Women in Theatre- Rosemary Harris

Women in Theatre- Rosemary Harris


♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>>SHE’S ENGLISH BUT SHE’S OURS. SHE STARRED WITH RICHARD BURTON IN “OTHELLO” AND PETER O’TOOLE IN “HAMLET.” SHE LIVES A QUIET LIFE IN NORTH CAROLINA BUT SHE’S NEW YORK THEATRE ROYALTY. WELCOME TO WOMEN IN THEATRE. I AM LINDA WIENER, THEATRE CRITIC AND ARTS COLUMNIST OF NEWSDAY. AND OUR GUEST IS ROSEMARY HARRIS, WHO AFTER A DAZZLING CAREER IN CLASSICS AND REPERTORIE IS NOW THE PROTOTYPE FOR SOME OF THE MOST FACINATING OF EDWARD ALBEE’S SILVER FOX WOMEN. I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE HERE. THANK YOU SO MUCH.>>I AM GLAD TO BE HERE.>>ARE YOU SURPRISED TO BE FINDING YOURSELF CONSIDERED THE ALBEE WOMAN?>>I THINK SO. IT CAME AS A SURPRISE BECAUSE I’VE ONLY DONE ONE ALBEE PLAY BEFORE AND->>THE FIRST ONE WAS DELICATE BALANCE IN ’96 AND ALL OVER JUSTICE FROM SUMMER 2000.>>WHEN I MET EDWARD OVER THE YEARS, HE WANTED A PRODUCTION ON DELICATE BALANCE AND HE ALWAYS SAID TO ME WE’RE GOING TO DO THAT ONE DAY SO IN THE BACK OF MY MIND I THOUGHT, WELL, MAYBE I WILL. AND I WAS SO PLEASED. THE SECOND ONE, WHICH I’VE JUST FINISHED, ALL OVER, THAT WAS A SPECIAL TREAT.>>ALL OVER WHERE YOU PLAYING “DEATH WATCH” OF YOU PLAYING THE EX-WIFE OF THE MAN WHO’S DYING AND MICHAEL LEARNED AS->>AS “THE MISTRES.” AND THE SON AND THE DAUGHTER AND THE DOCTOR AND THE BEST FRIEND AND THE NURSE AND MARY CARTER WAS THE NURSE AND SHE PLAYED IN THE ORIGINAL PRODUCTION.>>IT MUST — THESE LINES, PART OF WHAT’S SO WONDERFUL ABOUT LISTENING TO EDWARD ALBEE’S PLAYS, I SAY LISTENING BUT ALSO SEEING, CHARACTERS CAN SPEAK IN PARAGRAPHS. I READ THAT YOU DEMAND THAT YOU ARE WORD PERFECT BEFORE YOU GO TO REHEARSALS. DO YOU STILL DO THAT?>>I WISH. I DO FIND AS I AM GETTING OLDER IT IS SO MUCH EASIER IF YOU CAN LEARN IT BEFORE REHEARSAL BEGINS. WHEN I WAS YOUNGER I CAN WING IT MORE. AS YOU GET OLDER, IT IS NOT QUITE AS ACUTE AS THEY WERE. I DO FEEL I HAVE TO LEARN IT EARLIER. IT IS A GREAT HELP. WHEN YOU COME TO REHEARSAL. YOU DON’T HAVE THE OVER FEELING OF GOING HOME AT NIGHT AND SWATTING AND THINKING I CAN’T GO TO BED UNTIL I’VE LEARNT THIS BECAUSE YOU KNOW, YOU ALREADY KNOW IT.>>DOESN’T THE REST OF THE CAST HATE YOU?>>I DON’T THINK SO.>>HERE SHE IS, THE SMARTY IN THE CLASS.>>NO, I DON’T KNOW IT THAT WELL. I THINK IF YOU’VE GOT LONG SPEECHES, IT IS POLITE TO LEARN IT OTHERWISE IN REHEARSAL EVERYONE’S JUST SITTING AROUND WAITING FOR YOU TO GET THROUGH SOME HOW BUT THE SHORTER DIALOGUE, I DON’T LEARN BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE HAVE THEIR OWN INPUTS. THERE WERE QUITE A FEW LONG SPEECHES AS YOU REMEMBER IN ALL OVER. AND I THOUGHT ONCE I GOT THOSE UNDER MY BELT, I’LL FEEL MUCH MORE SECURE.>>I HATE TO BE NAIVE ABOUT THIS BUT LEARNING THE SYNTAX JUST SEEMS SO DIFFICULT AND YOU HAVE THE PLAYWRIGHT RIGHT THERE WHO’S GOING TO KNOW IF YOU CHANGE THE PHRASING DOES IT BEGIN TO HAVE A RHYTHM OR CAN YOU GET IN THE FLOW?>>YES. IT’S ALMOST BLANK VERSE. YES, IT REALLY IT. T.S. ELIOT WROTE HIS PLACE IN BLANK VERSE AT THE COCKTAIL PARTY AND THOSE PLAYS AND THERE IS A RHYTHM TO THEM AND ONCE YOU GET THE RHYTHM, IT HELPS. EDWARD’S LOGIC IS SO WONDERFUL. EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE SHORT SENTENCES. IT IS LIKE THREADING BEADS ON A STRING. YOU GET THAT THOUGHT AND YOU PUT IT ON THE STRING. GRADUALLY, YOU GET ALL THOSE AND YOU HAVE A LOVELY NECKLACE TO WEAR. I MADE ANOTHER ANALOGY WAS THE FIRST SPEECH IN A DELICATE BALANCE WHEN POOR AGNES STARTS OFF AND THERE’S NO HELP FROM ANYONE. I THINK GEORGE WOULD SAY ODD THINGS LIKE, WOULD YOU LIKE A BRANDY OR SOMETHING AND THEN SHE PAYS NO ATTENTION, SHE JUST GOES STRAIGHT ON. AND THAT WAS LIKE CAPTURING THAT TITLE WAVE ESPECIALLY THE CURTAIN WENT UP AND I HAD TO START AND IT WAS LIKE CAPTURING THE BIG ONES AND YOU COULD NOT BREATHE. YOU HAD TO BREATHE, OF COURSE, BUT YOU COULD NOT THINK UNTIL YOU LANDED ON THE SHORE. YOU DID BECAUSE EDWARD GETS YOU THERE BUT YOU JUST GOT TO KEEP GOING.>>IT SOUNDS ADDICTIVE.>>IT IS THRILLING. YOU FEEL QUITE EXHILARATED, LIKE SKIING DOWNHILL VERY FAST. WHICH I HAVEN’T DONE IN MANY YEARS.>>I WON’T EVER ASK IF YOU TRIPPED DOWN THE HILL.>>TRIPPED? OH YES. I NEVER TRIPPED IN THAT SPEECH ACTUALLY. I LOVED IT SO AND I JUST USED TO LOOK FORWARD TO IT EVERY NIGHT. THE FIRST TIME I DID WAS FRIGHTENING.>>HAS HE TALKED ABOUT MORE PLAYS?>>NO, I DON’T KNOW WHAT HE’S WORKING ON NOW. I AM SURE HE’S WORKING ON SOMETHING. HE NEVER STOPS.>>WHEN YOU FIRST CAME TO AMERICA IN 1952. WHY DID YOU WANT TO STAY HERE?>>OH, I LOVED IT. I LOVED IT. IT WAS ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS. I WAS GOING THROUGH MY MIND YESTERDAY, WHAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS IN MY LIFE AND I THINK WHEN I WAS INVITED TO JOIN THE CAST OF THE CLIMATE OF EDEN I WAS A HUMBLE LITTLE UNDERSTUDY IN NOT A VERY GOOD PLAY IN LONDON AND TO BE WISKED AWAY TO BROADWAY AND HAVE THIS WONDERFUL ROLE. THE PLAY ONLY LASTED TWO WEEKS BUT THAT DIDN’T MATTER. I HAD MY TASTE OF HOW WONDERFUL IT WAS HERE. AND I FOUND AN ACCEPTANCE HERE THAT SOMEHOW JUST NEVER FELT QUITE LIKE THAT IN ENGLAND FOR SOME REASON. I WASN’T BROUGHT UP IN ENGLAND, I THINK THAT HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT. I WAS BROUGHT UP WHAT IS NOW PAKISTAN. I CAME BACK TO ENGLAND NOT KNOWING MUCH ABOUT IT. AND THEN I HAD TO GO BACK BECAUSE THE PLAY CLOSED, SADLY. SIX YEARS LATER WHEN I WAS WITH THE OLD VIC, THEY CAME TO THE WINTER GARDEN AND I THOUGHT I AM HERE NOW AND I AM NEVER GOING TO GO BACK. FATE HAS DEALT ME THIS WONDERFUL CARD THAT I AM BACK HERE, SO WHEN THEY ALL WENT BACK I SAID, I AM SORRY, I AM NOT LEAVING.>>YOU DEFECTED. YOU RAN FOR THE EMBASSY.>>THAT WORD WASN’T USED THEN BUT I GUESS I DID AND I LOVED IT HERE AND I ALWAYS HAVE.>>MOST OF THE WORK THAT YOU WOULD HAVE DONE IN ENGLAND AND THE EARLY WORK THAT YOU DID HERE WITH PHOENIX WITH APA PHOENIX AND YOUR THEN HUSBAND ELLIS RABB, WAS REPERTORY.>>YES, A LOT OF IT WAS.>>DID YOU MISS THAT?>>YES.>>DID YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHY REPERTORY NEVER WORKED IN AMERICA?>>THE BOTTOM LINE IS TOO EXPENSIVE. YOU GOT TO HAVE SOME WHERE TO STORE THE SETS. THE LYCEUM WAS A PERFECT PLACE BECAUSE IT WAS DESIGNED AS REPERTORY AND WE COULD STORE THE SET THERE. TIMES HAVE CHANGED AND OUR ACTORS ARE READY TO COMMIT TO THE LENGTH OF TIME. WE ARE COMMITTED FOR AT LEAST A YEAR OR MORE AND I DON’T KNOW IF ACTORS ARE PREPARED TO DO IT NOW. IT WAS NOT A LOT OF MONEY. AND APA WAS UNUSUAL IN AS MUCH THAT WE ALSO SHARED ROLES AND WE DID DIFFERENT PLAYS DURING THE WEEK. WE SHARED A PART. WE DIDN’T WANT TO HOG ALL THE LEADING PARTS. WE SOMETIMES SHARE THEM, FOR INSTANCE, YOU CANNOT TAKE IT WITH YOU. PATRICIA CONOLLY AND I BOTH SHARED ALICE. I STARTED OFF BUT SHE WOULD GO ON AND GIVE ME A NIGHT OFF WHICH WAS WONDERFUL. AT FIRST YOU SAID, NO, I DON’T WANT- THAT’S RIGHT, WE’D BORROW EACH OTHERS PROPS AND THINGS, AND AT FIRST YOU’D BE RATHER PROTECTIVE ABOUT YOUR EVENING BAG OR A PAIR OF SHOES BUT WHEN YOU REALIZE IT IS GOING TO GIVE YOU A NIGHT OFF. OF COURSE, WELCOME TO IT. IT WAS UNUSUAL BECAUSE THREE NAMES WERE PUT IN THE PROGRAM, OUR TWO NAMES WERE OPPOSITE. AND THE AUDIENCE DIDN’T HAVE TO BE TOLD WHO WAS GOING TO PLAY. SO IT WAS LIKE SHUFFLING A PACK OF CARDS REALLY THE WAY THE CAST FIT IN LIKE THAT.>>IF THAT TRADITION HAD CAUGHT ON THE THEATER IN AMERICA AND NEW YORK, IT WOULD BE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT NOW.>>YES, IT WAS A SHAME. WAS IT SIX YEARS WITH T. EDWARD HAMILTON AND ELLIS JOINED TOGETHER AND FORMED THE APA PHOENIX, WHICH WAS WONDERFUL. I GUESS THE TIME WAS NOT RIGHT AND I DON’T KNOW IF IT WILL EVER COME BACK. IT WAS RIGHT FOR THAT TIME BUT I CANNOT QUITE SEE IT HAPPENING. I KNOW TONY RANDALL HAS TRIED TO DO IT BUT — >>SORT OF.>>SORT OF. WELL, I THINK HE’S DONE AS WELL AS HE’S BEEN ABLE TO BUT I DON’T KNOW THAT YOU’LL GET ACTORS TO COMMIT THEMSELVES. IT IS A SHAME BECAUSE IT WAS FUN PLAYING THREE DIFFERENT ROLES. IT KEPT YOU ON YOUR TOES.>>PEOPLE KEEP ON TALKING ABOUT NATIONAL THEATERS STILL AND OF COURSE, YOU WERE THERE WHEN THE NATIONAL THEATER BEGAN.>>YES.>>IS THAT AN IRRELEVANT DREAM NOW?>>I DON’T THINK SO. AFTERALL DIDN’T IT TAKE 300 YEARS TO GET THE BRITISH NATIONAL THEATER GOING. THERE WAS A PICTURE I THINK OF – HE WAS STANDING IN MOURNING IN A TOP HAT AND A BLACK HANDKERCHIEF MOURNING THE NATIONAL THEATRE HAD NEVER HAPPENED. AND THEY KEPT MOVING THE FOUNDATION STONE, PEOPLE KEPT LAYING A FOUNDATION STONE, THEY THOUGHT, WELL, THAT WAS A BEGINNING AND THEN THEY REALIZED THERE’S NEVER GOING TO BE A THEATRE. SO THERE WERE SEVERAL ATTEMPTS. I THINK SHAW, GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, WANTED A NATIONAL THEATRE. HE NEVER GOT IT IN HIS LIFETIME. I THINK IT DID TAKE 300 YEARS. I STILL THINK WE’VE GOT SOME TIME. I THINK THERE WILL BE A HUNGER FOR IT AND THERE WILL BE ENOUGH REALLY GOOD SOLID ACTORS WHO’LL SAY I WANT TO COMMIT TO THEATER FOR A YEAR AND I WILL THROW MY HAT IN THE RING AND DO THESE WONDERFUL PLAYS. I DON’T CARE WHAT MOVIES COME ALONG IN THE MEANTIME BUT I AM GOING TO DO THIS.>>IN MANY WAYS I THINK THAT THIS COUNTRY IS GEOGRAPHICALLY DOOMED BECAUSE THE ACTORS HAVE TO CHOOSE. YOU HAVE TO SPLIT YOUR LIFE IF YOU WANT TO BE IN NEW YORK OR HOLLYWODD. WHILE IN LONDON, BOTH INDUSTRIES ARE RIGHT THERE AND SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO TEAR YOURSELF APART.>>IT’S TRUE.>>RADIO’S THERE, EVERYTHING. I REMEMBER PAUL ROGERS COMING IN TO, I FORGET THE PLAY, IT WAS A PLAY AT THE OLD VIC AND HE RUBBED HIS, OH IT WAS JULIUS CAESAR AND HE SAYS, WELL I KNOW IT’S JULIUS CAESAR BUT WHAT’S THE MEDIUM? BECAUSE HE GOT UP EARLY THAT MORNING AND FILMED, HE’D RUSHED TO THE BBC TO DO A RADIO PROGRAM AND THEN HE’D DONE A LITTLE BIT ON TELEVISION AND HE WAS COMING AT NIGHT TO PLAY BRUTIS IN JULIUS CAESAR. AND HE’D DONE ALL FOUR IN ONE DAY.>>WHAT’S THE MEDIUM. THIS IS A QUESTION->>BUT WHAT’S THE MEDIUM?>>WE ARE LUCKY BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE MUCH OF A FILM INDUSTRY SADLY SO NEARLY SO NEARLY ALL ACTORS ARE STAGE ACTORS.>>WHEN YOU SAY WE THEN, YOU THINK ABOUT YOURSELF AS — >>I DON’T KNOW. I AM COMPLETELY SCHIZOPHRENIC. I WAS SAYING WE BECAUSE I WAS THINKING OF MYSELF WORKING IN ENGLAND BUT THERE ISN’T MUCH FILM INDUSTRY, FOR THEM, FOR US.>>WHOEVER THEY ARE.>>WHOEVER THEY ARE.>>BUT ENGLISH ACTORS ARE INCLINED TO- I THINK IT WAS SOMEBODY ON TELEVISION THAT WAS BEING INTERVIEWED AND THEY HAVE JUST DONE THE FILM. AND THEY SAID WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS AND OH, I AM GETTING BACK TO DO SOME ACTING. [ LAUGHTER ]>>AND HE MADE A MOTION PICTURE. IT WAS A SLIP OF THE TONGUE. SO I THINK ON THE WHOLE ENGLISH ACTORS STILL THINK OF THE THEATER AS THE REAL THING. THEY LOVED DOING FILMS BUT THEY ARE REALLY A GRAVY. WHERE AS I THINK IT IS THE OTHER WAY AROUND HERE.>>RIGHT >>YOU ARE IN SPIDERMAN NOW AREN’T YOU?>>OH YES AND AM I PROUD.>>YOU ARE AUNT MAE IN SPIDERMAN.>>BASKING IN REFLECTIVE GLORY BECAUSE I HAVE VERY LITTLE TO DO. I AM THRILLED BECAUSE 6 YEAR OLDS COME UP TO ME AND SAY, WERE YOU REALLY AUNT MAE? >>ARE YOU A NICE WOMAN? YOU KNOW, FIONA SHAW IS SOMEONE VERY BAD IN HARRY POTTER->>I AM VERY NICE. AUNT MAE IS A PILLAR. SHE’S A ROCK, ESPECIALLY AS PETER PARKER LOSES UNCLE BEN WHO DIES AND HE’S LEFT WITH AUNT MAE. NO, SHE’S A WONDERFUL PERSON. WHEN I HAD THE PART, I DID NOT KNOW THERE WAS AN AUNT MAE BUT I REALIZED SHE WAS A REAL PERSON AND I WAS THRILLED THAT SHE ACTUALLY EXISTS.>>ARE YOU SORRY THAT YOU DIDN’T DO MORE MOVIES?>>RECENTLY, YOU ARE IN THE SAME MOVIE AS YOUR WONDERFUL DAUGHTER WHO WON THE AWARD FOR THE REAL THING. THE SAME YEAR YOU WERE UP FOR A TONY AWARD. IN “SUNSHINE” THE TWO OF YOU, YOU PLAY THE SAME CHARACTER BUT DIFFERENT AGE.>>WE DID NOT WORK TOGETHER, WE OVERLAPPED. SHE SHARED THE SAME — WE DID A TELEVISION SERIES TOGETHER IN ENGLAND->>PETER HALL DIRECTED.>>AND IN THAT WE SHARED THE SAME EARRINGS AND THE SAME PERFUME BECAUSE THIS CHARACTER WORE A PARTICULAR SCENT THAT WE BOTH SHARE THE SAME BOTTLE OF PERFUME. WE ARE SAYING THAT FILMS ARE WONDERFUL. YOU REALLY DO FEEL THAT WHATEVER MEDIUM YOU BEGIN IN IS THE ONE THAT YOU GRAVITATE TO MORE. I THINK PEOPLE WHO START IN FILM AND THEY THINK, WELL, TO DO SOME THEATERS AND WHERE I THINK IN MY LIFE. ALSO, I NEVER FELT THAT I WAS PRETTY ENOUGH. I THOUGHT YOU HAVE TO HAVE REALLY SPECIAL LOOKS. I KNOW I AM NO ELIZABETH TAYLOR OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. I THINK THE THEATER IS THE PLACE FOR ME. I WAS OFFERED A FILM CONTRACT BY JACK WARNER, HE CALLED ME UP PERSONALLY ON THE TELEPHONE BECAUSE EDIE VAN CLEVE WAS A WONDERFUL AGENT IN THOSE DAYS. AND SHE SAID HE CANNOT BELIEVE YOU ARE TURNING IT DOWN AND HE WANTS TO HEAR IT FROM YOUR OWN VOICE. I REMEMBER STANDING IN HER OFFICE, THANK YOU MR. WARNER BUT I REALLY THINK I WOULD DECLINE. IN THOSE DAYS IT WAS A SEVEN YEARS CONTRACT. I KNEW IF I WENT OUT TO HOLLYWOOD, I WOULD SIT BY A SWIMMING POOL FOR SEVEN YEARS AND PLAY LITTLE PARTS AND NOT GET ON WITH MY LIFE. I JUST FEEL I DID NOT HAVE THAT TIME TO WASTE.>>HOW GROWN UP FOR SOMEONE WHEN YOU HAVE TO HAVE WHAT KIND OF SEDUCTION. YOU ALWAYS INSISTED ON HAVING A LIFE.>>I THINK YOUNG PEOPLE ARE SOUND ABOUT WHERE THEY’RE GOING. I DID NOT KNOW THEN WHERE I WAS GOING. I THINK I HAD AN IDEA. SORT OF AN INCREASING PURPOSE OF WHERE I WAS HEADING AND SOMEHOW THAT DIDN’T FIT IN TO MY SCENARIO. I DIDN’T THINK THAT WAS FOR ME. WHENEVER I DID GET OFF WITH THE FILM IN LATER YEARS I WAS DOING THEATERS BECAUSE IT WAS TOO LATE BECAUSE I WAS NOT FIRST ON THE LIST. BY THE TIME THEY GOT AROUND, I WAS DOING A PLAY. NOW, IN FILMS DO SEEM TO POP UP AND I LOVE THEM. IT IS LIKE A WHOLE NEW WORLD AND I ‘M LEARNING AND I GO TO HER FOR ADVISE. SHE’S JUST TAKEN TO IT LIKE IT IS WATER, IT IS NO PROBLEM FOR HER SO EASY.>>WHEN YOU SAY WHAT DIDN’T FIT INTO YOUR PLAN. DID YOU EVER HAVE A PLAN TO LIVE IN NORTH CAROLINA? TELL ME IT IS NOT A LONG CABIN.>>IT IS A LONG CABIN AND IT IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF MY LIFE. I MET JOHN, MY HUSBAND. THE NOVELIST AND WE WERE MATCH MADE AND WE WERE INTRODUCED TO EACH OTHER. SHE MET JOHN AND JOHN WALKED OUT OF THE LIVING ROOM AND SHE SAID, ARE YOU MARRIED? AND SHE CALLED ME UP, ROSIE, THE MAN YOU ARE GOING TO MARRY WALKED INTO MY LIVING ROOM.>>DID YOU KNOW THAT?>>YES, I DID. WE KNEW RIGHT AWAY.>>AND WHAT MADE YOU DO IT?>>THIS IS LIKE CASTING A PLAY. IT IS OBVIOUSLY HAD A GOOD LONG RUN BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 35 YEARS. I KEEP ON SAYING 32 BUT IT IS 35. I HAD A WEEK HOLIDAY BECAUSE I WAS PLAYING WITH APA AND I HAD A WEEKS HOLIDAY AND JOHN INVITED ME DOWN TO STAY WITH HIM IN HIS OLD HOUSE, HE WAS LIVING IN THE HOUSE THAT WAS BUILT IN 1768. HE WAS RENTING. HE MET ME AT THE AIRPORT AND WE WENT BACK TO THE HOUSE TO PICK UP GROCERIES AND THINGS. I SAW THIS PHOTOGRAPH ON HIS DRAWING BOARD AND I SAID WHERE IS THAT? THAT’S THE HOUSE I’VE DREAMED OF ALL MY LIFE. AND HE SAID THAT’S WHERE I’M TAKING YOU TONIGHT. WE GOT IN THE CAR AND WE DROVE ABOUT THREE HOURS AND WHEN WE GOT THERE, IT WAS PITCH DARK. I HAD NO IDEA WHERE I ENDED UP. THE NEXT MORNING, THE BIRDS ARE SINGING. IT WAS POURING WITH RAIN WHEN WE GOT THERE. IT WAS LIKE THE CONGO, THE RAIN WAS JUST COMING DOWN IN SHEETS AND THIS WAS JUST THIS WOODEN SHACK, I DIDN’T KNOW WHERE I WAS. AND IN THE MORNING, THE SUN WERE SHINING AND THE BIRDS WERE SINGING. IT IS A LOG CABIN. WE DON’T REALLY KNOW HOW OLD IT IS. IT IS NOW HAS A HISTORIC PLAQUE SAYING THAT THE HOME OF JOHNNY LEE. WE THINK THE OLDEST PART OF THE CABIN WOULD BE ABOUT 1850 OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. THERE ARE THREE CABINS PUT TOGETHER OVER THE YEARS AND THERE IS SOME ADDITIONS AS WELL. ONE OF THE PEOPLE THAT TAKES CARE OF THE CABIN FOR US IS A 6-FOOT BLACK SNAKE.>>DO YOU HAVE A NAME?>>OF COURSE, HE CANNOT BE THE SAME ONE.>>THEY HAVE A PLAQUE ON HIM, TOO, RIGHT?>>THERE SHOULD BE.>>>YOUR HUSBAND IS THE CO-FOUNDER OF THE NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL OF THE ARTS.>>YES, HE NEVER TEACH THERE. JOHN STARTED SCHOOLS. HE WAS VERY GOOD AT BEGINNING SCHOOLS AND HE PUT THEM ON THE DRAWING BOARD AND SET IT ALL OUT AND HE WALKED AWAY AND LEAVE OTHER PEOPLE TO RUN IT. HE STARTED ABOUT FOUR OR FIVE SCHOOLS IN NORTH CAROLINA. NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOLS OF THE ART AND I AM ON THE BOARD OF VISITORS FOR THAT. I AM PROUD OF IT, TOO. I THINK IT IS A WONDERFUL SCHOOL. AND I OWE IT A LOT BECAUSE I MET JOHN THROUGH THE SCHOOL BECAUSE HE WAS ON A SEARCH COMMITTEE WHEN THE FIRST CHANCELLOR DIED, THAT’S HOW HE CAME TO NEW YORK SO THAT’S HOW WE ALL GOT TOGETHER. JENNIFER ACTUALLY ATTENDED THE NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL OF THE ARTS. I’M ON THE BOARD OF VISITORS. I DID DO A PRODUCTION, I DIRECTED THERE ONCE. I CALL IT REDIRECTING BECAUSE I DID A PRODUCTION OF THE ROYAL FAMILY. THE COMPLETELY COPYING ELLIS RABB’S PRODUCTION. I HAVE TO GIVE IT ALL TO HIM. I FORGOT WHAT I WAS SAYING.>>WELL, I THINK IT WAS WONDERFUL, LOG CABIN STUFF. HOW MUCH TIME DID YOU SPEND THERE AS OPPOSED TO NEW YORK.>>IT DEPENDS.>>AND DO YOU HAVE A HOME IN LONDON ALSO? >>YES. I’M AFRAID SO.>>CAN YOU REMEMBER WHERE THINGS ARE?>>YES, I AM VERY GOOD AT THAT. EVEN THE GROCERIES I CAN REMEMBER WHERE WE’VE GOT SOME FRESH EGGS AND THINGS. I RECENTLY GOT A TINY BROOM CLOSET APARTMENT IN LONDON. BUT, IT WAS TIME. I’D STAYED WITH MY SISTER BEFORE I RENTED AND HAVE TO MOVE OUT. NOW I HAVE A LITTLE TINY PLACE.>>YOUR SISTER WAS AN INTERESTED IN THEATER BEFORE->>YEAH.>>OKAY. FATHER IN THE BRITISH AIR FORCE, YOU GREW UP — >>I DO HEAR THE NAME OCCASIONALLY ON TELEVISION. IT WAS IN THE NORTHERN PART OF PAKISTAN AND IT WAS THE FRONTIER OF AFGHANISTAN.>>AND YOU WOULD SUMMER IN KASHMIR WHICH I HEAR USED TO BE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL.>>BEAUTIFUL.>>IT IS A SHAME THAT THEY ARE FIGHTING.>>BUT WHEN YOU ARE GROWING UP THERE, YOUR SISTER WAS MORE INTERESTED IN THE THEATER?>>YES, SHE WAS EIGHT YEARS OLDER THAN ME. SHE ALWAYS WANTED TO BE AN ACTRESS. I WANTED TO BE WHAT SHE WAS BUT SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT. I REMEMBER HER SAYING THAT WHEN SHE WAS ABOUT TWELVE, SHE WANTED TO BE A STAGE STAR. I MEAN, NOBODY IS A STAGE STAR ANYMORE AS OPPOSED TO A FILM STAR. SHE WAS GOING TO BE A STAGE STAR AND I THOUGHT THAT SOUNDS PRETTY GOOD. I DON’T QUITE KNOW WHAT IT IS. I AM GOING TO BE A STAR STAGE. [ LAUGHTER ]>>THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A STAR STAGE BUT I DON’T CARE, THAT’S WHAT I AM GOING TO BE. I GAVE MY FIRST PERFORMANCE IN INDIA AS IT WAS KNOWN THEN. THE QUEEN AND THE DANCE OF THE SEVEN VAILS.>>THERE WAS A PART FOR A FOURTEEN YEAR OLD IN THAT?>>YES.>>MY SISTER WAS 12 AND THE KING WAS 11-YEAR-OLD.>>AND YOU WERE A CHILD BRIDE.>>I DIDN’T THINK SO. I WAS THE QUEEN AND WE HAD A RECORD, 78, THE WHOLE STORY ON IT. MY CUE WAS THE DOOR OPENED AND JUST AS THE SEVENTH VAIL IS ABOUT TO COME OFF, WHICH WERE OUR LIVING ROOM CURTAINS, I THINK MY SISTER DRAPED HERSELF IN SEVEN LITTLE CURTAINS, THE SEVENTH WAS ABOUT TO FALL OFF AND THE DOOR OPENED AND THE QUEEN CAME WALKING IN.>>AND THAT WAS IT.>>IT WAS A NON-SPEAKING ROLE. ALL I HAD TO DO WAS WALK IN SILENT AND A GREAT DISDAIN LOOKING AT THE KING. I TURNED AND WALKED ALL THE WAY OUT. [ LAUGHTER ]>>I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE AUDIENCE MUST HAVE THOUGHT. I WAS CONVINCED THAT I WAS THE QUEEN.>>ONE GOOD THING ABOUT GROWING UP RIGHT NOW IS THAT EVERYTHING IS ON VIDEO NOW.>>YES, THAT’S TRUE.>>IS THERE A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AUDIENCES IN LONDON AND NEW YORK NOW?>>I THINK SO. I’VE DONE PLAYS IN BOTH PLACES SO I CAN JUDGE. I DID LOST IN YONKERS HERE AND I PLAYED IT IN LONDON AND THERE IS ANOTHER PLAY I HAVE DONE IN BOTH PLACES. THE AUDIENCES HERE ARE MUCH MORE GENEROUS TO ACTORS. THEY ARE MUCH WARMHEARTED. THAT’S PART OF THE NATIONAL CHARACTERISTIC. THE BRITISH ARE MUCH MORE RESERVED AND THAT’S NOT A MYTH. THEY DON’T LIKE TO MAKE A NOISE WHEN THEY GO TO THE THEATER AND HOOT AND LAUGH OUT LOUD. YOU DON’T GET A LOT OF FEEDBACK. WHAT’S HAPPENING. IT IS JUST THAT THEY DON’T.>>HOW SAD DOES THE AMPLIFICATION MAKE YOU NOW?>>I HATE IT.>>CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?>>ALTHOUGH I HAVE TO SAY, I DON’T KNOW, I HATE TO ADMIT IT BUT I HAD TO WEAR A MIC AT THE NATIONAL THEATRE IN THE OLIVIER THEATRE. I INSIST ON CALLING IT THE OLIVIER THEATRE BECAUSE LAWRENCE HATED BEING CALLED OLIVIER. HE USED TO SAY, IT’S NOT A FRENCH NAME. BUT HE SAID I CAN’T STOP PEOPLE. EVERYBODY CALLED ME LAWRENCE OLIVIER BUT I REMEMBER YEARS AND YEARS EARLIER HE WAS ALWAYS LAWRENCE OLIVIER. I CALL IT THE OLIVIER THEATER. I LOST MY VOICE FOR TWO OR THREE PERFORMANCES. I BORROWED ONE OF THE GUARDS BODY MICS AND IT WAS A JOY. I HAD THIS LITTLE BODY OF MY BRUTALIZED LITTLE GRANDSON IN MY ARMS AND I HAD TO SPEAK THIS WONDERFULLY TENDER INTIMATE SPEECH TO HIM. AND IT WAS VERY HARD DOING IT TO THIS LITTLE BROKEN BODY AND REACH THE BACK ROW OF THE OLIVIER THEATER. IT CALLED FOR AN AWFUL LOT OF SKILL AND I’M NOT SURE I WAS UP TO IT. WHEN I HAD THE MIC, I CAN TALK TO THE BABY AND KNOW THAT I CAN BE HEARD UP THERE. I THINK THIS IS RATHER NICE, I CAN GET ADDICTED.>>I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANYMORE.>>I THINK ACTORS SHOULD BE TRAINED TO REACH THAT TOP BALCONY. THERE IS NOTHING MORE WONDERFUL THAN FEELING THAT YOU ARE SENDING IT OUT THERE. IT REALLY IN A WAY WHAT THE THEATER IS ABOUT. THEY SHOULD HAVE A TASTE OF THAT. AND IF THEY WANT TO AND DO THE OTHER THING.>>I CANNOT BELIEVE OUR TIME IS UP.>>OH?>>I HAVE ABOUT 700 QUESTIONS MORE TO ASK. I HAVE TO SAY THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING HERE. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. ON BEHALF OF THE LEAGUE OF PROFESSIONAL THEATER OF WOMEN, I AM LINDA WINER AND THIS IS “WOMEN IN THEATER.” ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

10 thoughts on “Women in Theatre- Rosemary Harris

  1. I don't think Hollywood has given her enough credit.
    She's so sweet, kind & likable, and to me she IS Aunt May!
    Sorry Sally Field

  2. To turn down Jack Warner is very interesting. I really like Rosemary Harris & didn't realize Jennifer Ehle was her daughter. She is Aunt May for me–in my much younger years and really the only series of Spider Man films I ever saw. Had no idea Sally Field ever played Aunt May in one of the series.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *