Instant love affairs were ignited in the audience when Carey Mulligan first rushed onto the Broadway stage in 2008, thanks to an impossibly romantic entrance Anton Chekhov concocted for his lovely, luminous, ill-fated Nina in The Seagull.
Nina's lover, Konstantin, sensing her approach, is waxing eloquent about her to his uncle — "I can't live without her. Even the sound of her footsteps is beautiful. I'm out of my mind with happiness" — and then, startlingly, there she is: a snow flurry of girlish exuberance and starry-eyed innocence, light and white and radiantly real.
Here is a look at the production:
Carey Mulligan Stars in Through a Glass Darkly
At the time, it seemed like the breathlessly brave arrival of a star, but, truth to tell, Mulligan had already laid groundwork for her breakthrough, playing Nina in London and landing her first film lead — a teen coming of age in the '60s in "An Education."
Some critics thought they'd just stumbled across another Audrey Hepburn. The performance earned her Oscar consideration, won her nods from BAFTA, the National Board of Review and the Independent Spirit Awards, among others, and got her big-time Hollywood attention: "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" opposite Shia LaBeouf, "Drive" opposite Ryan Gosling and "Shame" opposite Michael Fassbender. As holidays go, this one is pretty harrowing and heavy-duty. Her character, Karin, has just been sprung from an asylum and sent vacationing with the three men who more or less put her there in the first place — her scholarly, neglectful dad (Chris Sarandon), her empathetic doctor husband (Jason Butler Harner) and her younger bro (Ben Rosenfield). Wild mood swings keep everybody tapping as fast as they can.
"The play takes 90 minutes to tell the story, and there are only two points in the play where I leave the stage," Mulligan notes. "In the play version, we come on it full-speed, and it just keeps going. David Leveaux, the director, describes Karin as being so down she has a scream right at the bottom of her throat — that's how we find her.