When Beck Center decided to present Terrence McNally's Master Class, artistic director Scott Spence called on local theater legends Dorothy and Reuben Silver to act and direct the tale of international legend Maria Callas. This was a risky proposition. Dorothy Silver was vastly removed from Callas in age and temperament. Even her most ardent devotees were dubious. Then, to complicate matters, the actress underwent two emergency surgeries a few months before the production was scheduled to begin. Rehearsing for weeks from her sickbed, the implacable Silver bent McNally's creation to her own will. In a silly Edith Head pageboy wig and owlish glasses, all she had to do was narrow her acerbic eyes and furrow her imperious brow to make the audience her prisoner. Like the hardy pioneer women of the Old West, she proved herself to be a force of nature.