Irons Makes Good Impression

New York Post, By Cindy Adams:  March 5, 2009

Jeremy Irons. On Broadway. “Impressionism,” now in previews, co-stars Joan Allen, with whom he’s worked before. Director’s Tony winner Jack O’Brien.

“It’s a play about mature love,” said Jeremy. “About the process and how, should it find you, you must be willing to give up your own personal emotional neurotic baggage. That is, if you want to come together with another person at this second stage of your life.”

The man does not speak from experience. “Oh, no, no, no. I fell in love with my wife when I was young.”

The first play Jeremy ever saw was “My Fair Lady”: “We lived on the Isle of Wight, and for special treats, my parents would take us to London.”

His own last Broadway outing was “The Real Thing” with Glenn Close 25 years ago. “Because it’s an investment to come over here. I have a life in Ireland and England. This is a six-month limited engagement, so I’ve rented a lovely apartment off an old friend in the West Village.

“But I must say, New York is such a friendly city. I was wandering around Gramercy Park, and a fireman walking by said, ‘Great to see you, man. Keep warm.’ Possibly didn’t even recognize me. Americans show what they feel. In England, we’re all so closed off. Even audiences are more outgoing and appreciative here. When Americans like you, they show it. Brits won’t ever let you know you’re good. Must keep us in our place, you know.”

And his routine when working onstage? “Wake up half past 10. Good breakfast and then, before the show, something nourishing, not too heavy, a light snack like an omelet. I have a little food after the show but don’t eat heavily late at night. And I’m relatively fit but, to keep in trim, I try to go to the gym about 5 o’clock so I’m warmed up for the performance. This way, working physically as well as mentally, all systems are go.”

Do all these systems ever not go? “It isn’t too often, but we can go up in our lines now and again. Happens mostly in long runs where you become too relaxed and begin to work on overdrive. After a while, you don’t concentrate. You’ve done it so long, you don’t focus. Usually you can catch up because you know what you’re trying to say even if you can’t come up with the exact word. Happened when I was very young. I felt the floor had opened and I was hanging there without a clue.”

“Impressionism” opens March 12.