Seana McKenna just pointed out a feature article about her performance as Medea, in which she refers to our magazine! The article by Alison Broverman appears in today’s National Post, but in case it will get buried by future issues, here’s the text of the article:
“Vengeance and a good cup of tea”
No one would guess that in a few short hours the petite redhead sipping tea in the lobby of the King Edward Hotel will be raging around onstage at the Canon Theatre in Toronto as one of the angriest women in Greek mythology.
The redhead in question is Seana McKenna, who is currently starring in the Mirvish production of Medea.
Though far less vengeful than her onstage persona, McKenna is just as regal, presiding over afternoon tea like a benevolent monarch. It’s important to find time to relax while performing such an emotionally draining role, but since arriving from Winnipeg for the production, McKenna has been whisked around for so many media obligations that she has barely had time to sit down.
Relishing the peaceful atmosphere, the actor takes her time selecting a beverage, lingering over the humidor and inhaling the hotel’s selection of teas.
After a few moments’ consideration, she makes her choice (the hotel’s signature King Edward blend) and is ready to talk Greek tragedy.
This production, which came to Toronto by way of Winnipeg’s Manitoba Theatre Centre, is directed by McKenna’s husband Miles Potter and is a remount of the acclaimed version of the play he directed for the Manitoba Theatre Centre in 1992. This is McKenna’s third turn as Medea: She’s played the role every eight years since that first production.
“It’s my own version of the seven-year itch,” she quips. “The eight-year bitch.”
McKenna loves having the opportunity to revisit a play, and feels more comfortable every time she inhabits the role. “You have the confidence of knowing you survived it already,” she says. “Experience is a great help.”
By now she is used to Medea’s emotional extremes. “I begin the show weeping,” she says. “The play is definitely a purging experience. And by now, I’ve lived with it so long that this feels like normal!”
Not only is it McKenna’s third time playing the title character, it’s the third time her husband has directed her in the role. But even with the same director, she feels her characterization has evolved. “The production has become more volatile, more vicious,” she says. “Or maybe we just get nastier as we get older.”
But there is nothing vicious about the actress offstage. McKenna is determined to be a gracious interviewee, as she now identifies with those on the other side of the pen — she recently started writing a column for the Niagara-region magazine Escarpment Views.
Hardly jaded from her decades in the business, McKenna is still passionate about theatre. She loves talking about other people’s work as well as her own, so her quarterly magazine gig suits her well. Her next column is about how various Canadian actresses are approaching the lead role in John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prizewinning play Doubt, which has been making the rounds of the country’s regional theatres this year. “Everybody’s doing Doubt right now,” says McKenna. Everyone, including her: McKenna will be back in Toronto come spring, playing a stern Bronx nun at CanStage. – Medea runs until Feb. 8 at Toronto’s Canon Theatre (244 Victoria St.). For tickets, call 416- 872-1212 or visit mirvish.com. [end of article]
Seana and I have a running gag about tea: our favourite gifts to exchange have had something to do with this beverage. It certainly does convey relaxation and taking a little time for yourself, something that is in short supply for slaves of the arts! This reminds me that there’s only about one more week left to catch this performance. Mike is ready to see it again…