Billie Whitelaw | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Billie Whitelaw 

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Though best known to Americans from such movies as The Omen (she played the nasty nanny), The Krays, and Hitchcock's Frenzy, Billie Whitelaw is one of England's most highly regarded stage actresses; distinguished for her classical and modern roles at the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, she's the authoritative interpreter of the stripped-down style of her longtime colleague Samuel Beckett. In this solo appearance she'll perform selections from the astringent absurdist's works, including Happy Days (in which he directed her) and Rockaby (which he wrote for her)--"a couple of pieces which made him laugh," she says. She'll also play a BBC video of her appearance in Not I and talk about her partnership with the playwright: "I had the immense good fortune of being able to call Beckett a friend, and I want to take people on part of a 30-year journey I made with him, offer a flavor of the man no one else has--very warm and kind, not this rather frightening vulture. . . . I'm a conduit between him and whoever wants to listen." Audience questions are welcomed at this informal evening, which augments Whitelaw's teaching residency at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb and marks the Chicago debut of one of British theater's consummate stage artists. Northern Illinois University Chicago Gallery, 215 W. Superior, 642-6010. Friday, March 24, 6 PM (followed by a reception with Whitelaw at 7 PM). $10.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Fred Moore.

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