Mulgrew Discusses 'Tea At Five' On 'Rosie'

By Caillan
March 2, 2002 - 6:24 PM

Although she has often been compared to Katharine Hepburn, actress Kate Mulgrew (Kathryn Janeway) never felt a connection until she took on the role of the screen legend in 'Tea at Five.'

"I have been likened to her all my life, which one tends to dismiss, and suddenly this thing is happening inside on a very deep level," Mulgrew said during an appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show last week (via Voyager's Delights).

The role has certainly been a demanding one, yet Mulgrew found the experience to be very rewarding. "In act one I'm 31, in act two I'm 76, and it is this extraordinary journey, which I'm taking vocally as well, it's not an easy feat. She has visited me in a way - I don't know how to explain it to you.

"I think what is most important about this piece, is that it is not a vanity piece, so we did take a risk, but I think by the same token if Katharine Hepburn did watch it, she would be honoured by it. I have tried to dignify her life on every conceivable level as an actress. And I do hope that I have given that to her, because she is a great Spartan spirit."

It hasn't all been plain sailing however, with an unsteady set causing problems for Mulgrew on opening night. "I turn after about ten minutes and I go to the mantlepiece and just as I transition into a very terrible sequence about my brother's death and as I approach the mantlepiece, it crashes to the floor," the actress recalled. "I said to myself, 'You have two choices, you can screw this up or you can figure it out just like she would.' Just before I went up there I had a line saying to the audience 'Time levels.' So I get to the mantlepiece, it crashes and I turned to them and went 'Time levels other things as well.'"

With the arduous Voyager schedule finally behind her, one would think Mulgrew would have wanted to relax for a while before starting on her next project. But the actress has always been one to take on tough challenges.

"After seven and a half years in the Delta Quadrant, I got married to this guy [Tim Hagan] who spent 16 years as a public official in Cleveland, and I said 'What's it going to be? Picnic, walk in the park?' He said, 'No, I think I'll run for governor' and I said, 'Well I'll do the life of Katharine Hepburn.'"

The full 8-minute 9.5 MB Real Media video clip of Mulgrew's appearance can be downloaded here at Voyager's Delights.

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