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St. Louis Area Native Marsha Mason Returns Home For Insight Theatre Company

When one mentions the name Marsha Mason, what comes to most people’s mind is the award winning actress who starred in the films Cinderella Liberty, Only When I Laugh, Chapter Two and The Goodbye Girl. But Insight Theatre Company Artistic Director Maggie Ryan remembers Mason as a fellow theater major at Webster College and as being an alum of Nerinx Hall High School where Ryan is now the Fine Arts Chair.

On June 9, Mason returns to St. Louis for several appearances for Insight Theatre Company.  She’ll do a master class for Insight interns, serve as the guest of honor at a luncheon and will lead a question and answer session and reception following Insight’s production of Neil Simon’s Chapter Two.  Mason is especially qualified to speak on Chapter Two since it is based on her real-life marriage to Simon and she starred in the film version.

Marsha Mason was Don Marsh’s guest on St. Louis on the Air to discuss her long acting and directing career, her observations on Neil Simon, the art and craft of theater, her time running a farm in New Mexico as well as her St. Louis visit. She also gave advice on acting, directing and starting a local theater company.

In commenting on the importance of theater, Mason said, “First of all, it gives you an opportunity to experience feelings and emotions, get outside of yourself, put your day behind you and delve into the world of another human being.  And if the play is really good, then it will touch you in a way that you may learn something. You may get in touch with your own feelings in a way that can be very beneficial and helpful and cathartic.  And on the other level, it can inform and educate you.  So I think that the theater is absolutely necessary to being a human being.  And I think that anybody who studies acting can apply what they’ve learned in any number of fields. Just because a student starts out in the theater or the fine arts doesn’t mean they can’t make those applications to being a diplomat, to being an advertising person, to running a company. It’s not very different.”

In addition to her observations on Neil Simon and his work, Mason described her experience with Clint Eastwood when he both acted and directed.  When Marsh asked her if acting makes someone a better director, she answered, “Not necessarily. I think that every actor should direct once, every director should act once and we should all write once because you gain a kind of respect for that craft that you may not have prior to doing it.  I learned that as a director.” She went on to say that sometimes an actor who directs can’t let go and give the actor the freedom to play the part.

Mason reported that she has just completed the pilot for a cable series.  The show features Geena Davis in the role of a bounty hunter with Mason appearing as her mother. Mason hopes that the series will be picked up by TNT.  She also is considering writing part 2 of her memoir and closed the discussion with the advice that everyone should write their story.

Related Events

Insight Theatre Company VIP Luncheon with Marsha Mason
Sunday, June 9, 2013
12:30 p.m.
Insight Theatre Company Website

Inisght Theatre Company Presents "Chapter Two" with Q and A and Reception with Marsha Mason
Sunday, June 9, 2013
3:00 p.m.
Nerinx Hall's Heagney Theatre, 530 East Lockwood Ave.
(314) 556-1293
Insight Theatre Company Website

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Mary Edwards is a producer for St. Louis Public Radio's broadcast program, "St. Louis Symphony."
Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
Don Marsh served as host of St. Louis Public Radio’s “St. Louis on the Air" from 2005 to 2019, bringing discussions of significant topics to listeners' ears at noon Monday through Friday. Don has been an active journalist for 58 years in print, radio and television. He has won 12 Regional Emmy Awards for writing, reporting, and producing. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, was inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame in 2013, and named “Media Person of the Year” by the St. Louis Press Club in 2015. He has published three books: his most recent, “Coming of Age, Liver Spots and All: A Humorous Look at the Wonders of Getting Old,” “Flash Frames: Journey of a Journeyman Journalist” and “How to be Rude (Politely).” He holds an honorary Doctor of Arts and Letters degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.