Mulgrew On Her Transition From Screen To Stage

By Caillan
January 21, 2002 - 12:55 PM

Kate Mulgrew (Kathryn Janeway) wouldn't swop her time on Star Trek: Voyager for the world, but after seven years on the small screen the actress knew it was time to embark on a new voyage.

"Seven years is a long time and a wonderful run for a television series and a great privilege for any actress and terrific from beginning to end to play the first female captain, but I'm now ready for the next chapter," Mulgrew said during her appearance yesterday on Breakfast & The Arts (via Totally Kate).

Mulgrew is currently in rehearsals for her new one-woman show 'Tea at Five,' in which she plays Academy Award-winning actress Katharine Hepburn. But after being away from the stage for eight years, how is Mulgrew coping with memorising a forty-page play?

"Let me just answer that by saying I have for seven and a half years had to memorize 30 pages of dialogue a night," she said. "Technobabble. It's not even remotely a problem. The problem is bringing to life what the playwright intended. So, for me, not at all, that should just flow. And it will if we hit the mark."

But Mulgrew did admit she's a little fearful of being alone on the stage. "That is rather frightening," she said. "But I think that the job of the actress is to forget and to embrace the character and I trust with the director's help and with [playwright] Matthew's [Lombardo] great guidance and some courage on my part, this will come to fruition."

Despite the fact that she's often been compared with Hepburn, Mulgrew is adamant that the play must go deeper than imitation of the screen legend's persona. "I've often been likened to her. I, myself have found her intrinsically controversial. So, as an actress, I'm approaching this from a very different angle. There's no mad love affair that Kate Mulgrew has going with Katharine Hepburn. If anything, I would like an examination of her inner life. The sub-text is what is important in this play."

'Tea at Five' runs from February 7 to March 10 at the Hartford Stage in Hartford, Connecticut.

A full transcript of the interview, including photos of Mulgrew rehearsing the play, can be found here at Totally Kate.

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