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Breakthrough 1976-03
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Breakthrough 1976-03 - Page 6. March 1976. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. November 20, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4730/show/4719.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(March 1976). Breakthrough 1976-03 - Page 6. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4730/show/4719

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Breakthrough 1976-03 - Page 6, March 1976, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed November 20, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4730/show/4719.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Breakthrough 1976-03
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date March 1976
Description Vol. 1 No. 3
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 16 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332726~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 6
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_515f.jpg
Transcript Lindfors shares life as woman Gertrude Barnstone held the following interview with actress Viveca Lindf ors at the University of Houston last fall. Her visit to the campus was sponsored by the UH Student Association and the Department of Women's Affairs. BARNSTONE: Tell us something about your program this evening. LINDFORS: The evening is called "I Am a Woman." It's a journey of one woman and many women. We think of it as a "theatrical evening," because there's a certain prejudice against a "one-woman show" as opposed to a "one-man show." BARNSTONE: Why is that? LINDFORS: Well, I suppose there are no images when it comes to a "one-woman show." I think people imagine an elderly unsuccessful actress reading poetry in a flowing gown. That's the image that comes to some people's minds. But when it comes to a man's show, you have images like Mark Twain or Charles Dickens. BARNSTONE: You are also helping to break down stereotypic images of an older woman, right? LINDFORS: Right, I should say so. I don't think of myself as an older woman, but I suppose I am. I'm 54. I think once you get involved into the creative processes of life, whatever it is you do, age just flies out the window. The youngest woman in this show is Annie Frank who is 14 and the oldest one, Anais Nin, is 73. BARNSTONE: Have you had any problems with your show? LINDFORS: Well, the problem that the show has is similar to the problem that women have: It is hard for people to take you seriously. It's hard when it comes to dealing with all the legal aspects of the show - in all the rights clearances and so forth. You have to deal mostly with men, or you have to deal with women who are almost like men - - women who accept the power drive of men, right? You do run into sabotage. BARNSTONE: Will the theatre continue to be your main interest? You main expression? LINDFORS: I want to express myself in an artistic way whether it's through acting in the theatre or in the films, directing or writing . I don't care. I'm doing more of those other things, too. BARNSTONE: More of writing, producing and directing? LINDFORS: Well, producing. I'm only doing producing because it was the only way to get it done. But otherwise, I would prefer to stay out of that; I found it very time-consuming and exhausting. BARNSTONE: You mean you're involved in producing I Am a Woman? LINDFORS: Yes, there was no way out. There are only three of us and unless I totally put myself into it, it would not nave happened. BARNSTONE: Do you find different attitudes in different 6 parts of the country toward you or the production? LINDFORS: Not really. I would say the negative aspects in some parts of the country are larger than in others. There's the lack of interest in coming to see a show like this, but it's different in different places. Now once they get in there, people's reactions to the show are always the same.* They feel joyful in the end. But word-of-mouth has been our strongest ally in getting people in. Whenever we've played for a week, it's always been the same: less box office in the beginning and standing-room-only in the end. BARNSTONE: Are you bringing it to television? LINDFORS: We are negotiating with the Canadian Broadcasting Company to do it on television, but we've run into a snag. The Anne Frank segment, which comes from her diary, is suddenly being withdrawn from the television thing because the people that wrote the play based on the diary are now negotiating for a musical. And because they are in the middle of negotiations, they don't want to give me the rights for television. I keep thinking, 'How insane!' When Annie sat there and wrote that book, it belonged to her, and now it belongs to anyone who listens to it. I mean you run into snags like that, and people that just like to use their powers. I just say, ' Why, that's what the Nazis did. ' You see this sudden ego power, you know. People say 'yes' or ' no 'for no reason. Right? That's got to go. BARNSTONE: When you were here recently for a performance of An Evening With a Woman, you were asked, "Why has it been so long since the theater has produced an evening about women. Can you comment on that? LINDFORS: The theater, like most institutions and organizations, is run by men. The plays are written by men and men have written about themselves which, in a way, we can understand. The very great writers like Ibsen, Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, write about women, but those writers come up only once or twice in every century. So the major portion of the work at the moment is occupied really by men. The unemployment figure among actresses, particularly women over 35, is absolutely staggering in comparison to the male over 35. Roles are just not as available for women as they are for men. That's going to change of course, because women will begin to write themselves and men will begin to look at women in a new way. If a man is a talented artist, he'll be interested in writing about women as well as about men, for I don't think you can live without getting very deeply into each other. BARNSTONE: Do you feel that you will create another show in the same vein? LINDFORS: Right now I'm so bruised over losing the Anne Frank TV thing, and the fact that the whole thing may be cancelled, that I keep saying to myself that I am never again going to deal all those various parasites sitting in between, holding onto things in a possessive way. So I don't know. I probably will. As a matter of fact, my son and I are dealing with an evening called "My Mother, My Son." However, I've learned a lot . I will never start committing myself to a piece of material without first having cleared it on all levels, and that was unfortunately not done in our case. We had somebody dealing with the business that wasn't really good at it, so a lot of things were not as clear as they should have been. BARNSTONE: Do you feel this show can be done without the Anne Frank piece? LINDFORS: I believe anything can be done without anything. And I have said so to CBC. If we don't do the show, we are defeating the Anne Frank spirit. She has an extraordinary line where she says 'Why should I be in despair?' There is always something that makes you happy - like nature, like people. People are marvelous, nature is marvelous • I believe it's my duty to carry on with the survival spirit that she had. So I would do the show without the Anne Frank piece, and I would find other voices that express her spirit. BARNSTONE: You must have had trouble getting backing for your show. LINDFORS: Yes. Well, to start with, we didn't depend on backings. We created our own show by being booked because of my name and my reputation. I have built up a tremendous college audience. So, it was only coming to New York that we had to raise a certain amount of money, which we did. I found that I had to involve myself personally. Every time that we're not right on top of it, things get all screwed up. That goes for rights and everything else when it comes to this particular show. We have to have people whom we can really trust, which I do have now, but I didn't always. I wasn't always capable of choosing that kind of people. I think I'm learning to choose people and feel that I have the right to choose certain ones to do certain things. To think that four or five years ago I suffered very much from the female neurosis like 'I can't be in charge', I give everything over to you; Darling please - I don't every want to interfere with you'. Now I don't think of it as interference; I think of it as just protecting the "baby" - seeing the "baby" grow the way I think it should grow. BARNSTONE: Have colleges been supportive of you? LINDFORS: Colleges have been marvelous. Colleges have supported me as an artist for the past 15 years, and have protected me from having to do difficult commercials and all kinds of ridiculous TV things. That's where the culture is in this country - I do think it's the colleges. But if the universities and colleges are going to be the cultural centers of the country, they are going to have to have professional theater on campus. Whether the campuses can support such a group, I don't know. But they could certainly split it between three or four so VIVECA LINDFORS that a repertory company goes three months to Houston, three months to Dallas, and another three months somewhere else. BARNSTONE: Where were you in the fifties when Dalton Trumbo, for example, was blacklisted - and how did the blacklisting affect you? LINDFORS: Well, I don't see any blacklisting today. There's personal sabotage, personal fights between people, a certain built-in censorship ~ but it's not like it was in the fifties. That blacklisting period occurred at the time I came to this country. I think it was really a bleak time in our lives and I think it's extraordinary that it was such a hush-hush thing. Nobody dared to rebel, nobody demonstrated, nobody marched, nobody did anything. Those people were absolutely alone in their struggle, and they were left to the wolves. I had this terrible feeling inside me - could I really stand the test? If I'd been called down to Washington, if I knew they would t ake away my way of making a living - would I be strong? That was always the fear inside me. And you never know what you will do until you get in that situation. I think today I would be better prepared and would feel less weakened by the threat. When the Vietnam anti-war movement began, I got involved very early. I said to myself 'If I don't learn to always get involved in what I feel is right, I'm going to screw up when the moment comes. If I get used to always standing up for what I believe in, then at that moment when it really matters, I won't be so scared.' So in a way, that is what the blacklist period did to me, although I personally was never blacklisted. BARNSTONE: What is your opinion of Lillian Hellman? LINDFORS: She's one of our major American playwrights. She's about 80 now. There's a big ceremony around her work "Sunday in New York." She's almost the only female playwright that we have. BARNSTONE: Clare Booth Luce? LINDFORS: Yes, she's a major playwright too, but Hellman is probably Number One. She's a brilliant, brilliant woman. The introduction to her last book J'Pentimento" is in the opening of my show. She explains that she needs to see and see again, which is the story of the woman in the play. She has to look backward in order to look at things again - maybe see something in a different way. BARNSTONE: From your college tours you must be getting man y feelings of young people. LINDFORS: Yes. I see quite a bit of turbulence between men and women, and I've gone through much of it myself. The woman is beginning to deal with the split between the active woman and the loving woman - the woman with her man and the woman with her work. Women must put those two things together. We may feel that since we are entering the man's world of work, we must act like a man. But we should bring our own rhythm into what we do and not try to fit into the rhythm of a man. We shouldn't change ourselves just because we are dealing with the world. It's no different from dealing with a house ~ you take one room at a time. Working women have suffered this incredible identity crisis and often had to pay the price and live without a man and children. Those women have suffered. Particularly now, I think they Continued on page 12