Kate Whoriskey
EVENT: She directed The Lady from the Sea, Ibsen's tale of erotic longing, at Intiman.

Would you turn your life upside down for a little nookie? "No."

You've never experienced overwhelming passion?

"Never."

Do you wish to? "This is a very dicey interview, isn't it?"

We like to get right to the core of things. Back to the question. "No."

Why not? "What a Bermuda Triangle I've gotten myself into. No comment."

Have you ever fallen in love? "Yes."

Are you in love now? "Yes."

But you wouldn't cast the rest of your life aside for this person? "Don't ask."

Why are you directing this play about total erotic abandon if you resist it so in your life? "Because you direct your fantasy. No, because it's about so many other things--it's also about the loss of a child and choosing to actually live, as opposed to going through this death fantasy. We had a doctor visit a rehearsal and he said that a person who is alone will die earlier than a person with a partner, whether the relationship is good or bad. It's not a reason to stay in bad relationships, but it's fascinating that if you have someone to respond to--that if you can project your anxiety onto someone else, or communicate it to someone else--that it will actually increase your life span. Also, a poor person will die earlier than a rich person. Obviously that's partly about the kind of medical care that you receive, but they're doing studies that show that if you take two people and they have the same disease and they're the same age--and they're given the same doctor, the same psychiatrist, the same bed, the same prescriptions--the poorer person will die earlier than the richer person. Time and again."

How do they conduct that study? "I don't know. I was personally stunned by this. Also, apparently actors who have won Oscars have a longer life span than actors who haven't."

So some kind of social recognition--in money or awards--is good for you. "Yes, exactly. Money, award, partner. The three ingredients to a longer life."

How was your photo shoot for Vogue last year? "They didn't like a lot of things--they cut my hair, they plucked my eyebrows. I was primped."

Did you feel prettier? "I had red lipstick on. I felt like a clown."

How did you like the resulting photos? "I didn't. It was humiliating. They kept saying, 'Do the Tom Cruise pose,' and I had no idea what that was. He was on the cover of GQ that month, but I hadn't seen it. They posed me, but I didn't know what was going on until I left and got the magazine--and indeed, I was in the Tom Cruise pose."

Can you describe it? "There were two Tom Cruise poses: One featured a straight back, legs spread a little bit, with the elbow onto the knee, and also there's one where he's leaning back--it's like Fonzie--with his head tilted to the side, smiling."

Which one was foisted on you? "I was in the head-tilted-smiling one."

Which sounds like the more passive of the two. "Well, they're both really horrifying. They're really horrifying if you don't know what they are and people are physically moving your body."

Is it a come-hither pose? "No, it's a--whatever Fonzie is doing, that's what it is."

I think Fonzie is generally projecting, 'I am sex and you want me.' "That's Tom Cruise. I was projecting, 'Please get me out, when can I leave?'"

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