When Marisa Berenson signed my portrait sketch a couple of weeks ago I promised to return with a drawing of her as Lady Capulet-her role in the Kenneth Branagh Company’s ROMEO AND JULIET which is currently running at the Garrick Theatre in London.
Gracing the cover of every magazine during the seventies Marisa was one of the world’s most in-demand and highest paid models. Now, in her sixties she makes her West End debut as Juliet’s mother,not a model parent. The detached and superficial Lady Capulet’s relationship with her daughter is not a close one and Marisa’s portrayal was described by Quentin Letts as “nicely stiff appearance” in the Daily Mail.
I caught up with the very engaging Marisa at the Garrick stage door on Friday afternoon as she arrived for the evening performance and she was happy to sign this sketch for me as well.
New York-born actress Vittoria Marisa Schiaparelli Berenson (or as she is commonly known, Marisa Berenson) played the tragic beauty Lady Lyndon in Stanley Kubrick’s 18th Century period film BARRY LYNDON. It’s one of my favourite films, because of its visually stunning and exquisite Oscar-winning cinematography by John Alcott based on Kubrick’s vision and visual innovation. It was filmed entirely with natural and candlelight, without the use of a single electric bulb. Special lenses, designed by German optical manufacturer Carl Zeiss were used, which NASA also employed for lowlight shooting on the moon landings. They also ‘push developed’ the film processing by one stop. I once held ambitions to be a cinematographer, not that you would have noticed.
Anyway back to Marisa, beautifully captured by such innovative technology and dubbed the ‘It girl’ in the 1970’s by Yves Saint Laurent. In 1972 Marisa won the National Board of Review Best Supporting Award and received BAFTA and Golde Globe nominations for her role as Natalia Landauer in CABARET. She made her Broadway debut in 2001 with the revival of DESIGN FOR LIVING and is currently playing Lady Capulet in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre season on the London stage at the Garrick Theatre.
I met the delightful Marisa at the stage door on Saturday as she arrived for the evening’s performance. She loved the drawing and as she signed it, I declared my admiration for BARRY LYNDON and included her Lady Lyndon in this sketch as a homage to the film.