At 6:00 p.m. Kellogg's latest Park Square audition ended and the actors began trailing out of the theater and into the street. The remains of a June afternoon were glowing on the upper-floor windows of the office building across the street. Kellogg slipped around the corner for a bite to eat at the Great Waters Brewing Co., where she is on a first-name basis with the manager and most of the waitstaff. She lit a cigarette, balanced it on the lip of an ashtray, and left it there to smolder. "I'm pretty emotional and react deeply to things--especially joy. After the last performance of Molly Brown at the Dorothy Day Center, an old Hispanic man came up to me and said, 'Thank you, lady.' The sincerity of it blew me away. I love those moments that are honest in their horror or in their sweetness."
A woman for all seasons: The relentlessly prolific Jodi Kellogg in a handful of roles with Park Square Theatre
Onstage, Kellogg's great talent is for distilling such strong emotions through the mechanics of her craft. The final scene in The Heiress is the play's most tragic and perhaps most telling. Catherine's dallying beau comes knocking on the door of her chamber. Catherine, now years older and emotionally barren, turns from him, glances at the portrait of her dead mother on the sitting-room wall, and glides silently up the steps without looking back. In the glow of the candelabra, we get a glimpse of Kellogg's face before she disappears, a mask of anguish and defiance.
Ever the actor, Kellogg will soon be wiping these emotions away like so much stage makeup: Two weeks after The Heiress's closing curtain, the actor will be donning the mask of comedy in the metafarce Noises Off! Kellogg, by her own description, is a passionate practitioner of dramatic polygamy: Starting a new role, she says, "is like falling in love again."
The Heiress continues at the Park Square Theater through June 27; (651) 291-7005. Park Square'sNoises Off! opens July 13 .