Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
To PBS Hollywood Presents
Collected StoriesHomeGlossarySite Map
InterviewsOn WritingKey ScenesProduction RolesAbout the Film
Gil CatesLinda LavinSamantha MathisDennis Doty

The Source
Building the Character

Samantha Mathis
Actor Samantha Mathis: The Source

One of the brillant things about the play is that there are arguments made for both sides through the whole piece as to who is right and who is wrong.

Samantha MathisCollected Stories originally came to me five years ago. I was introduced to Donald Margulies, the playwright, and he asked me to workshop the piece with the Dramaturg at the South Coast Repertory Theater [in Costa Mesa, California]. I thought the writing was extraordinary. Donald is an amazing writer. The dialogue is so rich. A two-character piece is such a rare thing -- and to play such a rich, wonderful female character.

      Linda Lavin and Samantha Mathis
It's about betrayal. Betrayal that occurs between Lisa and Ruth. Betrayal of Ruth by Delmore. And it's about time. Time passing. Being stuck in time. Time moving. Someone moving on beyond someone else. Ruth is stuck in time, Lisa is moving on.

The Job of Acting
Acting on Stage Versus Acting on Screen

Samantha Mathis
Doing a piece on film is completely different from doing it onstage. [Onstage] we have to be large enough in our characters to reach the last row, while everything is made much smaller for the camera. It's much more about subtlety and what is going on in the eyes. In the play's first scene I'm bounding around and that would be too much on camera, whereas, just this, just that, is enough for the camera.

You have to bring it back to a more natural sense. Not that it wasn't honest when we were doing the play, but there it just had to be bigger. It's been tremendously exciting and challenging to figure out ways to make it smaller for the camera.

Working with the Co-Lead
Working with Linda was such a tremendous experience. This is a two-hander if there ever was one. She is such a phenomenal actress and I think this is the role of a lifetime for her. To watch her work has been such a treat, such an honor.

     Linda Lavin and Samantha Mathis
Ruth's character tends to grandstand. Linda doesn't do anything like that. She's just brilliant to watch. We work differently, and watching her find herself in the rehearsal process has been so illuminating for me. And she is just lovely. In character, we have many awkward, bristly, uncomfortable moments, but it couldn't have been more different when we were just hanging out.

Working with the Director

Samantha Mathis and Gil Cates
Gil is wonderfully nurturing as a director, having gone through the whole experience of doing the play. There is an inherent sense of trust among the three of us. There is just this tremendous sense of ease. And I am constantly blown away by his energy and his enthusiasm. So, when we are on our last legs and trying to figure out what we are doing, he is right there. But he also knows when to leave us alone. That is just this trust that's there and mutual respect.  [ Next Page ]


The Actor at Work
Get RealPlayer


Home Interviews On Writing Key Scenes Roles About the Film Glossary Feedback Site Map

Copyright © 2002 Community Television of Southern California (KCET). All rights reserved.