Are European actresses more sensual than American ones?

A few weeks ago when I was interviewing playwright Iddo Netanyahu about his first produced play “A Happy End”, he made an admiring comment about the lead actress he cast, Czech-born Zuzana Stivínová and her “European sensuality”. This, he said, added depth and enigma to her role.

“American actresses didn’t get it,” he said. But when I asked him to elucidate what he meant, he couldn’t.

Last night, I had the chance to see a staged reading of “A Happy End” at the Museum of Tolerance and Netanyahu was right to describe her performance as special. She was the most seductive member of the cast and brought a charisma to the stage that enriched and enlivened an otherwise simple stage rendering. The best way to describe what Netanyahu must have meant by the “European sensuality” that eludes more (ordinary? hard-edged? invulnerable?) American women is this: strong of mind, softness of manner, elegance in style.

Her voice was deep and rich, her dialogue spun in cadences that sounded like song; her body tall and slender, her movements sure and fluid; and her ideas, though not always wise, delivered with intelligence and passion.