I've added two more of Pamela's older interviews to the archive. Both are from The Age - 1993 and 1997. Click on the pics below to read them.
Accent: Super models
Ruth Cracknell: an actor’s friend and inspiration
Actor Pamela Rabe continues a series of reflections by prominent women on the “super models” who inspired them.
About the second day I was in Australia, my husband — well, he wasn’t my husband then — took me for a walk around Sydney and to Crows Nest. It was very hot and I was very jet-lagged, and he took me to a gallery.
As we were thumbing our way through some etchings, he nudged me and there was this very elegant patrician presence in the corner of the room with white-blonde hair. He said “that’s Ruth Cracknell, she’s a very famous actress”.
He had told me about her in Canada in the late ’70s. She had played the lead in an Edward Bond play that I was very fond of called The Sea. This obviously sowed a seed of great awe in me, and there she was,and I was actually in her presence.
I was aware of Ruth from then and I think I had seen her on stage a number of times, and on film. You can’t collide with Ruth’s presence without being affected in some way.
I have always collected tall women in my life. I don’t think I’m particularly obsessed with my height — I was brought up with my father’s advice: be proud, walk tall.
When you are tall, people assume that you should be majestic. It is funny because so many tall women feel different, I think, especially when they are defining their sexual attractiveness — when you are in your teens you just want to look like everybody else.
There are so many pressures to be smaller, bend down, try to blend in with the crowd, be feminine (whatever that means) — to actually keep your head up through that is hard. (more…)
Three tall women discuss acting, memories and the pointlessness of critics.
Three women are having a natter around a restaurant table. Death is on the agenda. Ruth Cracknell, Pamela Rabe and Pippa Williamson are discussing the recent death of Williamson’s cat. The conversation moves to a dying man’s final words, cremation and fear of death. It’s a way for us break the ice.
They are all appearing in Edward Albee’s play Three Tall Women. It was typecasting. “I’m the short one. I used to be, and probably still am, five feet eight and three quarters in the old term,” says Ruth. Pippa is: “Five, 10 and a half, though I’m probably shrinking.” Pamela: “Just under six foot. I’m not aware of it until people comment. And when I see photographs of myself.”
Ruth says she wouldn’t be short for quids. Her height didn’t damage her career even in the early days. “It was great for Greek tragedy and Shakespeare. Great for radio.”
“You played the seven dwarves didn’t you, Ruth?” Pamela asks.
“Yes, I played Grumpy.”
The character of the matriach played by Ruth in Three Tall Women is inspired by Albee’s dislike for his adoptive mother. But, much to his surprise, audiences have found her fascinating and even warmed to her.
Are memories of family difficult to communicate to others or were his feelings hard to translate? Pippa says everybody’s stories about their lives are fiction.
“It’s how you frame it. How you see it is not necessarily how somebody else saw it,” Pippa says. “My aunts and uncles have a totally different view of my grandmother than my mother has. Each of them had a subjective view of their mother … When you see it in the context of her life, you see what made her who she became.”
Pamela continues that thought: “And that in itself becomes a form of acceptance on behalf of the writer — that he should even choose to investigate what has gone into making this woman.” (more…)