Still here in London and enjoying myself….it is a pleasure to be able to walk out and sit on the underground, in a coffee shop, theatre and just talk to people, complete strangers. I think that’s what having a city with public transport means. You do have to get in the car in the US to really get anywhere, at least in the West. And its not so easy just to interact with new people. Think it’s different back East, it’s more cosmopolitan. I love just chatting to strangers. I took myself to the National Theatre on the off chance of getting a seat to see MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM, wonderful play by August Wilson. On the way over a young actor was sitting on the subway (tube), learning and reciting his lines, loud enough to hear.
I remembered a story which Peter O’Toole told me…as a young actor he was doing exactly the same thing, learning and repeating his lines on the underground. An older man leaned over to him and wagged a finger and said “Not in public, dear boy, not in public”. It was the wonderful actor – Wilfred Lawson– one of the best of his time. Peter was struck dumb, being a great fan of this particular actor and never did it again. I repeated the story
to the young actor, next to me and he was duly impressed. Then when I got to the theatre I found myself sitting next to another stranger, in line for a return ticket and blow me she was an actor too…from the US, living here. What a small and interesting world we live in. One meets all sorts of interesting people if you are happy to open up and just talk to complete strangers. The play was wonderful, by the way. Funny and sad. What trials the poor black race has had to endure and still does…the wickedness of humanity. But the sanctuary of music must have helped, still does.
One of my closest friends is from RADA days, Patricia Doyle ( she directed BEWARE OF WHAT YOU WISH FOR )and we shared a room together, in a flat owned by a batty old Irish lady, who educated us greatly in ‘life’…many experiences, a life well and fully lived, many lovers and lots of great stories. She ran an antique stall in the famous Portobello Road Market on a Saturday, selling all sorts of bits and pieces of old stuff, to likely punters. Think it’s still there. Of course much of it is a load of old “tat”, but sometimes you find the odd “jewel” in the dross. Last Saturday Patricia and I went to see a wonderful production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM at the Globe Theatre, rebuilt in the style of Shakespeare’s Globe. There is a standing area for the ‘Groundlings’ in the stalls, close to the stage and all seats were sold out, so we stood for 3 hours, for 5 quid (£5.00) and watched this terrific, very forward thinking production. Helena became Helenus and so we had a gay relationship between 2 of the young lovers. Wonderful, it all worked and I loved it. Shakespeare is the man of the moment as it his 400th year birthday and London is celebrating. You can do almost anything with this great playwright and his plays will stand it.
On that thought , my friends in the US, watch THE HOLLOW CROWN when it comes on again…PBS I think. It is the Shakespeare again ….the Histories and quite frankly it knocks GAME OF THRONES off its throne, for sheer politics, plotting, gore, blood and drama and terrific performances. You will have the pleasure of seeing Benedict Cumberbatch as a truly frightening Richard III. Scared the life out of me.
Ok enough Shakespeare for now…till the next time friends.