Rachel Griffiths: “I never thought I would do television, but what I quickly realized is that television is really similar to the theater”

Brothers and Sisters star Rachel Griffiths is making her long-overdue Broadway debut in Other Desert Cities alongside luminaries Stockard Channing and Stacy Keach. Though Griffiths is no stranger the stage — she’s been all over it in her native Australia — Griffiths admits to Broadway.com that there’s not all that much difference between acting on the stage and on the small screen, at least as far as she’s concerned!

Like nearly every actor, Griffiths confesses that she’s always had Broadway dreams, but it was difficult to choose where to begin and how to handle the workload. “I’ve wanted to do Broadway, but I’ve been nervous about what play it would be and how long the run would be. Australian actors are perhaps not well suited to long runs. We tend to do seven or eight weeks in Melbourne, have a week off and then do the same in Sydney. To do eight shows a week at a certain emotional pitch and stay sane is very difficult—but it’s exciting for an audience when actors are pushing that edge or getting a little closer to the fire. As an audience member, you know if you’re receiving a “comfortable” performance. In some plays that’s OK, but in others, it sells the dramatist short to hold back.”   In fact, even though Griffiths prefers the stage she’s found that she’s become comfortable with television, too. She says, “I never thought I would do television, but what I quickly realized is that television is really similar to the theater. The actors who thrive in television have an acute faculty with language—they can turn on a line, handle complicated and very specific cadences and find a character through that. That was quite a revelation for me.”  Furthermore, Griffiths actually admits that she thinks it’s easier for an actor to transition to the stage from television, claiming, “It makes sense for TV actors to step effortlessly between the stage [and small screen]. I think it’s much harder for film actors.”

Whether Griffiths finds it difficult or not, we wish her luck in her Broadway debut, anyway!

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