the loveART blog


jane fonda is blogging

acting, art, creativity, theater,writing

Jane Fonda is blogging. At the age of 71. In New York. While she prepares to go on stage in her first Broadway play in 45 years, 33 Variations, by the Venezuelan director-playwright Moisés Kaufman.

This may or may not mean anything to you. It fascinates me because I am in the peculiar position of being one of her biographers. In 2000 I produced, directed and wrote the two-hour E! True Hollywood Story: Jane Fonda. As a biographer, one gets to know people in a weirdly intimate way; it’s a relationship like no other. You’re not friends with the person (though you might become one), but you develop a wider and deeper overview of their lives than probably any of their friends or family members do. (An awful lot of what you discover ends up on the cutting room floor, but it also stays in your brain and your heart, and forever informs your understanding of their character.) And if you have some kind of intellectual or emotional connection with the person’s story, it can be an expansive experience of the most profound sort. This is, after all, why we read and watch biographies, and why some of us write them.

Anyway, I bring up Jane’s blog for several reasons. First of all, as an artist she’s not scared to say she’s scared. She is acutely vulnerable, sometimes unsure of herself, sometimes triumphant as she goes through the difficult, fascinating creative process of embodying her character and helping the play on the page come to life. This is what she has to say about her character, Dr. Katherine Brandt:

I play a musicologist of today who is obsessed with figuring out why Beethoven, at the height of his powers, spent 3 years writing 33 variations on a mediocre waltz written by a music publisher in 1819. My character is passionate in her quest for understanding and it’s a race against time for her to get a paper written on the topic and delivered to a conference because she is sick. Beethoven (who is also a character in the play) is also obsessed with finishing the variations because he is becoming deaf. Obsession, passion…these are things I love in life– the fact that people can grow old and become sick and yet their passions remain undimmed.

And think what you will about Jane Fonda (I’m not going to get into politics here–though she does, on her blog), she is someone who is always testing new frontiers. I personally am glad she’s on the planet, as a role model for women and girls and as an example of how to live one’s “third act” (to use her words) in a vital, engaged way. 

I recommend checking out her blog if you’re at all interested in the subtleties that go on in an artist’s brain and soul during the creative process. She tracks this daily, with her customary considerable frankness. 

Applause, applause.

(Photo of Jane Fonda from Photobucket.com.)