Katharine Hepburn on Mary Tyrone: Dark Corners and Silences
New York City
She [Mary Tyrone, in Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night] scared the hell out of me. I felt I could understand nothing more than that it was a great part, a great opportunity. I had seen it onstage--marvelous Florence Eldridge; brilliant Fredric March--and I read that play over and over again. I knew that play terribly well. I read scholars of O'Neill; I interviewed them. Oh, I drove them quite mad; I was so insistent. But I didn't understand Mary Tyrone until I was in that lovely, sad, disintegrating house and those delicate, spidery clothes. Lots of dark corners and silences. Days stretching forward like eternity. An eternity of silences. Then I got her. Then I understood her. Then I could see the hell of being ignored, misunderstood, abandoned. A useless person. Perhaps self-created, but still a person, a human, hungry for affection and attention. And shut off from both--from everything. Water and darkness and silence. Fabulous part; fabulous play. And that cast! Ralph [Richardson] and Jason [Robards] and Dean [Stockwell]. And brave, foolish Sidney Lumet, sticking a camera on me and letting me try to understand this woman. Lucky!
|With Ralph Richardson|
All photographs by Dennis Stock. Taken on the City Island set of Long Day's Journey Into Night, 1961.