Though I have had few opportunities to attend stage productions, I have long been fascinated with all things theater. Fortunately, avenues such as public television, stage to screen film productions, and the entertainment cornucopia known as YouTube can give anyone a taste of the very distinctive storytelling form of stage plays.

I’ve mentioned before that Vanessa Redgrave is my favorite actress. I have come over the years to recognize that my list of favorite actors of a certain generation is wallpapered with veterans of the British theater world. There is a certain resonance and authority among the men and an unmistakable bearing and luminosity among the women that makes the briefist performance unforgettable.

Vanessa Redgrave’s talent transcends anything else I have ever seen. The first time I remember noticing her was when I was very young, watching an airing of Playing for Time on late night TV. I’ve only seen it that once, but I never forgot the powerful story of concentration camp prisoners literally performing for their lives.  Ms. Redgrave was mesmerizing, shaven head covered only with passionate dignity.

Her brief scenes in Deep Impact sent me searching out anything I could find with her name in the credits. I learned of the cruelties of Victorian prisons and developed an interest in Oscar Wilde’s writing from Wilde, discovered the support pillar behind Winston Churchill’s greatness as I watched her play Clementine in The Gathering Storm, witnessed regal suffering in Mary Queen of Scots…and that masterpiece of a reveal as the aged Briony in Atonement was simply heartstopping. If I had not watched Mrs. Dalloway entirely because she starred, I might never have discovered how much I love the prose of Virginia Woolf or been so eager to read and watch The Hours, which I also fell in love with, book and movie. Wonderfully, the titles I’ve named are just a small cross section of a remarkable and enduring career.

I just read this New York Times article , where, with Jesse Eisenberg the playwright and her costar in The Revisionist, she discusses the play and gives insights into her thoughts and experiences. It is a rare treat to discover articles like this, where a person, a talent, and a legend come to light through the written word.

A moving trailer for Playing for Time

Mrs. Dalloway Trailer