Posted by Lauren Molina, Cunegonde in Candide
Mary Zimmerman is amazing for many reasons. She is a certified, lauded genius. Her imagery onstage is creative and breathtaking. She is articulate, and knows more about theatre, history and art than anyone I know. When she speaks, a room goes hush, and all eyes and ears are like laser beams on her every word.
What the world doesn’t know, is that Mary Zimmerman loves to watch “The Jersey Shore”, saying in rehearsal “it’s just so sad, because Sammy really loves him” and referencing the “shirt before the shirt”. When she spoke about genuinely caring about the characters, my mouth was agape. It was both shocking and brilliant.
Mary also loves “Project Runway”. She is an incredible cook, and bakes the most delicious peach and blueberry pies. She giggles in an adorable high pitched tone. She always has her old shepherd mixed dog, Beary, by her side. He even follows her up onstage during tech. She is sweet, generous, goofy and is tickled by cheesiness.
Last day before tech, Geoff Packard and I were working on the final reunion moment with Mary. It is a very tender and sad scene. For the first time, Candide is expressing to her and to himself that his consistent optimistic philosophy is not realistic, and his ideal of Cunegonde and the world is basically shattered.
This led to an intense discussion of the delivery of the lines and the moral/message of the entire play. I mentioned to Mary that I missed a big speech of Candide’s about optimism that had been cut a few days before.
She replied modestly, saying something to the effect of “I won’t deny that it was well written, but at this stage you have to keep cutting with a vengeance. You need to trim the bush until it's almost dead, before it can bloom.” This was quickly one of my favorite Mary Zimmerman quotes.
Another favorite quote of mine was from the first day of rehearsal when discussing the period of the play. She said she didn’t want to restrict it to one period exactly, but it’s “period-lite or period flavored.” Hilarious.
In a nutshell, I love Mary Zimmerman and I will travel anywhere to work under her direction again.
See my pictures from rehearsals!