Features the latest news on what Marg is up to these days since leaving CSI.

AAM RECAP OF UNDER THE DOME 3.03 ‘REDUX’

Picking up right where we left off last week, Under the Dome’s third episode of the season ‘Redux’ opens with the people of Chester’s Mill, newly hatched from cocoons, climbing up out of the underground tunnels only to immediately realize that they are still trapped under the dome. Whatever they think they’ve experienced the past year has been nothing but an illusion or some kind of simulated reality a la ‘The Matrix.’ Having been teased with what life could be like if freed from their transparent prison, the residents are now struggling even more than they had been with day-to-day life under the dome. Junior, for example, misses and desperately wants back that dome-free life where he is free from the tyranny of Big Jim, while Norrie misses the life where she finally felt like she was a part of something. And As Dale Barbara tells Julia, “The dome was gone. We were free. The outside world was somehow more beautiful, more vibrant.”

While the people of Chester’s Mill are struggling to understand what has happened to them and are preparing for a town meeting where they can discuss it and hopefully come up with a plan to get some answers, the town’s newcomers, Christine Price and Eva Sinclair, are back at their hotel trying to determine what has happened to them as well. As she tries to piece together the mystery of how they ended up in cocoons for three weeks, Eva reveals that she and Christine are really anthropologists who were on a mission to find the egg. The last thing Eva remembers is that they had succeeded in locating the egg and then had landed in some kind of alternate reality where she was an aid worker and Christine was a therapist. Eva says that none of it makes sense to her and she wonders why she and Christine had different identities in the alternate reality.

Christine, who has let Eva take the lead in this conversation and who hasn’t said much at all about what she remembers from the past three weeks, jumps in at this point and says that while she has no idea why they were different in the alternate reality, she thinks it’s a good thing. She says that she and Eva would have a lot more to answer for if the townspeople knew why they had really been in Chester’s Mill when the dome came down. Christine also says that she thinks they should go to the town meeting — that everyone will be there to talk about what happened and so it would look very suspicious if they aren’t there. Thinking about Dale Barbara, Eva changes the subject and starts talking about how she was pregnant in the alternate reality and wonders if she may perhaps still be pregnant now. Christine tells her it’s unlikely and tries to comfort her because she knows how much Eva wants to have children someday. Even though our newcomers are strangers to everyone else in Chester’s Mill, this conversation shows that Eva and Christine were pretty close before they became trapped under the dome. The scene closes with Christine eyeing a piece of purple rock that is on her window sill.

Christine and Eva Christine and Melanie

Before heading to the town meeting, Christine makes a small detour and heads back to the underground tunnels to rendezvous with none other than Melanie. As predicted, they are working together. Christine chastises Melanie for failing in her duties: “You had a job. Lead the people to be cocooned so the egg could infuse them with the life force.” Melanie apologizes but then questions why they were chosen to do this. Christine, who seems to have all of the answers, replies: “You and I made first contact with the egg. When we touched it, we gained a complete understanding of the dome’s agenda — survive and propagate.” Melanie, not content with this answer, continues to question: “But I touched the egg first, 25 years ago. It should have been me in the Queen cocoon, not you.” Becoming exasperated at this point, Christine reminds her: “But you died during the download. Three weeks ago, I came along. From inside my cocoon, I could see that this town was on the brink of destroying itself.” Melanie then shows us that although she may have touched the egg, she is still clueless about some things, this time the gooey substance in the cocoon: “What is that stuff?” Again, Christine has the answer: “Oxytocin. It’s a mood regulator. It, plus the alternate reality, was essential to shape these humans into a functioning collective so that we could gain a foothold.” The fact that Christine refers to them as ‘these humans’ should be a red flag for viewers. I think it’s safe to say at this point that Christine — at least post ‘making contact with the egg’ Christine — is not human. Christine then goes on to point out that thanks to Melanie’s failure to protect the egg from Big Jim, their mission is not complete: “Except the transfer of the life force was interrupted…Because you didn’t protect it. Everyone in this cocoon has a role to play. We need to finish what we started. Quickly.” The scene concludes with Christine telling Melanie that she’s going to the town meeting to “assess the townspeople and determine how much work is left to do” and that Melanie’s job is to handle Julia, who they are convinced is a threat: “If she shows up, kill her.” There’s no question at this point who’s Queen.

It also becomes obvious at this point that while Christine and Eva may have been working together in their quest to find the egg, Christine is keeping Eva in the dark about her current agenda (i.e. the Dome’s agenda). After her secret meeting with Melanie, Christine meets back up with Eva and they go to the town meeting. As soon as they arrive, they are met by Big Jim and Julia who are just full of questions for the strangers who have ended up under the dome with them. Eva sees Barbie and quickly excuses herself, leaving Christine to come up with a cover story. Quick on her feet, Christine tells them that she and Eva were vacationing in Chester’s Mill and were out in the woods hiking where they fell into a sinkhole and then emerged from cocoons three weeks later along with everyone else. Big Jim and Julia look skeptical, so just like she did with Eva back at the hotel, Christine quickly changes the subject to talk about how she’s a therapist and how, in the alternate reality, she helped the townspeople deal with the trauma of having been trapped under the dome. She wonders if she could offer a similar service in their present situation. A nice deflection, but Big Jim is still suspicious: “Looks like everyone is shaken up, except Christine Price.”

Christine vs Big Jim and Julia Christine leads town meeting

Julia begins the town meeting by talking about all who have lost their homes and encourages anyone who still has a home to open their doors. Christine jumps in at this point, basically taking over the meeting: “The last time I stood in front of you, I urged you to find strength in community…” Her goal here is apparent: she is reminding them yet again of the alternate reality where they were free and also reminding them how helpful she was there so that they continue to trust her even if Julia and Big Jim do not. She urges the townspeople to work together to find food and several immediately volunteer to do so. Christine then offers up her services as a counselor — that they can come to her at any time. Julia stands there shaking her head in disbelief at how quickly this strange woman seems to have the townspeople completely under her influence. Even Barbie says that “Christine is right.” Finding food should take precedence over finding Melanie. As the meeting disburses, Christine makes a special effort to reach out to Sam Verdreaux and encourage him to lead a support group – that his experiences with AA while in prison would be very helpful. He seems unconvinced that anyone would want his help, but she tells him to at least think about it and then sends him off an a task to find Junior and bring him back. In what then appears to be another calculated move, Christine leaves the office unattended so that when Sam returns with Junior, people who are there waiting for Christine begin to open up to him instead when he mentions how much she helped him in the alternate reality, thus inserting him into the role of reluctant leader of this impromptu support group.

There is one more exchange between Christine and Eva that is very telling. Eva again questions Christine about the need to lie about their identities. When Christine reminds her that they are trapped and need to do whatever they can to survive, which means keeping the people’s trust, Eva’s response is “When did you become so calculating?” Eva, the only person in Chester’s Mill who knows anything about Christine, is starting to see that something is ‘off’ with her. Christine reassures her that she hasn’t changed with an anecdote about escaping from a wolf while searching for artifacts in North Dakota: “We’ve been through so much together. We’ll get through this.” Shen then diverts Eva’s attention by giving her a task: to go find “the one thing that can expose us.” Eva sets off on her mission, but unfortunately for Christine and Eva, Big Jim, who was lurking around the corner, follows her. Eva locates the damning piece of evidence and hides it in their hotel room; however, Big Jim promptly traces her steps and retrieves the item for himself.

touching the egg the download

The evidence turns out to be a recording of Eva and Christine finding the egg. In the video, which we watch while Big Jim is watching – “Therapist, my ass” – Christine picks up the egg, which appears to activate it. There is what appears to be an explosion and all we can see at that point is Christine’s hand clutching the egg and flashes of purple running up her arm while she screams and screams. It stands to reason that the purple we’re seeing running through Christine’s arm is the ‘download’ that Christine says Melanie did not survive when she originally discovered and touched the egg 25 years ago. It also stands to reason if the successful download into Christine is what brought the dome down over Chester’s Mill, then if Melanie had survived the download 25 years earlier, the dome probably would have come down over the town then.

While Big Jim has been busy spying on Eva, his son Junior, who is really struggling with life back under the dome and has thought of taking his own life, seeks out Christine. With just a little coaxing, Christine gets Junior to confess how much he misses life in the alternate reality — that he had killed his father and was ready to burn down his house and move on. Seizing the opportunity, Christine tells Junior that he’s on the verge of a breakthrough: “If you really want to be who you were, finish what you started. Drop the match. We are what we do.” Junior departs, presumably to do just that, and Christine picks up a hunting knife, repeating to herself “We are what we do.”

Christine and Junior

While the rest of Chester’s Mill is off hunting and gathering food, Julia and Barbie have gone back to the tunnels to look for Melanie. Remembering her orders from ‘Queen’ Christine, Melanie attempts to complete her given task – to kill Julia if she returned to the tunnels. While she’s attempting to strangle Julia, Melanie mutters about how much better it would have been if she had just cocooned Julia with the rest. Mid ramble, however, she is stabbed in the back. The camera pans up to reveal Christine standing there with her bloodied hunting knife asking Julia if she’s okay. Killing Melanie serves several purposes for Christine: 1) Getting rid of Melanie gets rid of the only other person who is privy to the details of the dome’s agenda. Since Melanie was starting to babble about wishing she had cocooned Julia, it opened up the possibility that she may reveal more details of the plan, which made her a threat; 2) Melanie, because she kept failing to perform her duties, was becoming more of a hindrance than a help anyway. Now that the life force is taking root, Christine can probably easily find a new helper to take Melanie’s place; 3) Melanie’s jealousy of Christine being the one in the Queen cocoon also potentially made her a threat to the ‘throne’ so eliminating her removes that danger, and 4) most importantly, by killing Melanie, Christine has saved Julia’s life, thereby making Julia indebted to her and probably more apt to trust her going forward. Was getting rid of Melanie in this matter part of Christine’s plan all along or did she just see the opportunity and take it? I’m not sure at this point, but as calculating as Christine seems about everything else, it would not surprise me if she set Melanie up by sending her after Julia in the first place. Speaking of calculating, how about those tears after she kills Melanie: “I was out looking for food and I saw this girl…and she was strangling Julia. Oh my God, what have I done?” She then leans against a tree and cries, until she looks over her shoulder and sees that Julia and Barbie are preoccupied with each other. As soon as she sees that, she gets up and calmly walks away, knife still in hand.

Back stabber crocodile tears

The next time we see Christine, she is sitting in her office stroking the bloody knife with the piece of purple rock and seems quite content. She picks up her recorder and documents her progress so far: “James was the closest, a seed ready to sprout…once he shed his fear. With the right amount of nurturing, Sam could be next. They came when I signaled them, without knowing why. The life force has taken root. Some are compelled to serve their duties, some will require cultivation. Others must be pruned away. Weeds are stronger than they seem, a threat to what must blossom. But with careful tending, this kinship will grow into what we need it to be.”

Christine on the roof Christine and that smile

The episode concludes with all of the formerly cocooned residents of Chester’s Mill gathered together and staring at the full moon. Quite pleased with her progress thus far, Christine emerges on the roof of the town hall to look down on them and then turns around to give an eerie smile to the camera and the moon.

I’m calling this episode the “Who are you and what have you done with the real Christine?” episode because based on the incidents that take place in during ‘Redux’, I don’t think we’ve actually met the real Christine Price. The post-cocoon version of Christine that we’re seeing appears to be merely a vessel that is carrying out the Dome’s agenda. The only glimpse of the real Christine that we’ve had thus far is the woman we (and Big Jim) see in the recording before she touches the egg, along with the hints that we’ve been given from Eva as to what Christine may have been like before she touched that egg. This probably doesn’t bode well for Christine’s longevity in Chester’s Mill as I can only see this playing out with her going head-to-head against Big Jim and Julia at some point and I would be surprised to see either of them go down. It is ‘Under the Dome’ though so I guess anything is possible.

I think what I’m enjoying most about all of this is watching Marg play such a different role from what I’ve been used to seeing in recent years. I had forgotten how much fun it is to watch her play a bad girl.

You can view screen captures from Under the Dome ‘Redux’ HERE.

AAM RECAP OF UNDER THE DOME 3.01 ‘MOVE ON’ & 3.02 ‘BUT I’M NOT’

It’s finally time for AAM’s recap of the “Under the Dome” season 3 premiere. For those who have never read my recaps, while I do give a general summary of what takes place throughout the episode, most of my commentary is reserved for Marg’s character. Apologies in advance if I neglect your favorites.

For those new to the “Under the Dome” experience, Season 2 of the popular CBS summer series concluded with a cliffhanger as the mysterious dome which had encapsulated the town of Chester’s Mill and cut them off from the rest of the world suddenly began to contract rapidly. Fearing that they would be crushed to death, the residents of Chester’s Mill, led by Dale Barbara, evacuated into underground tunnels they hoped would lead them to safety. Once they all descend into the tunnels, they are met by Melanie who tells them to come with her because ‘we’re going home. It’s time to move on.’ Season 3 picks up exactly where Season 2 left off as the residents take a leap of faith and follow Melanie into a dream-like, misty white landscape and somehow emerge outside the dome. As the town residents stand there trying to take in what has just happened and realize that Melanie is no longer with them, those pink stars that have been falling in lines for the previous two seasons suddenly shoot up into the air like fireworks and seconds later, the dome shatters. Barbie discovers that Julia, Junior, and Big Jim, who were left behind, sadly are casualties of the dome collapse, but otherwise the town and its people are free. Sounds a little too easy, right? Especially for a show that is based on a novel by none other than Stephen King. A quick glance at the clock shows that we’re less than five minutes into the 2-hour episode. What is sure to be a wild ride has only just begun…

We next experience what appears to be a time jump. It is one year later and, for the most part, the residents of Chester’s Mill are attempting to move on with their lives. We see that Barbie and Hunter are now in the military, Norrie has gone off to college, and the town of Chester’s Mill seems to be back to its old self overall.

Or is it? At the same time we’re watching everyone move on, we’re also being shown scenes where Julia and Junior are still back in the tunnels attempting to follow the path that the other residents took when they evacuated. They then have a run-in with an even crazier than usual Big Jim. How is this possible if Barbie found all of their dead bodies when the dome came down? Ah ha, now we’re getting more Stephen King-like. It seems that those who followed the mysterious Melanie are now in some kind of alternate reality and that perhaps Julia, Junior, and Big Jim are still alive after all.

move on 01

It is in this alternate reality that we are finally introduced to Marg’s character, Christine Price. Christine tells everyone that she is a trauma specialist who has been sent in by FEMA to help facilitate the healing process in Chester’s Mill. She serves as a therapist to both Joe McAllister whose sister Angie was murdered while the dome, and ironically, to Sam Verdreaux, who was Angie’s killer. She is also organizing a memorial ceremony to honor all of the lives that were lost because of the dome. While Christine seems genuinely passionate about helping everyone to heal, there is still something suspect about her. For one, her methods seem a bit unorthodox for a therapist, a little too intimate. When we first meet her, she is actually in Joe’s bedroom waiting to talk to him. Christine is also literally very hands on — not only in the sense of trying to control everything that is going on in the town – calling Barbie to come to the hospital for his girlfriend when she sees he about to do something she doesn’t like, etc., but also in the sense that there is a lot of touching involved when she is talking to Joe, Sam, and Junior, among others. Perhaps it’s coincidence — it’s still too early to tell — but she also seems very focused on the men. I’m getting the vibe that the enigmatic Christine will probably be a character that fans either love or hate, that there won’t be any middle ground on that.

move on 02 move on 03

What also becomes apparent is that we are not the only ones watching the Chester’s Mill residents in their alternate reality. Melanie is also watching them, through some kind of strange purple crystal wall. When she realizes that Ben knows something is ‘off’ with the reality they’re living in and sends Barbie a message that he has proof that what they’re living in is not real, Melanie decides he must be stopped and kills him at the memorial ceremony. And here’s where it gets even stranger. She kills him by strangling him – not the Ben that is at the ceremony, but a version of Ben who is covered in slime and housed in a cocoon in the tunnels beneath the dome. And as Julia discovers as she is exploring the tunnels looking for Junior who has disappeared, that is just one of many cocoons that are in the tunnels. With purple glowing roots interconnecting them all to one larger cocoon that we can’t see into, this network of cocoons appears to house all of the Chester’s Mill residents that we originally thought had gotten out safely, including Junior who encountered Melanie when he got separated from Julia. Melanie tells him that he and his friends need to become what she needs them to be so that they can all survive – he just needs to be ‘fixed’ first. We see firsthand what happened to everyone as we watch Junior go through the same process. Once ‘fixed’, his name disappears from the memorial wall and he rides into town on his motorcycle as if he had been there all along. After she has dealt with Junior, Melanie turns her attention to Julia. She manipulates Julia into believing that they need to get the egg back in order to unlock the cocoons and free everyone and they set out to make this happen.

So Melanie is obviously a major player in this “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” experience that has taken over Chester’s Mill, but is she working alone? For the answer to that, I think we need to follow the purple — purple egg, purple roots connecting the cocoons, purple crystal wall to watch everyone through. And in our alternate reality, where do we see purple? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that our friendly FEMA therapist is sporting a ring with a large purple rock in it and that she also has a large purple crystal prominently displayed in the room where she and Joe are meditating. The purple coupled with Christine’s ‘off’ behavior make a pretty compelling argument that she is not what she seems and is somehow in cahoots with Melanie and whatever her agenda is.

move on 06 move on 05

Things come to a head quickly once Big Jim enters the mix. Melanie retrieves the egg from her father, and of course kills him because what’s one more body at this point? With the help of his new canine companion, Big Jim discovers the body and follows the trail to Julia. The two of them have words as Big Jim tries to convince Julia that Melanie is evil and so is the dome. Julia tells him off and heads back to the tunnels. When she arrives, she sees that Melanie has placed the egg on top of the largest cocoon. The purple roots are now starting to pulse and something big is obviously about to happen. As she watches, Julia questions what is happening, the overall purpose of the dome, and Melanie’s motivation. Once she realizes Julia is a threat to the ‘process that has started’, Melanie attacks Julia but also promises that they can ‘fix’ her too. Big Jim enters at this point, says that he’s not letting whoever is responsible for all of this kill his son, and proceeds to smash the egg with the butt of his rifle. With the power source destroyed, the alternate reality disappears and all of the Chester’s Mill residents are able to break free from their cocoons, with Christine emerging from the largest cocoon and immediately reaching out for the hand of, interestingly enough, Barbie’s alternate reality love interest, Eva. Is Eva in on it as well? The final frames of the episode are focused on the two of them and their ‘Uh oh’ expressions.

move on 04 move on 07

The season opener was a very entertaining two hours of television. I especially loved the intensity level and the sense of mystery that surrounded everything and having that juxtaposed with Big Jim’s antics, his dark humor, and his interactions with the stray dog. I’m obviously eager to learn what exactly Christine’s role will be in all of it. Does being housed in the largest cocoon mean that she is somehow the leader or mastermind behind the dome? I think this is going to be a really fun character to watch Marg play because Christine obviously has a lot going on and so many different levels for us to delve through. I have a lot of questions about Christine at this point. What’s her motivation? Is she truly evil? Is she even human for that matter? If she is human, where did she come from? Has she been cocooned under the dome this entire time? Do any of the townspeople know her? The list goes on and on. I really can’t wait to see where the story picks up next week.

Screen captures of Marg from the season opener can be found HERE.

MARG VISITS CBS THIS MORNING TO DISCUSS UNDER THE DOME & THE CSI SERIES FINALE

From CBS This Morning:

The hit CBS series “Under the Dome” is based on a Stephen King novel and was last summer’s number one program with 11 million viewers. Emmy Award-winning actress Helgenberger is a new addition to the show. She joins “CBS This Morning” to discuss her new role and her return to the CSI franchise for a TV movie.

If the embedded video doesn’t work, you can watch the video here on the CBS This Morning website.

REVIEW: MARG GIVES A SPELLBINDING PERFORMANCE IN “THE OTHER PLACE”

As a long-time fan of Marg Helgenberger’s, 26 years and counting now, it’s safe to say that I’ve seen nearly everything she has ever done on both the big and small screen. I clearly know what an incredibly talented actress she is. And yet, somehow, I was still completely unprepared for just how much she would blow me away with her performance in “The Other Place”. I’m not a professional reviewer, nor do I know much about theater, so I’m just going to write about how it felt to watch my favorite actress up on stage, probably less than 20 feet away from me.

Surreal is probably the best word to describe the experience, especially that first moment when she appears on stage. As Dr. Juliana Smithton, Marg commanded the stage from the moment she appeared. Her voice filled the room and I instantly had that flailing fangirl moment of “I cannot believe I’m actually sitting here watching Marg Helgenberger on stage right in front of me!” Once I recovered, that feeling was immediately replaced by a tremendous sense of pride. I had already read the play and know that it’s a great role, but that it’s also a very challenging one, and I’m just so proud that she chose to tackle it. And she just looked so damned good up there. So poised and confident, like she was just ready to kick the role’s ass. And she did. She absolutely nailed it.

Because “The Other Place” is a puzzle play and it’s all about the journey to discover what is really going on with Marg’s character, Juliana, it’s impossible to go into any specific details without spoiling the plot for others, but I can say that what impressed me most about Marg’s performance was how effortlessly and convincingly she moved through the wide array of emotions that her character Juliana displays throughout the play as we take this journey to the truth. Early in the play, at any given moment, Juliana could be frustrated, sarcastic, argumentative, downright cruel, sassy and flirtatious, almost deliriously happy, and even humorous. As she begins to move closer to the reality of her situation, she then transitions to confused, emotionally distraught, vulnerable, and finally, once she accepts her reality, determined and resilient. It was just such an incredible experience as a fan to be sitting so close and being able to watch all of those emotions play across Marg’s face. And it’s such a different viewing experience from what I’m used to seeing on TV or on the big screen. There’s no director to yell ‘Cut!’ and do another take and what I’m watching has not been edited to piece together the best takes. It was completely organic – just Marg creating all of these pure, raw emotions and it was beautiful to watch her work her magic. I lost track of how many times my breath just caught in my throat while watching her. It was truly spellbinding.

I was fortunate enough to be invited backstage for a few moments to say hi to Marg after one of the performances, and if my brain hadn’t completely left me, I would have loved to ask where she was pulling from for inspiration for a couple of the more emotional scenes of the play because they were just so intensely moving. Alas, fangirls and intelligent questions just don’t seem to go together, at least for me anyway, so I blanked out and didn’t ask. A huge thanks to Marg though for graciously spending a few moments with a couple of crazy fangirls. Her kindness made what had already been a perfect experience, truly unforgettable. Thank you, Marg! xo

Me posing with Marg after the June 6 performance of "The Other Place". (Please do not re-post without permission. Thanks!)

Me posing with Marg after the June 6 performance of “The Other Place”. (Please do not re-post without permission. Thanks!)

Note: I didn’t mention the performances of Marg’s costars, Katya Campbell, Adam Donshik, and especially Brent Langdon, who played Juliana’s husband, in this write-up since my site is all about Marg, but I do want to give them a shout out as well because they were also outstanding in their roles.

BERKSHIRE FINE ARTS: DIALOGUE WITH MARG & CHRISTOPHER INNVAR

As they prepare for opening night of “The Other Place”, which is less than two weeks away, Marg and her director Christoper Innvar took time of their busy schedules to meet with the media. Here’s an excerpt from their dialogue, which has been posted on wwwberkshirefinearts.com, along with many photos.

Marg and play director Christopher Innvar

Marg and play director Christopher Innvar

Christopher Innvar: The play is about loss. It’s a family situation with a very powerful woman who’s great at her job in a world where mostly men are dominant in the profession. She’s at the top of her profession and suffers a loss. It’s about her family relationships and what she’s lost. At the end of the play she’s found. Through her family and revisiting ghosts in her life she’s able to be found and anchored again. There’s a lot of water imagery in the play. Talking with the set designer, Brian Prather, we kept saying untethered and lost at sea. There’s no anchor for her.

She ends up on Cape Cod surrounded by water on three sides. She ends up being found.

I really don’t want to say much more because it would spoil it for you when you come to see the play.

Marg Helgenberger: That was so well said that I don’t know how to follow up on that. The role that I’m playing, Juliana Smithton, could fall under the category of tour de force. When you get the opportunity to play a role as complex as this woman is, as an actor, why not jump at the chance.

I was available. (Her voice rose emphatically implying irony.) I was familiar with the playwright’s writing. I was very interested in his Annapurna. Someone had suggested it to me. After my run on CSI I had wanted to do a play. It was already snatched up by someone who wanted to produce it in Los Angeles. That’s the production which is now in New York.

I never heard of Sharr White before. In fact I did know that The Other Place was on Broadway. I think at the same time when I became familiar with Annapurna. So when the play came to me in February or March I was eager to read it because he’s so talented. When I read it or give it to other people to read, the one word that always comes out of them is Wow. (soft laugh). For so many reasons. She’s such a highly, highly intelligent woman. To a fault. She’s smarter than most. She’s a woman in a man’s profession dominated by men. She has to be stronger and tougher to assert herself. Because of her intelligence she has an impatience with everyone. She has cut herself off a little bit from her emotional side. And because of something that happens but I’m not going to give it away. A family situation that was quite devastating and dramatic to her.

In order to continue with her life she has to bury those feelings very, very deep. That allows for all these different sides of her to come out in odd ways. Unpredictable ways. It’s probably the most challenging role I’ve played. (nervous laugh) It’s interesting to play such a complicated role at my age rather then when you’re younger. You don’t have the energy to bounce back. It’s mid week in the rehearsal process and already I’m like, oh shit, there’s three more days of this.

Question Are you the only actor?

CI: No there’s three other actors (Katya Campbell, woman, Adam Donshik, man, and Brent Langdon, Ian.) I was doing a Sharr White play in Manhattan The Snow Geese. Julie (Ann Boyd artistic director) talked about this slot being open for me to direct a play. We all read the play and thought it was fantastic. We went into casting in New York. Our casting director Pat Mc Corkle said that Marg Helgenberger wants to do theatre. (Incedulously) OMG we thought she would be prefect. (Marg laughs) We all looked at each other, oh my goodness, she would be absolutely perfect. We did a skype session. Then I went to LA and we talked. Yeah, this character who is brilliant, sharp, funny, sexy has all of these strengths. At the top of her profession and we were all just such fans of hers.

MH: Gee Chris. (laughing)

CI: Absolutely. The way we talked about this play made me feel that we could help each other out and make this play come to life. Marg was excited about doing it.

MH: Yeah. Very much so. You sent me an e mail with an interview that Sharr had done about the genesis of this play. His father being a scientist and his brother or brother in law also being a scientist. He just wanted to floor someone who seemed to always have an answer for everything. Somethings are (emphasis) unexplainable. Things of the heart.

CI: What happens to someone who all their lives have all the answers. What happens when they start not having the answers? What does that do to someone? That metaphor of being lost at sea. For the first time not knowing where you are or what direction to go in. That’s a challenge.

MH: Sure is.

Charles Giuliano Doing research for this interview I was astonished by the depth of your resume including film and television. Also I was intrigued that early on you deboned meat in your father’s butchery. That would seem to presage CSI. I am interested in how artists evolve.

MH: Yeah. I did that.

CG: I’m also interested in Chris’s evolution from leading man and actor now to director. So the question is about how you evolve as artists. Why for example are you stepping out of the national spotlight of television and film to come to a small, regional theatre and perform in a play? How are you guys staying alive as artists by doing these kinds of things?

MH: I have been wanting to do a play for a very, very long time. For various reasons it just didn’t quite work out. For CSI I was tied up for twelve years and the hiatus is two months. That doesn’t leave you a whole lot of time to do a play. Also I was raising my son in LA. So I just really didn’t want to be away. But, having said that, since I left the show in December of 2011, I went around and met with producers in New York. Of course Los Angeles too and Chicago. I expressed my interest in it. (Theatre) They were all eager to meet with me. They would say let’s find something, let’s find something. (exasperated gasp and self amusement) A few things came along but nothing I really wanted to do. So, I don’t know, it really kindah has to do with the part. It was one of these roles that I really couldn’t not do. It was so amazing. It is amazing. I felt if not now when? I felt once I’ve done with this I’ll be so proud of myself. (soft laugh of relief then outburst of laughter)

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To read the rest of the dialogue and view more photos, please visit wwwberkshirefinearts.com.