Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? Not Gabrielle Rose or Meg Roe!Saturday, February 12, 2011
|Gabriel Rose & Meg Roe on set.|
Our only other exposure to this play was Mike Nichols’ film starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sandy Dennis and George Segal. We saw the 1964 film at the Cine Chapultepec in 1968 (American films took a while to get to Mexico City) shortly after we had gotten married. We purchased our tickets and the man at the door demanded an ID to prove we were over 21. I was 26 and Rosemary was 24 but this made no difference to the man. We showed him our brand new wedding rings. That made no difference. Luckily we lived nearby and I ran back for our passports and we got in.
All I remember of the film was that it was in gritty black and white and that the camera sometimes got close and you could almost see the spit coming out of Richard Burton’s mouth when epithets began to fly.
This time around Rosemary and I will be prepared. I have rented the DVD from Videomatica and we are going to watch it Sunday night.
But there has been another preparation, and I would add that it is unusual.
On Thursday I had the pleasure (in only 30 minutes) of taking portraits of Gabrielle Rose (who plays the Elizabeth Taylor role of Martha) and Meg Roe (Sandy Dennis’ role of Honey) on the set at the Granville Island Stage. In retrospect I deplore my decision to use the part of the set featuring the 6's era record turntable! I also was able to take portraits of John Wright the director and patriarch of one of Canada’s most prolific thespian families. His portrait will appear here in a very near future.
Gabrielle Rose and I are no strangers. I had photographed her three times before. But Meg Roe had never faced my camera before. It was a three years ago that when taking the portraits of Arts Club Theatre Company Director Bill Millerd and Bard on the Beach Director Christopher Gaze, that I first heard of Meg Roe. The two gentlemen were full of praise for the young woman and I remember Gaze telling me, “Not only can she act but she directs and is also an expert on theatre sound design.”
My first awareness of her directorial skills was the Playhouse production of William Gibson’s The Miracle Worker in 2009. I saw the play twice as after seeing it with Rosemary I took my granddaughter Rebecca to see it, too.
It was in 2010, also at the Vancouver Playhouse in Joan MacLeod’s Toronto, Mississippi that my initial confusion led to sheer amazement. Rosemary reads her program before any play begins. I choose to be surprised. There was this young girl on stage (Meg Roe looks a lot younger than her 30 years) who seemed to be speaking with a speech impediment and acting strangely. Was she on drugs I wondered? Rosemary explained that she was playing an autistic teenager. That is when my confusion became amazement at what was a virtuoso performance. It was a virtuoso performance no less a one than the one I had come from Gabrielle Rose in the 2008 performance of Doubt at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre.
As I photographed the two women individually and together I enjoyed my sheer luck at being so close to an art form that is mostly an alien one to one who does not practice it. To watch a good actor or actress (I am old-fashioned) is no different to watching a virtuoso violinist or listening to a good writer how it is they write.
Judging from what I already know about Meg Roe and Gabrielle Rose, the opening of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf will be a sonic fireworks of words in which the acting by Craig Erickson and Kevin McNulty will be icing on the cake.
The Miracle Worker