Friday, September 16, 2005

A duck with gills

Time for some real content: here's a nice and long interview with Rosemary Harris from 1986, when she was performing in Neil Coward's Hay Fever. Below are some bits where her daughter is mentioned, but do read the entire article, it's colourful and very funny.

On coincidences:
... Harris delights in that sort of coincidence, finding some sort of comfort at fates intersecting. When she played Mrs. Ramsay in a television production of "To the Lighthouse," for example, she was on location in Cornwall. "My mother died in Cornwall when I was 14, and Virginia Woolf's mother died when she was 14, and my daughter was 14."
...
In 1956, she almost rented an apartment (she is Americanized enough not to say "flat") in Queen's Gate in London from which she could see a girl's school where the students wore purple berets and blazers. Then unmarried, she would daydream about one day having a little girl who would go to the school and wear a purple blazer.
...
But over 25 years later she happened to be back in London doing a production of "All My Sons," and this time she had a 12-year-old daughter who needed a school. And what was the one school that took in a foreigner late in the term?

"I couldn't believe it," Harris said. "I had to go all the way round, go to America to seek my fortune and fate, and it brought me back to Queen's Gate."

On transformations and exhilaration:
It is a role that is both exhausting and exhilarating, Harris said. "My dressing room {in New York} is one flight up and if there had been a camera at the top of the stairs you'd see this bag lady sort of galumphing up {before the play}, puffing and panting and heaving herself up the stairs, and after the first act curtain this vision in pink chiffon, jumping up the stairs two at a time, whistling and singing."

The atmosphere backstage after the show is so giddy that Harris' daughter Jennifer, who is at school in Michigan, asked her not to call from her dressing room, where she has the habit of passing the phone around to whoever is there. "She said it was rather like talking into a champagne glass," said Harris.

2 comments:

Chelsea said...

Wow! She was witty even as a child...

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