Both at home and away As the mental health storyline progresses, Martha Stewart promises “drama.”
Belinda talked up about the problems she encounters in portraying her Aussie soap character, Martha, and how she influences the writers’ room while teasing the future of Martha’s own mental health struggles.
It occurs while Martha plans a fundraiser for mental health awareness, with the goal of creating a series of artworks centred on mental health and auctioning them off.
While Alf and Roo first believe it’s a terrific idea, Alf will be concerned that his wife is taking on too much again next week, sharing his fears with Roo that she may have another breakdown.
Though Roo and her mother are cheerful as they prepare the benefit, Alf is concerned that Martha is pushing herself too hard since her return from rehab and frustrated that he can’t spend enough time with his wife.
When a reclusive artist contacts Martha about the show, she is ecstatic and invites Alf to go down with her to see them in person, as well as check in on Kieran in Merimbula.
But her spouse is adamant about not going… is there more to the couple’s quarrel than meets the eye?
“As much as Martha knows Alf would love to be looking after her – he could fish and she could paint – there’s something more she wants,” actress Belinda Giblin said exclusively to the Daily Star.
“She craves Alf’s comfort and protection, but her work is a big part of her life, and she’s losing that excitement.”
“There’s a lot of drama going on right now, believe me,” Belinda teased.
“Even though Covid is here and we’re on lockdown, I’m back in the studio – but needless to say, there’s a lot of drama going on with Roo and Alf, and it all stems from Martha’s art exhibition.”
Belinda had a hand in the current plot, saying that she wanted Martha to have “learned” from her stay in a recovery centre after hallucinating her errant son Kieran earlier this year.
“I came up with part of the plot,” she said. “Even when Martha has up days and she’s in charge – there are moments of abandonment and self doubt that are very much a part of that syndrome – part of my duty as Martha is to honour and respect the mental health issue that she has, and I’m quite anxious to do that right.
“So, after she’d been in rehab – and I did a play while she was in rehab! – part of what I advised was that she write a play. I told the writers that instead of Alf and Roo doing everything for her, I’d like her to have learnt to direct her own life.
“They’re always rushing to her help and speaking for her, which they’ve done a lot of because they’re afraid she’ll lose it.”
“So I told her she had to come back and be strong, self-determined, and make her own decisions,” Belinda continued. ‘Let it be something about art,’ I suggested as part of that decision.
“Because I’d like to see her as a happier, more upbeat person.”
What does Martha’s character’s future hold? Belinda expresses her desire for her connection with Roo to blossom.
“I think [her BPD] has to be under control and medicated if she doesn’t want to become an unsympathetic character in this programme,” she explained.
“Right now, all I want is for Martha to be able to communicate with her daughter Roo.” That’s a complete plot that has to be told, and one that I’d want to see.”
“Martha needs to explain her entire life to Roo,” she continued. Martha has ignored her daughter, and there is a delicate bond between them. That mother-daughter bond is a key area I’d like to see develop.
“It has to become something that I think is enjoyable, because Georgie [Parker], who portrays Roo, and I have certain parallels.” We have a terrific, compatible sense of humour, and we long to be allowed to use it and have it become a part of our identity.”
“I have a bit of a problem playing Martha, maybe because I’m the polar opposite of the character in real life!” Belinda said of the challenges of playing Martha.
“In real life, I am a complete optimist.” Because BPD is recurring and has relapses, it can never be totally cured, and it takes stress to push Martha over the edge, you must be extremely cautious.
“I have to be careful not to become very enthusiastic.” I have a lot of research to complete. She doesn’t have those kinds of ups and downs since she’s on medication, but it’s more fun to play her when she’s lost it.”