Why She’s Interesting: A local theater legend with more than 70 years of productions under her belt, Silver’s performed on small stages and big screens, appearing in films such as Love & Other Drugs and The Shawshank Redemption. The Cleveland Arts Prize winner starred in and directed plays solo and alongside her late husband Reuben.
Back Stage: When she was 12, Silver lied about her age to get a worker’s permit and became an usher at Detroit’s Cass Theatre where she saw Katharine Hepburn and Katharine Cornell perform. “I would go in an hour early to watch them rehearse, rewrite, change blocking. It was my first important lie.”
Team Player: Silver estimates she’s been in roughly 280 plays since she started acting in 1949 alongside Reuben. “I wanted him to be as good as he could be, and he wanted me to be as good as I could be, and we would come home and sit around the kitchen table and tell each other the unvarnished truth.”
Life Lessons: Everything, says Silver, adds up in the end. “The use you make of your life experience is something you bring with you to the theater. I find that one of the advantages of being older is that your emotions get closer and closer to the surface. I used to wonder, How could I really cry on stage? How could I really laugh on stage if it doesn’t interest me? It’s a cinch. Just live to be 90.”
One Chance: If she could only perform one more play, she’d pick The Visit by Friedrich Durrenmatt, about a woman who returns to her childhood village to exact vengeance against the man who caused her to be exiled as a young pregnant woman. But she’d only do it if local theater legend Joe Garry directed it as he did at Cleveland State University 50 years ago. “He did a great production of it and people still come up to me who saw it and say, ‘Can you do it again?’”
Three And Out:
What’s making you laugh lately?
Life makes me laugh because it’s funny. It’s odd. Unexpected things happen.
What’s your most treasured item?
My memories. Life is about memories and you find that out when people you love die. As long as you remember that person, that person exists.
What’s inspiring you in life right now?
Do you know what it means to me to see my son, who is now 63 lift his first grandchild up in the air? I love the experience of this new child.
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