By Andrew Gans
09 Feb 2013
What show recently impressed you?
I still find myself thinking about the Sydney Theatre Company's production of Uncle Vanya, which I saw in NYC last summer. The performances were indelibly human and yet expanded, and the sense of them being a company, palpable. An ear-catching but easy translation by Andrew Upton and Tamas Ascher's direction showed the characters' feelings in a visceral and physical way, as the darkly funny side of Russian angst was portrayed in love scenes in an almost farcical fashion. I wanted it to go on forever, and like a great book, felt equally exhilarated and sad as the curtain fell.
I was also enthralled with Douglas Hodge as Cyrano de Bergerac at the Roundabout. His interpretation put me right inside Cyrano's head, and his heart and his death scene almost tore mine out. Extraordinary.
What production are you most excited to see?
I hope The Revisionist, the new play by Jesse Eisenberg with the inestimable Vanessa Redgrave in the lead, will still be playing when I finish here in Baltimore. I am encouraged to hear a young man would write a role for an older woman and then have the courage to get it to Ms. Redgrave, who obviously saw all its wealth of potential.
Alexi Kaye Campbell's Apologia, which was done at the Bush Theatre in London, provides a fabulous vehicle for a woman my age in the role of Kristin. The plot revolves around, one, Kristin's 60th birthday party to which her sons and their significant others have been invited, and, two, the publication of her memoir, a theoretical defense of a life she will claim was always guided by defined principles after she divorced her husband and moved to Italy, but her memoir does not mention her children. Before Apologia, he wrote The Pride, which was produced in NY at MCC. I also love the role of Mrs. Rich in The Beau Defeated, written in 1700 by Mary Pix; it is a marvelous Restoration Comedy piece. The play perhaps never had the attention it deserved because it was written by a woman, but that should not be the case nowadays. There, too, is Lorca's Bernarda Alba, and then the Shakespearean role I have always coveted is Cleopatra. But I tend to take interesting work wherever I'm offered it. This is a fertile time for an actor, layered as we are with two-thirds of our lives behind us. It is not a time to waste sitting at home waiting for the perfect part to come along.
What are your current/upcoming projects?
Following Everyman Theatre's production of August: Osage County, and the challenging role of Violet, I could say I'd love a couple of weeks in the Caribbean, but in fact I am beginning to workshop a play I have optioned entitled The Goodnight Bird, written by Colleen Murphy, a Canadian playwright of fine repute, winner of the Governor General's Award and the writer of The December Man. A three-hander about a couple in their sixties who have to deal with a young intruder into their condo one night. I shall then be in Paris, where I am playing a nice part in a film called "Dame D'Atout" and then onto the UK for a few months continuing research and writing my memoir. I know, I know, isn't everyone, but it is indeed a great exercise of the mind, an opportunity to sort through one's life with whatever clarity that age has brought yet with a perspective that has not yet begun to cloud or mortify.