A Conversation with Actor: Sarah Paulson
TS: Can we talk a bit about the research you have to do in order to play this role?
SP: Well I've done some, but topics will come up in rehearsals and I'll take my cue from there. For example, I didn't want to read Fifth of July because it is set near the end of Sally's life. I didn't want to know about that yet. I didn't want to play the ending. Talley and Son is different because I think it's brilliant that Wilson features Sally in the beginning of that play, and then off she goes to basically do Talley's Folly and then comes back into the house to say, "I'm leaving with him'." Sometimes as an actor you wonder what your character was doing the moment before the play starts-where were you? I actually have Sally's moment before in Wilson's writing. She's up at the house, says how angry she is, and goes out to the boathouse right from the house. It's also helpful to know that every time I tell Matt, "Lower your voice, they are going to hear you", I am thinking about all of Sally's family. I think Sally's behavior is a result of the time period and how different she is from most women of that period. She's just not your typical 31-year-old woman in 1944. I will find out more about the 'typical' woman of 1944. I like doing that kind of initial research and then I put most of it away.
TS: If you ran into someone who never read or saw Talley's Folly, what would you tell them it was about?
SP: It's a love story, in all that a love story encompasses. It's not just a saccharine, sweet romance. It's a real love story in the truest sense of the word-it's complicated, moving, funny, thought provoking, and frustrating.
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