Dear theatre friends,
I’m afraid these letters will be more sporadic for lack of new news! This week, I’m looking forward to “Jane Eyre” from National Theatre Live,’ and “Drawing the Line,” from Hampstead. Since I’ve already mentioned them — I don’t want to waste your time by reiterating. If, perchance, you haven’t made notes of them, or others, you can go to Speaking Of Theatre.org to see all the previous emails and links.
I did get a lovely note from theatre professor, Ken Golden– reminding me why I consider theatre people to be so special:
“Beginning in 1985, I would take a group of students to New York for a week in January to see eight or nine shows. One which I remember well was “R&J,” at a 75 seat off-off-Broadway theatre– a reimagining of “Romeo and Juliet” for a cast of four set in an English boarding school.
“Well before it opened, I had been told to come the day of the performance to pay a cut rate, group price in cash for tickets. We arrived the day after the official opening and the basement lobby was packed. The New York Times had given it a rave review and the show had sold out within hours for its weeks-long run.
“To the delight of my 15 students, we already had our tickets, in the first row! “R&J deserved the wonderful review– my group and the entire audience were enthralled.
“When I enquired about discount tickets, I had also asked if there could be a talkback for my class. I was told, ‘maybe.’ Just before the performance, I was told we could wait in our seats after. I had hoped perhaps one or two of the staff might say hello. Instead, the director, Joe Calarco, all four actors and the stage manager talked to us for almost an hour.
“Many of my students have since said it was their single, best college experience.”
I didn’t ask Professor Golden if any of those fifteen chose the theatre for their careers, or, like me, are just avid watchers!
Before I sign off, I’d like to add another story surrounding the now cancelled, still mourned, Edinburgh Fringe. Actually, two:
In 2004, I was to meet the then Chair of the Fringe, Baroness Elizabeth Smith, to work out details of my Award. She graciously invited me to the House of Lords for lunch. I was beyond thrilled and ran to Harvey Nichols to find an appropriately conservative suit for this occasion.
I arrived at the imposing Houses of Parliament and was greeted warmly (once past the metal detector.) Baroness Smith was, and is, a most relaxed and charming woman and I felt immediately comfortable in these historic surroundings. (And the waiter unforgettably addressed me as “my lady”!)
Several years later, my Award winner, “Key Change,” had a sold out, front (Arts)page New York Times reviewed run. The company was invited to the House of Commons in Parliament–what an honor! I, of course, had to join them. They were to put on the play for Ministers who wanted to hear the voices of women in prison (without actually going to one!)
A rather condescending journalist covering the event asked if this was my first time in Parliament. I was delighted to truthfully reply: “This is my first time in the House of Commons, I’ve only previously been invited to the House of Lords!”
I’d like to continue to write because so many have expressed their enjoyment of reading– but I must have content! Do try to recall a story you’d like me to post.
No matter how bleak the current theatre scene looks– remember, we’re all in this together!
Carol Tambor publishes a monthly newsletter, which announces worthy shows coming to New York, along with occasional information about London theatre and, of course, the Edinburgh Fringe.