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Greta Gerwig on Theater Acting: “There’s no equivalent in film. It’s so addicting”

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Indie It girl Greta Gerwig has made a return to the stage in New York in The Village Bike for the first time since she was a college student. In the play she stars as a pregnant woman with a husband uninterested in having sex with her who fulfills her desires in infidelity and porn. The lead role in this Penelope Skinner play isn’t exactly the easiest role for a thirty year-old actress, and Gerwig spoke to the Wall Street Journal about the emotional hurdles she has gone through playing the role, why she has spent so much time away from the stage, and why she maintains such a busy schedule.

Gerwig admits that the role is very psychologically draining. She confesses, “I always feel destroyed after. I’ve just exposed myself, and it’s really hard to look at people. I need a whiskey.” However, she finds the rush of performing in front of a live audience exhilirating, adding, “There’s no equivalent in film. It’s so addicting.”

This isn’t the first time that Gerwig has worked in theater, since she acted in school productions while a student at Barnard College. She wanted to pursue a career as a playwright, but she was rejected from the playwriting programs at Yale, Julliard, and New York University. Though she was obviously disappointed, she recalls, “I continued to go to theater and be a fan of it, but it wasn’t what life was telling me was working.”

In addition to The Village Bike (which runs at the Lucille Lortel Theatre through June 28), Gerwig has been incredibly busy. She has several films coming out in 2014 — including The Humbling alongside Al Pacino — and recently starred in the pilot for How I Met Your Dad, though it is unlikely that a series will come of it. She is also still working on another film with her boyfriends and Frances Ha collaborator Noah Baumbach. However, that’s exactly how Gerwig likes it. She says, “My happiest times are when I’m completely stretched beyond what I think I could do, in a kind of emotional and physical exhaustion. It makes other days seem so much less vivid.”

1 Comment

  1. Ahsoka23

    June 19, 2014 at 12:43 am

    I love theater. I only have experience in film, but I find theater a real challenge. I would love to gain some experience in theater. I think Greta is right on this one, the feeling you get in theater is addicting. In some way acting in film can become a bit mechanical.

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