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The Country House Cast Divulges the Greatest Myths and Truths About the Offstage Lives of Actors

From onstage romances to artistic neuroses, the Broadway cast of actors playing actors spills it all.

The cast of Donald Margulies' The Country House, directed by Daniel Sullivan, at Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.
(© David Gordon)

Family dysfunction rises to new dramatic heights when the family in question is populated with Equity card-carrying thespians. Donald Margulies' The Country House offers an inside look at a group of actors who gather for a summer during the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Along the way, Margulies sheds light on the private side of the public figures whose personal lives we find endlessly fascinating fodder for supposition. TheaterMania followed up on the subject with all of the cast members and asked them to confirm some truths and debunk some falsehoods about the mystifying acting profession.

Here's what they had to say...

Blythe Danner — Anna Patterson
(© David Gordon)

Myth: We all live glamorous lives. I don't think we do.

Truth: We're all children. We want to be loved — and stroked — and cajoled. That's why we got into this business.

Eric Lange — Elliot Cooper
(© David Gordon)

Myth: That it's easy. That we just memorize these words and then we just say them back and there's no real substance to it. On the outside it looks like it could be kind of easy. You just imitate things. But if you're doing it well, you have to really live in it. That's a skill and a craft and I'm proud that I'm a part of it.

Truth: That it's easy. Sometimes it is easy if the words are good. Donald's writing is so good. When I first met him, he said, "I keep telling actors, all you have to do is say the words." I said, "No, most of the time you have to really work at it," but his writing is so good that it comes out of you effortlessly.

Sarah Steele — Susie Keegan
(© David Gordon)

Myth: [That] we're all really self-centered and vain.

Truth: We're a lot of middle children. I'm a middle child and I notice a lot of middle children as I meet actors. The myth about middle children is that we need attention, so that's my theory.

Daniel Sunjata — Michael Astor
(© David Gordon)

Myth: A lot of people think actors are lazy. It's a f*ckin' difficult profession. At a certain point in my life I thought this would be a path of least resistance, and then I realized, Wow, I'm going to really have to bust my butt to succeed in this. We're not lazy!

Truth: We're neurotic. We're neurotic because we want affirmation and approval and we're always our own harshest critics. It's an interesting paradox that you would choose to live and work in a profession where you get rejected all the time. For people who have such intense neuroses, you'd think that they would flee from a profession like that, but I guess we're just gluttons for punishment.

David Rasche — Walter Keegan
(© David Gordon)

Myth: I don't think people know just exactly how bright actors are. A lot of actors are overqualified, frankly.

Truth: Actors are always getting in sexual trouble with other actors. But you have to figure, if you're onstage or in a movie and your job is to fall in love with a beautiful woman, and sometimes even take off your clothes and fool around, often times you do! And then that can lead to problems.

Kate Jennings Grant — Nell McNally
(© David Gordon)

Myth: I think the greatest myth is that it's impossible to do. I remember when I said I wanted to be an actress, a lot of people just went, "It'll never happen." It seems that it's like winning the lottery. I think you can make it happen if you keep trying.

Truth: That we're all a little crazy. I can confirm that. I got plenty of hugs but it still left me insane.