I have been packing up my books and files and then came to the dressroom and packed up what I won’t be needing between now and Thursday. Tulea knows something’s up and is worried. I can tell. People with dogs will know what I’m talking about.

Now, half hour was just announced for our 3pm show and I am sitting alone in the room and feeling sad. In fact, if it would not ruin my makeup and put me in the wrong frame of mind to start the show I would let myself go and cry. I can hear Diane practicing–warming up–with various variations and I realize that from now on, when I listen to her CD I will cry. Every variation is so bound up with the emotions of the play.

Moises’s new play opens tonight in L.A. I have sent him flowers. He’s coming here Tuesday for the last four shows–or so I’m told.

It’s intermission and 2 dozen Montreal bagels were just delivered to me–a gift from Debbie Giser!!!! Some are poppy seeds, some are sesame seeds. Yum!!!! Thank you Debbie.

Marlo Thomas is in the audience today. I look forward to seeing her. It will be hectic backstage tonight cause I have to get my hair fixed and change makeup and then walk the red carpet for the Drama Desk Awards evening. I am presenting the award to the best featured actor.

Right now it’s during my long break between scenes. I have to say this has been a wierd performance. From the beginning. Can’t explain it. I feel wired, aggressive. I’ve been more hostile with clara, my daughter in the play, than I usually am. Top of the second act I got words all mixed up. Sentences reversed.

Pat, one of the stage managers, heard me say I felt strange and she said the whole crew was acting wierd, on edge. “This always happens when you get close to the end of the play. Separation anxiety,”
Pat said.


Marlo Thomas did not come backstage so, naturally, I assume she didn’t like the play or my performance and didn’t want to be embarassed. There have been time when I have seen a show and not gone back stage unless I’d been specifically asked. Now I know never to do that again because it causes paranoia.

But Debi Karolewski came back. Debi was my assistant for many years when I lived in California and had a production company. The job only ended because I married Ted and moved to Atlanta. She has remained in touch and close to the whole family.


Debi Karolewski (photo: Michael Rudd)

See you next time

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  1. Thinking about you this week. Do you know the story about the monk and the beautiful crystal goblet?

    A person asked the monk how can you be happy when you know that there is sure to be suffering in life, that your life and the lives of people you love, will end?

    He answers: See this beautiful crystal goblet on this desk? I love this goblet. But one day, I know the wind will blow, or I’ll knock it over dusting, or someone will accidently hit it off my desk…

    It is because I know this goblet is already broken, I choose today to love it immensely.

    Love these last performances immensely, dear Jane.

    Love, Debra

  2. Jane, the blog is so sad today. I’m feeling it too, and feeling bad for you. It’s been such a great experience, living it through you. And I loved the play.

  3. Don’t be sad! Be grateful! You are loved!

  4. Now, you’ve got me wondering why Marlo did not stop back stage to say hello to you. Ha.

    I’m sure she LOVED the play, and will let you know somehow…….and why she didnt stop by to see you.

    I’ve enjoyed so much reading your blog,

    Enjoy your vacation next week.

  5. The trouble with most blogs is that people give them up too quickly. Thanks for sharing and keeping yours going. As for Marlo, Phil was probably in some unpredictable mood and she wanted to keep out of social situations! She has admitted in interviews that she’s never quite sure of what he’ll say next 😉

    • How do you add avatar pic here?
      Also the little smiley?


  6. Hi Jane-

    Thinking about you this week also…I am so sorry I did not get to see 33 Variations…my schedule would not permit me to get to NYC. I have so enjoyed your Blog these past few months…indeed, I agree with Rev. Debra – love your week immensely…

    -Daniel Garrett

  7. Also, I wouldn’t worry about Marlo Thomas – your Tony speaks for itself…I am sure she had to be somewhere, and her absence had nothing to do with your performance…

    Peace to you…

  8. Whatever you may have been feeling transformed itself into an amazing performance on Saturday night. Plays are really exercises for our imaginations. No special effect in a movie can exercise those imagination “muscles” the way a well done play can move the mind and spirit. The music, sets, actors, and lines move the emotions and mind in indescribable ways. I was transfixed by the visceral deterioration of Dr. Brandt and tears were streaming down my face during the final soliloquy where the two characters try to make sense of it. I’m a low level manager in a big pharma company so I’ll never be famous enough to go back stage, but I am one of the many, many people for whom plays expand our ideas, feelings and experiences and are changed for the better for it. You are rich enough to have a lot of choice about how you spend your time. Thanks for making that choice in favor of the audience on Saturday night.

    With deep appreciation,


  9. Nice Jane , I wonder if you will be able to but your character to rest. You have that agent or the Character structure, a psychological system an evaluation of a particular individual’s moral qualities to put to bed. You are going to go and make a valid charictor in the next few days than ends the Persona. I like the word Persona- This is an Italian word that derives from the Latin for “mask” or “character”, derived from the Etruscan word “phersu”, with the same meaning. Popular etymology derives the word from Latin “per” meaning “through” and “sonare” meaning “to sound”, meaning something in the vein of “that through which the actor speaks”, i.e. a mask . So it is time to take off the mask . In the study of communication, persona is a term given to describe the versions of self that all individuals possess. Persona presented before others will differ from the persona an individual will present when he/she happens to be alone.Rather, it is the self as self-construed,as the “organizing consciousness” that moves on.

  10. I just wanted to thank you for the greatest birthday gift I have ever received. I met you outside the stagedoor tonight. You probably don’t remember, but I’m the girl whose 18th birthday is on Wednesday. Since the show was announced, I badgered my parents about getting me tickets — I told them that being in the same theatre as one of my idols would be the only gift I could ever want. Who knew I would be within feet of you!? And that I would’ve had the chance to speak to you and that you signed my poster!? Today’s experience by far surpassed my expectations.

    I didn’t get a chance to tell you, but I just wanted to say that I admire you as a person, and not just as an actress. Your strength and character serves as an inspiration. I only wish that more girls my age were more interested in emulating women of substance like you, rather than women like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

    As an actress, writer, and young woman, I have only words of praise for all of the inspiration you have given me. Thank you so much for the experience I had after the show today (which, by the way, I thought to be a wonderful performance). Today has been the best day of my life to date, and I will treasure it for the rest of my life.

    Best, Carrie Courogen

  11. Aww, I feel bad now. It sucks that its almost over but don’t ruin your last few days worrying about it ending. You’ll miss the rest of the fun. Its been a success, you should be proud!

    I know what you mean about dogs knowing something. Its funny you say that now because Friday my dogs were acting weird. They wouldnt sit still, they were right in my face…very odd – and about 20 minutes after it all began, my sister got a text message from my mom saying a family friend had died. I’m telling you Jane, after that the dogs laid down and were fine. Odd!

  12. Aww, Jane. I know this has got to be a tough, tough week for you…so much emotion and anxiety. But, you have to know (and I’m sure you do) that the work you’ve done on this play has been phenomenal. I mean that, truly. It’s been super astounding and you should be proud.

    None of this will ease the feelings you are having, I realize that, but just know that your fans are rooting for you and we’re sending you positive vibes for the last shows of the run.

    You’ve performed so strongly, so beautifully, so boldly, and I know that you’ll give ’em hell the rest of the week!

    I wish you all the best, Jane!

  13. Dear Jane,

    Sorry to hear you your day was sad. It seems the more passion and love we have, the more loss is felt, yet the joy will remain forever tucked away in our hearts, therefor it really never ends. What fabulous memories you have and have given us all through your blog, and the play. Words cannot express the impact of hearts touched. So you see, my heart is with You, and Tulea as you move on to your next project. Celebrate the journey!
    Hugs,Love & Blessings

  14. I suspect the show was not so much “weird” tonight as different. It has a life too – of which you and the actors are integral parts – but it’s own essence is changing… ending I guess. So don’t beat yourself up wondering if someone liked it or didn’t – or liked you or didn’t. The play still haunts me – as does your performance in the play (and the rest of the cast as well)… I find moments in my life when I reference it, or think about it. Embrace the next few days – take time to be proud of yourself! What a delicious risk you took!

  15. As this experience ends, Jane…another is opening its arms to envelope and welcome you….I totally get the sense of looming loss and you will, indeed, grieve, which is only appropriate and only human. And then, you and that amazing spirit and soul that You are, will begin a new adventure and experience. I am just so glad that you have chosen to continue to share yourself here with those of us who are so inspired by you.
    If I haven’t said it….thank you for this entire journey to “33 Variations” and your ongoing communications during this extraordinary run. I remain totally in awe.
    PS. I am selfish in that I am hoping the producers of the play will decide to run it in Los Angeles. Hey, I can dream, can’t I??? 🙂

  16. Hi Jane,
    I have to tell how much I enjoyed your performance in the play on Sat. night. I can’t believe that I was actually there and saw you . I have been a long time fan and when I found out you were going to be on Broadway, I knew I had to go and see it. So I passed on I trip south during March break and instead planned the adventure of go to NYC with a close friend. Needless, to say you were the highlight of my trip. I found the play inspirational, revitalizing and just what I needed. I am so impressed with your spirit and you are a great role model for all women.
    Wish you all the best in your last few shows. Have a great trip to the islands and I will be interested in reading about it on your blog.
    Give Tulea a big comforting hug. Isn’t a dog’s intuition amazing?. I currently have three dogs.. Dogs have always been part of my life and they are truly one’s best friend.
    Thanks again for the thrill of a lifetime.
    Fredericton, New Brunswick

  17. You sound so sad. I know what you mean about Tulea sensing things about your feelings. Animals have a way of doing that, even when people don’t. My dogs and cats over the years have been very perceptive, even my horse used to be more attentive when I was feeling a bit low! She will be a comfort to you. As I have said before, if you feel so attached to the play, take it on tour with the same cast, and make a movie of it. When ever I am feeling a bit low I put on Barefoot in the Park and do the old Sharma Sharma around the living room, or Cat Ballou or one of your other comedies and it puts me in a better place. You will be forever on our screens making us feel better when we are down, so that joy will always be spread around and it will make a lot of people happy….so be happy knowing that! It is wonderful that you are so passionate, that’s what makes you such a great actress and a great person. We all love you Jane, that’s why we’re here.

  18. The separation anxiety that you’re experiencing sounds similar to that of a child growing up and leaving home; the whole family is on edge about the child’s impending departure. People involved with a play are like a family, with a special intimacy, and now that it’s ending, it’s akin to a family breakup. The children leave the family and go their separate ways, and the family structure is transformed. Similarly, there’ll always be a connection with the others in the play…like extended family members. Thanks for your usual thoughtful blog. Your writings are invariably food for the mind.

  19. Dear Jane,

    I feel sadness about your play ending so I can only imagine who you must be feeling!!

    I came the very 1st night and (a few times inbetween) and just bought a ticket for the very last night/performance this Thursday. I think it will be very emotional for many of us who have been on this journey
    with you!!


  20. Hi Jane,

    I know what you mean about Tulea sensing something is up. My dog, ET, is 13 and blind. One sound she hates is the sound of zippers because when I get ready for work I zip my backpack, or when I for a trip where I need to leave her behind, I ZIP my suitcase. So she has issues with zippers.

    A chapter closing like the play is always sad — but treasure what a joy your run has been for you on Broadway and all the friends and fans you’ve reconnected with because of it.

    Can’t wait to share in your next big adventure.


  21. Aw.. don’t be sad. Last week my eight year old daughter and I were in the city. She posed with pictures all around broadway… and she posted some on her blog (yes at 8 she has a blog and I don’t) I think the one with you would especially cheer you up.

  22. Oh Jane what a heavy heart! I send you a comforting hug.
    All these kind and wonderful comments are amazing.
    Let them lift your heart and wrap you in the white light protection.
    I believe animals and things in nature have not lost the gift of mind reading as most of us have.
    Jane you’ve created a beautiful experience that will be playing forever……….
    And there’s so much more creating to do. And if it has to do with you I know it will be Great! Imagine that!

  23. Jane don’t be paranoid that Marlo Thomas didn’t go back stage after the play. I’m sure it wasn’t because of the play or your performance. Reading your blog made me sad for you. And I’ll say it a billion times, it’s makes me sad that I did not get to see your performance. I get to see you in Monster In-Law–which you are down right hilarious in–anytime I want to. They play it (literally) day and night on WTBS Atlanta Superstation. (Doesn’t Ted Turner own that station?). But I’ll never see you in 33 Variations, in that role, on that stage and it just plain stinks.

  24. “Right now it’s during my long break between scenes. I have to say this has been a wierd performance. From the beginning. Can’t explain it. I feel wired, aggressive. I’ve been more hostile with clara, my daughter in the play, than I usually am. Top of the second act I got words all mixed up. Sentences reversed.”

    It is your sadness. It is just emotional energy. “All emotion is just energy”, my Buddhist therapist always tells me, “Give it a lot of room.” I love that phrase ‘give it room’…has helped me many times when I remember it.

  25. Dear Ms. Fonda,

    I want to share with you why we didn’t request to come backstage….

    As you know we met briefly in Montreal following your Unique Lives presentation. After expressing interest in your show you cautioned my aunt and me to “hurry up” because the show had only a few performances remaining. So we arranged tickets and flights and arrived two days later for the Wednesday matinee. We wanted you to know that we cared enough about you, your presentation, and your show to make the one day “in and out” trip, and we sent you flowers to let you know we kept our promise to you.

    However, we did not request to see you backstage because we knew you had another show to perform and that you were likely resting. My husband performs regularly, he’s in the music business, and I know from his perspective how tiring it is to visit with guests between performances.

    So dear Ms. Fonda, it is out of respect for you and your incredibly moving performance that even though we went the extra mile (so to speak) to see you, we did not intrude, but sent flowers in lieu of ourselves. We went to Sardis for an early dinner (surprised to see your portrait!) and then hopped back on our plane and returned to Montreal the same evening…all the richer for the experience of having seen your incredible performance on Broadway.

    So, it’s not you, …you have absolutely nothing to reproach yourself for. As I mentioned before, your performance is a well-researched, moving, tour de force that you can be most proud of…awards or not. The lives you have touched and memories you have helped create, will last a lifetime.

    Oh and if you ever run out of bagels and wish for more, it would be my pleasure to FedEx them to you anytime. And I’m serious about the donation…please email me to let me know how I can best contribute.

    Warmest regards,
    Lenore Goldfarb

  26. Jane, you don’t know me…never will. I’m just a fan. I’ve loved you since I saw a trailer of TALL STORY one afternoon during grade school when I was home sick from school. I love your work, never tire of it. Am amazed all over again from revisiting films like KLUTE, THEY SHOOT HORSES DON’T THEY…the Neil Simon…anything you do. And there have been so many. Even your Nora, and of course Cat. Was thrilled to hear that you were on Broadway doing ’33 Variations’. Had I had the time to get to New York, I would have made a B-line to see it, but will not, as it turns out get to see it. Have enjoyed your blogs…they are so intelligent and personal. I do much theater here in my hometown and many of the thoughts you share on acting are so true. They joys of it and the little technical frailties…like ‘mixing your words’ at the top of Act II. You continue to amaze. I hope you will not stop your film (or stage) work, ever…you are a national treasure, a great, great actress. Don’t be sad with your closing. Like a great painter or writer, you have left such a tremendous body of work which you continue to build upon and we love you for it and only look forward to whatever you may choose to lend your great talent to next.

  27. As a fellow EW grad (’61) and as part of that group who
    so enjoyed seeing the play – and then vistiing with
    you onstage-(did you notice how some of us, old
    hands at ‘breaking rules,’ managed to sneak in
    a few photos, despite being told…..), I think I can
    sum up much of what people have said before:
    there are many ways of ‘saying good-by.’
    But then again, as i learned MME Bruno in l0th grade
    French (and I bet you had her , too);’au revoir’ is
    so much more satisfying.
    P.S. I’m going to assume you actually ATE some
    of those bagels; better stock up, if you and the play
    come to L.A.: there are no ‘decent’ ones to be had. Sigh.

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