The indescribable truth of Helen Mirren
Speaking of Shakespeare, Mirren’s deep connection to the Bard runs deeper than his young age view of “Hamlet.” In her autobiography, “My Life in Words and Pictures”, she talks about her work with the National Youth Theater, a British arts organization for young people (whose alumni include actors such as Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Craig and Rosamund Pike), where she performed in several Shakespearean plays, one of which stands out.
Mirren writes that she was asked to play the lead role of Cleopatra in “Antony and Cleopatra” during her third year at the National Youth Theater – a role she eventually says “launched. [her] However, the payoff did not come without her challenges, which she also detailed, writing, “I had to overcome my toxic mix of great physical shyness and palpable physical presence. I was in an environment full of chaotic testosterone and male hormones, and the word sexist hadn’t been coined yet. I was in the deepest. “
Despite the obstacles she faced playing Cleopatra, it was ultimately a satisfying experience for the young actor. She concluded, “I loved the power and the passion of this role, and of course, it’s always good to be queen. I tried to ignore the real world and engage in the world. imaginative of this great character. “