Fifteen months after the unexpected death of her life partner Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mimi O'Donnell is finally ready to talk.
In an interview with The New York Times, Mimi opened up about how she wore her emotions on her sleeve while coping.
"I was pretty stubborn in my falling apart," she said. "And my kids saw all of it, because they should. What, am I going to hide it from them? I don't want them to hide it from me. And, even as the artistic director, there were times when I was like, 'I can't do this right now, and I'm not going to pretend I can.'"
After the Oscar winner's death, Mimi took time off to mourn. And, in a round about way, she credits Cate Blanchett for making her feel somewhat human again, having seen the actress in Sydney Theater Company's production of "The Maids at City Center" last summer.
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"That was the first play that I saw after Phil had died, and she did that thing you want every actress in theater to do: she left her heart on the stage," O'Donnell, a longtime theater director, said. "And I knew enough in that moment to go: 'I love theater. I love it. I love what it can do.' And, not making a concrete decision, but knowing that I wasn't going to leave the theater company, I wasn't going to stop doing this."
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Theater, in general, helped her move on.
"I go in feeling whatever I'm feeling about grief, and all of a sudden there's something onstage that's happening—it cracks something open," she said. "When they really, truly open up in front of you emotionally, there's something about it that I find humbling as a human being."
All and all, though, the best question Mimi was asked was also the most simple: how are you doing?
"It is a ridiculous question -- I don't know," she said. "There are so many people who have written beautiful books about grief, who have been able to say it much better than I, but I guess I would say that, after a year has passed, I'm able to function, if that's the right word, or be in the world a little bit differently."
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