesting and I get all of that. But, you know, I have no interest in being known as like a great disabled actor. You know, it’s like me saying, like, you’re a great interlocutor with blue rings on right now, you know what I mean? It’s like, it shouldn’t mean anything . . . 

Lilah Raptopoulos
Yeah.

Michael Patrick Thornton
You know, but I think the fact that the scale is so disproportionately tipped and we’re so disproportionately under-represented speaks more about the culture that is keeping us out of the doors than we who are trying to get into them. You know.

Lilah Raptopoulos
I have to say, watching you and I mean, not only was the fact that you were in a wheelchair, it really felt like it didn’t matter. There wasn’t like I wonder why it kind of just didn’t matter at all.

Michael Patrick Thornton
Yeah.

Lilah Raptopoulos
But also, I just really enjoyed when you were on stage, like you speak very naturally, like you speak the language of Shakespeare very naturally. It feels like totally conversational and part of you and sort of modern.

Michael Patrick Thornton
Yeah.

Lilah Raptopoulos
How do you do that?

Michael Patrick Thornton
(Laughter) Well, thanks. You know, the theatre company, of which I’m an (inaudible) member, The Gift. You know, we’re in a very sort of working class, cops and firemen, you know, neighbourhood. And we’re also dorks that we love Shakespeare and we love difficult language, but there’s a great bullshit indicator that our audiences have. They feel like they’re being talked down to. And so we sort of need to, have needed to make some of these productions that are verbally intricate and baroque, feel like people hanging in a bar, you know, talking.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Yeah.

Michael Patrick Thornton
It’s this really challenging and difficult magic trick where it involves a shit ton of preparation. Like, you know, I’m geeking out of like looking up the definitions, connotations in the denotations of words that are a little weird, you know . . . 

Lilah Raptopoulos
Right.

Michael Patrick Thornton
It’s also image play. It’s like, you know, he has a word that does not make sense for you and I to use like right now, you know, but I have to kind of make you see something else, you know, and . . .

Lilah Raptopoulos
Oh, interesting.

Michael Patrick Thornton
Yeah.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Like what?

Michael Patrick Thornton
Um, there’s a line in Macbeth that’s really weird where he’s, where I say who then shall blame his pestered senses to recoil and start when all that is within him does condemn itself for being there. And “recoil and start” is weird to me. It, that’s not quite immediately understandable in terms of the sense of the line. The sense of the line is. Who among you is gonna think a dude like this can, like, change himself, you know what I mean? And kind of turn a new leaf over, you know? And so that’s kind of what you’re thinking when you say recoil and start. You’re kind of like, he can change himself.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Right.

Michael Patrick Thornton
And so it’s a little bit of manipulation with, it’s telepathic manipulation, you know? So, and that’s what I love about it. So thank you for saying it sounds conversational because it’s a hard trick to pull off.

Lilah Raptopoulos
It looks easy, which most hard things do.

Michael Patrick Thornton
Good. Exactly.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Michael, thank you so much.

Michael Patrick Thornton
Yeah, of course.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Lilah Raptopoulos
You know you’re a good forensic artist when even the suspect likes your drawing.

Melissa Dring
The policeman happened to have a copy of my drawing in his pocket and pulled it out and showed him and he said, Oh, that’s very good, isn’t it? Can I have a copy for me, ma’am? The, the criminal.

Lilah Raptopoulos
That’s Melissa Dring. She’s 78 years old and she’s been helping the British police catch perpetrators of horrible crimes for 35 years. She’s really good at it. And the way she’s able to draw faces based on someone else’s description is a little different than how you might expect. Here she is telling journalist Will Coldwell how she starts when she meets a crime victim.

Melissa Dring
First we just sit and chat for a bit. And this is my police bag. A whole lot of creatures come out.

Will Coldwell
Is that for . ..

Melissa Dring
Anybody. Truck drivers . . .

Will Coldwell
Yeah.

Melissa Dring
Not just little girls, darling. Yes. But people make a beeline for dogs and tigers and, oh, jar of homemade jam, right.

Will Coldwell
And, what’s the jam for?

Melissa Dring
Oh, because I just want to arrive with a little present. And I know it’s not like celebratory things, they’re not flowers or chocolate. I have to really think about it. What was a real mumsy thing to take?

Lilah Raptopoulos
This isn’t something I’ve ever thought about. But how would you draw someone based on a vague description? You could ask what kind of nose and eyes the person had, but it turns out people are really bad at remembering nose and eye shapes, let alone describing them. Police sometimes use forensic kits that let you assemble a face from existing types of noses and eyes. But even having those shapes in front of you doesn’t make you remember them better. Melissa’s approach is deeply interpersonal. Her jam, her stuffed animals. They’re all about making people comfortable. And that’s the first step in coaxing their memory out of their heads and then on to her page. Because think about it, she’s asking them to face a terrible moment, often the worst in their lives, and tell her about it.

Melissa Dring
Well, the first question would be sort of would you know him if you saw him again?

Will Coldwell
Hmm.

Melissa Dring
What sort of job could you imagine him doing? Sort of again, indoor or outdoor? What sort of level of education? Would he be kind to animals? And does he remember his mum’s birthday and send her a card? All this sort of ridiculous. All right. Who washes his socks? All these questions are my way of getting them to think about that person. And while they’re thinking about, well, I wonder who does wash his socks, more of the physical memory that I’ve got at the end of the afternoon to draw comes back.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Will recently wrote a great profile of Melissa for FT Weekend magazine. I put the piece in the show notes. Hi, Will. Welcome to the show.

Will Coldwell
Hi.

Lilah Raptopoulos
He first saw Melissa in a true crime documentary on Netflix called The Hunt for Bible John about a serial killer in Scotland. Melissa was in it and when Will googled her, he also realised that she worked on a ton of other high-profile cases, including the 2007 case of Madeleine McCann. He gave her a call and she agreed to talk, so he drove up to her house in Northampton.

Will Coldwell
She’s a very kind of warm and welcoming person. As soon as I kind of was welcomed in, she handed me a pair of red slippers to put on. She baked some homemade bread and some soup for me for lunch. You know, she definitely took me in and were very hospitable, which I came to realise was a kind of character trait that says a forensic artist very well, since you need to kind of make someone feel enough at ease that they’re willing to kind of share a potentially very traumatic experience, and for them that memory to loosen up, I think you need to have someone feeling relaxed.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Well, can you walk us through how she does it? It struck me that, like, memory is a mysterious thing. Like it’s something that we are kind of chasing. I would imagine that it’s a very psychological thing to get somebody into a place where they can remember things that maybe they didn’t think they’d.

Will Coldwell
Yeah, completely. And, you know, again, that that’s down to the skill of the interviewer or, you know, in Melissa’s case, the skill of the artist to kind of nurture a kind of environment where someone can kind of draw out these memories. And she follows the cognitive interview technique, which is was taught to her at the FBI Academy and is quite a kind of standardised structure for interviewing witnesses. And, you know, it kind of does follow that sort of process of creating a bit of a rapport with the witness and then talking around it in certain ways. And, you know, before you get to the more granular details and that’s been kind of proven to be quite an effective way to draw out memories from someone. And that’s used in policing quite widely, I believe. But obviously with there’s another layer to it, which is then you have to kind of accurately draw that. And then there’s the skill of the artist to translate those words into something visual.

Lilah Raptopoulos
How does Melissa know that she’s done a good job with the drawing itself?

Will Coldwell
Well, when she you know, when she shows it to the witness and sees how they react, because at the end of the process, she has a kind of a witness statement which needs to be signed. Butou know, she told me that people often react very strongly to it, especially if they, you know, people find themselves staring back at the person that attacked them.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Yeah. Did she talk about that moment? Like what kinds of reactions?

Will Coldwell
Yeah. I mean, she told me that people kind of, you know, flush bright red, you know, tear up. She said one person had to kind of go and be sick because they felt so, I guess, traumatised by seeing that image which is quite, you know, I guess I can understand that.

Lilah Raptopoulos
There aren’t many forensic artists in the UK and these days technology does it almost as well, in some cases better. In 2007, a new system came to market called EvoFIT, which uses AI. People are shown a series of entire faces, not pieces in parts, and then they choose faces that look like the suspect. Those get combined to create a composite face. The hit rate for EvoFIT has gotten to about 60%. That’s really high. It’s actually higher than forensic artists. But Will says that does not mean that Melissa’s job will go extinct.

Will Coldwell
More recently, in the last decade or so, there have been new computerised versions of these identification tools which have kind of proved to be more effective than artists. But that isn’t to say that they always will be, because there’s a freedom and flexibility to an artist drawing something which can’t always be recreated by a computer.

Lilah Raptopoulos
The one thing that really separates a forensic artist from a computer programme is that a forensic artist is human. It struck me that it was such compassionate work. I didn’t really think of it as that, but of course.

Will Coldwell
Yeah, completely. I hadn’t thought about that as well. I kind of thought of it as a more kind of technical process. I hadn’t thought so much about that kind of emotional element to it. And I think, you know, it’s Melissa told me she has to kind of sometimes it’s difficult for her to kind of keep it together. It’s very difficult to hear these experiences of crime victims because, you know, you wouldn’t get a forensic artist to kind of sketch a shoplifter or, you know, someone that’s smashed someone’s car window. And, you know, these are these are serious crimes. These are these are rape, these are murders, abduction, this kind of quite violent offences. And, you know, it’s a very kind of sensitive process, I think, to kind of to go through.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Yeah, I would imagine that it’s difficult not to bring that home. And I’m curious if you got the sense of how she handled that. How did she talk about whether she was how she brought her work home, how she dealt with going into these moments of trauma with people?

Will Coldwell
Yeah. I mean, I got a strong sense from Melissa that she takes her sense of duty quite seriously and has a kind of slightly, you know, English, you know, emotional restraint to her too.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Here’s how Melissa responded to whether she feels any secondary trauma.

Will Coldwell
Does it kind of, have you ever found it difficult kind of hearing these things from people is like, what’s the kind of, has there ever been, has there been a kind of emotional impact on yourself having to kind of absorb?

Melissa Dring
No. You have to keep it separate.

Will Coldwell
Yeah. So you’ve always been able to kind of do those interviews and kind of . . . 

Melissa Dring
Yes. Yeah. You know, go home and feel upset. Probably. Especially if it’s somebody young.

Will Coldwell
Yeah, that’s what I mean. Like, do they want to stay with you for a while?

Melissa Dring
Oh, yes. Yeah.

Will Coldwell
And is that difficult then, or do you see it as such a part of the has just opened due to.

Melissa Dring
Yes, it is part of it. I think so. You know.

Lilah Raptopoulos
For Will, hearing Melissa’s story changed how he thinks about memory. Well, did writing this piece make you look at faces differently?

Will Coldwell
Oh, yeah, completely. I’m actually quite, quite bad at recognising faces. And I guess I found myself thinking about the difference between kind of recognition and recall and how we kind of take for granted that we recognise people when we see them. And we’re very good at doing that for the most part, but we are very, very bad at recalling things as well. I found it interesting, this kind of tension between a really instinctive response we have, the operating kind of does without us even trying, and then this kind of very complicated muddy space of memory and how we kind of extract things from it.

Lilah Raptopoulos
Will, I feel like I will, every face I see for the next two weeks, I’ll be trying to remember. Thank you so much. This is fascinating.

Will Coldwell
Thanks for having me.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Lilah Raptopoulos
That’s the show this week. Thank you for listening to FT Weekend the podcast from the Financial Times. Next week we spend the whole episode on the likely repeal of Roe v Wade and the right to abortion in America. Please do follow FT Weekend Podcast and leave us a review or maybe tell two friends about it or share it on your Twitter or your Instagram story. If you like listening, that is the best way you can support us. It really helps people find the show. It was so nice to see so many of you in DC last weekend at the FT Weekend Festival. I just love meeting you. So in that vein, please keep in touch. Let us know what you’re reading or watching or interested in culturally right now. You can email us at ftweekendpodcast@ft.com or on Twitter @ftweekendpod, and you can find me on Instagram and Twitter @lilahrap. You can see photos of Michael Patrick Thornton in our studio and photos of Melissa and her sketches on my Instagram. I’m Lilah Raptopoulos, and here is my talented team. Katya Kumkova is our senior producer. Lulu Smyth is our assistant producer. Our sound engineers are Breen Turner and Samantha Giovinco with original music by Metaphor Music. Zoe Sullivan is our contributing producer and Topher Forhecz is our executive producer. And thanks go as always to Cheryl Brumley and Renee Kaplan. Please take care and we’ll find each other again next week.

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