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"SOME WISH TO SEE IN HAMLET A WOMANISH, HESITATING, FLIGHTY MIND.


TO ME HE SEEMS A MANLY, RESOLUTE, BUT THOUGHTFUL BEING.” - SARAH BERNHARDT


Janet McTeer in rehearsal for Bernhardt/Hamlet


probably in half…what’s so different? She’s just wrestling with, as she says, too many words. She went on to perform it many times extremely successfully, so...


No one really knows what her relationship with Rostand was. She clearly had many lovers, so why shouldn’t he have been one? They did stay friends for many, many years, and for the purpose of this play and to show that side of her character—she clearly loves him.


TS: How do you like to collaborate with a writer on a new work? Can you describe what the development process has been like for you on this play? JM: It’s been fabulous. Theresa Rebeck is wonderful: open, amusing, furiously clever, collaborative, and delightful. Moritz, the director, and Theresa and I have been open with ideas, opinions, questions, and themes—all of which she has taken on board, if only as food for thought. It has been a joy.


TS: What do you look for from a director when collaborating on a new play? JM: Intelligence, openness, a willingness to collaborate, i.e., not to have fixed ideas, and to do it all with a good grace and humor! All of which Moritz has in spades. He, too, is a joy.


TS: What keeps you inspired as an artist? Public school students will read this interview and will want to know what it takes to be a very successful actress—what advice can you give young people who want to act? JM: I am constantly surprised by the amount of talented amazing people there are, both young and old, and as long as something grabs me, it just does. Why do some paintings or pieces of music grab us the way others don’t? Perhaps because they reflect something in ourselves, or a dream we have, or a reason we can’t put our finger on? Some things just grab you. Perhaps the mystery is the fun. And some things you do to pay the mortgage, let’s be honest—the trick is to attempt to do both!


My advice to anyone wanting to be an actor: if it’s the only thing you can possibly think you want to do…do it. If there are other things you want to do, don’t do it. It’s a tough profession. Self-employed, endless auditions—particularly when young. Far too much travel, which can be fun, yet is often simply exhausting, being away from the people you love. In other words, the price is high—so if you aren’t prepared to pay it—don’t. But if you are and it works—it’s fabulous—it’s the very best! The people, the work, the art, the fun, the never getting bored, the massive, massive fulfillment and gratification when a job goes well. But be prepared to work hard. Very, very hard. If you’re young and starting out, put the work in all the time. And write this on a post-it note and put it on your mirror—or have it as your screensaver: “Someone has to succeed. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be me.” Good luck. When its grand, it’s truly grand, and there is always, always room for young talent. Always.•


BERNHARDT/HAMLET UPSTAGE GUIDE 9


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