McKellen, de la Tour and the ex wife

Theatre, for me, has often been a spiritual exercise. Even in the midst of real life turmoil, there’s theatre. Most of my enduring friendships began in the theatre, as did this one.

Date: Fri, 02 May 2003
From: Ramona Silipo
To:  Cheski
Subject: Re: Give an Actor a Chance…

Things are going well here in most ways, but I. has had to get a solicitor involved in order to get to see his children. We are, at this point, waiting for his ex wife to reply to a letter from I’s solicitor. In a last ditch effort, after about half a dozen requests, I. proposed again that they go to mediation. If she refuses again, then he goes to court. We really wish she would just stop all the animosity and avoid the tremendous COST of going to court. But she is one of these short sighted women who is so vengeful she will shoot herself in the foot if it means making more trouble for her ex.

We saw [Ian] McKellen and Frances de la Tour in Dance of Death last night. Amazing stuff. McKellen has changed radically since Richard III and Enemy of the People. This is the first time I have seen him allow a role to inhabit him, instead of imposing himself on a role. Do you know what I mean? It was brilliant.

And I am now a real fan of Frances de la Tour. Her Cleopatra is the only one of about half a dozen I’ve seen that I believed every moment. She was hysterically funny in Fallen Angels. If I were 30 years younger, I’d be writing her a fan letter. God, she’s good. There was a moment last night, a gesture or inflection or something, when she reminded me of you… a kind of vulnerability with huge depths of strength underneath.

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