Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lynn Redgrave

Lynn Redgrave is appearing in a one-woman show called Nightingale right now. She spends the entire 80 minutes of this show reading from a diary-like text recounting and reinventing the story of her maternal grandmother. Although her grandmother was a remarkably ordinary woman, she nevertheless spawned a daughter named Rachel who married a man named Michael Redgrave who in their own right and owing to the considerable accomplishments of their offspring created one of the most distinguished theatrical families of the 20th century. Frankly, the story of Lynn's grandmother in itself is not that compelling or moving, and yet, Redgrave is such a winning and effective performer, she rises above the material to turn in a performance that stays with you long after you have left the theatre.

Additionally, the parallels between her grandmother's life and Lynn's own life do leave an impact. Lynn found herself in a loveless and passionless marriage, which was roughly the sad and bewildering situation that her grandmother faced as well. Further, there is the larger context of Lynn's real life recurring cancer and her treatment for it that actually necessitates her reading from the text, something that she does with immense skill. But more broadly, her own impending mortality adds gravity to a play that attempts to recapture a life after it has ended and in which the main strands of the story were lost to family and to history, that is, until Lynn breathed new life into them.


  1. OK, now you're making me dizzy. In the last few days, while I was up in The City helping my children move into their new, and wonderful, house in the Mission, you have gone from the seasons and the vista to Punk and posterity. If there was any doubt about the variety of life in The Big Apple, well, it's completely dispelled.

    I can't compete with Keats, but here's an autumnal verse for you.

    On wet sand flats at evening ebb,
    Sea Birds congregate in ranks, like
    Nesting dolls set out in rows,
    Then erupt in clouds of flying snow,
    Changing colors as they shift
    Formations in the slanting light.
    No matter how they squall and shriek
    They cannot drown the autumn call.
    I watch them from the balcony
    Denying that they call to me.

    I can't compete with Keats, but here's an autumnal verse for your enjoyment.

  2. Great to have you back, db. You're been missed. Love the poetic contribution.

  3. Re. Your Redgrave overview and comment:

    Loveless and passionless marriage? 32 years long? 3 children? I don't think so. Of course, we are all sorry for the predicament she made for herself. I hope she works things out on stage, where she always belonged. Life offstage? That was never easy for her.