from an article in the independent in advance of the london opening of albee's the lady of dubuque, the author notes:
"These moments, however, are the abrasive side of an impish spirit that tilts at pomposity. Smith didn't even spare Olivier when, in rehearsals for Othello, he said her vowel sounds were getting sloppy. She looked the great man (painted all over to play the Moor) up and down, and, in her best prunes-and-prisms tones, enunciated: "How. Now. Brown. Cow."
Nor has the older Smith been above guying her own image and playing Lady Bracknell out of hours. On Broadway in the Nineties, she was furious that the music of a gospel show in the theatre next door could be heard in her theatre. The management decided to solve the problem by putting thick black velours along the connecting wall. When Smith arrived at the theatre for the next performance, she was told: "I think you'll be very pleased, Dame Maggie. We've hung all the blacks." "Well," she said sternly, "I don't think there was any need to go that far.""