Simply Streep is your premiere source on Meryl Streep's work on film, television and in the theatre - a career that has won her three Academy Awards and the praise to be one of the world's greatest working actresses. Created in 1999, we have built an extensive collection to discover Miss Streep's work through an archive of press articles, photos and video clips. Enjoy your stay.
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Isadora Duncan Sleeps with the Russian Navy
August 08, 1975 | Eugene O’Neill Theater Center
Playwright Jeff Wanshel remembers Meryl Streep’s Isadora in the book “The O’Neill: The Transformation of Modern American Theater”. “She was sensational in it. She was cast to do the full production at the American Place Theatre for Wynn Handman. But just before rehearsals started, she got her first movie: four lines in “Julia” in a black wig. And they had the right to keep her until they scheduled her scene. So Wynn, who was extraordinary flexible, postponed for two weeks. But finally he said to me, “We can’t wait.” So we cast Marian Seldes, who won an Obie in the role. She was a good sport, but she was aware that she was a last-minute replacement. If we ever disagreed she’d say, “I’ll try to do it as Meryl Streep would have.”
Streep revealed in the same book that “Isadora Duncan” is the only play she remembers from her time at the O’Neill – for a few reasons. “First, obviously, it had the best title at the Conference, and second (naturally), because I was Isadora. I do recall having as my only prop a twelve foot (twenty foot?) length of scarf that I employed in all manner of ways – for sheets in which to ensnare lovers, tie them up, and then embalm them, whipping them, cradling them, and ultimately, of course, strangling on it as I rode in a motorcar… Since we mounted the plays in less than five days and the script was huge, I realized I couldn’t manipulate the scarf and read from the script, so I lost the script; that is, I memorized it, which Joel Brooks thought was amazing, and I thought: anybody can memorize, what a dull achievement! (This was something I was able to do in those days fairly quickly, because I was young. Those days are gone.)