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

Building the Character
Samantha MathisLisa Morrison starts out as a young graduate student who is very sweet, very insecure, a bit of a bumbling idiot -- overly eager and people-pleasing. We see her progress through the play over eight years into a more self-possessed person, more confident, more of an equal to Ruth. She starts off as a writer finding her voice and becomes quite an accomplished writer by the end. There is this amazing arc and that really attracts me.

      Samantha Mathis

She learns from Ruth that when it comes to getting a good story, there are no boundaries. She soaks up information from Ruth, and, as an actor, I had to change her in that way. Inherently, though, Lisa wants to be loved by Ruth, and that never changes.

Was Lisa wrong in using Ruth's story for her own literary purpose? Yeah, probably. But I wholeheartedly have to believe that she's not when I'm doing it. So that's the struggle, finding all those moments, and they are all in the play, but just really knowing how to fully embrace that. So that I can be completely innocent in the end.
 

The Characters' Relationship
Lisa's relationship with Ruth is a complicated one. In the beginning, Ruth is her idol and she's in absolute awe of her, and she takes anything Ruth says as gospel. She completely bows down to her. While she always admires Ruth and puts her up on a pedestal, as the piece progresses they become friends and there is a more equal footing. Lisa gets published and starts to feel better about herself and perhaps in her mind she moves on a little bit.

      Linda Lavin and Samantha Mathis
 
The relationship really evolves. She has always loved Ruth and does so until the end, but it goes from student-mentor to somewhat of a mother-daughter relationship. Ultimately, the whole thing falls apart. It's very sad... In the end, you see two people very much on their own ground fighting to be heard and it's the most balanced power you see in the piece.

 
Top
 

 

 

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.