The writing bug has completely infected actress Lynn Redgrave. The British star, whose Broadway work included the self-penned Shakespeare for My Father, is readying The Mandrake Root for revised run at San Jose Repertory Theatre with hopes for Off-Broadway to follow.
But that's not all. While in the Bay Area, Redgrave plans to stage a first ever reading of her latest work, Nightingale, at the Rep. Describing the one-woman show, which she wrote for English actress Caroline John ("Dr. Who"), Redgrave said, "It's a real tour-de-force for an actress of a certain age. She runs the gamut from 11 to death in a whole series of monologues."
Although not a continuation of The Mandrake Root, the new play's main character is the mother of the matriarch Redgrave plays in Root. That is Rose, a strong, but somewhat mad head of great family who is seen through the eyes of her daughter Sally. Around them, Redgrave has crafted a story of betrayal, sex and crippling family errors. The character she plays, the actress-playwright admits, is much based on her mother, the British actress Rachel Kempson.
Mandrake Root, in its original run at the Long Wharf Theatre, extended for an extra month. Redgrave has hopes for this revised version as well, which has eliminated the character of Kate and beefed up and clarified the role of Sally. "We have producer who wants to bring it to New York, probably to Off-Broadway. But as they say 'There's many a slip from cup to lip.' We'll see how it does in San Jose."
One of five generations of actors in the Redgrave family, Lynn already visited her family on stage with her Tony-nominated one woman show, Shakespeare for My Father. Other theatre work has included the Tony-nominated Mrs. Warren's Profession, Black Comedy, Aren't We All and Moon Over Buffalo. She was recently nominated for an Academy Award for "Gods and Monsters," her second such honor after being tapped for playing the title role in "Georgy Girl." Tickets to The Mandrake Root are $20-$44. San Jose Repertory Theatre is located at 101 Paseo de San Antonio between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. For reservations, call (408) 367-7255. San Jose Repertory Theatre is on the web at http://www.sjrep.com.
— By Christine Ehren