Lafferty's Solo Vivien Leigh Show Hits LondonDate: 8 August 2001
American actress Marcy Lafferty will perform her acclaimed solo show about Vivien Leigh at London's Jermyn Street Theatre from 28 August 2001. Entitled Vivien Leigh - The Last Press Conference, the play follows the triumphs and tragedies of the late stage and screen star who was also married to Laurence Olivier. Anecdotes from theatre icons, romantic stories and Leigh's own words are combined within the drama.
Lafferty's impetus for the work came from her own short film Vivien, The Movie, The Marriage, The Madness. Born into a showbusiness family, Lafferty was studying ballet by the age of five and learnt Shakespeare from her actress mother. A veteran now of over 60 plays worldwide, she was most recently seen as Portia in The Author's Voice at Hollywood's Stella Adler Theatre. Other theatre career highlights include Cat On a Hot Tin Roof and Simon Grey's Otherwise Engaged. Her numerous film credits contain Star Trek - The Movie, Airplane II and The Day Time Ended.
The Vivien Leigh stage production is directed by John Edward Blankenchip, who first met Lafferty whilst she was involved with the Festival Theatre USC-USA. Blankenchip is the founder and director of the American troupe, who present dramas, dance and musical works overseas. They were also the first American company to appear in the Edinburgh Festival. Blankenchip is a Professor Emeritus at the USC School of Theatre and has received Fringe First Awards for Buried Child and Follies.
Vivien Leigh was born in India in 1913 and later studied at RADA. In 1937 she first appeared on screen with Laurence Olivier in the costume epic Fire Over England. A movie legend for her Oscar-winning role as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind, Leigh only obtained the part once the film had actually begun shooting. She married Olivier in 1940 and the couple subsequently starred in a US stage version of Romeo and Juliet. Despite being dogged by illness, and a divorce from Olivier, Leigh continued to work in theatre. She won a Tony award for her 1963 Broadway debut in Tovarich, but died from tuberculosis in 1967.
- by Gareth Thompson