SECTION ONE
PAGE FOURTEEN

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COLUMN SIXTY-THREE, SEPTEMBER 1, 2001
(Copyright 2001 Al Aronowitz)

AMERICA'S ANSWER TO BARDOT
THE YOUNG JANE FONDA

XIV.

It was during her run in Invitation to a March that Jane began to feel herself being drawn closer to Voutsinas.

"All her other relationships, they had been too quick, like striking a match," he told me. "So as quick as quick as the match burns, it goes out. We grew together slowly."

Jane thinks their romance will last a long time.

"Andreas," she said, "Andreas is the kind of person who, when be lived over in a cold water flat, he had, no icebox.  So he saved his money from unemployment to g out and buy an icebox and he came with a Venetian mirror. He never got an icebox.  No icebox, but he had a Venetian mirror.  I remember when I first saw Andreas in class with Susan, he had a big mustache and he wore T-shirts and very tight pants and I thought he was a sailor, and I used to think to myself, 'Well, I'll say one thing he looks clean, anyway.' He always looked so clean, he was always so well dressed, but he was always with Susan.  And then he did a scene with Susan in class, and he was very good. 

"As a matter of fact, he kind of took the scene away from her. Then I kind of met him around Lee's---l remember New Year's Eve, and he was with Annie Bancroft. And I used to see them together, and as far as I was concerned then, anybody that was close to Annie Bancroft really knew what he was talking about, and he used to compliment me, so I was always very flattered.

"He showed interest.  He used to ask me how the play was going and he thought I'd be good for the part and so on and so forth.  And then the path of the Strasbergs and the class and just life brought us together more frequently.  And then came a time when he was going to direct me in a play in summer stock called No Concern of Mine and I must say he made me very nervous.

"He wouldn't just let things be, I mean he'd always have to get analytical. I mean he always had to become very personal.  It made uncomfortable because I didn't dig it and I didn't know whether I trusted him or not.  And yet the thing that I kind of liked was I was not very happy at the time and every time Andreas was around I always felt comfortable in another way, I always felt, "Well, he can take care of the situation.' And then we did the play together and I mean my feeling for him was as a friend who made me a little uncomfortable and as a director whom I admired, but his directing was highly personal.

"On the one hand it would make me angry and on the other hand, I would respond to it and on the third hand, as I said to him once, it made me feel like. . .mainly because I hadn't been able to really talk to anybody, I mean I really hadn't carried on a conversation with anybody for such a long time and there's a particular way he has of talking. . .and I said to him, "You make me feel like I would imagine a mad person in a sanitarium must feel when they're put into a warm whirlpool bath.  Being with him was like being in a whirlpool bath."

To which Voutsinas added:

"Very symbolically, at the time she told me this, the taxi was going right down in a tunnel.  It was very funny.  It was the Park Avenue tunnel and the taxi was going right down, ssssssshhhhhhew!"

"And then," Jane said, "he did my audition with me at the Actor's Studio and that was at a time when I felt pretty bad about my acting.  My confidence was not too good and I guess it was the way we worked together and we became very close and I got sick and he took care of me.

"Well, part of it was psychosomatic and part of it was that I had the flu, but the flu raged to a 105 degree temperature because there was a final audition coming up and because there was the Actor's Studio Benefit coming up and Invitation to a March, both of which I was terrified of.

"I got really sick and he took care of me and then I got offered the part in Walk on the Wild Side I asked Andreas if he would come with me because I didn't want to go to Hollywood because I was frightened and because the last experience had been so unhappy, and that's how the rest of it started.  I must say that wise people had always told me that good relationships begin slowly and up until then I'd always had relationships that were, you know, like. . .you know what I mean, you can say it, I can't say it, And they're right. When something grows it's got much more, it's tangible, it's got depth, it's got meaning, it's something that you know and you can sense."

They are both undergoing psychotherapy, one of several common experiences that continue to bind them even more tightly, although their friends say that Voutsinas' embrace has given her much more security than any analyst's couch.

"Jane never knew how to relax until she met Andreas," said Madeline Sherwood. "She never had any discipline, either."

Jane herself told me, "He's changed me more than analysis.  He saved me a lot of money in analysis, I think."

After a party in her apartment last Christmas Eve, for example, Jane told me:

"There were people in this room that I think I really love.  But one year ago, I didn't give a damn, I mean I didn't have any friends.  Out of choice, not out of necessity.  I just didn't care about people," a confession which helps explain why the mere mention of her name brings such disdain In Hollywood.  "But now I realize," she added, "that there are people, all kinds of different people, that I really care about."  ##

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