The actor stars as Gregory Solomon in Arthur Miller's The Price on Broadway.
There's a pivotal scene in the star-studded Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's The Price wherein Danny DeVito's character Gregory Solomon peels and eats a hard-boiled egg, while delivering lines, on stage. It's visceral and compelling—so much so that it's been flagged by critics.
"DeVito, playing the kind of irreverent, hilarious, irritation-generating dynamo that he also does so brilliantly on film—steals the audience’s attention," writes Tim Teeman in the Daily Beast, "especially when it comes to consuming an egg, the shell of which he cracks with his cane. He then eats it with the gusto that Cookie Monster attacks his cookies."
DeVito recently sat down with the New York Times to talk egg—and the pure logistics and pitfalls of peeling and eating a food that can be so unwieldy.
"I use my cane, it's kind of funny I think," he says. "We've had some difficult nights, you know, when some of the peel doesn't come off, some of the egg comes with it. I got a thumb movement and I've developed a this [strums his finger over the hard-boiled egg, like a guitar], you know, this thing, a da-da-da da-da-da da-da-da—aiming toward the bag, always aiming toward the bag because Solomon doesn't clean. That's the way it is."
On stage every night, DeVito only gets on shot at shelling an egg—and getting through a yolk, dry-mouthed, without choking or flubbing his lines. To do this, he has a very specific approach to chewing through the white and yolk.
"I try to like take a nice hefty amount in the very beginning—it's really good to dig into the yellow, because that's where the, like, kinda, masticating conflict is," he says. "It is very difficult to eat just a dry, hard-boiled egg, so it really motivates. If you get enough in there, it motivates the next line, which is, 'There wouldn't be a little salt, I suppose.' Because he really would like a little salt. You need some saliva, you know. Right now, I'm spitting all over the place "