Sunday, August 07, 2005


About two and a half years ago, we went to see the play Proof performed for radio at the Skirball. Anne Heche played the lead role of Catherine. Last night they rebroadcast that production on KPCC.

Now as I understand it, the role of Catherine was first performed on Broadway by Mary-Louise Parker (whom I associate with her role of Amy Gardner on The West Wing). Parker was followed by Jennifer Jason Leigh, who was followed by Anne Heche. Gwyneth Paltrow played the role in London and will be in the movie version.

Here's the thing. Listening to Anne Heche's performance again, I was struck by how much she sounded like Mary-Louise Parker's character on The West Wing. Both characters are moody, abrasive, smart young women, but they even have the same sort of speech patterns and slightly nasal quality. "I just didn't want to taaalk to YOU!"

This can't be a coincidence, but I wonder what the chain of causality is. Was Anne Heche modeling her performance on Mary-Louise Parker? Or does Heche just normally have those speech patterns which is why she was cast? Does Mary-Louise Parker sound like that all the time? Or was Parker on West Wing directed so that her performance there would be similar to her recent Tony-Award-winning performance in Proof?


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