Saturday, January 10, 2009

Wisey Best Actress: Robin Goodrin Nordli

The nominees for best actress for 2008 were:

Marianne Owen as multiple characters in Intimate Exchanges. ACT Theatre.
Angela Pierce as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. Intiman Theatre.
Robin Goodrin Nordli as Hedda Gabler in The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler. Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Vanessa Claire Smith as Keely Smith in Louis and Keely Live at the Sahara. Matrix Theatre.
Chelsey Rives as Jo in boom. Seattle Repertory Theatre.

The Wisey goes to Robin Goodrin Nordli, who has played Hedda Gabler twice at OSF: In 2003 in the Henrik Ibsen play of the same name, and last year in Further Adventures. She's clearly gotten inside the head of the manipulative and morose (it is Ibsen, after all) late-19th Century Norwegian woman. What a scary place to be!

The Hedda of Further Adventures vows to break out of that and be happy, as you'll note from the photo of Nordli at the right. How she got my Sweetie, the scorer's smiley mug I do not know. Nordli was marvelous in a wide range of emotions: depression, anger, giddiness, resignation, and, most impressively to Weisenheimer, great comedic timing in this new take on a classic character.

Best actress was one of the toughest calls of the Wiseys, as there were a great many wonderful performances. Vanessa Claire Smith as Keely Smith in Louis & Keely was a singing and acting marvel. Angela Pierce turned in an amazing and subtle Blance DuBois in Streetcar at Intiman. Marianne Owen was engaging as several characters in Intimate Exchanges at ACT. Caught in the cross-rough of categories and tough competition was Chelsey Rives, nominated both here for boom at the Rep and for supporting actress for her strong, bawdy Stella in Streetcar. She deserves a new category for strong, multiple performances, though Vilma Silva may still have aced her out.

Nordli brings home the best actress Wisey for a memorable performance in a fresh and fascinating new play. We're looking forward to seeing her as Lady Macbeth at OSF this year.

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