Mulgrew on Women, War and What Comes Next

By Michelle
November 30, 2006 - 11:41 PM

Kate Mulgrew (Janeway) spoke to both her official web site and a crowd of fans at Creation's 40th Anniversary Convention in New Jersey earlier this month, expressing her pleasure that so many Democrats had won in recent US elections, promoting her upcoming play Our Leading Lady and reflecting on what playing Janeway has meant to her and to her fans.

Speaking to Totally Kate!, Mulgrew said that she was looking forward to the broadcast premiere of The Black Donnellys, which is expected to debut at mid-season on NBC on Thursdays. "I'm not in the pilot, because they couldn't find the mother at that time," explained the actress, who went in for a meeting about the role around the time her own mother died. "I told them not to screw around with me, that I was in no mood for it, and they offered me the job," she recalled. "So I'm the mother of the four boys, around whom the whole thing's the story of the Irish mob on the west side of New York, and how they trounce the Italians...but I fight, of course, for their lives."

Mulgrew also revealed that she is working on her autobiography, which focuses heavily on her relationship with her late mother. "All memoirs have a major dramatic question in them, which I've learned in my studies," she said. "There has to be a theme. And I find as I let it go, it seems that the relationship with my mother has definition of self, and how it shaped almost every decision that I've made. And what it's meant to me." Because Mulgrew's mother was orphaned, the actress feels that her mother tried to shape her into a nurturing figure.

The actress believes that choosing her career at an early age was the smartest thing she ever did, "because it saved me from...all kinds of sadness. And probably all kinds of dementia. Because I've had some interesting knocks in my life. But when you're focused, and you're in love with something, you want so very much to do it that nothing gets derailed. So it saved me."

In front of the audience at the convention, in another transcript at Totally Kate!, Mulgrew gloated that "Our illustrious President will now have to address the Speaker of the House as Madam Speaker" and thanked Americans for "voting the right way." She was also happy to announce that she had just been cast in a play that will open in New York in March. "It's based on the life of Laura Keane, who was a great actress/manager of the Twentieth Century. So great, in fact, that she felt that she could tell the President, who was then Abraham Lincoln, that he must be there for her first night or she would never forgive him...and that was the night that Lincoln was shot. So this is the story of how things twist and turn. And anyway, I'm very happy to be doing that."

As to what she liked about being a performer, Mulgrew said, "We're not treated like other people. We're not like other people. It's wonderful not to be like other people. It's solitary, and sometimes it's lonely, I won't kid you. But it's deeply gratifying, because it's a special kind of life. We don't do ordinary things in ordinary ways." She hesitated when asked her opinion on women in the military, saying, "it's very hard for me to answer this in a level and articulate way. Because the military now is struggling under the gross mismanagement of this administration...our troops are very brave. I have nothing but respect for them. But this particular war is heinous."

Asked about whether she thought Janeway was maternal, Mulgrew said, "I hope there are no radical feminists in the room whom I would offend if my verbiage is not exactly politically correct. Because maternity is strength, darling. It's the best kind of strength in a woman, is it not? It indicates her ability to go deeper." The actress added that a woman "understands the complexity of human nature because she gives birth. Her risks are beyond a hundred percent. And often the consequences are lethal. So the courage of the maternal woman is great. I think we all have it, whether or not we have children. We have the capacity for children, and that's enough."

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