World’s Best Actress

WORLDS BEST ACTRESS? (Sorry Meryl. It was close.)

Years ago. Walking past the upscale Italian restaurant on Halsted Street in Chicago. Rain coming soon. And in the window of this place, sitting by herself at a table for one, was the most ferocious looking, raggedly dressed street woman I’d ever seen. Crossing Halsted I couldn’t help but stare hard. I could barely afford this place. How could she? Why was she in there? Shoveling pasta in her mouth. I kept looking and she could feel my stare. Till she looks up from her gravy and meatballs and gives me a look of such intensely withering, throat slicing hatred that I could barely breathe. Trying to shake off that stare, I continued south to the Steppenwolf Theater, where I had the season tickets. Stepping into the crowded lobby, looking for my friend for that evening, glancing at the posters of the company is where it came to me. The woman in the Italian place? It was Laurie Metcalf. In full costume and scary faced make-up.

Across the years at Steppenwolf, in movies, she never failed to dazzle. She got a TV series part as Roseanne Barr’s sister Jackie. Modeling her character after Don Knott’s Barney Fife.

But it wasn’t till tonight. Friday night late after a really long short week watching “The Connors”—that the power of Laurie Metcalf came back with even more intensity than that time she was in the window eating pasta. It was a scene building to a climax of the story This brilliant theatrical ensemble and world class writing team telling the story of a family trying to come to terms with the death of a loved one. They were in their kitchen. Laurie Metcalf started crying.

And she made me cry too.
Even after all these years.

6 Responses to “World’s Best Actress”

  1. Tom Cordle Says:

    You’re quite right, she’s a marvelous actress, but I was never able to bring myself to watch the Roseanne show. But I have to lodge a small disagreement – Meryl Streep is the best actress of our time.

  2. chicagoguy14 Says:

    Meryl might be the best of all time!

  3. pinkyy9 Says:

    And did we remember to thank her for raising Sheldon and forbidding him and Amy from seeing each other anymore? (Psych)

  4. hcgagel Says:

    Lovely post, Roger – but the editor in me has to call you on “Halstead.”

    Helen C. Gagel 847-275-0326

  5. chicagoguy14 Says:

    Thank you! I appreciate that! I’m working on the next book and don’t have an editor anymore. (yet) So I miss it!

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