By: Anastasia Kalegari
“Yes, let’s have dinner next door!” Ilinca Kiss agrees to my impromptu invitation to eat dinner alfresco in Chelsea on a breeze-cooled summer-like March night instead of just having coffee indoors. Like a black swan, she exudes fierce elegance in her demeanour. Her dark hair let down but very kept, minimal makeup and dressed all in black, she really does look like a modern day Lady Macbeth on a day off, a part the actress fully embraces.
Her French accent is only slightly detectable but absolutely delectable. As she orders, she reminds the waiter to make sure that the dish isn’t too spicy. An incurable Francophile, I am enjoying listening to her order her food that I almost forgot what I want. Now I truly crave to see her play Lady Macbeth, alfresco, in a castle in France, in French. For now, I must only content myself with speaking to her about the production.
Now here is an actress who really takes matters into her own, not so bloody, hands. Her desire to play Lady Macbeth was almost singlehandedly realised with determination, and by her belief, never to give up. In fact, her film debut, where she starred alongside the inimitable Gérard Depardieu, was fought with proper casting battles and calls to her agent and manager. “I had a feeling that I was going to get it”, she says, “the law of attraction, you know. I tell myself every day that I am going to get it.”
The conversation takes a spiritual turn and we speak about shamans and philosophy. This only reminds me that she really is the modern day Lady Macbeth. She tells me that letting go of Lady Macbeth was difficult. “I had to let go of her dark energy after the role and it wasn’t easy. At one point, after the sleepwalking scene, I ran out and started crying. I couldn’t stop for a while.”
Having previously worked and studied with Edward Berkeley, Kiss asked if she wanted to act Macbeth in France and in French. “He asks me, ‘So you’re going to be playing Lady Macbeth?’ and I firmly nodded.” Lady Macbeth is her role and she will play her. Lady Macbeth is an empowered woman and Kiss identifies with her.
“But the main difference is that Lady Macbeth uses her drive to destroy but I use it to create.” Like MacBeth, Kiss knows what she wants and she makes it happen. She’s not just an actress who waits for roles.
“Being on the production side has made me a better actress, now I can see how much effort many people make just to put a show up so you try to make their job easier as an actress.” Not only is she an actress who wears many hats in terms of producing but she also plays three roles in Macbeth, two of them being lead roles: Lady Macbeth, Lady Macduff and Seyton.
“Eight costume changes in total for me” she recalls. I suppose for a woman who makes wearing many hats in the production of a show easy, costume changes during the show would be easy as pie.
Her involvement in the production of Macbeth spans from hiring cast and crew, writing up press kit to selling tickets.
“This is my baby,” she confesses with a smile. Soon this baby of hers will take flight and performed at the magical Château de Lourmarin.
Anastasia Kalegari is an actress and writer in NYC.