State of the Arts
October 17, 2002
Many thanks to Canton (Ohio) City Schools Television and my transcriber.
Please do not repost or reproduce any part of this page.
Welcome to State of the Arts. I'm Lois DiGiacomo, your host, and director of the Rainbow Repertory Company. We begin this program differently today. This is program number ninety-three, and we are taping on October 17th, 2002.
Our first guest is Captain Kathryn Janeway – better known as Kate Mulgrew. Welcome Kate.
KM: Thank you very much. Or the reverse! Kate Mulgrew – better known as Captain Janeway, these days!
LDG: Do you hope one day to have a role that kind of supercedes that – that you're known as someone different?
KM: Well of course one hopes to transcend any type of typecasting. But I would have to say if that's going to be the legacy, it's a pretty nice one to go out with. I think that Captain Janeway stood for a great many things, and she certainly served as a role model.
KM: Something of which I'm terribly proud. And I realize that I’m going to have to work a little harder to overcome any stigma that might be attached to that. But I've been an actress for thirty years, so if that doesn't stand on its own feet, nothing does.
LDG: I would say it does. You're here today at Timken High School to talk to the arts academy students.
LDG: Tell them important things about theater and the arts. What was the most important thing that was ever said to you, Kate?
KM: Be bigger than life. Break the rules. And be brave. And I have tried to ascribe to all three!
LDG: What else will you be telling the students here today?
KM: I’m going to talk to the kids about passion, which is my – sort of singular plan for the schools of Ohio. I think that kids forget in their eagerness to be accepted – to be popular – to belong to one clique or another – to ease the absolute anxiety of high school – that it doesn't change in the real world. These things attend us where ever we go. What saves you – what lifts you up – is passion. Know who you are, and know what you love.
LDG: What would you tell parents or caregivers of these arts students?
KM: I would tell the parents to respect their children more. To listen to them. At this age they know who they are. You know… In most cultures in the world, kids this age are running the village - bearing six, eight children. They're fully responsible and accountable for who they are. We need to treat our kids as adults. They are. And their love of the arts with great, and I think, with profound respect.
LDG: You're one of today's multi-tasking women. How do you make that work for you?
KM: Is that what I'm called? A multi-tasker?
LDG: We're all that…
KM: It sounds so unglamorous, doesn't it? And unromantic. Well all women are mult-taskers – don't you know that?
KM: Every single…
LDG: How does it work for you Kate?
KM: It's hard work. I'm a little more driven, I think, than some. Of course I'm living in a world now of politics, whereby I'm being led into another world, which is intriguing to me, but also brand new, so I have a new kind of energy for it. However, I'm acting; I'm involved in the world of politics, because my husband as you know is running for governor; I’m the mother of two sons; I value my intimate friendships greatly; and I find all of it rather… rather easy, in a way. Because I think as long as you embrace things wholeheartedly, they tend to lift you up and work for you.
LDG: They fall into place for you.
KM: Uh huh.
LDG: I understand you left home at seventeen to go to New York to study acting, and even before you graduated you were in Ryan's Hope.
KM: That's right.
LDG: Would you advise that today for your children? That kind of bravery in stepping out into the world at that age?
KM: No question about it. I would advise any child – any kid… we shouldn't even use these terms, should we – any young adult – to first and foremost regard their passion with the same maturity that they would anything else. And if that means getting out of high school as quickly as they can, then they should. High school to me is a very, very difficult time - it's a limbo time for young adults. And I'm not entirely sure that culturally we have it right. So I would encourage any – any young adult who has a specific passion, to find a target and a route and get out and do it.
LDG: Uh huh…
KM: Life's very short in this way.
LDG: We're all acting at every moment in our lives, and you are now acting as the wife of the Democratic candidate…
KM: Gubernatorial candidate…
LDG: Democratic Gubernatorial candidate… boy that's a lot of syllables!
KM: Uh huh
LDG: How's that role changed your life?
KM: It's deepened my life. It's complicated my life. I didn't expect to fall in love with a politician. I thought it would be very contrary, if not antithetical to my needs and my desires as an actress. In fact - it's a very good fit. What I marvel at is my ever growing admiration for this man, who is truly to the manner born. Has fire in the belly like I've never seen. He's a man of the people and for the people, and when he talks about the working class of Ohio, he means it. He emanates from the working class. He believes that the state is in terrible trouble – so do I - and most importantly it begins with these marvelous young adults behind the camera, right? And I think that that's what we will address. Education for all.
LDG: Uh huh… Within my tradition, my father-in-law was hurt on union lines and so there's a deep tradition of that in Ohio. And a lot of controversy, and a lot of growth and a lot of back and forth, and so it's good to see this kind of thing being brought up again, and – and as part of who we are.
KM: We've been under, you know, a Republican administration for twelve years now. Up again – it's about time it's up again. Ohio is composed of – strongly – the working class. The union and laborer are everything in this state, and I think that our current governor, although a very personable fellow, has simply been not up to the job. We have to get past the lethargy and the complacency of a state that's in economic trouble and turmoil and my husband speaks from the heart, shoots from the hip, and can be nothing less than brutally honest regarding the state of affairs in this state.
LDG: This state is famous for a lot of things – a lot of presidents came out of here.
KM: Uh huh…
LDG: Canton has the First Lady's Library – I hope you get to see it before you leave.
KM: So do I.
LDG: There's another young man who graduated from McKinley High School in 1986 – Brannon Braga.
KM: I was going to bring Brannon up. Yah!
LDG: And – tell us about him and what's been happening with him and what's…
KM: Well Brannon is my boss – was my boss for seven and a half years. He's the executive producer of Star Trek: Voyager, and now Enterprise, so he's a big man on the Paramount campus. And I believe that he grew up absolutely from the working class of Canton Ohio and had a dream, which he pursued. And which he pursued, I think, in his own very maverick fashion. He's dark. He's edgy. And he's extraordinarily talented. So he took this gift to Hollywood, and Rick Berman who essentially owned the Star Trek franchise now appreciated it immediately and now Brannon is in the driver's seat. And I love Brannon. I love Brannon. He's never forgotten his roots. He understands very well where he comes from. And I think that's what makes him as good as he is.
LDG: Ah. Again the passion.
KM: Again the passion, and knowing who we are. You know nothing's worse than that kind of pretentiousness. I can't bear it. You have to know who you are. Where you come from. And why that talent – why you've been blessed with that talent – and then you take the talent into the world. A lot of people forget, I think, exactly who it is they are.
LDG: What else do you see in the future? I mean besides living in the Governor's mansion.
KM: Do I see that?!
LDG: What else do you see in the future for yourself?
KM: I see a long nap! I see… well I will continue, of course, to act. I can't seem to live without it.
LDG: Can we have any previews about what's coming, Kate?
KM: I'm doing the life of Katharine Hepburn on the stage right now. A one-woman show.
LDG: I think you previewed that in Cleveland.
KM: I've played it now for a year. Hartford, Cleveland, Boston.
KM: And now we're trying to go into New York, which was of course the intention all along. It's a play in two acts. In act one Hepburn is thirty-one, having just been labeled box office poison, and in act two she's seventy-six, following a very dangerous car accident. So it shows the polarities of her life. And it's simply caught fire. I've played to standing room only audiences all over and I'd love to have a nice vital chapter on Broadway, if the gods are with us. But priority number one is my husband's election on November 5th, and I do urge everybody to get out and vote. I say that and it sounds so clichéd, doesn't it? But people don't get out and vote.
KM: They forget that this is a great privilege in the free world. I would ask you… I would admonish everybody in the state to exercise this terrific privilege.
LDG: It's been a privilege to have you here.
LDG: To share your passion, and to know now that you are going to the students and going to share that with them.
KM: I'm going to those students! Yes I am!
LDG: Thank you Kate Mulgrew for being here with us today on State of the Arts.
KM: Thank you very much.
`Trek' actress tells students: reach for stars
The Beacon Journal
October 18, 2002