Sunday Morning News
San Francisco, California
 June 5, 2005
Many THANKS! to my transcriber and a Totally Kate contributor.

Please do not repost photos or transcript or hot-link to photos. 

Sydnie Kohara:  Actress Kate Mulgrew has starred in a one-woman play about none other than Katharine Hepburn.

Bill Schechner:  It's called "Tea at Five".  It has just begun a three week engagement in San Francisco, and that gave us an excuse and a chance to talk with Kate Mulgrew about Katharine Hepburn and the play.

Kate Mulgrew:  In Act One she's thirty-one, having just been labeled 'box-office poison'.  So we meet her in a state of high agitation, in the living room of Fenwick, in Old Saybrook, which is, of course, her family home. And she's longing and expecting to get the part of Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind".  We all know mercifully that she did not. 

(Excerpt from Act One of "Tea at Five")

Kate Mulgrew:  Bit of a cookie-cutter mentality, the studio system at that time. Which isn't to say that women like Joan Crawford and Bette Davis and Ginger Rogers weren't singular.  Of course they were. And each of them wonderfully talented in her own way. But Hepburn was Brahman.  She was a little Southern, she was a little English, she was a little New England.  What she certainly was, was grit. And she was an intelligence that had theretofore had not been known or seen in Hollywood. 

(Excerpt from Act One of "Tea at Five")

Kate Mulgrew:  In Act Two, at seventy-six, having just survived, one could say, a very dangerous car accident, in which in fact she almost lost her right foot, we meet her not feeling terribly well, but in a very self-deprecating and reflective mood.  And it is in Act Two that she reveals to us what it is that defined her as a person.

(Excerpt from Act Two of "Tea at Five")

Kate Mulgrew:  She was always… she was always desperately hurt when they said they didn't like her. Till the day she died.  She wanted very, very, very much to be loved.

(Excerpt from Act Two of "Tea at Five")

Bill Schechner:  Is this kind of a stretch… I don't mean a stretch, but it's a big shift of gears from Kathryn Janeway to…

Kate Mulgrew:  (Laughs) I didn't have a gear shift on that ship! It sure is. Mercifully, mercifully is, yes. But this is the… this is my life as an actress.  And after seven years of the Delta Quadrant tracked me, I was ready for this. 

Bill Schechner:  If Katharine Hepburn were sitting out there and saw it, what do you think she'd say?

Kate Mulgrew:  (In the older Hepburn's voice) Bravo!  Bravo!  Absolutely marvelous! She's marvelous! (laughing) Nobody else in the world could play me but her!  Now let's go out and have a drink! 

Bill Schechner:  Previews began last week for "Tea at Five", opening night is this coming Tuesday, day after tomorrow.  The play is going to run through June 19th at Marines Memorial Theatre in San Francisco. 

Sydnie Kohara:  It makes you wonder if they did go out for a drink, what would she drink?  Scotch, I just know!

Bill Schechner:  I gotta tell you one great line that she delivered. I said, "Are you doing Katharine Hepburn?" And she said, 'No, I'm not really Katharine Hepburn, I’m doing an actor's take on this person because there's a million drag queens between here and Tijuana who could do Katharine Hepburn better than me." 

Sydnie Kohara:  No.  She does it.  It's so uncanny.  She looks and sounds just like her. No doubt about that.

Bill Schechner:  Shorter, though!

Sydnie Kohara:  Shorter. 

Bill Schechner:  Yeah.

Sydnie Kohara:  We're not keeping track, it's all on stage.

Bill Schechner:  Okay!

Tea at Five Schedule & Past Performance Information