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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Isherwood on Cherry Jones

Take a read. Thoughts?

Isaac speaks to that also on Parabasis.


Ian G. said...

I really liked this article; it summed up a lot of my thoughts since I saw the play. There's a strange paradox in the way actors view themselves and are viewed by others: we feel that good ones should be able to do anything, and yet we expect them to also be unique and individual. We all know what kind of parts we can do in our sleep (they're the ones we feel incredibly put out about when we don't get them, or can't get seen for them, and slightly underwhelmed by when they do come our way). I think Cherry Jones probably knew what she was getting into when she took the part, and probably knew there was at least an even chance she was not gonna pull it off. But, y'know, sometimes you take interesting stuff to challenge yourself, and when you're Cherry Jones, you get to take those chances on Broadway. I've been really excited when I've been able to get someone to cast me in something I'm patently wrong for; sometimes you do your best work in the part no one thought you could play. And sometimes not. I think Jones is both humble enough and secure enough to be able to try something and fail in public, and I gotta admit, watching Cherry Jones fail is still a hell of a lot more interesting than watching a lot of actors I know who strive always for mediocrity and succeed.

I was puzzled by her accent though - she seemed to be making hardly any effort to avoid sounding like a Yankee, and I wonder if she was somehow opposed to doing an accent or if the accent was really that difficult for her. It was rather distracting.

Zack Calhoon said...

I saw the show too. Even Vanessa Redgrave has given a bad performance now and then. Did anyone see her "Hecuba"?

The accent was strange. The play offers three possibilities of her origin: Irish, English, Scottish. It seems she picked the fourth option: U.S. Southern/Polish.

She's a phenomenal actress none the less.

Ian G. said...

And while we're on the subject, run don't walk to see "Mother Courage" in Central Park. Three and a half hours long and completely riveting. I thought Meryl Streep was terrific, but I predict others will classify her performance alongside Cherry Jones's as a "noble failure". The rest of the principals are great, particularly Austin Pendleton. The support cast is mixed, some are wonderful, some are not, and the whole thing is a little too glitzy and expensive-looking, but the translation is terrific, the music is wonderfully noisy, and Meryl Streep is incredibly brave and ego-free in a part that coulda been one star turn after the other. Expect the Cherry Jones debate to move to Meyl Streep in the coming weeks (I cast one vote for "brilliant"). Do not miss it.