THE SPRING ROAD CONFERENCE

Oh me, oh my. I just realized there are only 2 weeks left in the play. I have this strong feeling though that we will do it again somewhere.

This morning I taped something to congratulate Michael Douglas for his upcoming American Film Institute Life Achievement Award. We made “The China Syndrome” together.

Then I taped something for G-CAPP’s web site about how Teen pregnancy rates went down dramtically from about 1995 till 2006 and they have begun going up again which poses real problems on many levels and affects all of us whether we know it or not. Finally I taped a “Happy 85th Anniversary” message for the Omaha Community Playhouse where my father began his career. At age 18, I played the ingenue there in “The Country Girl” with dad and Dorothy McGuire, who also started her career there.
(What has [email protected] to my efforts at sleeping till 11am?)

Then I joined Zach, Samantha and Colin at the Hilton Hotel for the Spring Road Conference. Many of this season’s plays did panels for the people from around the country. This is why it’s called a “road” conference–it brings people from out there, on the road–people who are involved in theatre–regional theatre and bringing Broadway plays to their cities. Many of them are also Tony voters. Part of what they try to do during their time in New York –if I understand it correctly–is see all the nominated plays, but also, hold discussions about how to improve their work, how to expand their audiences, how to manage in these tough economic times. They must have had many intense hours of discussion because the hotel corridors were covered with butcher paper tacked up and filled with color-coded thoughts, lists, and points to remember. It reminded me of our gcapp board meetings.

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I think our panel discussion went well. There were about 500-600 people and they asked us how the play came about, how we prepare each night (I said I study the audience through my opera glasses before the show starts, then go out feeling I am about to take them on an important and powerful journey that I really believe in–and then I blog or twitter between scenes (like right now, I am writing between scenes). I was impressed with the diversity of the group both in gender, age and, to a lesser extent, race. We were asked why we had decided to do the play and after I answered, to my surprise, an african american woman in the front row said she knows the woman in Phoenix who first told me she had seen the play in La Jolla and how powerful she had found it. This was a turning point in my decision to do the play…that and meeting Moises. The four of us got to talk about how stage acting is different from screen or TV acting. It ended after 30 minutes with so much still to say.

I went right to the theatre and slept in the dressing room for 3 hours with Tulea.

It was a good show tonight. I found 3 new moments–small things that probably the audience wouldn’t even notice (except Troy, Moises and Scott Peacock who will see it this Sat for the 6th time). One is the attitude I have when I utter my last line in the first act (simultaneously with beethoven)–defiant rather than desperate. Another is that I take a brief moment to react to the archivist (“Gertie”) when she first shares her feelings about the musical sketches with me and then feels embarrased that she has exposed her feelings.

Enough. It is now midnight, I am home and need to try and sleep. I was hoping my photographer friend, Bruce, who was at the conference and told me he’d send photos, would get them to me before this is posted but they will have to be added tomorrow.

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Howard Sherman (was the moderator), Zach Grenier, Me, Samantha Mathis and Colin Hanks (Photo: Bruce Glikas)

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Photo: Bruce Glikas

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Photo: Bruce Glikas

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Colleen Jennings Roggensack the Exec Director of Arizona State University who also is Assistant VP of Cultural Affairs. Colleen knew the woman in Phoenix who persuaded me to do the play. (Photo: Bruce Glikas)

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Just wanted you to see this gorgeous and unusual orchid arrangement my agents at CAA sent me as a “Congratulations”

See you next time.

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16 Comments
  1. They can NOT be more beautiful than you!

    Congratulations!

  2. Such beauty, and yes quite unusual for an orchid arrangement. I’m sure they will not be the last of the congratulatory gestures. Flowers speak to the heart.

    Enjoy

  3. Please please please bring the play to San Francisco!

  4. hello nice to see your still happy poster, “The four of us got to talk about how stage acting is different from screen or TV acting” that is a interesting subject and one of interest to me , I used to say to be a Actor is the expression of the self and Acting is the production and problems or re-production a sameness with problems in teaching Vitural reality or understanding it. With pre and post production and change in a reality in film and a play stage production. But a new typ of Live reality stage production could be made, using this new technology at hand,to create a new close ideal of a stage play for live Television event. Even a live television is part of a system of post sales and repoduction reality.

  5. The China Syndrome is one of my favorite movies of yours. I bet Michael Douglas is a very nice person. Oh, to be a professional actor!

  6. Jane,

    I love reading your blogs. You have inspired me from politics in the 60’s, to getting back to acting and keeping the energy wow you can go girl. When I start to slow down I think of you and I get moving.
    I’ve been working on a project to help children. My friend and I are taking photo’s of children without parents, we’ll put them in a gallery in hopes to find the children homes. I’ll be traveling to India next year it’ll be interesting.
    Take Care. Cynthia

  7. so cute — what other stage actor would spy the audience through opera glasses? now i certainly feel more like it meant something to be there…as before i thought, would she really even know that i went and thought to skip the expense of the trip, but am glad i did go even as some like the woman on the plane next to me was a little astonished when i told her i was going to NYC for a day to see a play…”Must be some play!” she exclaimed. “Yeah! its about Beethoven, called 33 Variations and it is the play to see now.” She said she might go as she likes classical music, Broadway, and Jane Fonda. Turns out she is a nurse in a nursing home in a rural area that takes care of paraplegics, many young people who are tragically shot in the spine in downtown violence. I never thought about that before, what happens to all those victims of drive by shootings etc. Without any money, they end up in a state funded nursing home and develop wounds from sitting and waste away, often dying by 40. Such is a real hell that comes from lack of gun control and the violence of poverty. Not to be depressing or anything, but after all, the play is also about a tragic way to die, and Ii knew someone who went that way too, ALS. And that was sad too because her first symptom was that she fell crossing a bridge and broke her ankle. Only later did the truth of the disease become apparent, why she had a droopy foot. A first she thought it was just a freak accident and was optimistic. But actually, she was still a cheerful person until she died, as that was her character, so I know that even though there is so much senseless suffering, one does not have to be depressed by it but can still look beyond the suffering of the body. It is worse to have suffering of the mind, anger etc.

  8. Jane,
    You continue to inspire me with your amazing energy and zest for life. AND you look so gorgeous in all of your pics. I wish that I could see the play again before it closes – it has touced so many people’s lives. May God bless you and keep you as you encourage others to live the best life possible.

  9. I’m catching up on your blog–haven’t read it for several days. Please keep blogging! I cannot tell you how fun it’s been to read about the activities and thoughts of one of my all-time favorite actresses! Don’t let the blog go dark!
    Anne

  10. 33 [email protected]?

    “The China Syndrome” is such a powerful movie and was so prophetic with the 3 Mile Island incident.
    Learned so much at this time from Helen Caldicott
    (one of my sheros) through lectures and protesting
    nuke plant. Any nuke nonsense. Wheres the Clam Shell Alliance these days?

  11. Bring the play to Rhode Island and come visit me!

  12. Dear Ms. Fonda,
    Thank you so much for including an 85th Anniversary message to our beloved Omaha Community Playhouse in your busy video session last Thursday. The Omaha Playhouse is so proud of its Fonda heritage and we can now boast yet another Tony Nominee who at one time performed on our stage!
    33 VARIATIONS is indeed magical…and your performance is simply luminous. I am so fortunate to have experienced such a great night in the theatre and congratulate everyone on the well deserved nominations!
    Our appreciation for your significant contribution to our Anniversary season is impossible to measure! Thank you Jane!
    Susie Collins
    Associate Artistic Director
    Omaha Community Playhouse

  13. HI JANE
    Congratulations on your Tony nomination.I am looking forward to watching the ceremony next month,and it would be so great if Rosie O’Donnell were to host.
    Two days ago you wrote that you would be wearing a design by Reem Acra,but could not decide on the color.I think it should be white.Just look at the photo on MY LIFE SO FAR and that which heads your blog page.

  14. LOL While I was seated in the theatre (I always try to be at the venue 30 minutes before the curtain goes up), I tried to see if I could see you looking at the audience with your opera glasses. No such luck. I always wondered what it looked like from your perspective (or really, the actors’ vantage point in general).

    I bet the road conference was a great experience for both you (the actors) and the audience. I’m always amazed at the detail that goes on for a theatrical production. Not that film and television aren’t as intricate, but once you record a scene, you move on, and with theatre it’s a new, and often different experience at each show. Each performance is unique.

    I do hope 33 Variations is performed again!

    All my best,
    Amanda

  15. Wow what a great and interesting idea to blog between scenes….I wonder–does it ever take you out of character? I really need to do more in theatre. I havent done anything since high school…

  16. Beautiful orchids btw…

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