Vanessa Redgrave

I wonder where exactly to begin to describe, annotate and attempt a precise concise professional biography of this artist: in her own words in interview, Vanessa Redgrave is extraordinarily careful, combining one opposite with another, mulling over a minute point like a facet of crystal, employing caveats, clauses; avoiding at all cost an easy or glib answer, repudiating a shallow thought; and delopying a rare – if not unique – combination of instinct, insight and intelligence to her work.

Those qualities – amongst others – are those which set her apart as an actress; there is no other person working in any performance medium who has given more devoted and subtle attention to her work.

Although I have been to the theatre perhaps a thousand, times, I have only seen Vanessa Redgrave on stage in two plays; the first was in Ibsen‘s “The Lady from the Sea” at the Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre in 1978 (although I saw the production five times in that run); the second was in Michael Redgrave’s adaptation of Henry James’ short novel, “The Aspern Papers” at the the Haymarket Theatre in in 1984. After both, I came out of the theatre in a daze and as though I had lost temporarily a protective layer; everything brighter, more intense, and it took an hour to begin to come down. I have never been more keenly aware of stepping into the world of another character.

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