Stella Adler Theatre
On Saturday, August 5th, 2000, Kate Mulgrew participated in the “Hollywood Speaks at the Adler” seminars held at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood, California.
Mary Hunt was lucky enough to be able to attend the seminar and has allowed me to post her report. Many thanks to Mary for sharing her experience.
By Mary Hunt
(based on Jennifer Duquette's report)
The theater was small and comfortable, consisting of about six rows with maybe sixteen seats in each row. The theatre only sat a total of 97 people and was three quarters full so you do the math. We sat in the third row, center, maybe fifteen feet from the stage. On the stage to our left were a small podium and a chair with a small table next to it with the obligatory bottle of water and glass. The stage was dressed with just a bed, which was there for a play the theater was performing. Irene Gilbert, the director of the Stella Adler Academy of Acting, came to the podium and began to introduce Kate by way of reading a list of her professional accomplishments. I swear this list was straight off the Totally Kate! website. She then announced Kate who walked out looking wonderful. Her hair was pulled back into a small ponytail that had been bound unto itself until it looked more like a bun than a ponytail. She was wearing a v-neck, ¾ sleeve, tight white top with a straight cut long yellowish skirt of some thin silky material. It looked like a polyester blend but I'm not a fashion expert.
Kate began explaining how she came to know Stella Adler. She told how she had come to New York at seventeen "straight out of the cornfields and pig pastures of Iowa." She knew she wanted to become an actress and although possessing "the arrogance of youth" she also had the courage to seek out Stella Adler. She explained that she did so "in a very devious way. My father never wanted me to be an actress or certainly he didn't think I'd become one. My mother, on the other hand, fully supported me. So, in order to get to NYU, which had a collaborative program with the Stella Adler Conservatory, I had to lie to my father." She told how she snowed him by insisting that she "must have an academic career" and would major in Philosophy. "That was the deal," she continued. "Before I could attend the Stella Adler Conservatory I had to go to NYU. Know that I never attended one academic course." She went on to tell how she would "never forget the first moment of the first day, the first class with that woman who changed my life." She spoke more about Stella and things she had learned as related to the theatre and acting and other stuff which although interesting, I can't bring myself to recap it all since it was over one hour long.
As Kate spoke she moved about the stage, making it her own. She would walk on and off stage to demonstrate how to make an entrance interesting or would flop onto the bed to show exhaustion. She made herself comfortable and that feeling was extended to the audience as well. It was quite a unique experience to see her share her passion for acting in such a relaxed atmosphere.
She took questions from the audience that were for the most part related to the craft of acting, but she did answer questions that were obviously from fans like us and was most gracious to everyone. Relating strictly to Voyager she talked about how limiting it can be due to the tight constraints of the show. She explained how it was up to her to add whatever nuances and subtleties to Janeway's character that she could. It becomes sort of a game involving what you can get past the franchise. She rolled her eyes when asked about the franchise’s plans for the next series and stated that it was her opinion that Star Trek is over saturated and needs to take a bit of a break. As at other events she confirmed that she seriously doubts that there will be any Voyager movies, but that some characters such as the Doctor and Seven would be likely candidates to cross over to TNG movies.
Kate stated that when Voyager is over in April 2001 she would be leaving Los Angeles for New York. She has already been offered two plays including one in San Francisco, which she thinks she will do in order to get her feet wet in the theater again. She understands that she will have to spend a little time in regional theater, so everyone keep your eyes out for her in your town.
The only disturbing thing she said, after warning us that maybe she shouldn't say it out loud and we knowingly responding that no, she shouldn't, was that she would like Janeway to be dead in the final scene of the final show. Keep an eye out for her performances this year. She is calling it her quiet or still year. She has been trying to infuse Janeway with some quietness and stillness hoping that the characters around her will be forced to respond and therefore make the scenes interesting.
Kate continued to answer questions ranging from how she got her first agent - she lied, lied, lied and recommended that all the students do the same or worse; to Ryan's Hope -she does not recommend soaps because she feels they don't allow for growth and although she didn't regret doing it she wishes she had listened to Stella who warned her against it; to how it feels to be admired by young women and especially girls who would go into science related fields because of Janeway -she feels very honored and touched by it and recognizes the responsibility she holds. Sooner than we all wanted she was being motioned that it was time to end. With a last inspiring word to the student actors in the room she said her good-byes and it was over.
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