February 6, 2013

Upstaging The Heiress

Last Saturday night (Feb. 2), I went to see The Heiress again one more time before it closes this coming Saturday Feb. 9.  It's one of my favorite plays and I really enjoyed this production when I saw it during previews in October.  It's surprisingly funny which all the more makes the second act devastating.  You feel for Catherine.  Every word her father throws at her during their confrontation in the second act is a dagger at her heart. 
The cast headed by Jessica Chastain, David Strathairn, Dan Stevens and Judith Ivey were all brilliant. In fact, I think I relished this production even more the second viewing. I don't really know why that is maybe it's because the cast is more at home now with the characters compared to when I saw it but nevertheless, it was a engaging night. (Read my original post about the The Heiress here).
Before the show, I found out from some twitter posts that during the Saturday matinee, Jessica Chastain's dog, Chaplin had escaped her dressing room and walked onstage during a crucial scene in the second act!  Don't you just love live theatre??!!!


According to this post by Breanne L. Heldman (who was in the audience that afternoon):  "During a heated moment between her character, Catherine, and her father, played by David Strathairn, Chastain’s three-legged rescue dog, Chaplin, made a grand entrance… only he had no role in the play! The Saturday matinee crowd was aghast – and we were sitting in the second row to witness the action.

At first, the audience wondered if perhaps the pooch was part of the play – Chastain plays an heiress, after all, albeit one circa the 19th century – but as the Oscar nominee and Strathairn stared each other down (still totally in character), we quickly knew that wasn’t the case. The 35-year-old actress swiftly turned and walked Chaplin off the stage, never reaching down to pick him up or cracking so much as the slightest smile.
Like the pros they are, the two thespians allowed the audience a moment to laugh and get over the adorable disruption before continuing with their scene.

Thankfully, the “Zero Dark Thirty” heroine wasn’t all business when it came time for the curtain call. Chaplin got another moment in the spotlight in his owner’s arms as she laughed hysterically and took her bows."

At the stagedoor, I had asked Dan Stevens about the incident and to which he chuckled and said "It's brilliant!"

When I got a chance to chat to Jessica Chastain, I said "I heard your dog tried to upstage you this afternoon".  She replied with a bubbly laugh and said "Oh my gosh YES!"  She seemed really amused and I just mentioned that people were tweeting about it and with that, she again laughed heartily  combined with a shake of her head as if in disbelief.  Too funny!
In October when I first saw the play there were around 20 people at the stagedoor.  This cold February night, there were about a hundred people (plus some paparazzi!) Talking to the guy at the stagedoor, he had said that the crowd has gotten bigger and bigger since Jessica Chastain won the Golden Globes and Downton Abbey Season 3 started.  Both actors however stayed until EVERYONE got their playbills signed and photos taken.  How generous! I'm impressed!
Jessica mentioned that she was flying to LA Sunday to attend the Oscar nominee luncheon held Monday (Feb. 4).  She also mentioned that on the evening performance on Feb. 9, she will not be signing at the stagedoor as she has to catch a helicopter to take her to the airport so she can make the last flight out to London for the BAFTA's (check out her hectic schedule here).  She also said that if anyone was planning to be there at the last performance, just come at the stagedoor after the matinee instead.  So take note people!


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