One-woman show portrays life of actress Vivien Leigh
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 7:10 p.m.
Actress Judith Chapman has long been inspired by the troubled but successful life of Vivien Leigh, the British actress who became an American superstar in “Gone With the Wind.” On Saturday, Chapman plays the enigmatic Leigh in “Vivien,” a one-woman show about the latter that comes to Santa Fe College’s Fine Arts Hall in the centennial year of Leigh’s birth.
What: Judith Chapman portrays Vivien Leigh in one-woman show about the “Gone With the Wind” actress
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Fine Arts Hall, Santa Fe College, 3000 NW 83rd St.
Tickets: $12-$15, $9 seniors, children and SF staff with ID
Info: 395-4181, www.sfcollege.edu/finearts/
Chapman, known for her work on “The Young and the Restless” and other daytime programs, has had a “lifetime love for Vivien” and first performed Rick Foster’s one-woman show about the actress in 2011 before returning to the role in a tour this year, she said.
The play showcases the brilliance, beauty and damaged soul of the “Gone With the Wind” actress, who also starred in the 1951 film, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” Chapman said.
“The byline of the play is a journey into the triumph and the madness of Vivien Leigh,” Chapman said. “It’s a wonderful metaphor for the extreme high of her mania and the extreme lows of her depression.”
Chapman’s visit to the college is part of Santa Fe’s Master Arts Series, which features five master artists performing and interacting with students studying theater, dance and other related majors throughout the academic year, said Alora Haynes, Fine Arts chairwoman at Santa Fe.
The series is a way to enhance the curriculum at the college, she said.
“Many of our students never get these opportunities to work with artists such as these,” Haynes said. “They may not have the money to go to New York or Los Angeles so we’ll just bring New York or Los Angeles to them, and that’s what we’re doing through the master arts programs.”
Before Chapman’s performance, students from Santa Fe and the University of Florida will combine yoga and theater in an acting class taught by Chapman.
The actress, known for her role as Gloria Abbott Bardwell in “The Young and the Restless” as well as roles in such other daytime series as “Days of our Lives” and “General Hospital,” also teaches yoga and said yoga helps people feel comfortable in their own skin.
Chapman will teach an acting class today from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and a class in acting for the camera from 2 to 3:15 p.m. today. Both classes are open to Santa Fe and UF students, as well as faculty and non-theater majors, Haynes said. Each class allows 75 students to enroll.
Chapman, who started her career at age 14, said she will teach using her experiences and tips she gathered from fellow professional actors, producers, casting directors and agents.
“I think we become our best teachers by life experience and by doing,” she said.
Aside from teaching the students, Chapman also wants to let them know the reality of the career. She said that when she was in college her theater professor said, “If you can live without it, do, because of the grief, the aggravation, the rejection and everything you will go through. Be really sure it’s worth it to you.”
On the other hand, Chapman encourages those that are truly passionate about pursuing a career in acting to stick to it, work hard, sacrifice and go wherever they can to act in a play.
“Rule No. 1 in being an actor is you never stop learning, there’s always a growth process,” she said.
Other artists appearing in Santa Fe’s Master Arts Series include Naia Kete, the season-two contestant from “The Voice,” on Sept. 28, Evans Haile and Friends on Nov. 22; acoustic guitarist Leo Kottke on Jan. 11, 2014; the Joffrey Dance Group on Feb. 9; and the Gainesville Orchestra on Jan. 17 and Feb. 28.