Holland Taylor plays Ann Richards one last time

Have you ever thought about using his own words more? What would be the point? It wasn’t like she was Abraham Lincoln. She was a very ...


Have you ever thought about using his own words more?

What would be the point? It wasn’t like she was Abraham Lincoln. She was a very approachable speaker — even her greatest speeches are very conversational, and they tie into her genre of artisan, hard-core roots. There are probably 10 sentences that I write, like, for example, “Why should your life be just for you?” How easy is it?

How did you approach the race in Pasadena?

One of the reasons I did it was that I always wore so many hats and had to work so hard on every production. With Broadway, the work I had to do was not on stage: there is no one but me who can do the press for the show. I’m the only actor, and also the creator behind the whole production in every way. So on Broadway I barely had time to think and was performing the play at the highest possible level. Because I wasn’t doing a lot of other chores this time around, I thought: Finally, I’ll take care of this script as an actress. I really explored how she goes from this slab to the next slab, to the lily pond, to the bridge, to the puddle, to the rock – jumping from one thing to the next. Because to have written a play is not at all to have prepared to perform it. Very different tasks.

Has “Ann” changed the way you think about politics?

This show is really not political at all.

But at the end, for example, she talks about government and the civil service, which is – or should be – a key aspect of politics.

I think it’s a question of participation. When you say “politics” in our culture today, it kind of has a negative tone. She had a practical sense of how things worked; she wanted people to be involved in their lives, where they had free will. You give a [expletive] on what is happening around you and on others. It’s all about participation: “If you don’t participate, you’re just letting others make big decisions for you.” It was political in that sense. Absolutely.

What was it like performing in front of a masked audience?

It’s intimidating at first, but believe me, while I’m playing, I have a lot on my mind. And I had been living in surgical packaging for months: I was terrified of catching Covid, not for my own health but for the idea of ​​stopping production. So I had a lot of generalized anxiety and from the moment I agreed to do this, I lived behind a mask. Every day passed and I said, “One more.” We made it and my relief was just immeasurable to not have this show nearby.

How was the last performance?

I found the last day very stressful. Final performances matter so much to them. Myself, I would never go to see an actor’s last performance, in the same way that I try to avoid going to premieres, because I feel the angst of the actors. Openings and closings are so stressful that they are simply difficult. But I think it went very well. People have said it. I felt complete.

So this was really the last rodeo for “Ann”?

I might have a twinge in my heart, I guess, and maybe I will, but I don’t think I’ll ever say, “Damn, I wish I could do it again.” I’ll be 80 this winter and what I’m doing on this show is without a doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever done on stage. I don’t have that kind of confidence in my constitution anymore to say, “I’m going to do another one. Learning the text takes me two hours a day with someone on FaceTime, six days a week, for two months. To do this again means that I have to cut five months from my life, and there aren’t five months like that that I can cut from my life. A wonderful producer-director asked me on Instagram how I felt, and I said “satisfied”. I achieved what I wanted to achieve.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Holland Taylor plays Ann Richards one last time
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