Denver, Meet Mrs. Robinson
Look for Tracy Shaffer on TIO for whatup in Denver.
A Cougar and Her Spots
by Tracy Shaffer
I’m in rehearsal, which is usually no big thing, but this time it’s for the iconic role of Mrs. Robinson in the upcoming production of The Graduate.
When the 36-year- old Anne Bancroft signed on to play the role, I doubt she knew she’d let the cougar off the leash. Standing, silhouetted in the threshold of Benjamin’s doorway that’s exactly what she did. Like the ‘door slam heard round the world’, as Nora walked out of 'A Doll’s House,' Mrs. Robinson flung open, but Bancroft’s portrait of female sexual power post-40 is a tall pair of stockings to fill.
The play blends the biting, beautiful humor of the Buck Henry screenplay and story elements from the original Charles Webb novel. These changes affect Mrs. Robinson most directly, and bring a keen balance of hope and bitterness to her character. Societal views have changed a lot since 1964, especially where women are concerned. How will these script and perspective changes affect an audience so familiar with the only 'Mrs. R' they’ve ever known? Is it possible for me to create an original performance from such an original character? We shall see… As I pack my script and notebook, heading east toward the theatre, I recall a fitting quote from Ms. Bancroft herself. "I am what I am because of what I am and if you like me I'm grateful, and if you don't, what am I going to do about it?"
Here’s to you Mrs. Robinson.
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