Cate Blanchett on Choosing a Play: “The character I’m to play is almost always the last point of entry for me”

cate-blanchett-the-maids

When you aren’t seeing Cate Blanchett on screen in movies like Blue Jasmine or The Hobbit she usually isn’t taking a well-deserved break. Not only is she devoted to her three children, but Blanchett is a leading player of the Sydney Theatre Company, which has put on productions in short runs all over the world. This year the Sydney Theatre Company is taking its production of The Maids to the Lincoln Center Festival at New York City Center from August 6 through 16. In the production of the Jean Genet play adapted by Blanchett’s husband Andrew Upton, Blanchett stars alongside Isabelle Huppert as maids who are sisters who feud with their employer. In an interview with The New York Observer, Blanchett spoke about how she developed the approach to the material with Huppert and how they came to the unique aspects of the production.

One interesting aspect of the play is that although the Australian Blanchett and French Huppert play sisters despite having very different accents. Blanchett admits that the disparity was intentional. She explains, “It’s an elliptical, labyrinthine play, and we’re exploring the ellipsis in the play, so we’re sisters in an abstract sense. That’s just the outer surface of the play, there to be played with. We talked at one point about swapping roles. We also talked about whether, at a certain point, we might fall into French. We played around with those things and with those concepts, but ultimately we decided not to pursue them. It’s a bit like throwing mud on the wall and seeing what sticks. Those ideas didn’t stick.”

She points out that that “throwing mud on the wall” approach helps her find what feels right with material with the cast. She says, “When I pick a play, the point of intersection is usually the people who are to be in the room. The character I’m to play is almost always the last point of entry for me. I’ve some addiction to the adrenaline of entering the rehearsal room and not having a clue how the character or the play will unfold. Certainly, that’s true of The Maids.”

Blanchett believes that The Maids is a play that works well with that approach. She says, “There’s an elasticity to this play that is ripe for reconfiguration. Theater is a very elastic medium—very porous. It’s a bastard form, capable of having a lot thrown at it. That’s what happens in rehearsal.”

Though seeing Blanchett on stage in New York will likely be a hot ticket, Blanchett says that a Broadway run of The Maids isn’t in the cards because of her commitments to her family in Australia. She reveals, “It’s not that I wouldn’t want to,” she admitted. “It’s just that even a limited run, which Broadway would require, would not be possible.”

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/imperium_daniele_radcliffe.jpg
Daniel Radcliffe on Playing a Neo-Nazi in ‘Imperium’: “It’s still just horrible to say some of this stuff”
Radcliffe reveals how he played such a layered character and what it felt like to say his character's hate-filled dialogue.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/John-Cho-Star-Trek-Beyond.jpg
How John Cho Took A Stand for Diversity Early in His Career
"When one does speak one's mind, one might be surprised at how receptive people are." - Actor John Cho
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/simon-helberg-florence-foster-jenkins.jpg
Simon Helberg on His ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ Role: “I’m an actor and I want to stretch different muscles”
Helberg spoke about portraying his character in the film and whether or not he feels typecast by his Big Bang Theory role.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Will-Chase-Something-Rotten.jpg
The Role That Got Away: Will Chase on Returning to ‘Something Rotten!’
"I know that I am a poor man's fill-in-the-blank. And I know that there are poor man's Will Chases out there. That's just the nature of the business" - Will Chase
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Julia-Stiles-Jason-Bourne.jpg
Julia Stiles on the Jason Bourne Series and Growing as an Actress: “There’s always room for improvement”
"I like a director that encourages me to be playful. I don't really like being restricted or controlled by a director." - Julia Stiles