“I love the chemistry that can be created onstage between the actors and the audience. It’s molecular even, the energies that can go back and forth. I started in theater. and when I first went into movies I felt that my energy was going to blow out the camera.”
More often than not, I hear thespians with theatre backgrounds always prefer the intimacy and electiricty that comes from on-stage performance. Based on her statement above, actress Glenn Close falls into that category as well. And you wanna know something? She is absolutely right in that observation. If you’ve ever seen a performer mesmerize an audience from the stage, you know why. When performing for a camera, your energies are merely captured by a lens. But when one is on stage it’s more than your voice booming out into the auditorium, it’s your very soul. It cascades over the audiences washes them in the current of a performance, and their own reactions can ripple back like the rise and fall of a tide.
While I couldn’t tell you if Glenn Close has actually blown up any cameras of the years, the caliber of her work and the range of characters she’s played over her career indicates it may well still be possible. Regardless of the medium, her talents are apparent to all: Glenn Close is one of our generation’s most versatile actors.
Here’s a quick rundown of accolades: She’s a six-time Oscar nominated actress, a British Academy Film Award nominee and a multiple-time Grammy nominee. Oh, and she’s also won multiple Emmys, Golden Globes, a Screen Actors Guild award, an Off-Broadway award and three Tony awards.
Apropos of chemistry lingo, her roles are often combustible to behold on stage. And on film or television, like a strip of magnesium, she can set the screen ablaze. As a result, her performances have always breathed with a sense of vitality and electricity. Compared to most, she makes most everyone sharing the screen with her look like mere community theatre players. Yes, she is that damn good.
She began on the stage, and honed her craft early in her career. Glenn made her debut in 1974, and was nominated for her first Tony in 1980. Eventually, she went on to win Tonys for The Real Thing and Death and the Maiden and for Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Sunset Boulevard. On stage, she has appeared in such works as Uncle Vanya, King Lear, Rules of the Game, The Real Thing, The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs, The Crucifer of Blood, The Member of the Wedding and The Rose Tattoo. Ten years ago, she even appeared in a London Royal National Theater production of A Streetcar Named Desire as Blanche DuBois.
Luckily for us, Close ventured beyond the stage and brought her talent to all avenues of media. Her transition to film was seamless segue to more kudos. Not many receive an Academy Award nomination for their first movie, but Close did for 1982 for her supporting role in THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP. In the next few years she followed that up with more supporting nominations in 1983’s THE BIG CHILL and 1984’s THE NATURAL. Quite the start, wouldn’t you say? In the years since, she has also received Best Actress nominations for 1988’s DANGEROUS LIASIONS and 2011’s ALBERT NOBBS.
But I think perhaps her signature role is one that struck cold fear down the spines of married men everywhere in the 1980s. Her role of Alex Forrest in Adrian Lyne’s FATAL ATTRACTION is so warped yet believably terrifying that it seared itself into the national consciousness. In this 1987 film, happily married Michael Douglas has a weekend fling with Glenn Close, but soon find that this liaison will not slip quietly into the closet to buried like other skeletons. She has other plans, and the consequences of his affair jeopardizes his life in ways he never could have imagined. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned (Just ask the family’s pet rabbit). From that moment, the term “fatal attraction” itself has come to identify tales of infidelity gone awry, and this film likely kept an entire culture of men scared straight. Now that‘s what I call leaving an impression.
In fact, every role that Glenn has breathed life into has been indelible in its own way, no matter how large or small. Whether as the sharp but vulnerable lawyer in JAGGED EDGE, the Barbara Bushian First Lady in Tim Burton’s MARS ATTACKS!, the Vice President to Harrison Ford’s ass-kicking chief executive in AIR FORCE ONE, the diabolical live-action Cruella DeVil in 101 DALMATIANS or her literally haunting performance in REVERSAL OF FORTUNE, Close always manages to stamp the role with a signature that only she is able to provide.
Recently, Close just concluded the final season of “Damages,” a television legal thriller that ran for five seasons. As the brilliant and ruthless lead character Patty Hewes, Glenn led the charge of awards bestowed on the program by winning two Emmys (for the first two seasons), a Satellite award, a Gracie Allen award and a Golden Globe. Prior to “Damages,” Glenn also won acclaim for appearing in series like “The Shield,” “The West Wing,” “Will & Grace,””The Simpsons,” as well as programs like “South Pacific,” “Sarah Plain and Tall,” and “The Lion in Winter.”
And now, on our own stage in downtown Austin, we will get to hear insight from the woman behind the masks. Sharing stories and insight on her career, Glenn will once again will be a part of the magic chemistry between the audience and those on stage, but now in a whole new way. Prepare to still be entranced by her charm, grace and a chemistry that goes far beyond anything having to do with Mentos candies and Diet Coke.
Glenn Close graces the stage and shares her thoughts on Thursday, December 6th.