Real life and fiction became a bit muddied last month when Jessica Jelliffe was playing Grendel’s mother in “Beowulf — A Thousand Years of Baggage” at the Adelaide Festival in Australia. She was right in the middle of the emotional scene in which she faces off with Beowulf, the warrior who killed her monster son. As she portrayed a grieving mother seeking vengeance onstage, she suddenly heard an infant crying in a dressing room offstage. That baby was her 5-month-old son. And the actor playing Beowulf was Jason Craig, her husband and the father of her child.
“It was so much more poignant having our infant son downstairs,’’ she says. “It is strange that Grendel’s mother and Beowulf had a baby. It was really difficult to hear him crying. He was wearing a pair of monster socks that the actor who plays Grendel gave him.”