The remarkable Glenda Jackson is back on Broadway. At 81 , she is returning to her first career. Not exactly the retirement from two decades of public service that most people would imagine. In his New York Times article about Ms. Jackson, Ben Brantley writes, "When Ms. Jackson — who is returning to Broadway for the first time in three decades, in a starry new production of Edward Albee’s “Three Tall Women” — says “no,” it often has a conclusive tone that effectively shuts the door on a subject."
But,when she says yes ,as she has to starring in "Three Tall Women" she does it just as emphatically and wholeheartedly. Her return to the stage in London was as Shakespeare's King Lear for which she was lauded. "Critics had waxed ecstatic over her portrait of a despot suddenly betrayed by age — a man, as Ms. Jackson described him, to whom “no one had said ‘no’ in his entire life.” The fact that she was a woman playing a man turned out to be a nonissue."
“What interested me,” Jackson said, “was that as we age, those seemingly unbreakable barriers that define us, our gender, they begin to crack, to blur; they’re not absolutes anymore.”
Both plays are as timely now as ever.
When Brantley asked if she reads what is written about her, Ms. Jackson responded:
“Well, no, because nobody writes about me,” she says. “There’s nothing to write about. I lead a very dull, ordinary life which is the kind of life that I wish to lead.”
As for what she does when she’s not working, “Well, you have to keep your place clean, you have to pay your bills, you have to do the shopping.” She lives with her son and his family and is happily often on deck to take care of her 11 year old grandson.
And when asked about other roles;
“Oh, I think that’s highly unlikely. I mean, I think parts (in film) for women of my years are well and truly finished. And theater? “That depends."
At 82 to be playing an older woman may just be the entree into the continuation of Glenda Jackson's new old career. Let us all hope so.
"In her 30s, Ms. Jackson had said she was looking forward to old age, because it “seems the only irresponsible time of your life.” When she decided she would not stand for Parliament again three years ago, she said she thought, “‘Oh, I’m going to be so irresponsible. There’ll be nothing to be responsible for. “In truth, you are even more responsible,” she said, not sounding remotely regretful. “What gets you out of bed in the morning, if not you?”