I have to start off this week’s post with an acknowledgement of the amazing Lynn Redgrave. I had the great fortune to meet her and hear her speak at an intimate event hosted by NYWIFT a few years ago. It was in a small but ornate meeting room at some Ivy League college’s alumni center in Midtown Manhattan. There were only a handful of people there (it was a no brainer RSVP for me and thankfully I must have been online right when the email went out) so it was even more special. Lynn talked about her career and her life. My favorite story was about when she and her sister Vanessa decided that they wanted to do Three Sisters with their niece Jemma. Lynn was 47 or 48 at the time, but still wanted to play Masha. She spoke about theatre as a world of wonder so why the hell not.
After the talk, she took the time to meet each of us. She said she could tell I was an actress and called me lovely. It shocked and amazed me. I was so honored to be in her presence; after all she had been through personally and professionally. She spoke with candor about dealing with the professional shadow of her brother and sister, about the inconsistent affections from a father who carried on an affair with Noel Coward. She gave incandescent advice and timeless counsel. It is funny how much it meant to me, means to me, and how life is really one big tapestry.
And speaking of things that are inspiring, I spent an amazing stretch of time at the Frick Museum over the weekend. I had never been there (embarrassing, I know) but now I’m hooked. First, it’s a residence and still very much looks like an elaborate home from the early 20th century. I am a sucker for anything that lets me drop into a different place in time. Don’t even get me started on how much I love the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. I escape into the world and completely submerge myself in the environment. They also have free audio guides. Now I normally pass on those, preferring to experience the museum on my own, but something told me to snag it. And my companions for the day did the same. I don’t want to spoil anything for you so I’m simply going to share a few of my favorite paintings that seemingly follow a “sassy female” theme.
The first is Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ Comtesse D’Haussonville. In full disclosure, I was jazzed that her name is Louise. I felt a kinship. And I loved her spunkiness. The audio spoke of her brazen nature and almost flippant attitude about love.
Next up is Lady Hamilton as ‘Nature’ by George Romney. Emma had quite a life- begun in charm and passion and ending in poverty and exile. Though heralded for her beauty, she was never truly accepted by British society. Ever the outsider, I hope that she found some happiness in the frivolity and deceit woven into her life.
Finally, this might be my favorite. It is Julia, Lady Peel by Sir Thomas Lawrence. There was mention that she might have been an actress. I love the expression on her face, a simply direct honesty. There is a self consciousness in so many portraits (and even in many contemporary photographs). But not here. There is no distance between you and Julia. I would want to be friends with her, I feel as though she would be loyal, eloquent and a hell of a lot of fun. I also think she would let me borrow her amazing hat.
So it is finally starting to feel like spring outside. I swear it went from winter to summer there for a bit. I hope it’s beautiful wherever you find yourself.
And in closing, I am sending virtual love out to my mother and my two grandmothers. I tell them how I feel about them every chance I get but I will welcome any extra chance to express my gratitude. Thank you for helping me to become who I am, I am a very lucky girl.
Happy May everyone,
Things I’m Digging This Week: The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser (I am 20 pages in and hopelessly hooked)
Dream Role: I just read a script in anticipation of a future audition and I WILL get to play this role, start crossing your fingers for me now