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Posts Tagged Linda Kelsey

At Its Core, A Love Story

The cast of Amy’s View in a rehearsal.
(Photo by Petronella J. Ytsma)

Amy’s View, currently on our Proscenium Stage until June 4, is sure to bring Park Square’s core audience to its happy place. It pairs two of the Twin Cities’ favorite actresses, Linda Kelsey and Tracey Maloney, in the leads as mother and daughter, respectively, in a regional premiere of a drama by playwright David Hare. A British play set in 1979 and spanning almost two decades, it hints at underlying social themes but is, at its core, a love story.

With daughter Amy’s premise that “love conquers all” running throughout the play, Amy’s View brought to my mind Erich Segal’s Love Story, which was both a film and novel. The book was released on Valentine’s Day in 1970, staying the top-selling fiction in the United States for the entire year. Jenny’s (its female lead) famous line, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” became a much debated catchphrase just as daughter Amy’s view will likely become for those who see the play.

Amy’s View features love in its numerous forms: romantic, platonic and, most specifically, familial. Each relationship is greatly tested, even stretching the limits of unconditional love to a questionable degree of self-sacrifice. You will leave asking, “Does love conquer all?”

Then you may also ask, “Who says so?” The writers of both Amy’s View and Love Story are male. “Love conquers all” may have first appeared as a Latin phrase–omnia vincit amor–in Eclogue X by the ancient Roman poet, Virgil.

Just as with “not having to say you’re sorry,” the notion of forgiveness–its necessity (or not) to move on becomes a central question in this play as well. How much can one endure before forgiveness comes off the table? What state of grace comes from keeping it on the table? Must it be earned or be unconditionally offered?

As I’d heard Cathleen Fuller, who plays Linda’s mother-in-law, recently say about Amy’s View, “It’s a powerful piece!” As such, the play lends itself to lively discussion, so consider making a night out on the town as a pair or group with a post-show dinner or drinks. But be careful! What you say may cement a relationship for life or make yourself ask: “Who did I marry?” or “Is she really my mother?”

May you sit long, talk much, and have a great time!

 

Linda Kelsey Speaks for Herself (and Esme)


Having grown up watching Linda Kelsey on television and, in recent years, on stage where she fully embodies the characters that she portrays, it was with pleasure to have the opportunity to meet Linda being herself. Here before me was the harried Linda, running late after a longer-than-expected meeting then having to fight traffic to get to Park Square on time. Here was the gracious Linda still game to answer a few questions right before stepping into a rehearsal for Amy’s View, which will run on Park Square’s Proscenium Stage from May 12 to June 4.

In Amy’s View, set between 1979 to 1995, Linda plays Esme Allen, a grande dame of the London stage and mother to Amy, who firmly holds the view that love conquers all. However, Amy’s unwavering devotion to the narcissistic Dominic drives a wedge between herself and Esme. Though Esme loves Amy unconditionally, she cannot understand her daughter’s willingness to sublimate her own life for Dominic, a man whose primary focus above all else is to further his own professional aspirations, first as a critic lacking respect for theatre (versus popular media) and ultimately as a film director. Meanwhile, Esme also grapples with her own relationship with Frank Oddie, her neighbor and financial handler who desperately wants to marry her.

Amy’s View has a lot to offer as a good, old-fashioned play about people, relationships and ideas,” Linda said. “It’s beautifully written and a joy to speak the lines. Esme is also an extremely interesting woman to play. She touches my heart; she’s such a vulnerable human being, and I appreciate that.”

When asked if she believes in Amy’s view that love conquers all, Linda caught me off guard by, in turn, asking, “Do you mean me as Linda or as Esme?”

While really thinking “Linda,” I seized the chance to find out more by saying, “Both!”

Linda replied, “I believe it’s true but also a glib thing to say because it’s hard to live that out.”

Would you agree after having watched Amy’s View? Come and find out!

Gabriel Murphy: From His Viewpoint

Gabriel Murphy has previously graced our Andy Boss Thrust Stage in Park Square Theatre’s 4000 Miles in the 2014-2105 season) and Wonderlust Productions’ Six Characters in Search of an Author (2015-2016). This season, he appears on our Proscenium Stage in Park Square’s regional premiere of Amy’s View from May 12 to June 4, playing the pivotal role of Amy’s rather narcissistic partner, Dominic, who sorely tests her lifelong belief that love conquers all.

As Dominic, Gabriel is also the match that lights the fire of conflict between the mother-daughter pair of Esme and Amy, portrayed by Linda Kelsey and Tracey Maloney, respectively. But don’t be surprised if his character also sparks heated debate amongst audience members regarding the boundaries of love.

Recently, Gabriel answered questions that I had about his character as well as himself. Here’s what he had to say:

What attracted you to the role of Dominic?

Honestly, I was initially attracted to the role of Dominic because it meant being reunited with Linda Kelsey and Director Gary Gisselman. We’d worked together on 4000 Miles, which was such a fantastic experience for me. I’m so grateful to be back in a rehearsal room with the two of them as well as with the rest of this delightful cast. In addition to that, I’m excited to be tackling such an intelligent character. Dominic has many flaws, but he is incredibly smart and ambitious. Those are fun qualities to explore.

Yours is a key “triggering” role in the play. What is/are the biggest challenge(s) in playing Dominic?

Triggering, indeed! Dominic does have a tendency to rub people the wrong way. Dominic can be arrogant and caustic, but he and Amy do share a real love so I suppose the biggest challenge in playing Dominic is making sure I don’t ignore his humor and warmth. I also find David Hare’s language inherently challenging. He is a brilliant playwright so tackling his dialogue is a delightful challenge.

How is playing Dominic changing your personal view on relationships, life, etc.?

As a young actor attempting to establish myself in the Twin Cities, I can sometimes focus very intensely on my career. Playing Dominic is an excellent reminder for me that ambition has its drawbacks. In the play, Amy’s titular view is that people should give love without any conditions or expectations so, you know, that’s not a bad thing to think about.

How did you end up being an actor?

I went to a tiny private school in Kansas with a graduating class of 22 people. My school was so small that everyone was required to participate in extracurricular activities because, otherwise, we wouldn’t have had enough people to put on plays or create sports teams. Basically, I began doing plays by force!

Anything else that you would like the readers to know about the play or yourself?

For being such a compact play, Amy’s View manages to cover a huge span of time in the lives of these characters. David Hare’s writing is incredibly funny and witty; but every day in rehearsal, the heart in the play strikes me. I’m always caught off guard by how moving the play is. Also, this is the second play I’ve done with Linda and Gary in which I spend the first moments of the show dealing with a bicycle. In reality, I’ve actually never learned how to ride a bicycle. My boyfriend is making that my project for the summer.

Gabriel Murphy (center) in rehearsal with Linda Kelsey, Tracey Maloney and Nathaniel Fuller (left to right) (Photo by Connie Shaver)

Don’t miss seeing Gabriel Murphy in Amy’s View. Then return to Park Square to catch him again this summer in Idiot’s Delight, presented by Girl Friday Productions, on our Andy Boss Thrust Stage from June 29 to July 23. 

 

Calendar Girls: Featuring Linda Kelsey

As part of our ongoing Meet the Cast of Calendar Girls Blog Series, let us introduce you to Linda Kelsey:

kelsey_linda

ROLE:  Jessie, late 60s/70s

AS DESCRIBED IN PLAYWRIGHT TIM FIRTH’S SCRIPT:

Get on the right side of Jessie as a teacher and she’ll be the teacher you remember for life.  Get on the wrong side and you will regret every waking hour.  A lover of life, Jessie doesn’t bother with cosmetics—her elixir of life is bravery.  Jessie goes on rollercoasters.  Her husband has been with her a long time and is rarely surprised by her actions.  Jessie bothers about grammar and will correct stallholders regarding their abuse of the apostrophe “s”.  Ideal car—strange-looking European thing which is no longer manufactured.  Ideal holiday—walking in Switzerland or Angkor Wat.

DIRECTOR MARY FINNERTY’S COMMENT:

I have worked with Linda in two other productions and love working with her.  In auditions she drew such a deep and funny interpretation of Jessie, who is a former teacher.  I knew she had the acting chops and sense of comedy which would give both aspects of the character of teacher and girlfriend in the room.

QUESTION FOR LINDA: 

Jessie is opinionated and quick to make up her mind.  I love the “a woman of your age” speech that she delivers.  What did you draw from yourself to play her versus what had to be learned through Jessie?

Well, you don’t have to spend much time in Hollywood, as I did for 25 years, to see ageism at its worst.  I have a great well to draw from in that regard.  It takes courage and gratitude to face aging as a woman in this culture.  I don’t share this often, but my sister Judy died at the age of 49.  When I turned 50 I felt an overwhelming gratitude, realizing that some, like my sister, would never have the experiences that I am now having as a mother of adult children and a grandmother.  There is so much life to be experienced at any age, and I have been on a bit of my own crusade to make sure that women past the age of 40 are recognized, appreciated, and given opportunities to expand their horizons.  I love that I can speak these thoughts through Jessie’s words, especially when she says, “I have never had a problem with age, my dear.  Age has only every had a problem with me.”

CAST BACKGROUND: 

Park Square The Other Place, 4000 Miles, Mary T. and Lizzy K., Doubt, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Frozen, The Belle of Amherst  Representative Theatre Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company: The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife; Guthrie Theatre:  The Tempest, When We Are Married; Torch Theater:  Dangerous Liaisons; Mixed Blood Theatre: Agnes Under the Big Top  TV/Film (series regular) Lou Grant, Sessions (HBO), Day by Day; (mini-series) Eleanor and Franklin; guest starring) MASH, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Streets of San Francisco, Barnaby Jones  Training B.A. and McKnight Fellowship in Acting, University of Minnesota  Awards/Other Five Emmy Nominations: Lou Grant; Two Golden Globe Nominations: Lou Grant; Cable Ace nomination: Sessions

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