Interview with Tony winner Jayne Houdyshell
Tony Award winner Jayne Houdyshell is currently starring as Anne Marie in Lucas Hnath's smash hit play A Doll's House, Part 2 at Broadway's Golden Theatre until July 23, 2017.
She has received Tony nominations for her current role, as well as for Follies (2012) and for Well (2006). She won her Tony Award last year for her performance as Deirdre Blake in The Humans. Other Broadway credits include Fish in the Dark, Romeo and Juliet, Dead Accounts, The Importance of Being Earnest, Bye Bye Birdie and Wicked. Her off-Broadway credits include The Language Archive, Coraline, The New Century, The Receptionist and The Pain and the Itch, among others.
On screen, Jayne has appeared in Garden State, Maid in Manhattan, Everybody's Fine, The Bounty Hunter, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and American Odyssey, to name just a few.
We caught up with Jayne to discuss being a part of one of the surprise hits of the season and dropping 'F-Bombs'...
Thomas Hayden Millward: Congratulations on your Tony nomination, Jayne! How has the whole experience of A Doll’s House, Part 2 been for you so far?
Jayne Houdyshell: Thank you! It’s been so much fun. We’re having a great time. We’re having a great ride with the play, but we’re also enjoying hearing audiences hear the play because nobody knows anything about it, coming into the play. There’s no way to adequately prepare people, so it’s a really fun ride.
THM: One thing I wasn’t expecting was the comedy. And on top of that, the language is so modern and colorful. You drop a few ‘F-Bombs’ yourself in the production, Jayne. That must be fun to play?
JH: Of course! Are you kidding?! Yes! Carte blanche to go nuts! (Laughs)
THM: What would you say are the main themes you would like an audience member to leave the theatre thinking about?
JH: I think it’s ultimately a play about listening because it presents four very disparate points of view. All of them are equally balanced and valid. If we could all do that in our world – in our time right now – I think we’d be in better shape.
THM: I just personally wanted to thank you for your performance in ‘The Humans’ as well. I was completely moved to tears by your monologue, as you read out the last email from the grandmother figure “Momo” before her dementia became too severe to write. What was your personal highlight, looking back on your time at ‘The Humans’?
JH: I loved that moment too. It was particularly poignant because it was not directly quoted from, but based on a similar email that the writer had experienced in his family. It was from a relative who had dementia and it was very poignant. I don’t know. Even though the food was horrible, we all looked forward to sitting down at the table and doing Thanksgiving Dinner together. That was the time when we all felt most connected with one another.
THM: Back to A Doll’s House, Part 2. I feel like the show has sort of crept up on everybody. There wasn’t a lot of hype about the play beforehand and then it was the last Broadway production to open this season and it opened to five-star reviews. Were you expecting this kind of reaction?
JH: I didn’t know what reaction we were going to get. I knew what we had was very exciting and fresh and good. But I also knew that it was so different that people could weigh in very differently on it. It was fun to kind of sneak in under the radar though because we were left to our own devices to figure things out in previews. There were re-writes going on into previews, so we really needed the time and not to have all eyes focused on us until we found our sea legs, as it were, in the play.