Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spotlight on Adrienne Gould

From Richard Ouzounian at the Toronto Star:

"Adrienne Gould has become one of the quiet miracles of Stratford.

"You know the type of actor I mean. She didn't enter blazing like a Roman candle, only to fizzle out a season or two later. And she also never seemed to wind up playing parts she was totally wrong for just to help fill out the schedule.

"No, she started out small, then gradually built her range as we watched her talent and depth develop before our eyes.

"Over the past eight years, we enjoyed her exploration of the full range of Shakespearean ingénues from angelic to tragic to ribald.

"It was lovely work. But, after a while, a tiny doubt emerged: was that all she could do?
Then, last summer, all fears were banished on a hot August night when she delivered a searingly intense portrayal of a Palestinian freedom fighter named Yasmin in David Edgar's brilliant Pentecost.

"Anyone who saw that performance heard the tumblers click into place in the lock of the vault that guards great work at Stratford.

"The management must have heard it, too, because she's back this season in two prized roles: Ophelia in Hamlet and Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew.

"'I worry a lot about playing Ophelia,' says Gould, 33 (pictured above), with the earnestness that marks her performances. 'A lot. I know it's one of those parts that everyone has seen many times before and all have their own particular ideas of how it should be played.

"'I want to give people all of the emotional things they think Ophelia is made up of: a young woman full of life, love, and potential who is destroyed or, in fact, destroys herself due to some extraordinary circumstances.

"'But, at the same time, I'd like to do it in a way they've never seen . . . give them something different to remember.'

"In a way, that could be Gould's motto for her whole life. There were three performing Gould children, with Jennifer and Jonathan flanking the somewhat more retiring Adrienne.

"'One of my earliest memories is of being in the back seat on car trips and wanting to sing, but everyone shushing me up because they preferred to hear Jonathan's glorious boy soprano,' Gould says.

"She insists there were no hard feelings among them, 'just a lot of laughter and work and high spirits.'

"Amateur musicals became a way out for all of them and the website of Ottawa's venerable Orpheus Musical Theatre Society still commemorates the 1988 production of Oliver! where Adrienne and Jonathan shared the stage with another young Ottawa musical talent named Alanis Morissette.

"'I always knew I wanted to be in musicals,' admits Gould, but it wasn't until she entered Canterbury High School and was cast as Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream that 'I suddenly realized I wanted to do straight plays as well.'"

Keep reading.

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