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IN THE SECRET SEA's Glynnis O'Connor Pens Essay on Company Ties

Glynnis O'Connor, one of the actresses in In The Secret Sea, the new play by Cate Ryan and directed by Martin Charnin currently playing The Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row, wrote up a sweet little story about her "few degrees of separation" from every member of the company. Read the essay below!

The five-week-only limited engagement of In The Secret Sea opened Thursday, April 21 and plays through next Saturday, May 21 only.


By Glynnis O'Connor

I came early to the audition, intending to spend some time reviewing the twelve pages of dialogue. An actor took the seat beside me in the waiting area and pulled out his pages. He mentioned something about the scene. I started to answer.

Suddenly he said, "Glynnis?"

I looked at him, "Yes?

"It's Paul!"

"Paul?" I studied his incisive eyes, chiseled features, his thick white hair. Paul Carlin!

I hadn't seen him in thirty years. We'd been childhood friends, like cousins. Every Christmas the O'Connor family would join the Carlin Family at their home to sing carols and every summer we'd play and swim with them in the Long Island Sound by their house. Our moms were buddies (Paul's- actress Frances Sternhagen, mine- actress Lenka Peterson) and they would haul all us kids, in station wagons, to each other's houses to play. I'd had a secret crush on Paul for a while but at 10 years old, I was a whole year older than him so I could NEVER be his girlfriend of course!

"Paul! Oh my God!" Huge hug. We started comparing notes there in the waiting room. Five minutes later we were in the audition space reading the scene, playing husband and wife. Within three days we were both offered the roles of Joyce and Gil in Cate Ryan's In The Secret Sea. Who would have imagined, in 1965 playing with Paul in New Rochelle, that I'd be his wife on stage Off-Broadway?

During the weeks of rehearsal I discovered there was only a fraction of separation between myself and the others in the company. Martin Charnin (our director) and Shelly Burch (who plays Audrey) live in New Rochelle not far from where I grew up. Malachy Cleary (who plays Jack) had been good friends with a woman who had been one of my best friends in grade school. Adam Petherbridge (who plays our son Kenny) graduated from the Actor's Studio Graduate Drama School. My mother, Lenka Peterson, at 90, is the only living member of the original group of Actor's Studio actors. Cate Ryan (playwright) lives down the block from me in Manhattan. We shop at the same market and frequent the same bookshop.

One of the gratifying aspects of being an actor is that you never have to really say goodbye. It is nearly certain you will work together again.

And a sweet gift of living a long life is the surprising reentry of a cherished one and the gratification of knowing you're both still here. Creating. Playing.??

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