Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Rachel and Juliet,1155453.html

No, it’s not what you think.  This is a play by Lynn Redgrave (sister of Vanessa, children of Sir Michael, if I read that right) about her mother (Rachel) and “the role that would beguile her all her life”, Juliet.

On the day his mother died, the celebrated actor Sir Michael Redgrave had a matinee and an evening performance to give as Hamlet. Backstage at the theater, he sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Then he went out front. "And he did two of the greatest Hamlets he ever played."

The article makes it sound like the father is the more interesting character, a man who was so preoccupied with other things that the birth of his child doesn’t even appear in his diary, so obsessed with the stage that on his deathbed he whispered “How’s the house?”

But Lynn Redgrave already wrote that play  - Shakespeare For My Father.  This one is different, as is her relationship with her mother.

Lynn describes her mother as a funny and perceptive woman, afflicted with self-doubt. "She suffered from her lack of security, making room for my father's career," she says. "Rachel and Juliet," then, is "a love letter" to Kempson, who retained an attachment to Juliet into her golden years: At age 90, she recited a speech of Juliet's at the wedding of one of Lynn's three children, daughter Pema.

I was not aware of the apparently deep connection between the Redgraves and Shakespeare.  I shall have to keep an eye out for more of that.

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