In praise of (much) older (women) actors …

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for at least a month. Given we’re in the International Women’s Day time-zone, it seemed appropriate to get my thoughts down at last.

I was inspired by a couple of performances I saw in NYC in late January: Stockard Channing in Pal Joey (among other things a master class in how to use lyrics in a song) and Estelle Parsons in August: Osage County * (high octane performance, subtle, multi-layered, and done eight times a week).

I came home to find Jane Fonda blogging her rehearsals and now performances in Moises Kaufmann’s 33 Variations, her first Broadway play in 45 years. She’s also using Twitter to keep in touch – she’s @janefonda, and yes we follow each other. She’s open, honest, and writes well. She started blogging in January because she wanted to see whether an old dog could learn new tricks. Her words.

Now this morning I see that Margaret Tyzack whom I saw in a revival of The Chalk Garden last summer in London at the Donmar has walked away with a best actress award in the Olivers. That matriarchal performance was also extraordinarily captivating.

OK, here’s the thing that gives me great hope for my own future as an actor: Stockard is the youngest at 64, Jane is 71, Margaret 77, and Estelle 81. How’s that!

Ladies, you are an inspiration. We salute and thank you.

* August: Osage County by Tracy Letts (Pulitzer Prize and Tony Winner) is another play with three sisters. I wrote about this a while back. What is it about three sisters in drama – anyone?

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Author: Kate Wilson

Actor, director, teacher, dabbler with paint, serial traveller.