Tuesday, January 11, 2005
|Clip from 'Tea at Five' - Kate Mulgrew (As
Hepburn)….(Katharine) of Arrogance, as she is commonly called by those
who have survived ten seconds in her presence, is anxiously waiting to
be offered the role of Scarlett O’Hara, in Gone with the Wind…
Keith Daniels: You may recognize her as Captain Kathryn Janeway from the science fiction series Star Trek: Voyager, but Kate Mulgrew is taking acting to new heights as she portrays Katharine Hepburn in “Tea at Five”. Kate Mulgrew joins us to talk about the play, to be performed at the Hippodrome. It’s good to have you here.
Kate Mulgrew: I’d rather talk about you.
Keith Daniels: (laughs) Don’t start!
Kate Mulgrew: (laughs)
Keith Daniels: Behave yourself!
Kate Mulgrew: It sounds like such a fascinating life.
Keith Daniels: No, not at all. Not as fascinating as yours.
Kate Mulgrew: Never say that, that’s not true.
Keith Daniels: I… I… I just think…
Kate Mulgrew: It’s so not true!
Keith Daniels: It is true!
Kate Mulgrew: How could that possibly be true? Your life is your only life!
Keith Daniels: I know…
Kate Mulgrew: Doesn’t that make it singularly exciting?
Keith Daniels: But aside from your celebrity status you are one of the most fantastic character actors on stage or screen right now and I just think that, as we talked about before we came on, this is a perfect part for you. Katharine Hepburn.
Kate Mulgrew: Well, I got lucky, you know. And a lot of people don’t get as lucky as I have. This was written for me, as I mentioned to you before we went live, by Matthew Lombardo, the playwright who is now the producer. And had he not had this… bolt from the blue, it wouldn’t have happened. I mean this was his baby, and he dreamed it up and he realized it and I just gave it legs. So it’s a marriage that worked. It was a risk.
Keith Daniels: Why do you say it’s a risk?
Kate Mulgrew: This is a person of no small dimensions, would you not say? Katharine Hepburn?
Keith Daniels: Oh, without a doubt.
Kate Mulgrew: Was not only an icon, but an absolutely singular person. Rare. Special. In order to capture her, I had to find out what it was that I thought really made her tick. This was very hard because I didn’t particularly like her.
Keith Daniels: Why not?
Kate Mulgrew: (In the younger Hepburn’s voice) I thought it was all that stuff, you know!
Keith Daniels: (laughs) That she was highbrow…?
Kate Mulgrew: I thought she was totally invented and not self-defined at all. And I didn’t think she had much depth. I thought she was strident. I thought she was tough. I thought her opinions were harsh. And then I got into the rehearsal process, and I fell in love.
Keith Daniels: What was it that turned it around from looking at her from a distance to… to finally being able to emote?
Kate Mulgrew: Her courage. You know she was a young girl and she was dealt a mortal blow. And then a few more. Her brother committed suicide when she was only 14. And from that moment on, I think the little girl was lost, and she was first to grow up and she was first to overcome this terrible grief. I don’t think she ever assimilated it properly, and so it… it metamorphed into this rare kind of courage.
Keith Daniels: “Tea at Five” is a one-woman play – that has to be grueling.
Kate Mulgrew: Yeah.
Keith Daniels: How do you make it through a one-woman play…
Kate Mulgrew: How do I scale that mountain?
Keith Daniels: Yeah, and you’re making, you know, such a…. you’re really, really kind of putting yourself in a position of … it’s just you! And any flaw, any mistake… I mean everyone’s focused on you…
Kate Mulgrew: Do you have to remind me of that today?!
Keith Daniels: (laughs)
Kate Mulgrew: Is this the way to start the day?!
Keith Daniels: But again, like I said, great character actors are able to move through that. How do you move through….
Kate Mulgrew: Because if you’re total, you’re total. If you’re in it, you’re in it. I’m utterly present to it. It’s the only way. You’re right. I’m flying without a net. I’m smart enough to know that I’m flying without a net. Therefore there’s only one conclusion to make – come with me and let’s take the ride. And it’s going to be a journey.
Keith Daniels: What is it about – the play?
Kate Mulgrew: Well, it’s a juxtaposition. It’s a polarity. This is what’s so clever about his construct. In Act One she’s thirty-one, having just been labeled ‘box office poison’, and we see her very frenzied, almost quasi frantic state in the living room at Fenwick. And in Act Two she’s seventy-six, shortly following that car accident in which she almost lost her right foot. And in that act she’s very self-deprecating, she’s very self-revealing. She’s amused by herself, at herself, and she allows us to see what it is that has cost her so dearly in her life.
Keith Daniels: After “Tea at Five” what are you going to do? What would you like to do?
Kate Mulgrew: I would like to stare at my husband.
Keith Daniels: Oh yes…
Kate Mulgrew: I love my husband. We’ve had a difficult fall. I’m afraid he’s had a heart attack.
Keith Daniels: Hmmm…
Kate Mulgrew: So I need to spend a little more time with him. You know I love to do things.
Keith Daniels: Um hmmm…
Kate Mulgrew: I love to cook.
Keith Daniels: Really?
Kate Mulgrew: I looove to cook. So I’m thinking of going to the French Culinary Institute for six months. I love – as you can gather – to act. (to someone off-camera) Hi Joe!
Keith Daniels: (laughing) To our director! He is cutting us off… I could talk to you all day!
Kate Mulgrew: I know – I could talk to you…
Keith Daniels: Love is a good thing, isn’t it?
Kate Mulgrew: Come to the theater, though.
Keith Daniels: I will. I will. Absolutely. Kate Mulgrew. “Tea at Five”. It will run at the Hippodrome Theatre January 18th through the 23rd. For tickets and show times you can log on to Ticketmaster.com or call, if you need to, 410-547-SEAT. We’ll be back in just a moment. This is FOX 45 Morning News.