Tuesday, August 17, 2010

the purpose of playing..... was and is, to hold as 'twere the mirror up to nature~ Hamlet, III-2

The process of exploring RABBIT HOLE has started—and it’s proving challenging. Lots of my personal life is coming up. Like Nat, I’m a mother and a grandmother. Like this family, I have dealt with the aftermath of sudden, tragic death. Like Nat, I’ve struggled financially. And, like her, I tend to run off at the mouth sometimes. Yeah—a lot of my personal life is coming up……

But that has happened many times throughout my years of theatre.

Tackling Laura in THE GLASS MENAGERIE allowed me to examine my own insecurities from my childhood. I saw how sometimes I let life live me instead of taking control. “I got to put courage in you for livin’, honey.” When I was 35, I played the title role in EDUCATING RITA, about a woman who wants more than just hanging out at the pub at night. She signs up for an Adult Ed. course at the university and it has a profound effect on her life. At the time I was grappling with whether I could find the money and time to go to college and be a mom. I couldn’t, so that dream is still floating out there, but I’ll make it happen someday. And I think I’ll appreciate it all the more for having had to wait.

When I did the 3rd scene/monologue in THREE VIEWINGS about a woman dealing with the loss of her husband, I was trying to process the loss of my marriage. Divorce wasn’t supposed to happen to me and I was kind of at a loss as to what to do next. Virginia had been shielded by her husband and was now alone and scared. Mastering her struggle gave me the strength to work through mine. Directing INDEPENDENCE and CHILDE BYRON gave me new insights into family dynamics and parenting in general, as well as my approach to it in particular. I channeled strength and female empowerment from directing TALKING WITH and “paid back” all the nuns who tortured me with SISTER MARY IGNATIUS EXPLAINS IT ALL FOR YOU. Playing Regan in KING LEAR—the second daughter caught in the middle of a power struggle between her father and her other two sisters—helped me see my own “middle child” traits and overcome the more restraining ones. I realized it’s not my job to make other people happy.

Actually, I think my theatrical experiences have saved me tons of couch time…. I do wonder about one thing though: what did all the hooker roles teach me?


  1. Yes, playing parts can do that, let you examine your life. We read books and see plays for just that encounter, that moment of truth that is ours only, but shared by the entire audience.
    Great post.

  2. Ha!! Good question!!
    I love how art has such far reaching qualities that impact our hearts and minds in ways we could never realize!! 'Tis good you have seen these possibilities!