Transcript:

Speaker Tee’d.

Speaker God, I don’t know.

Speaker I don’t know. I mean, we were when we when I was in school. Video was new. Video cameras were new. So they did that with little projects, like when I was in sixth grade. They had kids and cameras and they brought a video camera in like and said, all right, well, the kids can write a screenplay and then do it. And I so I adapted Beverly Cleary’s Ramona the Pest can win home from school and wrote in and. And then they picked that script and then they said, well, OK, who should play Ramona? And they did a show of hands. And it hadn’t occurred to me to play Ramona, just I wrote the script because I liked the book. And so everybody voted for me to play Ramona. So suddenly I was an actress in sixth grade. You know, that was the beginning.

Speaker And. Or something.

Speaker So what did you have nothing to do with to the hurt?

Speaker What did I know?

Speaker Well, what did you think you did? Is that true? Did.

Speaker I was working in Seattle at the Seattle Repertory Theater and Douglas U.S. Was directing me in something. And they were gonna do it at Playwrights Horizons a year later off Broadway. And I wanted to be in that production. That was my dream, just to go to New York and be a working actress. I want to have a script under my arm and ride the subway and go work. So I said to him, what should I do between now and then? And he said, we’ll go to Yale or Juilliard. And that was the first time that I think I was 21.

Speaker I’d been 22, 21.

Speaker But it was the first time that somebody had said, this is what you should do. And so I just thought, oh, that’s OK, I’ll go to Juilliard.

Speaker I didn’t get into you didn’t want me.

Speaker What was your Juilliard audition?

Speaker I went to San Francisco because I was late and they said, you can’t do it. You can’t. I just and I said, but I have to. I want to go to school here. And so they said, will you. Well, all right. Well, in San Francisco, it’s two days from now. And but you can’t do it because you haven’t filled out the you haven’t applied. And I said, well, I thought the application when I get there, you know, I’ll just go. So I flew down to San Francisco and Michael Kahn. It was Michael Cohen and Liz Smith who I auditioned for. And I did my monologues and I was shaking.

Speaker I was just terrified of them, just terrified, you know.

Speaker But it worked out all right. I like I you know, it worked out. Then you get. Months later, they send you a letter, you know, you’re invited.

Speaker And what did you what did you do in your.

Speaker I had done Jane Martin there’s a Jane Martin monologues, a series of monologues, it’s a play called Talking With. But it’s a series of monologues. And I was the snake handler, so I just. And I had done that in Seattle. That was my first. It was my first equity. I think that’s how I got my equity card. I was in it. I was a card carrying equity member before I went to Juilliard, which caused I think it was difficult because I kept wanting to work, I guess was like, I just wanna go work. And it was good that I stayed. Because you do learn a lot there.

Speaker Does that tell you what I’m going to say? What they say is that ever.

Speaker Don’t don’t refer to those people over there. Those are the people behind the iron door. Yeah. Yeah. Don’t. Don’t. They’re okay. They don’t really. It’ll look like I’m talking. It’s like. Oh yeah. Yeah. Boy, she is nuts.

Speaker What. I did nothing.

Speaker Oh I can put powder on my for you know this stuff. It’s really nothing about cameras and lights.

Speaker This way is better. Now I probably have a big accent. Okay. All right.

Speaker But she literally you look perfectly nothing about the school.

Speaker You had not a reputation. It was like, oh no, no, no, no.

Speaker I mean, I knew.

Speaker Oh, that’s where Robin Williams went. That’s where Kevin Kline went. That’s where William Hurt. When I wanted to go there, it just it never occurred to me that they would be like.

Speaker I didn’t think they would have me. I didn’t think they’d let me. Know. I was shocked when they let me in. It gave me something to do because I really didn’t know what else I was gonna do.

Speaker They didn’t let me in. What would I have done?

Speaker I mean, I think I was waiting tables at Frango, Frango, Frango downstairs and Frederickton Nelson in the basement where they sure like I was serving Frango meant sundaes to people.

Speaker So tell me about getting getting to New York and getting to Juilliard. What was. You know, you get there. It’s like Lincoln Center. It’s like the whole nine yards. What was that?

Speaker I mean, as you were saying, where you were living, that sort of I was living at the Y, but when you arrived, you just arrived. Oh, I oh, I arrived there. And I had rented an apartment sight unseen on Riverside Drive that was studio. But it was really like a roach infested one room with a Rusty Pullman kitchen. You know what a Pullman kitchen is like a refrigerator and a hot plate on top of it. But it was all really rusty in the sink. Somebody had painted the sink and it was kind of peeling away. And when I arrived my first night with arrived alone in New York and I was going to start school, I thought the day after. And all I did was just clean, like just go get cleaning products and wrote Killer Catch and Cry cried. You know, I called my momma like, I care, all right. She said, Just come home. And I thought, no, I don’t want it. I want him here. So and I had a bike. I had my bicycle with me from Seattle, so I would ride from a hundred and fourth in Riverside to school every day.

Speaker And I think that was that kept me sane, sort of.

Speaker Did you know about please help me. Did you know what classical training really was?

Speaker Did that have meaning to you to be going through a classical training program?

Speaker Yeah.

Speaker It had some meaning, but to be really honest, I mean, I was raised on television, so Juilliard just seemed to me a place to go to learn about acting.

Speaker Moore more is a place to go so that I could work more. You know, I’m being quite honest. Like I. And then when I got there, I learned to love checkoff and Shakespeare and Shaw and the language. And I mean and Tim Monarch taught me, no, you don’t want to sound like a Valley girl for the rest of your life and you can’t. I mean, you that then I learned. So they actually the I they taught me that the beauty of all of that, I wasn’t I don’t think, quite honestly that I was going for that.

Speaker I didn’t know I was too ignorant to know, too, that I needed it until I got there. And then then I learned you learn how to learn there in a way. You know what I mean? It opens your mind. You learn like you don’t know anything and and that you’re basically ignorant.

Speaker But seriously, that. And then they teach you quite a lot, you know, and then there’s there’s the bad and the good.

Speaker But there’s quite a lot of good, really. Does that make sense?

Speaker Because I mean, I’m sure there are a lot of people who go because they just really want. I think they have higher values than I did. I didn’t I had to learn those values there, I think. And then you’re stuck with them and no one cares. And no one, you know, has been my experience sort of. Or they actually know that’s being cynical and sarcastic. Truthfully, what’s so great is you go and you learn these wonderful things.

Speaker And then as the years go on, after you’ve graduated, you meet like minded people. And it’s such a relief, like, oh, God, you know, you understand the structure of a play or just the technique of what we’re trying to do. It’s it’s exciting to work with people who also know that or have tried to learn it anyway.

Speaker I mean, I don’t even think anybody really knows what it is, really. But if you’ve tried to learn it, it’s. Does that make sense?

Speaker Talk to me about some of the teachers, some of the people that you met right when you first got there, what your impression was?

Speaker Well, it was so intimidating, but the best person was Marianne Salvages. Because you were over.

Speaker Oh, I’m sorry. What did I say?

Speaker I said I said, tell me what these people were like. Yeah. There’s a rule of people that have been.

Speaker Yeah. And the best that actually was going to San Francisco to audition helped because it was just two people that I auditioned for. I didn’t audition for the whole deal. Those people who auditioned for the whole megillah should get a prize. I mean, I don’t know how they did that. I just said Liz Smith and Michael. And that was enough. That was intimidating enough for me. I was scared, you know. But when I got to school, they have a kind of coffee brunch thing.

Speaker And and sell these was came over and just burst through and said, oh my bird.

Speaker And she was just the most was the tallest woman I’d ever met. And just the most beautiful woman. And just so wonderful. And I thought, oh, it’s going to be OK.

Speaker Like, this is gonna be OK. When I met Marianne, I thought, OK. Sorry, crazy people here. I’m going to be fine. You know? And I mean crazy in the best sense of the word when I’m talking about Marion. You know, she’s just she’s theatrical. You know, she’s big.

Speaker And right away, you’re in a disco.

Speaker A friend of mine would say a friend of mine would say Marian is the living see life.

Speaker I love her.

Speaker What was she actually cast me as Ariel in The Tempest in that first discovery play? And she explained the discovery by the discovery plays. They just throw you in to a Shakespeare play and and they know that you don’t know how to do it or what to do. And they just throw the whole class into a play in our our class group. Seventeen. It was The Tempest. And Marian Kasmi is Ariela is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I mean, even after all these years, because we made the sound of the rain by tapping on the floor and, you know, we were all just in leotards making it up. There was no scenery. There were no lights. It was just fluorescent lights in the big room. What is it, three or one? See? Never room.

Speaker Three. Oh, one.

Speaker And what about to the survivor? All these big losses from each other. You having your. It’s so much.

Speaker I mean, so what are all the class there?

Speaker I just remember being so tired through so many of them because there are so many of them during the day. You know, you go to movement and there’s Monia came in your reach up, tripped up, popped up, you know, this position. And he would say, see you go, you know, see, reach for your go. And then you’re doing voice work. You go to the next class and you’re doing voice work in. It just was overwhelming. I most of the time, I think, was walking around overwhelmed and then and then you have some of the third and fourth year students saying, oh, that’s what the first year and that’s what the first and second year is about, being overwhelmed. And, you know, so you hear rumors about the experience you’re having while you’re having it.

Speaker It gives you some guideposts.

Speaker But really, it’s just this wild thing, I think, that happens to people going there you go. You’re thrown in with a group of people and you take classes and things that no one in.

Speaker The other thing is you go home for Christmas break and you’re talking to your friends and they’re all on college and they’re going to be lawyers or doctors or housewives.

Speaker And no one can relate, you know, when cause you’re just you’re taking classes about whereas the tip of your tongue, when you say certain consonants and everybody looks. You can’t. No one can relate to that.

Speaker So did you find in that sense it was sort of isolating through you towards your group or at least towards the other group?

Speaker Oh, well, yeah, we were all really you know, I have I still have friends from my class because you get you become like family. Really.

Speaker You see each other naked, literally. You know, you’re. It’s pretty raw.

Speaker It’s you know, I think.

Speaker In what way, though? I mean, it’s it’s it’s the kind of thing where someone will say that you sort of see it. But what do you think it is that you’re. That’s a good question. What do you think it is that you’re revealing about yourself so much? What?

Speaker Constantly. Your your.

Speaker You know, you’re you’re you’re trained to be an emotional noodle that, you know, you can call up those.

Speaker Stories about yourself on queue. What I mean is that you can cry on cue or you can laugh on cue or you can do. You know, you’re you are you’re you’re a vessel. So you show up and everybody’s taking class and being an emotional noodle. And being able to articulate well while being in the most tasteful and project, did you find that sort of cliche?

Speaker It’s like, you know, like is it sort of like a therapy session? Or are they asking you feel to your other classmates?

Speaker No, no, no, no.

Speaker Because no, it’s it’s actually but it’s just that you’re going through so much growth in front of others is what’s going on. I never felt like pressure to reveal myself to others or I just felt like you’re learning so much is thrown at you and everybody is watching you making big mistakes and like you’re like a cult, like trying to stand up because basically you show up and what you learn is I don’t know how to walk. I don’t know how to talk. I don’t know how to do anything. And then they teach you and you. What I’ve tried to do is hold on to what I thought I knew and at the same time drop a lot of what I learned wasn’t gonna help me and take on what they were teaching me. It’s a lot to do. And you’re doing it in front of other people, a small group of other people. You’re all watching each other grow. Really?

Speaker And in that sense of taking on the old letting go of the new.

Speaker I mean, yeah, they are trying to adjust. Just taking off. Yeah. Let it go.

Speaker The old part of that also was part of that for you, because you regionality.

Speaker You probably got you. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker You know, becoming sound like her. Sound like him.

Speaker Well like her walking you know or not not really sound like her or sound like him but sound like this or set or just I mean I remember saying, you know, you doing a vocal exercise like. But I get better. And then I would somebody would say was no, it’s what’s a better example. Like we were. We were. And somebody saying say ha. And then I would say ah. And they would say no.

Speaker Are you thinking. I think I just said that.

Speaker But they’re right and you’re right. And you have to kind of hold onto that and meet somewhere in the middle. I think then it’s good.

Speaker Does that right.

Speaker Don’t worry about us. I know, I know. Such a bizarre you’re right. Yeah. What happened to me?

Speaker That is what happened. Damn it. That’s what happened to me. Oh, tell me a little bit about I’m still insecure from experience. I really am. A lot of therapy.

Speaker Mm hmm. And let me. I mean, you say that somewhat jokingly. Yeah. What do you think? It did bring out an insecurity. You were rigid.

Speaker I think it was already there. I think it did both. I think it did both. It just heightens whatever you’ve already got going.

Speaker I think. And talk about some of the.

Speaker Issues mean, I certainly have so many issues that I see my kids having, I’m following my kids.

Speaker Yeah.

Speaker I love that they’re your kids. Please help protect them. Take care of them, feed them the things that they’re having.

Speaker I think the biggest struggle with these feelings of casting favoritism and about whether or not they’re getting to express themselves or exploring, was I never worried about that?

Speaker I just never. Right. Yes. Oh, yeah. And it was creepy. That made it a creepy environment. I yeah, I definitely saw a lot of people way too worried about what was going on with others in the class instead of just focusing on what their. Roll was what they needed to do with their you know. I think where people get into trouble or what I experienced, what I saw is as soon as you start looking at what’s going on with others in the class and trying to, you know, ah. Do they have more. Do they.

Speaker Know.

Speaker That was my least favorite thing about the experiences.

Speaker Is that kind of jealousy.

Speaker And it’s not pretty.

Speaker And isn’t it pretty.

Speaker Did you also see people you were experiencing for years there. Maybe. Maybe you didn’t have a scholarship dollars over the course of that time?

Speaker Yeah, a little part. I mean, yeah. I don’t know why they stay.

Speaker You know.

Speaker It’s that’s what it is. It’s because it’s not fair. It’s not a fair environment. You know, there’s nothing fair about it.

Speaker I mean, one of the best actors in my class, I mean, one of the hardest working actors in my class. And really talented guy never really was cast the way he should have been, I felt. And then he graduated and found out he had AIDS and died a couple of years later. You know.

Speaker So it’s not fair.

Speaker So it’s a cruel environment, can be a cruel environment. I constantly was wondering whether I should leave wanting to leave. I was afraid to leave because leaving meant leaving an environment where I knew what I would be doing for the next nine months. Whereas as soon as you leave that kind of environment and you’re just an actor, you don’t know. I didn’t know. I didn’t want to not know what I was going to be doing from the fall to the spring.

Speaker Does that.

Speaker And when you put your water down, you wish to have a. Oh, yes, it’s terrible.

Speaker I’m just trying to also shake off this feeling of that it is like Scientology.

Speaker I feel like they’re watching me, like I see the old faces of my teachers while you’re asking me these questions, like this pressure to say the right thing or don’t tell or do you know, it’s very that’s a very there are the windows don’t open there.

Speaker You know, they don’t open that building. You know, it’s a fortress. You go in there. The windows don’t open.

Speaker You help?

Speaker Well, I mean, you know, I mean, also realize that you said, you know, we can always talk about it. Yeah. But I mean, do you think that this idea that there is there and that’s just me.

Speaker It’s not you know, that’s not reality.

Speaker It’s just my feelings. But I still have them. Does that.

Speaker Well, you feel a lot of the time when you were there that people were very I mean, people were very involved, not just you, but involved with trying to please them.

Speaker Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. What sense. I would just try that. I mean, I felt like a danger there was when people felt it was more important to make a certain teacher happy than to actually learn. It’s yeah, it’s the same thing. I get frustrated when I see people trying to please a director instead of work with a director and collaborate and come up with something and, you know, take the direction. But think about it, like to actually still think instead of just completely opening up.

Speaker And now I’m back to the teachers.

Speaker But, you know, there was a lot of I feel like some people go there and they’re too young.

Speaker But then you know what the truth is then some of them have very great experiences. So.

Speaker It’s complicated, I think.

Speaker Well, it’s a very tense time in this group. Why is it more intense is going?

Speaker I don’t know, because I never went. But it might be it might be the same thing. Do you know?

Speaker But I didn’t go to Bennington, so, you know, it’s just it’s it’s I’m not sure what the twisted thing is either.

Speaker But you know what I’m talking about, there is kind of a twisted.

Speaker Right. A little bit of a twisted thing. But then I. But.

Speaker I mean, I remember when I got out and I was doing my first Broadway play, I heard somebody told me that one of the teachers said, well, you know, it was in a class with some people I knew who were still at at Juilliard is still in the fortress. And he was saying, well, you know, you know, you can’t go around doing plays like, I hate Hamlet. And I I thought that was just ludicrous when I heard it. And I was really angry because I thought.

Speaker I can’t say far. Can I? I thought.

Speaker Screw that, because that was my. I was working. I mean, I really feel like we it’s in Tootsie that thing about like it’s an actor’s job to work. You just have to work.

Speaker And and I love that play. And I loved working with Paul Rudnick and.

Speaker Michael Williamson and the whole experience was great. And so the fact that it was commercial theater, I guess, was bothering this particular teacher. I don’t know what that is about.

Speaker Do you know that I also and I don’t like it.

Speaker The real I mean, they’re preparing you. They’re preparing you for a theater that doesn’t they are preparing you for a theater that doesn’t exist anymore.

Speaker But the trouble is what I wish they would do. What I what I wish we had had is if they had prepared us for a theater that doesn’t exist anymore. But at the same time, given us the confidence to create our own theater instead of creating an environment of infighting and petty jealousy and trying to please certain teachers. What I wish would have happened that didn’t happen is somehow what would be great is if we were all still working together, somehow in plays together, directing and acting. And, you know, there’s just I wish there had been more of a sense of empowerment because truthfully, when I got out, there was a lot there’s a real Anglophile thing going on there or there was when I was there. I know what I have to be real clear about that, because this is all group 17. I don’t know what’s going on there now. I really don’t. I’m so out of touch with young people because I’m old, but it literally.

Speaker Where was I?

Speaker Well, you know, but it’s not it’s it’s that era of Juilliard when I was there.

Speaker There was a real Anglophile vibe like, you know, London is the place to be. Well, truthfully, when I got out and I started working with directors who were artistic or direct, you know, Stephen Daldry was about as London as it gets. And he wants to be Steven Spielberg. You know, they want to be in America. All the British act. Nicole Williamson wanted to be in Hollywood. They all want to be movie stars. And we’re living in this country where. There’s this incredible entertainment business. It would be great if it would be infiltrated by people who actually learned about beautiful theater and felt confident that that, you know, I wish I had. I wish well, we graduated feeling like lowly American drama students. And that the real deal was London and Judi Dench and these amazing actors. And yet a lot of those actors just want to be working here. So why do we feel why are we embarrassed about being American actors? I wish that wasn’t taught there. To feel bad about. I know I came from Bellevue, Washington, and I sounded like a valley IRL, I wanted to be an actress. You know, I feel like there were really great teachers who taught without disempowering the American thing.

Speaker They were working in it. So they were sort of. Teaching and teaching.

Speaker I was I was learning, oh, I have something to offer, whereas there were also there were teachers who it just seemed like this, you know, there’s nothing you can do is right.

Speaker You also I’m sure I’ll try. Like, incredibly, incredibly powerful moments there. Oh, God.

Speaker I mean, I’ll never have a better experience than playing Marcia in The Seagull in my second year at Juilliard. I’ll just never have a better experience than that. It doesn’t get any better than actually doing check off with people you’ve known for two years, not for a paying audience. You know, there’s nobody. It just was what it devolved into this production. And I saw other people do incredible work while I was there. I mean, I really. Some of the best moments I’ve had in the theater anywhere were there. And they’re just my own. Because nobody saw I mean, nobody sees them. Nobody.

Speaker Or just in a class. Like pure love. Pfeifer’s mask class. Just magic moments. Magic moments. All right. Take off the mask, you know. And some in you would see I would watch other friends of mine put on a mask and go away like that person was gone and they were an old man or they were an old woman or they were a.

Speaker I don’t know.

Speaker But there were somebody else. I miss that. You know, I wish everyone I meet actors now who haven’t been to any kind of conservatory school, and I I wish that for them. I go I end up saying, oh, do you think you might? You know, if they’re in their early 20s, maybe you want to go. So I have encouraged people to go there. But at the same time, it was such a complicated experience for me. That’s about that’s they were still cutting. Yes, that’s what it is. Yeah. And I was warned.

Speaker And they go out like usually I mean, tons of people go on vacation.

Speaker Yeah. I was on four different. I was on probation for my attitude about attitude. But I guess I straighten it out to say, hey, how do they even like you? They say you have bad attitude.

Speaker What are you looking classes?

Speaker Oh, no, no, I just would.

Speaker I got frustrated with some of the teachers a lot. They didn’t like it. And also, I was working I was going out on auditions and I was I went and did an off Broadway play. They let me out of the first year early MicroCon made that decision that I could go do a play because I had originated the role at a theater in Seattle. So they let me do that. And that caused some trouble, you know. And then I came back and, you know, sort of I know there were I think there were other people thinking, well, she shouldn’t have been allowed to come back and maybe I shouldn’t have.

Speaker But, you know, I mean, know it depends.

Speaker I mean, yeah, it’s a little more it’s a little freer now. I’ve heard you kind of environmental jokes.

Speaker You can’t.

Speaker Well, that’s how it was like that.

Speaker It was like I mean, now there was that rule, but I sort of fancied a little. But we were you know, I went to France and interviewed pure, pure favors is just the magic that classes.

Speaker All right. Take off the mess is you think of I can still hear him saying, you know, because think of that.

Speaker And you and he loves his masks. He loves those masks.

Speaker And the Lecoq technique is something that he is he believes in it. And he and he.

Speaker Bestows you with this belief in it yourself. You know, he’s just. It was intense. It was great to see people disappear just by putting on a mask and trying to become the life of that mask. Whatever that you would look at it, you hold the mask and look at it. And see what you thought it was telling you that day or who that character was. And then put it on and then look in the mirror at yourself in the mask and become whatever that was.

Speaker Did you find a big difference between neutral masks? Oh, yeah. Really shifted two semesters.

Speaker Yeah.

Speaker I loved that class. I can’t I don’t know what else to say about it, but just that it. I just haven’t thought about all of these classes or these people in so many years that it’s overwhelming really to because as soon as you start talking about it.

Speaker I’m just flooded with images of, you know, I’m seeing my seeing one of the guys in my class, a character who used to do with a mask and, you know, you never really forget those things because if you do see people, you see performances that are that no one sees and you see some of the most beautiful moments on stage, not even on a stage, just in one of those rehearsal rooms. Because you are an ensemble, whether whether people like it or not, you’re in it and you know each other for four years. And so by that, there’s there are moments that you can create. You know, you hand it. Checkoff play in our second year, and we’re all going through hell together. And the way that the relationships that these characters are supposed to have. You can come close to having them because you actually are working with a family.

Speaker You know, the way in Russia, they worked together for years and years or whatever, and there’s nothing going to happen like that here or not. I mean, not from me. I haven’t had that experience. You know, there are people who form theatre companies.

Speaker But. And what was your experience to the public experience, to the to the audience started to come in the costumes, going on makeup.

Speaker That’s the year I primarily fall is the third year.

Speaker I mean, I’ve seen other glasses and did other things, but the third year, the most the thing I remember most about the third year was Michael Kahn’s acting class, because I felt like, oh, thank God I’ve made it to the third year. I’ve made it to Michael Kahn’s acting class. And I thought his acting class I mean, I don’t think I’d be able to do anything I do now if I hadn’t had Michael’s acting class because he was great. He just cut to the bottom line. He was great about you do a scene from Michael and he didn’t like it. He would say that was terrible. And he would just talk about it. And then so you kind of get over. I stop. Found it a great place to get over any kind of ego about being bad, because you just are going to be bad sometimes and you’re gonna make bad, cheap choices and just be bad.

Speaker But how great is it to have somebody say, Oh, I was at and then you can fix it or you can try to make it better and make it real?

Speaker I just I thought his class was great. And so what I loved my favorite year was the third year, because at the same time that you have I was having Michael Conn’s acting class and suddenly you’re handed a shar play. We did, too. True to be good. And you’re rehearsing at night and you can apply the things that you’re learning in Michael’s class to the rehearsal process and to your performance. And then suddenly there are people there. So you’re able to show, you know, you’re performing.

Speaker It’s a it’s it’s so exciting after you’ve been cloistered for two years hiding, just, you know, do you remember some specific kinds of comments that Michael said to you that you that changed the way you were, Michael?

Speaker Yeah. Like, uh, just the whole concept of it. If you don’t know what you’re doing. We’re not going to either.

Speaker And if you don’t, you know all those, you have to ask all those questions.

Speaker Okay. Bless you. You hear that?

Speaker Okay. Yeah.

Speaker Well, without Michael, people talk about it. I love my work.

Speaker No, no, no. Yeah. I mean, yes.

Speaker Where people will say something really changed. I’m trying so hard to grapple with what that really is. And maybe it’s intangible. Maybe that’s what.

Speaker Oh, that’s good. Maybe you were in New York. Oh, yeah.

Speaker Good. Someone call them. Thank God.

Speaker Am I doing all right?

Speaker Totally. Very helpful. OK. But I must say, for some people, I try not to say anything. That’s OK. I don’t know. Oh, God. They failed. You know, surprisingly, people don’t really.

Speaker Well, I’m just sure they will tell the truth. So it’s hardly. You can’t really fail. Yeah, I know. It’s just. But it’s just sometimes it’s it’s hard to be concise because it’s so much information.

Speaker It’s four years of my life.

Speaker But in terms of some of.

Speaker Oh, yeah. Less distracting from it.

Speaker So you think, oh what about the singing.

Speaker Oh I couldn’t sing. And John West was the teacher at the time and he was really not able to help me learn. I felt like the singing class was people who had had musical theater before in high school. They enjoyed it and they would show up and sing around the piano. And I would just feel awful. But I think it’s changed now. I mean, I think there’s a lot more emphasis on it since a brighter music department. Oh, it’s you. Yeah, it’s not.

Speaker It wasn’t that Cabaret would do. We did we. Did we. I don’t think you did the cabaret.

Speaker Well, you know, I love uptown. Oh no. How great. Singing Nightclub Show. Oh, that would’ve been great. No, I don’t think we had that. I don’t think we’d remember. It’s a cabaret. It’s like, you know, I mean but we might have had it in the school. Maybe we weren’t doing it up town. But I don’t think it’s now. I want to. I’m gonna go. I want to go.

Speaker It’s very soon. But I my visit gets on the 20th of March.

Speaker I want to go. Will you be there? Of course. Oh, I want to go.

Speaker Yeah. You following maybe your your children, your birds, your little birds.

Speaker You told me what this personal moment.

Speaker When the chopper cause when the Grand Canyon is over. Yes. Yes. Now we are in L.A..

Speaker What?

Speaker What was it? What? Tell me what that is and what it they ended up being. Yes.

Speaker What is that? What is the personal moment? Personal time. Personal.

Speaker Private moment. The private moment.

Speaker Exercise you Evans through the. Do you think she’s been hit by a blue ball?

Speaker Oh, put the knee. Oh, no, it’s OK. Is that OK? I have.

Speaker I just have. Airline seat back. You wait. No, I’m ok. OK. Sorry. All right. What? Yeah. Private moment. Is that what you’re asking me? The private moment exercise you bring in. It was in Michael Collins class in the third year.

Speaker And you’re asked to bring in things from your home environment, which in my case was my white room.

Speaker You bring them in and set them up in the room, in the rehearsal room, and then your class is there and you just have to be alone. And it can you can it can be 40 minutes long. It can be 10 minutes long. But the goal is to be totally unselfconscious in front of your audience. And in this case, it’s an audience of your peers. And I just thought it was fascinating. What a great exercise in unself consciousness. And it certainly helps. Now, if I have to be naked in something, because it’s it was really about like you’re alone. And even if there are people watching you, that’s your job is to be alone. They’re not. They’re.

Speaker What?

Speaker Oh, my God. I wrote one of my closest friends who’s still a friend of mine, Robbie Breckinridge, we still talk about the fact that he was you just do those things that people do when they’re alone, that you’re not even conscious of, that you do things in your life alone in your room, and you’re not you turned off. You’re not you’re not aware that he remembers that Michael Kahn was asking him, why do you only have a fork? I can’t because he only had a fork is a utensil. So what he was eating was always with this one fork and just this little eccentric things that when you’re by yourself that you do show up.

Speaker They also were people.

Speaker Oh, and I guess.

Speaker Well, you to avoid going to sign up, you would never go. It would be like this big.

Speaker I can wait. I can wait. Loved it. I just seems like such a great challenge and how exciting. It’s like going into another world. And that really stayed with me a lot because also Michael’s point was so many times on stage. If a character is left alone, if a playwright leaves a character alone on stage, O world should be revealed to us about that person. And so many times you see I see productions where a character is alone onstage and nothing gets revealed. And what that is, is self-consciousness, both on the directors that, you know, it’s the director not being aware that that should happen. It’s also the actor being afraid to find what what that character might be doing with no one is watching. That’s what people want to see. Everybody wants to see what people are doing. No one’s watching them.

Speaker That’s very dramatic.

Speaker What people don’t want to see is that fake thing where you see an actor aware that people are watching them more than they’re just focused on whatever it is they’re doing. I guess we’re talking about is what I want to see.

Speaker It is what we were talking spheres like briefly about these struggles. Were you aware? Because I’m not feeling right today. Were you aware of what in that school with these people that had struggled this way? I mean, you know, Eric LaSalle was was priede your time. You know, people that were you get a sense.

Speaker People that were black.

Speaker Did you feel that big? Did you. Did you. Were you aware of what that struggle was? Well, I mean, you’re saying it’s very British.

Speaker I mean, yeah, it was. I’m sure it must have been a struggle. Andre Brower was there. He was in his third year. And he you know, he was given really great roles. I mean, I. I didn’t see it. I’m sure.

Speaker I can’t imagine what it would be like to to be.

Speaker You know, the one black person in a class of 14 people or something.

Speaker I don’t know what that would be like.

Speaker So I can’t really speak about it because whatever that they experienced that they had is is something probably so much more complicated than I could ever even imagine. I’m empathetic, but I don’t understand it.

Speaker I did was there like a rally to the class? People would get cut. People would get you when you would see a kind of drama. Yeah. What?

Speaker How would the class come together in that way? Mean, were you going upstairs? This should happen to some people. This is a fair word with these. You know, I was there a spot was there was the class very involved with each other in that way?

Speaker Was my class involved with each other that way or classes above or below?

Speaker I just remember in my I guess the best thing I can tell you about that is that in my first year, I remember we were all sitting around on the floor of that third floor where everyone sat around on the floor. So there was nowhere else. Which is also an interesting concept, that cold tile floor. And I don’t know if it’s the same, but that’s why it was outside of the rehearsal rooms on the floor. And I thought, to this day, I’m still comfortable sitting in a rehearsal room on the floor.

Speaker You know, and.

Speaker We’re still waiting outside for an audition.

Speaker I’ll sit on the floor.

Speaker But what was I talking about with the struggles of other people? Oh, yeah. OK. And we were all sitting around and people there were a couple of people.

Speaker There’s one guy in my class was playing the guitar and we were kind of singing and we really liked each other. There was this just this great feeling of camaraderie and a couple of people who were in their third year and their fourth year walked by and they looked at us and they said, well, enjoy this now because it’s all going to change. And I remember thinking, oh, how bitter and cynical they’re being. Oh, this isn’t going to change. We all really we have a great class. This is so great.

Speaker But then it did change. And I don’t know what the explanation for that is. I don’t know what that is. But the third and fourth year student who said that to us, they were right. They’re sad. Prediction was true. Well, just it’s like a family where there’s infighting and, you know, resentments build up and.

Speaker And that when you get to the third and fourth year of the competition.

Speaker Yeah. Then all of a sudden two, then you’re thrown and people want the good roles and, you know, there are only so many to go around.

Speaker And so it gets tough.

Speaker What about you? A lot of visceral moments.

Speaker Most agents like you like have that kind of mirroring moment going right back to school when you’re working on a role.

Speaker Oh, so, yeah, I have. Yeah, I have many, many moments where I realize, oh, this is what your years have gone by. I mean I graduated in nineteen eighty nine. It’s the year 2000 and I still the last project I was working on in the middle of a take thought Oh this is why. Michael said, whatever, you know, you you remember you have little flashbacks of, oh, I know how to do this.

Speaker I am prepared for this because I feel like I do.

Speaker Oh, yeah. Oh, my God. So I guess. Yeah. Well, like I said, I think it’s going to be okay. Oh, God.

Speaker Oh yes.

Speaker But nevertheless, yes, those same struggles.

Speaker Maybe you didn’t. You had already.

Speaker Oh, no, no. The struggles were the same. I mean, I had an agent, but I it just it’s so hard to get work. It’s it’s. You have to. It’s a struggle and sometimes Julia wrote on your resumé helps. And sometimes it hurts. It depends on who the director is, who, what the project is, what their frame of mind, where they’re coming from.

Speaker Sometimes it doesn’t matter. Do you think the.

Speaker If you go to a school or even thinking now, maybe it wasn’t your experience, but thinking, you know, the year 2000 to just go out in the world cold and be an actress is a very different experience than the way you’ll get CS if you’ve been to Yale or into Juilliard.

Speaker Oh, yeah. Was it. Of course, it’s helpful to have been to a school like that. It it’s a foot in the door. But then you do have to prove yourself somehow, because otherwise they’ll just they’ll hire somebody else who didn’t. Maybe they didn’t go to school. You know, they’re looking for something.

Speaker But, yeah, going to Juilliard helped it grounded me, but just it’s not just the name. It was the experience. You’re walking in a door to audition for people and you feel like. I mean, you have something going on. You’re trying to do work that you’ve tried to learn how to do for four years. You’re trying to bring that to people. I think it I think it hurt me for a little while. I was so raw from the whole experience, too. It takes a while to put yourself back together after Juilliard. I think I’ve heard that before from other people. So I. I think it’s not just me. I mean, I know there are people who just.

Speaker Don’t have to do that. But it.

Speaker You’ve been taken apart and sort of put back together. So, you know, and then a lot of the things that you learn are so intense that you just you grow into them.

Speaker Then.

Speaker Well, like everything, it’s like if you walk across the street, look to your whole life would be different. It’s hard for you to reflect what would. Oh, what would my. Yeah, but it’s a bit. But it’s also a profound kind of. You’ve been put back together and then people talk about also having to find refind themselves because you’ve got the voice that you’ve got to do.

Speaker I don’t know if I ever really got. I tried.

Speaker I tried to take on what they were teaching me. I don’t know if I succeeded in doing that. I think I hope that I’m a better actor because I went there, especially because I’m still paying off the student loans.

Speaker So I hope it was good. I hope it means something, but I think it did. You know, I think it.

Speaker I think it made me a better actor being there.

Speaker I’m still trying to figure out what that means, what it what an actor it is even. It’s so complicated.

Speaker Are you doing the kind of work you thought you would be doing?

Speaker Sometimes. And then sometimes.

Speaker What did you know at that time that you thought you might be doing?

Speaker I think I pretty much did it. I mean, I worked on Broadway for a long time and. Before I came here to Los Angeles, and I mean, I imagined that I would I would. I would. I wanted to do.

Speaker I’ve done I’ve been doing so in that way. It did work out. I’d love.

Speaker I wish there was. I wish there were more opportunities to do checkoff plays or do I mean, one of the happiest experiences I had is I went to the La Hoya Playhouse and played Laura in The Glass Menagerie. And that was so great because it was like I could use everything I learned in school years later and apply and try to really flesh out this role. I guess I don’t get enough chance to do that. There’s just nobody you know, there’s not a lot of work out there. There’s very lot there’s a lot of competition for very few, very few parts, especially for women. And everybody says that. But it’s true. But then now I’m in this phase now where I feel like, well, I should be writing this stuff or I should be finding people who are writing this stuff or, you know, like you decided to do this project about Juilliard. Well, that’s innovative. You. You took the bull by the horns. And I really feel like whether you go to Juilliard, you don’t go to Juilliard, that’s your responsibility as any kind of creative person. You have to decide, I’m gonna do this. This is my vision. I think this will be interesting. I’m gonna create this thing, you know?

Speaker And what about all the. What do you think is. Do you think it’s just like we were talking about earlier? Is that what you asked me, what I think it is with those stats? I mean, you look back at your class and you see in your own class who was working, who’s not. What do you think plays into that? Do you feel like, God, they were so good?

Speaker Yeah, I have a lot of the other a lot of my favorite actors I don’t think are working really as actors in my class, in other classes. Um. I don’t know. I don’t think anybody. I can’t wait to watch this and see if somebody else answered the question better than I am answering it, because I don’t know.

Speaker I don’t know what that is.

Speaker I mean, I think if people if people knew what that was, everybody would be working a lot. As an actor. I laugh. Is it just luck like blind luck and timing like being have being offered the right role at the right time and having had a certain life experience that makes it so that you can bring something to that role. But unlike that nice conservatory atmosphere, when you’re out in the real world, you just you’re competing with a lot of factors or you’re dealing with a lot of factors. And competition is one of them.

Speaker Sort of my life never with anybody, whether you was your obligation or sense of history or. Oh, as you said, you started by saying, you know what? Yeah. Was that sort of sense that you were or what?

Speaker Well, that’s cool. How do you like 100th anniversary music anyway. Yeah. So real.

Speaker Yeah. I think everybody goes there and it’s so I mean I remember talking with other people in my classroom. You’re all we’re all just so happy that we were accepted. You know, that’s the initial feeling like, oh isn’t it great. We’ve been accepted here. And you don’t even know what it is. You don’t even know what you’re in for. But you’re just like, oh, I thank God. Because you know that people there are people that you admired. You hear that? I mean, you see actors and you admire them. And then you find out, OK, well, they did this thing.

Speaker Maybe that maybe that’s what I need.

Speaker Maybe I’ll maybe I can learn the things that they learned and then get closer to doing the kind of work that I’m responding to.

Speaker It’s but it ends up being so much more than what you saw. For me, it ended up being so much more in wonderful ways and in horrible ways and in beautiful ways that were both horrible and wonderful. It’s so much more than what I imagined it was going to be through life for four years. You know, that significant amount of time to spend doing anything.

Speaker I think it’s just a process.

Speaker Yeah. It’s totally. It is just it’s a it’s it’s just a process. But it teaches you or it helped me learn to be comfortable with something that’s just it’s a process. It’s a there’s no end result. There’s nothing tangible, which is I think that I was, you know, stupidly frustrated, a lot like I wanted concrete results or cut. I want to kind proof this is worthwhile education. And the truth is, is it was a worthwhile education. It’s just that it’s it’s dealing with stuff that’s ephemeral. It’s not. And it’s so subject to it’s subjective, you know, different strokes for different folks. Everybody has a different idea of what’s good, what’s bad for your people that you’re working with now. I just want to tell them. It’s such a just to enjoy it. Enjoy all of it. Like even the pain and the suffering and the because it’s it’s an experience that can’t be duplicated. It’s not. It’s a once in a lifetime shot at just being in a process that’s about discovering the limits or, you know, of your abilities and your talent. And what is that like is actually what your talent. You can figure that out. What does that mean? And what I would say is just, you know, your Little Rock stars, because I feel like that out there. I wish we as a class, we had realized that the potential for creating some kind of new theater or new whatever we wanted, we could have done.

Speaker And it’s it’s a you know, there it is.

Speaker A new generation of actors would have. How exciting.

Speaker You know, when you were there, did you have relief, friendships with dancers and musicians? You know, just the school? No, no, no.

Speaker I remember meeting a cellist briefly because he was using one of our rehearsal rooms to practice. And but it’s so I had tunnel vision, just total of it. I mean, I would go. I remember seeing wonderful dance pieces and it was so great being right next to Lincoln Center. I would sneak into the opera, you know, because if you waited in a certain corridor, you could get in for free money. I saw LaBeau am and I saw a lot of opera for free and dance pieces in.

Speaker What did you ask me?

Speaker Oh, yeah.

Speaker Who was it, Michael? Is like Mick Jagger.

Speaker Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Michael Kahn worked before with your son.

Speaker I mean, Michael. Michael. I was like just like the crazy the guy that he was talking about.

Speaker He was like, well, Michael Kahn was like, all right. Michael Kahn was like Mick Jagger to me, too. I mean, Michael, whatever that mean, he I just thought he was an oracle. He’s still in awe. He’s still with me, you know, with some of the teachers are so with you all the time. And I still like Tim Monarch. I’ll call him. I called him. He works with me on an An inspector calls and I didn’t feel good about it. I, I said to him, I’m not going to be ready to open until I work with you.

Speaker You know, there are certain processes you become addicted to. Tim is one of them for me. The process of figuring out the dialect really well and the operative words know just things like that.

Speaker US. Oh do you to God.

Speaker No, I haven’t. Really, it’s a problem in my field.

Speaker Yeah, I’ve done them. I’ve done them and tried to do them well. You know, Tim. But Tim is really helpful.

Speaker Lots of people.

Speaker I mean, I literally feel sometimes like, oh God, I have to work with him because then I feel done.

Speaker You know, we don’t I think we’re done.

Speaker We’re hitting into the tangential scrollable Rubini. Oh, what do you need without stomach grall personal movement.

Speaker Yeah, just those forewords.

Speaker Just like. Oh, that’s OK. Yeah. Doesn’t exist anymore. They don’t do it. But you can comedy. You have your life full of this sentence.

Speaker But but also I think that Michael felt maybe you I’m not sure because he wasn’t totally right that it kind of turned into like people kind of masturbating. Yeah. Taken on this edge. That was not him anymore. But what was it?

Speaker I mean, originally, I never saw anyone masturbate. I’m sorry to say in their private moment exercise, the private moment exercise for me was just a great I love the whole concept of it. Just. What do people do when they’re alone? So what do people do when they’re alone onstage and to this day? If I’m alone onstage or in a moment in a play or in a film, you know, I’ll say, is there something we can do? You know, like I want it to be more interesting than just as if my character was in front of some of the other characters.

Speaker Well, you could tell young people, oh, young people.

Speaker Did I say I should be shot?

Speaker I think it’s going to be so fascinating. You think of the two thousand people every year. Imagine this film exists and you’re like, I want to go to school. You’re going to watch that movie. It’s going to be a whole different ball game in terms of what people think experience is like is intriguing to me to think about that. It isn’t 10 year old kids going to go here. American Masters of Juilliard. Because I really want to go there.

Speaker Wow. I don’t think that’s right. Yeah, and they should. And I wish that I had seen an American Masters on Juilliard before I decided that I wanted to go there.

Speaker Because if there was there was so much mystery involved in it, none of us knew what was going to happen to us.

Speaker We know, but still nothing I say or I can imagine that anyone else saying is really going to because it’s subjective. It’s different for every person you’re going to. I mean, what I say about it really has nothing to do with what John Smith, who decides he wants to go to Juilliard. What his experience is going to be. Because I was. Where were you? Being an actor, you’re using yourself and everybody’s so different. Can you imagine all this, like 17 different individuals collected together? All right.

Speaker We’re all here to teach you to act. She’s you acting, right? Harold Stone used to teach a comedy class. What does that teach you? Comedy.

Speaker Like there are rules. You know what’s funny?

Speaker I don’t know. Nobody knows.

Speaker Card, but these kids I mean, if you’re watching now. I think Marian Seldes really had it down because this is her whole concept was just this this like. She was in touch with, you know, cute little birds, your birds just go like that. You’re learning to fly. It was sort of the vibe I always got from Marion and. You take very tender, fragile people, actors, what a strange thing to want to be. And the fact that they collect them all and put them in a class together and say, we’re right, Booth, show up at nine o’clock for dance. You know, it’s a good thing to have to do to show up at nine o’clock for dance or for movement or for speech or I mean, just add some discipline is a good thing, I think. But hold on to yourself, please. You know, because it’s the most interesting. All anybody wants to see is the real stuff. So, I mean, I always had a problem with people assimilating too much of what was supposed to be the right way to act or the right way to speak. And, you know, what do you like to see? I like to see something real and interesting. So you kind of have to hold onto that at the same time, I guess. But it’s a weird place. So weird. It’s a wild ride. But now you have a dorm. I had to live at the Y. You know, you’re going to have a dorm. It’s a comfortable place to live. They also redecorated the whole place right after my student loans that I’m still paying. They’re helping you. They’re helping you out. It’s a pretty place to go now. They put a nice red carpet down and everything right after I left. And the dorm, they built the dorm. You don’t have to live at the YMCA next to a little old man carrying a cup of Pee Wee. But that was part of what was great. We used to make Kraft macaroni and cheese and a walk on the floor of our Y. You know, just all of it. The whole thing. All of it is great. And write it all down because somebody needs to write a book about it.

Speaker Are you doing a book, too?

Speaker You know what to write. It’s like a guide book. OK. Happy anniversary. American Masters. Shall we say it right into the happy anniversary. Oh, like I’m Jane Adams. Am I the last time I checked. I was Jane Adams. And sometimes I’m Jane Adams. And happy anniversary. American Masters set. Right. Happy anniversary, American Masters.

Speaker Tell us what you get for Europe here. I am credible. America continue for another 50 years.

Speaker I love American masters. I think American Masters rocks. I think it should continue for forever. For another 15 years. And then forever after that. I mean, it’s the year 2000 after all. Go, go. American Masters.

Speaker We love you. American Masters.

Jane Adams
Found in: Juilliard
Interview Date:
2000-05-13
Runtime:
1:16:45
Keywords:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
1007647759
MLA CITATIONS:
"Jane Adams , Juilliard" American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). May 13, 2000 , https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interview/jane-adams/
APA CITATIONS:
(1 , 1). Jane Adams , Juilliard [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interview/jane-adams/
CHICAGO CITATIONS:
"Jane Adams , Juilliard" American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). May 13, 2000 . Accessed October 7, 2022 https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interview/jane-adams/

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