Letters from the West to the Dying Sun
Ann, a Mother
George, a stepfather
Richard, a son abroad
Sam, his daughter
Charley, his son
Russell, a brother
Michael, a friend and MEP
Jane, a first girlfriend
Lori, a wife and singer
Robin, a younger brother
Imogen, his daughter
Zak, his son
Julie, his wife
Julia, a Buddhist and comic actress
Paul, a theatre director
Heidi, a writer
Kate, a former wife of Richard
Vivi-Ann, a Norwegian friend
Cathe, Imogen's mother
Honey, Richard's New York agent
Poppet, a cat
Butch Cassidy, a cat
reading the New Yorker and an article on Tony Kushner, I came across this quote from a poem called "My Mother would be a Falconress"...
My mother would be a falconress,
and she sends me as far as her will goes.
She lets me ride to the end of her curb
where I fall back in anguish.
I dread that she will cast me away,
for I fall, I mis-take, I fail in her mission.
Yet it would have been beautiful, if she would have carried me,
always, in a little hood with the bells ringing,
at her wrist, and her riding
to the great falcon hunt, and me
flying up to the curb of my heart from her heart
to bring down the skylark from the blue to her feet,
straining, and then released for the flight.
My mother would be a falconress,
and I her gerfalcon raised at her will,
from her wrist sent flying, as if I were her own
pride, as if her pride
knew no limits, as if her mind
sought in me flight beyond the horizon.
Ah, but high, high in the air I flew.
And far, far beyond the curb of her will,
were the blue hills where the falcons nest.
And then I saw west to the dying sun--
it seemed my human soul went down in flames.
That poem says it all - I cried.
loads of love
Now back in NYC and tomorrow off to Homeland Security. Thank you for the good wishes.
Oh frabjous day
He chortled in his joy
Well done, Richard - we are so thrilled for you!
lots of love
Mummy and Georgexxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Thank you both and for your support. It's hard to believe that it's actually happened!!! The Permanent Green Card at last. I miss you both, but I think this is the right place to be just at this moment. Hoping though that Paul will make me an offer I can't refuse in the Fall... talk soon
loads of love
Just wanted to let you know that yesterday Lori and I finally went into the Newark, New Jersey Branch of Homeland Security, where, after five years of waiting, I was granted permanent resident status of the United States of America . Thank you for your brilliant letter which completed an impressive book put, together by Lori, of photographs and letters in connection with our marriage. Your letter was placed next to the White House Program and a Laura and George Bush greeting. I hope you don't mind!
I hope you're a having a wonderful time in Turkey . There's a chance I might be over in the Fall to do something at Leicester Haymarket, so if I do, I will definitely hope to see you both during that time.
Loads of love to you and Paul...
great news. congrats. and am so pleased i made it into your book - and alongside a couple of bushes!!
on my way back from Turkey ....fabulous place.
Hope the Leics job works out that was I definitely get to see you. Love from us
p.s: And isn't Todd sexy (and straight?).
Congrats my Darling on Green Card Miracle. You deserve it. Chant to have that home and family too!I"ve had a piece-meal year with work but today landed a bit part in the new Woody Allen film to be shot over here........Nam Myoho and a bottle of Rum Love Julia x
I was searching the web, and I happened to come across you!!
Do you remember me from "Tom Brown's Schooldays"? I have been living in Los Angeles for twenty years, that doesn't seem possible as I am only twenty five, you must be the same age!!
I would love to hear what you have been up to over the past 33 years!!!! Ouch!!!!!
Well I'm 38! Goodness, you were my first girlfriend!!! We were 13 I think. Never forgotten the kissing... Moving swiftly on...
Since then...well it's a lurid tale of love, lust, travel and adventure, broken marriages, two children. Somehow I find myself living in Manhattan . I recently performed at the White House for Laura and her husband. Incredible. Life continues to be an adventure. How come you're here? Are you a publisher now? Picture please!
love and light
I just got in and yelled out in delight as I saw what had happened in Istanbul .Russell ’s and my team -Liverpool FC - champions of Europe !!! And what a comeback! I wish I could have seen it but I was rehearsing. Hurray.
I think that I'll order some more cheques and may be you can send the book over and I'll sign them. I haven't forgotten Rob's birthday. I'll get him some a music voucher, so he can choose a tune and download it from the internet.
Just putting the finishing touches to the next diary which will be on the way soon. The weather here is cold, wet and crap. Very strange.
Tony of Aquila got married on the Isle of Skye on May 10th to young Jessica. He left me a long message to describe their wedding.He sounded so happy. We had long talks last summer about the whole marriage business. Below is the promo for Aquila 's Twelfth Night. Isn't it great? I still think I made the right choice though.
Love you and miss you
Hope all going well with you.
Thank you for the photos. Could not really see them except the first one of you in a studio...with pictures on the walls. It kept asking me to join something which I do not want to do, although I would like to see your photos, obviously.
Very tired today. Went to the beach hut to find it had been vandalized so pretty fed up. They had not got in but pulled at the shutters and forced the butterfly screw things out and broken a window. Phoned Jack - he was in Newquay but driving back tonight - will look at it first thing tomorrow.
We had lamb chops and cauliflower cheese and fresh new cornish potatoes with our mint sauce from garden and parsley...followed by English strawberries and cream...great.
Got a nice plumber to fix our bathroom cold tap so that is good.
Lots of love
PS that werewolf thing on the computer has just snarled at me again - I really hate that.
Hope these are what you mean? If you look carefully when you slide show the other pictures there is also a place where you can download pics. Should say it on there somewhere.
Sorry about the weather. Our memorial weekend has been beautiful on the other hand. I took Heidi -as a birthday pressie- shopping for a day in NYC where we wandered around downtown starting with brunch and bucks fizz in the East Village, walking through Soho and then down to Little Italy and the Festival of St Anthony. Finished with Pizza and watching Finding Neverland at home. Yesterday, went out to Bear Mountain to "get back to the nature" as my Norwegian friends would say. Must have walked five miles at least, but it was wonderful to be in the country. With the sun shining and not being blistering hot, this really is the most glorious time of year.
I will send you photos soon of it all.
Must go and run... I've put on some weight. Lori thinks it's the best she's seen me. I feel like a whale!
Hope the weather improves
Yes I remember it well!! You were my first boyfriend!!! Do you remember writing a song for me and singing it on the train accompanied by your guitar "East meets West"?
Well …I have a wonderful husband now and have been very happily married for twelve years. I have two girls Katie 26 from my first marriage, and Julia 11.
How long have you been living in Manhattan? Are you there to stay? What are you doing at the old White House?
I'm a children's author, I have a book out called "The Lonesome Pine" We are currently working on the animated Movie.
I gave up the acting a little while ago but still do voice over work. My husband works in the industry as a director/producer/writer. Are you still in touch with any of the cast from Schooldays? Lesley Roach contacted me a little while ago. Do you remember her? I have great memories of those GOOD old days. Do you remember the lady who played your Mum, (I can't remember her name) she would blow her nose in her petticoat just before the curtain went up!!! We should talk and share stories!!!
It's wonderful hearing from you!! I have attached a copy of my two girls too. Please send pictures of your children, how old are they?
Thank you for the lovely photos of the birthday weekend...great - what a lovely time you are having.
I am sure the work will come.
I think you should go for citizenship you know - start now....it is obviously going to take forever and you might as well get cracking...shows some proper commitment to your adopted country.
Also start to think of an alternative to when you are not acting.
By the way, I was talking to Jacqui's daughter, Caroline, - birthday April 6th same as your's...she has worked for years for the Open University and feels it should be perfectly possible for you to get academic qualifications if need be...mind you - nothing can beat your RADA Diploma...and is willing to help with advice…she suggested it - offered!!! Should be easy now with the internet, you see...
love you lots
Glad you liked the photos. Just off out the door to catch a train from Grand Central to Connecticut for my filming day on The Big Bad Swim. It's going to be in the 90s out there, but my character's house is a beach house, so I might even be able to get a swim in.
I hear what you say about thinking of something else. I will ask Caroline about the open university and also look into courses over here. Hoping that something will materialize for the Autumn. Up for Benedick on Monday for the Folger Theatre in Washington DC .
mum and George at the Beach Hut
I am so impressed with the cut out photo on the website - that is so cool!!! (as Imogen would say)
Just to say, darling, that I am thinking of you and I would love to see you play Oberon because I cannot think of anyone who would do it better.
Well - we have been in a state of disrupted wa as Robin would say...Poppet is still in hiding - she is terrified and hides in the most effective way. She is behind the curtains by me hidden behind a box of rubbish (photos from RADA in old videos and stuff)...We have had to lock poor Butch Cassidy out of the bedroom which is tough on him as he is used to sleeping between us - mind you - in this heat...
It has been so hot today and we are gasping in the humidity - the hottest June day yesterday and I think today since June 1976 - my worst year.
Went down to the beach hut today and the Colditz effect has gone and all the huge boulders of granite from Norway are in place but there are large holes between them which are eventually to be filled with shingle - this is not until September, though - and there is concern from one of our neighbors that it is going to be dangerous for our Grandchildren - particularly some!!!! I shall remind Robin of this when he asks me to look after Zak on a mythical Saturday to come...this is just the sort of thing one should not joke about of course because knowing my luck it could happen and it does not bear thinking about.
Better go - it is sooooh hot..
All the best for your first night darling - I know you will be stunning - please send me a photo.
lots and lots of love
PS First time in the family history that we have had a personal letter from the President of the United States - I am so proud.
Thanks mum, for the good luck.
I am writing this after midnight . Exhausted. tech rehearsal and then dress on a hot, though not boiling, summer's day.
We have a good start to the play.
Hippolyta, is obviously not happy at being a captive to-be-bride. As Theseus I say ‘Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword and won thy love doing thee injuries... she then turns and slaps me round the face. I turn and look back at her, then say ...but I will wed thee in another key, with pomp, with triumph and with reveling... she goes to slap me again, I grab her arm, twist her around and kiss her... she enjoys it and then we are interrupted by Egeus.
Oberon looks cool...as one of Titania's faries(7 years old)told me. Although with the costume slashed to the navel I wish I was on my gym regime. Still...breathe in!!!! My Puck is awesome and gorgeous and with a sexy sparky Titania, we cause some fireworks I think. Wish you could see it, but I hope to send some pics.
I have an audition tomorrow for an Irish play playing a wonderful part. So in my breaks I have been working on my Irish accent, although knowing that I have very little chance, as obviously they will be looking for an Irish actor as it takes places at the Irish Arts Center . It seems that the other jobs haven't worked out. Still don't worry Mrs Macawber.
Got to shower and sleep...love you lots...glad you have some good weather.
Sorry to have been a bit quiet on the Western front...
I do hope your singing lesson went well and that the audition is a success - I think you would be brilliant - but very sensible to get some coaching in for this.
New cat went to vet yesterday and all sorted out - it has a wound in its neck - we do not know how it got there - perhaps on a coat hanger...but anyway it has had treatment but now has a shaved neck! They did a good job and all ear mites gone and ears flushed out - teeth dealt with and de-matted...but today it is not feeling too chipper so back on top of the wardrobe again behind George's cameras...
It was very hot again yesterday...
Today suddenly got cooler and I have shut the windows...so better for me really - I stop functioning in the other weather...still very humid and close, though.
Did I tell you that we thought we saw one of our friends Michael C. H******* sweeping the road the other day...Michael used to work as an engineer in Iraq...anyway, he seem'd quite cheerful - I did not let on I knew him and have not seen him since...We have not really seen them for about ten years...George used to call them the Condom Hardons...I feel quite bad about it now...
Must go now as a bath awaits
love you lots
Robin has gone quiet - his shop seems to be progressing quite well - I think they open shortly..
lots and lots of love
The singing lesson was a success. But the audition was only so-so. I woke up in a foul mood. Just one of those days. I wanted to warm-up and felt uncomfortable... So I snarled and snapped and was thoroughly bad... Then went to the audition. They asked me to sing the song from the show, and I was okay... until the last verse and then I just forgot it. I went to the piano and soon picked it up, but the damage had been done. I mean I performed it well enough and sang okay...but... Anyway I got the feeling they were looking for a stronger singer. I also realized that my confidence was a little down from a lot of auditions with no positive results.
However later I had a meeting with the casting director of "All My Children" one of the top New York soaps, and that went very well. She had been casting it for quite a few years She rather sweetly said she knew I was a good actor just on meeting me. It also helped that I had just worked with one of the regulars, on the film in Connecticut . He was the lead in the film and I brought him into the conversation without realizing that he was on the show.
Aquila 's Twelfth Night had a good review in the New York Times. I saw them all the other night. Mark Pow and Mark Saturno, who I had worked with on The Tempest, were in the city, so we all went out with Ken, Lindsay, Andrew, Louis and Ken and had a late jolly night til the early hours. The Aquila company is working incredibly hard at the moment. Hamlet is being rehearsed with half the cast, and half of that cast is only there for one show in New York at the end of August. They are also rehearsing Comedy and taking two summer classes. Andrew says that he believes they still want me to go on the tour…. it's a big chunk of time... However I'd love to be there to support Drew's Hamlet, Of course I'm working at the moment and that has an effect. When should one compromise? And how do you know if it is a compromise? When is the right time to make the choice or decision? When it all becomes clear - is usually the answer. To be or not to be...that is the question!!!
Still waiting to hear from Paul about Macbeth. May be there'll be something in that for me. Only one part I want to play. Honey's just submitted me for The Lord of the Rings musical which is happening in Toronto and being put together by the Mirvisch's... for whom I did The Master Builder.
The Dream is going well. We've been lucky with the weather. I love saying those lines and feedback is very positive. It's a long trek though. It takes two and a half hours to get home and with the humidity and all the movement and flying on and off walls I do, I find I'm shattered. I think the age is starting to tell.
Stopped by the Lincoln Center yesterday - where the fountains are in The Producers - and they were having an outdoor salsa concert which is part of A Midsummer Night's Swing. It's a series of events with different live music where people get up and dance. One of the fun things about New York is that there's always something going on. On Sunday in the evening we have a celebration drink with Tony and Jess. On Monday, July 4th, may take the ferry over early morning and grab a beach day. I've only had Hastings for the beach so far this year - and the summer is flying by.
Okay, must get on. Miss you loads. I wouldn't mind sweeping the roads. It's a job.
What a lovely letter
Will Write very soon - it is breakfast now
had a dreadful time with the New York times review - it nearly crashed the computer - please don't send me any more of these it is always a disaster!!!
These are interesting times for you Richard - dreadful with the humidity...must be utter hell - try and rest a little and have some quiet,
Must get into the bath now - was hoping for the beach today but the weather is ghastly - it is either wintry or massively humid with temperatures in the top 80s...fed up
love you too
My law and Order got repeated last night...and since I get 100 % of the original performance fee, that is good news!
Love playing Oberon and saying those words. Last night for the final scene the wild life in the park suddenly burst into life and decided to check us out. We had birds flying in and out accompanied by huge dragon flies, fireflies, butterflies, rabbits and a deer!
Thank you for the beautiful photographs of Midsummer Night's Dream - I thought you looked smashing and a perfect Oberon.
You were right to be out of Twelfth Night I suspect – Good review. Louis came off brilliantly...as always!
Sorry I have not written for a while. I had a bit of a shock the day before yesterday - I was nearly drowned!!!! Went for a swim - virtually deserted beach and a roughish sea (though no red flags) and by the time I got there the tide had turned about an hour and was going out - the current was very strong and I got more or less hurled onto the new rocky sea defence - it was petrifying as I tried to clamber off with the smaller waves but kept getting smashed back on to it - however eventually struggled off - was worried my head would be bashed against it and I might be knocked out ....
So got to the beach hut and changed and lots of grazes - bloody beach towels etc... very shaken...decided not to go to the hospital or St Doms and just get home and have a bath - so I did then just sat on the little stool in front of the front door and drank a cup of sweet tea...when Robin arrived to say he thought he had broken his hand...not too sympathetic as I said I had nearly drowned, etc!!! the poor chap had been in argument and had bashed his hand on the fridge door in frustration...turned out after he had been X-rayed at the hospital that he had indeed broken his hand. This is just at the time when he really needed his hand in order to get the shop ready.
Anyway, a sympathetic e-mail would not go amiss from you I think. Poor chap. He said he was in such pain he had actually taken drugs!!!I think he meant he had had half an asprin or a paracetemol - but you know how he is...
Anyway, I am OK - bloody but unbowed - bruised and scratches on legs and arms and back - just where my bra fastens which is tough as it keeps bleeding and I cannot put a bandage or plaster on but will wait till I get to work on Wednesday and they will deal with me there - they know about old ladies' skin and the best ointments and ways of dealing...
Was very frightened Richard - so I am still in shark as the Americans would say.
Delighted about Law and Order - thank God! Perhaps this is a sign.
All the very best darling and I am so sorry about the delay.
lots and lots of love
Just got in from weekend in Connecticut ...just glad you and Robin are alive. I'm so sorry. I was going to the beach tomorrow, (Independence Day) but I think I'll stay in bed...just to be safe.
I'll write soon
It was so sweet of you to phone yesterday and lovely to hear from you.
Thank you very much.
This is only a quickie before having bath.
Try not to worry - I feel sure everything is going the right way.
There is an excellent new serial called "To the ends of the earth" - with fantastic cast - including Vicky and Sam Neill..the William Golding book/books...young man goes to Australia on boat in 18th century - the rites of passage novel...terrifically well done.
keep the hair grey - its wonderful and special and now is the time for the putsch for you...
Oh gawd - we have "won" the Olympic games - G and I were praying that France would get it...all that money and an open invitation to terrorists all over the world to come and have a go - G says that he and I will both be dead so we won't be affected...but I feel very cross. Tony so smug. I think sending Beckham over was what clinched it!
Must go - the bath calls.
Oh Richard - it is July 7th Mum's birthday - and, of course, Samantha's. I have not sent a card or done anything...I am so sorry.
Must go to work...achy and tired.
lots and lots of love
Thank you for thinking of me and mine. All family and friends are safe and well, though shaken. Some are now determined to leave the city. It was Sam's birthday that day, so she had a particularly stressful time. Everyone knew it would happen of course, so there is some relief that it isn't something a lot worse. The bombings were particularly traumatic as London had been on such a high the day before when they found out they had won the Olympics for 2012.
Hope you are having a great time in Seattle ...although you might be back by now.
Thank you again for your prayers and thoughts...
I do hope you are OK and that all is well with you. I imagine that you are working very hard and rehearsing for Aquila again.
I do apologise for the delay in writing.
We are all horrified that the suicide bombers are British and from Yorkshire ...We get more names of the dead each day and it is heartbreaking. Thank God Charley and Sam are OK.
Apart from this. ...
Robin and Julie's shop has opened and it is so sweet - I do hope they make a go of it. I had Zak on Sunday - we did the rides etc. across the road ( I miss the Jungle Tumble). Went on the Ghost Train "Granny was very frightened but I wasn't!"
Had two ice creams each...went down to Rock-a-Nore beach (where I used to take Charley) - it was high tide but lots of interest...its like the Med down there with masses of speed boats and wind surfers and ladies sunbathing topless ... we had our picnic. I did not want to go too far from home as it was very hot and I am still shook up from the encounter with the sea defences down at the hut - although Cathe had sweetly phoned first thing and offered to pick up Zak and me and invited us to join them in their barbecue with the promise that Kim would keep an eye on Zak and would not let him disappear amongst the rocks - but hey - did not want to go too far from home...
We went home and watched lots of cartoons and he was really very good and good company too.
We are getting to know Poppet - our new cat - she is very sweet but I think Butch Cassidy wants to kill her!!
That is the news, really.
love you a lot.
We had a mini riot at two o'clock in the morning here Inwood. Nothing major... no gunfire...a bit like football hooligans on their way to a game. Now have a break for a week before flying out to LA and Comedy. Still no word from Paul; or the agent about Harrogate . After LA, I have a four day break before a ten day trip to Canada . Will give myself a week in Canada and then can get back in 24 hours for any auditions. Crunch time approaches...
Miss you a lot at the moment. Had a dream about Dad. I woke up sad because in the dream of course, he was healthy. And scary as always.
love to George
Thank you very much for your e-mail. Sorry to have been so long in writing to you.
this is the worst time of the year for me - the Dog Days - if not literally then certainly mentally - I do not like the light - the sky is pale blue and dusty looking and it is hot, hot, hot - and I get cross and lifeless - just want to lie about and read.
I had a dream about Daddy, too - about a week ago and woke up wondering if he was OK. He was about thirty in the dream - like when we were together - tall and handsome - you know.
I am thinking of you, nonetheless.
We are busy with Robin and Julie's shop!! I am trying to remember what we have been up to. Oh yes, Robin collected me on Sunday and we went down to the hut with Zak and Imogen - they played and I read with my feet up on the lounger thing...very nice to have Big Bird put up for me and all the transport - so that was great!! I had the new Harry Potter...managed to read about twenty pages while we were there. Zak whinged all the time - he was tired and cross and had to rehearse in the evening for his show with his stage school...Robin has asked me to go. Zak is on in the first ten minutes...in a number called It's a Small World...dressed as a cowboy...this is at the newly none-smoking Stables on Wednesday night. I shall be in the car park before the performance with all the Trailer Trash types puffin' away.
Imogen has had about the best school report I have ever seen - we all know she is a smashing girl - but there it is in black and white....I shall ask Cathe to send you at least some of the remarks on it. We are very proud. She obviously takes after her Mother.
She is all golden with legs...and getting quite beautiful...six going on twelve.
I was invited to a friend's house yesterday afternoon - for tea. It was a little slice of lost heaven. the house is in Pett Village ...it is very beautiful and the garden is huge. I have known Pauline for many years and she used to be a midwife at the hospital - does props brilliantly at the Stables and reads. Pauline has just retired and is enjoying herself. The garden was utter heaven. We sat outside and had tea. She has a lovely cat and does the flowers for church..she is on the rota. It was like Agatha Christie or something - you know, Richard, - a lost world. Pauline had made a marvellous sponge flan with thick cream from the farm round the corner and Pick Your Own raspberries! Pauline lent me ten books to take home - so there it is - she was waiting agog for the new Harry Potter which her friend was due to pick up from W H SMith's that day - I had read it by then but did not divulge anything - (it is very good indeed and has built up Alan Rickman's part enormously - terrif!!!).
Darling - be of good cheer...Harrogate may not be meant to be - just imagine the thinking of Immigration if you say you have been working in Yorkshire where all our suicide bombers came from...they do not know about Alan Bennett and afternoon tea in the posh hotels there and how terribly upper and English old fashioned it is....Harrogate, I mean...they probably do not allow "coloureds" in there - its hardly Bradford!!!
It will all be fine..you'll see.
In the meantime, - Los Angeles - wow - LAPD and all that stuff.
Hollywood ? Try not to get shot.
I am thinking of you - sorry about delay in communication.
loads and loads of love.
Thanks for the letter, mum. Sorry about your dog days... I thought they weren’t meant to start until August. The only thing one can do in New York at the moment is to save as much energy as possible. It's been in the 90's all week with a 80% humidity. Our street has been closed off by the police for fun and games. I came back today and there was volleyball, baseball, barbeques, and hoses fixed up to spray water high in the air to cool everyone down. It was very New York .
Just as I thought might happen, things have started to come up to test my mettle and resolve. The first was Honey telling me that the Law and Order might only have been repeated on cable which means that the money is due to come through quite yet. The second was that the film I did in Connecticut was a SAG contract which means if I want the money that I'm owed and if I want to work in TV and films over here I now have to join the Screen Actors Guild for the royal sum of $1516.00...oh and I also owe Honey for commission on the Dream. The rent went up this month and is due. The credit cards are due, the Lloyds bank went into the red...
But however, the fact is I do start work again on Friday and although it may be only two weeks, it's still paid work and it is LA. Then, after that, I am going to Canada for ten days. I have booked the flight, so It's a sure way that something will come up to stop me going. Coming back by train... expecting the third degree from immigration on the way back...e'en with green card.
Spoke to the kids. Sam struggling with her boyfriend, Andrew, to survive. He brings in the money which all goes on rent and gas and electric. She hasn't had enough money for food, so has lost a stone and a half...which I think is all good for her...although I could be in the same boat come September! She has a job for two weeks and then there's month’s break. She asked after your card and I told she that she was grown up now and shouldn't expect them any more.
Charley also well but not working. We had a good chat though on the phone. Cost a fortune because they don't have a land line.
Tony Sher in town with Primo, but I can't justify the $86 to go and see him. Funny to have him and Harvey both on Broadway.
I went and sunbathed on the gay beach down on Christopher Street and the Hudson today. Did the words of the play and then worked on the American accent with the help of my ipod whilst looking down the river towards the statue of Liberty and the skyline of Manhattan behind. They have these water sprays which gives it the feel of being at the beach...
Going to the Big Bad Swim wrap party tomorrow night in Tribeca... after having a late lunch with Lori and dropping off the check to agent on East 44th Street ...right next to the UN building.
Wasn't Pett Village where you wanted to live? Very interested in Rob and Julie's shop. I'm so excited for them..
It sounds like you're doing tremendous stuff with Zak. Well done. Very proud of Imo too...but not surprised.
Love you...got to get back to the A/c in the bedroom.
I am so sorry you are having such a tough time.
Everything will happen at once but that does not makes things any better for you right now.
I was going to get new carpets but can postpone this if you are really in trouble and help a little? Honestly - its no biggy. Obviously the Equity thing is important - the most important.
Gosh, what a tiresome time of year this is. I seem to be permanently tired and am extremely stiff from my time with Zak... the trouble is getting up from right down - I have to turn over into crawling position then up - this is not good for the knees after the operation and I am still extremely stiff from last Sunday - Old Age is very tiresome.
Sorry - should be doing this first thing in the morning but this is just before 7.00pm .
we are all very concerned about the suicide bomb attempts....sems as though it is going to continue..and sadly we have lost our free way of life through this...from the first lot on sam's birthday, I mean...and then the next lot which did not go off...the day before yesterday I think.
Going to stop now.
Love you to bits.
Just back from a couple of days at the beach at Huntington, Long Island . Heidi's boss has a house there which she is in the process of doing up with a view to sell. It was a little frightening at first as the house smelt unused and there were bugs flying around, but a little a bit of love and care and a fantastic cleaning lady the next day soon had it looking a little better.
A 40 min walk down to the beach, but well worth it. The weather was glorious... swam and swam and read and slept... took picnics... and dreamt about buying one of the houses on the water. Out for a meal in the evening and then back to watch the big screen TV. Superb.
Now back in time to pack for the flight tomorrow to LA. All going well. LA should be fun. Once we're up and running the schedule is very easy. It will give me time to look up friends and explore a little.
Thank you again for the offer of help, but it may not, after all, be time for the mattresses just yet. My Law and Order has apparently be repeated twice which should mean a check will be in the post. It just means tracking it down. I think the Law and Order checks may have gone to straight to Honey and possibly to her old office address... so I have to write her an email asking her to double check...but anyway eventually I will receive the monies which will keep the wolves from the door for a little while longer. Phew!
Must go now and pack. Love you Mum...and you too George... hope your aches and pains ease off soon. Keep your head down. I hear they shoot people in the head over in London these days if you disobey the law. They are checking backpacks on the subway here now. Lots of discussion about civil liberties and whether people will start suing the police department over it.
I'll write soon.
Good Morning Richard!!
Thank you for the info. We will be living pretty close to Palos Verdes, so we will come and see you there!! where will you be staying, do you know yet?
We are moving on the 9th of July, and staying in a residence Inn Hotel in Manhattan Beach until we find a house. We are all very excited about the adventure, just exhausted from packing box's!!!!!!!!
Have you ever been to Palos Verdes? If not, you are going to LOVE IT!!! We looked at houses there, but it's too far from the studio's for Jay, and too far from the skating rink for Julia. Manhattan Beach is about 20 minutes away from Palos Verdes.
I look forward to seeing you again soon!!!!!!!!!!!
Have a safe journey over!!!!!!!!!!!!
love Jane xoxox
H aving a wonderful time here in LA. The plaza of Our Lady of the Angels is a serene location for our show. A rock stage has been set up in the middle of the vast plaza in front of the huge modern cathedral. What historically took centuries to construct was accomplished in three years in the building of the 11-story Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. This first Roman Catholic Cathedral to be erected in the western United States in 30 years began construction on May 1999 and was completed by the spring of 2002. It serves as a vast backdrop behind us, whilst the plaza itself is a place of relative peace and tranquility...except when we're being buzzed by the helicopters of the LAPD.
There was great excitement, when Louis discovered that all our equipment had been donated by the Neil Diamond Road Tour - Louis's great hero. It is quite a thrill to be up performing on a rock stage and our Comedy of Errors is the perfect outdoor summer fare. Light, fun with slap dash of enchantment. It's all based around the Adventures of TinTin in our version...which means cartoonish, bright colors and surreal. It's a show that has been revived countless times. We call it 'the show that will not die'!
We all went to Venice Beach yesterday. It's a sort of grungy hip cool place to walk around. The beach itself is long and sandy. A long boardwalk runs by it where the young, beautiful, cool, grungy, homeless and downright weird strut their stuff. I rented a board as soon as I could and took off into the surf. A happy couple of hours spent battered by the waves. Everyone later that night had caught the sun. Robert was as red as a tomato. We had only been out in it for a couple of hours, so it must be very strong here.
Below is the review from the LA Times. Not the first time I've been compared to Dudley Moore. Although I don't think Dudley did any Shakespeare, I take it as a high compliment.
Well... I'm off to take advantage of the Los Angeles Sports Club. Yoga class this morning, then swim, sauna, steam, plunge pool... although I was invited to a pole dancing class in West Hollywood at lunchtime which might be too good an offer to turn down!
LA TIMES THEATER REVIEW
Unmistakable fun in outdoor 'Errors'
By Daryl H. Miller, Times Staff Writer
L et's play an association game. The subject is: Shakespeare. Quick, what comes to mind?
If the answers are tights, gobbledygook language and impenetrable plots, then perhaps a visit to Aquila Theatre Company's staging of "The Comedy of Errors" is in order. There you'll find Shakespeare's tale of outrageous fortune and mistaken identity retold as a Middle Eastern fantasy of pith-helmeted, safari-outfitted adventurers; fez-topped, sunglasses-wearing locals; and enticing, navel-baring belly dancers.
The touring company, born in London but now based in New York , is being presented by Shakespeare Festival/LA through Sunday in the courtyard of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown L.A. and next week at South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes.
The presentation is as accessible as a Laurel and Hardy caper. Zipping along in a breezy two hours, the show — seen indoors at La Jolla Playhouse in 2003 — plays beautifully on a summer night outdoors. Knockabout comedy draws laughs, while hypnosis and tranquilizer darts lend mystery, all playfully conceived by Peter Meineck, Aquila 's artistic director, and Robert Richmond, its associate artistic director, and adapted and directed by Richmond .
Cleverly low-tech, the presentation invites the mind to play. When fanned wooden slats and a string of wicker flower baskets are hoisted on a rope, they become a palm tree. Flexible tubing draped with colorful tarp becomes a row of houses.
The plot involves two sets of twins, separated in infancy and about to be reunited in a port city where the locals keep confusing the wandering twins for the resident ones. The high-born twins, both named Antipholus, are played by Richard Willis, a Dudley Moore look-alike who switches roles through a change of accents, a minor costume adjustment and the addition or subtraction of chunky, black-framed glasses. The low-born twins, named Dromio and attached as servants to the Antipholuses, are portrayed by Louis Butelli, a skilled clown whose body goes all rubbery during the many moments of slapstick humor.
Willowy Lisa Carter plays Adriana, the wife of the local carouser of an Antipholus, as a proper society lady crossed with Audrey Meadows' no-nonsense Alice Kramden. Lindsay Rae Taylor is sweet and unguarded as Adriana's bookish sister.
Other roles are split up among Lincoln Hudson, Heather Murdock and Andrew Schwartz in a succession of humorous guises.
The ensuing confusion can be read as playful commentary about people's dual natures — or simply enjoyed for the lively entertainment that it is.
Thank you very much - brilliant review - enjoyed it - I see the hair has gone brown again - you look about 12 - just like Soldier and me!
I am so glad you are having a smashing time in LA - what a lovely e-mail - terrif...and the surfing - wow! Cannot think of anything more fun...my fav thing..waiting for that wave and when you catch it better than sex and more exhilarating than Wagner!
it is still very heavy here and I am so tired and drained all the time - starting to think it may be this new drug thing I am on for my breathing - they are trying to get me off puffers...but although it is brilliant for breathing I I am tired all the time and the arthritis is going mad...so this is Old Age - well they can stuff it...
Going to the pub to meet Jacqui and Brian - G's last day before off to see Pam...durrh!
the cats are a great joy and Poppet settling in and absolutely smashing to look at although very timid.
I have got my script of Gaslight - hurrah - what a smashing play it is...very short and props and technical stuff a doddle...what music to have though that is the question...
loads of love
Thank you for your phone call - great to hear from you - miss you
lots of love
Actually the hair is black which is turning dark brown in the sun with sort of blonde bits where the grey is being stubborn. I didn't want to tell you coz I know you'd be perplexed. It doesn't look to bad in fact. Just wanted to be dark this time. I needed to dye it though because I'm acting opposite Lindsay whose so much younger. Friends who came last night loved the show and said I looked about 30...so that's good.
Robert asked about Claudius. I said I didn't know how Peter felt, but this is a different time. However I said I didn't think I'd be able to commit for the whole tour...just the Fall. In the meantime I fired off an email to Paul asking about Macbeth. We'll see. Things will turn out for the best.
So looking forward to the old age. Durrr. May be you should seriously think about giving up the ciggies. Get off those drugs!!!!
Gaslight... I remember so well. Best thing Dad ever did.
We have moved to Torrence in Southern LA. Not a great hotel, but the rooms have kitchens, so we all went grocery shopping. Hoping to hit the beach tomorrow...Tuesday. Laguna Beach is 45 mins away but apparently really nice.
Anyway, got to go, as we're going out for Andrew's birthday.
lots of love
Just had an e-mail from David Morley; he is not available for Gaslight as is doing Mike in Memory of Water, followed by Henry 2nd in Lion in Winter - followed by Amadeus..(Salieri again, I presume) - I wish I was that man's agent!!! If I cannot cast Manningham I shall have to cancel...I thiink the chap who did the Government Inspector will do the Inspector - he is brilliant - Played King George in the Madness of..did you see it?).
Terribly interested in your future plans.
Great to be wanted, isnt it?
Carpets come today - total upheaval here and George away.
Going to sit on the bench and have my breakfast now - glorious day - would like to be at the hut...
Wish you were here...
Lots of love
PS It was the only part Daddy could play...and he did it all the time - my Mother said...finished me I can tell you - still recovering....
(Conversation with my brother Robin on IM)
RMoreaW: still idle?
richasprosper: hi Rob
RMoreaW: whatryou ding?
richasprosper: just about to go to the beach
richasprosper: day off
richasprosper: Comey of Errors in LA
RMoreaW: you still there?
richasprosper: well...the weather is nice
RMoreaW: saw the post card
RMoreaW: nice spex
RMoreaW: Are you there?
richasprosper: but still tring to get a handle on the palce
richasprosper: phone call..sorry
RMoreaW: ever heard of Maria Friedman?
richasprosper: friend of Lori's ...sort of
richasprosper: like her
RMoreaW: Mama mia?
richasprosper: as a performer
richasprosper: somthing at the National
RMoreaW: she lives in Hastings
richasprosper: small world
RMoreaW: yean bought a silk robe off me
RMoreaW: didn't know who she was though
richasprosper: she has a daughter
RMoreaW: you haven't ?
RMoreaW: one that escaped then
richasprosper: nah...she may be coming here in something
richasprosper: forgotten what
RMoreaW: small world
richasprosper: she's in something
richasprosper: Lori saw her in May
RMoreaW: well well
richasprosper: Big musical theatre star
richasprosper: one of the big names
RMoreaW: the daughter?
richasprosper: must be about six or seven I think
RMoreaW: sorry Ithought you meant that the daughter was a big musical star
richasprosper: but she's good to have as a customer... well done Rob
RMoreaW: oh I just took the money
RMoreaW: but apparently she was heard to rave about the shop
RMoreaW: Will have to invite her to do the opening
RMoreaW: if she's nottoo busy that is
RMoreaW: biyfriend called oleg
richasprosper: well she's doing Woman in White
RMoreaW: I thought she was in mama mia
richasprosper: but I expect she's be pleased to be asked
richasprosper: and that's what's coming here
RMoreaW: how are you
richasprosper: I'm well
richasprosper: enjoying Hollywood sunshine
richasprosper: dark hair
RMoreaW: yeah sounds great
richasprosper: very brown
RMoreaW: Is Heidi with you
richasprosper: stayed in NYC
richasprosper: coz we're going to Canada on 12th
richasprosper: a promise I made
RMoreaW: made any others
richasprosper: a year ago
richasprosper: Tony sher got in touch
richasprosper: he's on Broadway in Primo
richasprosper: I sent him a card
RMoreaW: nice of him to remember the guy whoshowed him how to act
richasprosper: Rob!!!thought I was going to miss him, but his show's extended a week
richasprosper: so sent him a bit of the diary and mentioned RSC...in prep for next week meeting
richasprosper: I have become so american
RMoreaW: which meetng/
richasprosper: well I'll see the play and him afetrwards
RMoreaW: Sorry still got a dodgy hand cant write or type
richasprosper: let's talk soon
richasprosper: I'll call you this week
RMoreaW: you enjoy the sun
RMoreaW: I'll think of you
richasprosper: yeah off to beach with banana sandwiches and coke
richasprosper: coca cola that is
RMoreaW: Watch that sugar
RMoreaW: love you
richasprosper: yeah... I know...got to kick it
richasprosper: love you too Rob
RMoreaW: Jlie was asleep hours ageo
richasprosper: say hi from me...proud of you both
RMoreaW: and its's only halfnine
RMoreaW: M E bad
RMoreaW: means more work load for me
RMoreaW: any way night
richasprosper: yeah...talk soon
richasprosper: night night
Well I've had a lie down and recovered. Truly delightful to see you again. I always think people come into your lives for a reason. I think you are in mine as inspiration. Julia is one of the sweetest and politest children I have ever come across Well done. Look forward to meeting Jay tomorrow. I'll email you again if I find out anything more on the seating for the show.
Below is the link to Tom Brown cd.
Jane and Julia
A 'Comedy' to impress the Bard himself
It's an oddity of American culture that transplanted pleasures like Italian opera or French country cooking - arts that belong to all people in their native lands - here become the property of elitist snobs. Maybe this is a general insecurity we have; for culture to have true cachet, only the very rich and very erudite should appreciate it.
Take William Shakespeare. He wrote his plays for crowded theaters in which people from all sectors of society could mingle and emote. Great passions, petty jealousies, high drama, low humor - these stories are built for entertainment. The New York-based Aquila Theatre Company honors this tradition.
Their production of Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors," presented by the Shakespeare Festival/LA, is a full-throttle performance, including music, mime, slapstick, acrobatics, conjuring, human puppetry and belly dancing. At one point, two characters, apropos of nothing, break into song; at another, a pair of lovers engage in a delicious tango.
The story involves two sets of twins who were separated at birth. Antipholus of Syracuse and his faithful slave, Dromio, arrive at the port of Ephesus , where, unknown to them, an identical Antipholus and Dromio make their home. In the course of a hectic day, love is lost and found, there are arrests, chases, misunderstandings and general mayhem before all ends happily. Director Robert Richmond has trimmed the play slightly to run a brisk two hours without sacrificing either comedy or story line.
In his staging, the richness of the action resembles a circus - and that's a compliment. On the premise that we are all distracted by bright, shiny objects, Richmond at every moment gives us several distractions to gaze upon, from a tree made of wicker baskets to colorful cabanas (the designers are Richmond and his collaborator Peter Meineck) that sway and dance and are characters in their own right. Actors wordlessly pop up like jack-in-the-boxes on the stage's edge to respond to the central dialogue. Characters leap, tumble, slither and roll. They even provide their own sound effects.
The flashy direction, of course, would amount to nothing if it weren't for the expressive range and athletic grace of the leading actors, Richard Willis, who plays the two Antipholuses - or is it Antipholi? - and Louis Butelli serving double duty as Dromio and Dromio. While they don't exactly make their antics look easy, they certainly appear to be having fun, and their technique is so polished we never lose sight of which twin we're watching.
Sure, there are props: the boys from Syracuse wear glasses, and their Ephesus counterparts do not. But Willis and Butelli convey with the slightest gestures and facial expressions the full weight of their characters' idiosyncrasies, and even scrambling across the stage in an extended Keystone Kops pursuit, they slip in and out of the twins' personae seamlessly.
Also on hand is Lisa Carter as Adriana, the glamorous and frustrated wife of the Ephesus twin. Carter uses her long body like taut guitar string, and impressively catches - literally - her co-star in her arms. Lindsay Rae Taylor is Adriana's love-struck sister, Luciana, interpreted here as an awkward schoolgirl. It's a characterization Taylor overdoes a bit: Because of her mugging, we almost lose the power of the play's single love scene, which Willis, for his part, plays beautifully.
The other roles (and they are diverse) are stunningly shouldered by Lincoln Hudson, Andrew Schwartz and Heather Murdock. The costumes, which are supposed to evoke the 1930s, are unobtrusive. Most successful are the color-coded outfits of the twins, who get a lot of mileage out of undoing a few buttons or pulling their shirttails out.
The production wrapped up its run at the Plaza at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels downtown, but continues at the South Coast Botanic Garden . Unfortunately, the miked sound at the Cathedral got a little muddy at times, but this might have been inevitable. More important, though, was the free and open seating in the Plaza. Shakespeare would have approved.
THE COMEDY OF ERRORSOur Rating:
I saw Tony Sher in Primo last night. Primo is based on a book called If This Is a Man (Se questo e un uomo in the original Italian) which was written in 1947 by Primo Levi. Levi was a Jew from Turin who became a chemist and, as a politicized young man living under Mussolini's reign during World War II, an anti-fascist activist. After the Germans invaded Northern Italy in 1943, Levi was arrested, and in February 1944 he was deported to Auschwitz , the Nazi concentration camp in Poland . Primo details the eleven months Levi spent there, from his arrival until his "liberation," by the Russian Army, the following January. Tony has adapted it into a one-man play, creating scenes and vignettes out of excerpts from the book.
The evening started off in amusing fashion...at least for me. Richard Wilson, the director and gave the announcement over the speakers in his dry Scottish Presbyterian funereal Victor Meldew tones:
"Ladies and Gentleman, due to the sensitive nature of this production, May I ask you pleeeese.... to take this opportuniteeee.... to switch off ALL cell phones and pagerssssss.... Thank you."
I visited Tony in his dressing-room afterwards, still reeling from what I had seen...or rather heard and imagined.
I felt a bit lame in my description of his performance and the effect that it had on me, but I was telling the truth when I said words had failed me. I was still shaking. The holocaust seen through this man’s eyes, his bewilderment and his plain ordinariness and goodness made it so much more powerful for me than any big blockbuster movie or even documentary has done in the past. It was fascinating to be in an audience that, I guessed, was mainly comprised of Jews and to hear them react collectively to you and Primo…Place names that held a resonance, German phrases that they would collectively quiver at, and that overriding sense of an ancient people whose lot in life has always been one of scapegoat and the persecuted and who faced the ultimate horror. As a gentile, I felt almost guilty as if I was personally responsible for the horrendous events that made up the Holocaust. Perhaps in a way I was, or at least my ancestors. But then I suppose being an actor and tracing our history back, - for indeed that is the group of people that I feel I belong to - we have suffered a similar role of one who is an outsider, although of course with nothing resembling the prejudice and persecution that the Jews have endured throughout the ages. As you can see, my mind has been racing since last night which is the effect that good theatre always should provoke.
He introduced me to his director Richard Wilson who was sitting in the dressing room sipping sparkling water..
"You probably met," he said," when we did Torch Song."
Now Tony and Harvey Fierstein were across the road from each other on West 44th Street . Harvey is playing Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof".
I answered that we had indeed met, but it was long before Torch Song. We had worked together in 1974 when we were in a series called Soldier and Me. Richard was taken aback, but he did indeed remember me, down to the short hair and glasses that my role as a young Czech boy required.
I forgot to mention to Tony that whilst we were doing that series in Manchester , we traveled up the motorway to catch a hot new play in Liverpool . That was the first time I saw Anthony Sher as Ringo in John Paul George Ringo and Bert with Barbara Dickson at the piano.
I’m not sure what happens next for me here in the States. Aquila through Robert had asked about me doing Claudius again in their tour of Hamlet. I said I couldn’t commit to a full tour, only til November. I am hoping to get an audition for Spamalot which has a national tour starting in March and also a resident company in Las Vegas . I’m waiting to hear from Paul about the possibility of doing Macbeth. I’m also would love to audition for the RSC for the upcoming season… a life ambition it would be good to realize one day.
In the meantime I have some Law and Order repeats coming. They haven't arrived yet though which is frustrating because I know they have them and were planning to send them out. I believe it's for a good enough amount to keep the wolves away from the door for a few weeks.
However, next is a long promised trip to Canada to meet the rest of Heidi's sisters and family and an escape out into the bush to canoe and camp and swim. New York is dry hot and humid. It's a little too much. The sensible New Yorkers leave, if they are able. The leaves in the park are starting to fade and wrinkle; the grass is yellow; the pavements are hot underfoot. Our street is closed and kids are playing basketball and running in and out of the water shooting across the road from an open fire hydrant. Adults sit out on chairs and watch the world go by. The neighborhood reverberates to Spanish cries, and a Latin rhythm, a samba pulse, underscores the pace and movement of the life here.
It will be interesting coming across the border. I have a green card now, but I have always had a problem traveling in the last three years. We shall see if it makes a difference this time.
I must go now and do some packing. No doubt we'll speak soon.
Thank you very, very much for your most interesting e-mail. I did not realise that Richard Wilson, the Director, was the same as Richard Wilson, the actor!
I am so glad that you got to see Tony Sher...
I hope you have a lovely time in Canada and manage to get cool without the benefit of mosquitos....
Have a lovely holiday and I hope you get lots and lots of great work and your Law and Order money - at last!
It is heavy and cold and grey outside - the carnival flags are fluttering in the wind and the sea looks cross.
The little girl cat is lying on the bed on her back - all abandoned...Butch is downstairs with George watching the cricket - they were able to start the day's play at 4.00pm...the Nation has been holding its breath in the meantime.
We had a nice tea while it was raining...steak and chips and mushrooms and tomatoes and fresh fruit salad - Jacobs Creek Merlot...great stuff
I am preparing myself for Zak tomorrow..knee still in a bad way and I am desperate to know how to entertain him without totally ruining myself....9.00am til about 10.00pm I think - so there it is....
Anyway - think of me!
must go and have a cigarette or twenty and several diet cokes and flop in front of the telly.
lots of love
Had Zak yesterday/....wow.
Very, very bright gentleman and so like US!
I bought him some smarties so I imagine I am persona non grata.
Anyway, it was great and I had a brilliant time but I am now utterly shattered. We spent a lot of the time on the fairground and then home for some telly - saw the 7th Voyage of Sinbad - the one with the Cyclops in and the Snake Lady and the Roc ...Oh you know...he adored it - just like us! Then the new Cat in the Hat. Tried to put him to bed afterwards but massive shouting happened (Charley used to go straight to sleep) Granny come and cuddle me, Granny! And then twenty more times with increasing crescendo...I was giggling downstairs smoking a fag....then heartbroken sobs and "Oh I want my Daddy to cuddle me - Oh my Daddy..." - so that was it - down he came again and we saw half of the Two Towers before he really was collapsing and I took him up to bed and got into it with him - then he was asleep in five minutes - about five minutes later, Robin actually arrived.
Today George is watching the cricket on my telly - it is 14.22 and we have had lunch sitting outside at Fagins...had two hamburgers with chips and salad and loads of relishes - and some very good coffee - saw everybody we know - well George knows - at least they all know George...and it is a sleepy day - great - no commitments.
love you to bits
Just to let you know that I am in Canada, safe and sound. Canoeing and camping...out in the wilds of Northern Ontartio, so that is the reason for no contact.
Oh thank goodness.
thought the father might have decided that perhaps you were not such a good bet...- ** year old thrice married out of work actor - y'know...and had taken you to feed the bears in the Rockies - or for a long swim in The Great Lakes...and we would have had no trace. While you were with Aquila I felt there was always a chance we would not lose you as I could contact them (viz 9/11) but with no contact and no address....you could just have disappeared.....
I quite understand about Claudius...and the work...hope you get your audition though - that would be good.
but you will be with your friends again.
I am so pleased for Peter and his wife - please pass on my best wishes.
It is Carnival Day today.
Not as it used to be though...
Since they moved it from a Wednesday.
We have been married 11 years.
Going to sit on Winkle Island and have my breakfast of rolls (hot) from Judges and coffee...hurrah!!!
lots and lots of love
Please e-mail me when you get home.e
Just a quick line to say I hope you got back home OK and to wish you luck for your audition tomorrow. what is it exactly - the name does not tell one very much.
Lots of love
Thanks mum...back safe...not too much problem with immigration...just a check over the card, but nothing major. The audition tomorrow is for Monty Python's Spamalot...this is based on their film of the Search for the Holy Grail...written by Eric Idle, it is the biggest hit on Broadway starring Tim Curry and Fraizer's brother... David Hyde Pierce. This is for the national tour...so good money. Lori took me over the sides and the music tonight. She thinks I'll get it...one of her spooky hits. Fingers crossed for Wednesday! Meanwhile cramming in Claudius which we perform in a week. I haven't had one rehearsal yet! All Dr Jekyll an Mr Hyde with a new director who directs at Central. Louis has written it and it's very good. I have some nice parts. The director seems to like me, May be he could help the daughter... Sam.
Back to the lines...
I adore David Hyde Pearce - think he is one of the best comedy actors ever. George wants to know if Lori is doing the dance with the bones on her hai hai table (or something)....be great. I imagine you will have auditioned by now - so very good luck anyway.
Must dash now as have been at work all day and the cricket is on...
Do let me know all the gory details.
PS - So glad you got home alright.
The audition went fine yesterday. Sang okay. Everyone was very pleasant. They only got to me read for Lancelot - a couple of his scenes - which I was a little disappointed about as I wanted to dazzle them with my virtuosity for the other two characters.. French and Scotsmen.. Still... I thought I did the best I could do. Chelsea Studios yesterday was twirly land hell! Like a scene from a The Producers audition.
Lori did indeed do the hiya hiyas in her loincloth. But I haven’t heard yet and I feel I would have done by now...so....
Peter Hall is doing a tour of Importance of Being Ernest starting in December with Lyn Redgrave as Lady Bracknell. It ends up in Brooklyn . I know I'm sort of betwixt and between on the breakdown, but told Honey that it might be worth a submission.
Meanwhile I'm in the world of Hamlet. I had my first rehearsal today. There are two performances on Wednesday...so no pressure. What a brilliant play it is. I am so happy that I am a part of it. Lots of good things happening too. I won't be able to make any big decisions about Claudius until we get Wednesday out of the way, but have told Rob I would like to say all the 'O my offence is rank' soliloquy.. it's the speech you do Claudius for. Nice first entrance. I have big walk down for the first entrance and am back in the red guards uniform with silver breast plate and a red sash. The gold crown is little too big at the moment. It fell over my head and got stuck round my neck. Took me ten minutes to squeeze it back over the top of my head again... But anyway... I am happy creating and acting. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde will also be fun to do. So hurrah!
Wish you had been here.... I had a perfect day...
It was the day of the garden party of our friends at Sedlescombe. I had a bad knee so had phoned up and explained would not be coming.
The weather was glorious - not too hot and brilliant for a Bank Holiday weekend...I went to the jellied eel stall and I bought a carton of cockles and a carton of whelks and a carton of jellied eels...then I put them in my blue cold box together with several diet cokes and a bottle of vinegar and some salt and pepper and sallied up to my sitting room.
I drew the curtains and switched on the telly and leaned back in my chair and had my second day at Trent Bridge .
The Nation nearly had a collective nervous breakdown - and people were e-mailing in to Channel 4 to say they were hiding behind the sofa and dared not watch - it was petrifying....talk about a "Breathless hush on the close tonight..."
This was the sort of cricket that we would cut classes at RADA for...
It was brilliant - real theatre...
I think with Simon Jones damaged we have little chance of the next match - but we won this one- just...those poor Aussies - they were brilliant...and Stephen Bucknor (?) umpire just like Morgan Freeman...phew.
I have been tidying and cleaning today. Tomorrow I have Imo and also, to my intense surprise, Pam and Alice...unplanned....
Cathe has to work - obviously - and there is a gap between holiday school finishing and school Autumn Term starting - so we are all doing our bit. I also have to take Butch Cassidy to the vet for his MOT. So its all fun...
But I had my day.
Lots of love
PS Hope you will not be affected by Katrina.inai
That sounds like a great day. I was actually listening to the match on the internet coz I had the day off. I thought we were going to blow it, but we saw it through. I can recommend the Radio 4 commentary team. They're brilliant. Just turn the sound down on the tv. Just another reason to love the internet.
Now approaching the wages of fear. We have two performances on Wednesday. The evening performance is to 800 NYU freshman. We are nowhere near ready, but I think they know that they're not getting the absolute finished product.
I cracked the 'O my offence is rank soliloquy' yesterday. We had started it out in the confessional box as in the Brannagh film - which I can highly recommend by the way - but I said to Robert we should go for the Paul Kerryson approach and be more operatic, so he enters at the back of the church and walks to the front. The speech is done to Jesus on the cross - which is the audience or at least those in the circle... the key to it is this I think. The big statement is he cannot repent....so he is not sorry for himself...he is in turmoil inside but he has 'a heart with strings of steel.' This turns the speech into more a theological debate with Jesus and God...not introspective and not so emotional, but genuine questions. They say he is in choler...that means anger...not a nervous wreck... Therefore the end is not a whimper...it is strong and forceful building in emotion and volume... what can it, when one cannot repent? (next -this is what happens...this is what I'm feeling you bastard) OH Wretched State , Oh Bosom black as death, (This is what it's like you fucker) Oh limed soul that struggling to be free is more engaged...HELP (Loud appeal to Jesus on the cross) angels? (almost a whisper and ironical to the heavens and the angels if there are any... the last part of the speech is let's give prayer a go anyway... all may be well...although tired and not really believing it ill help...so at the end when my words fly up my thoughts remain below...(you see I knew it Jesus..) words without thoughts? (turn on heel and say the last line going up stage "Never to heaven go!"
Just to let you know I'm alive and well. Another couple of anniversaries to hurdle: My third wedding and 9/11. Hamlet was a great success. Did I tell you? I really think it will be alright. Drew has a long way to go in the title role, of course… as always in these big Shakespearean parts, it’s always an ongoing process of discovery… but he is tremendously appealing and the younger generation identify and love him...and dammit he's so good-looking. We make quite a good duo on the stage. Dr J & Hyde is also coming on a treat. Louis has done a wonderful Ronald Harwood type script. The premise is that a famous American actor came to London to play Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and whilst he was there the Ripper murders started happening and at one time he was a suspect. Our play takes place on stage with some of the original play, but mostly off stage - marrying the two stories together. I play a sort of Colombo like detective called Inspector Aberline from Scotland Yard - a real life person who is investigating the Ripper murders. He is coming out Edinburgh Morningside at the moment. There is a very funny start to the second half where he and his junior inspector go undercover and dress up as whores. Underneath their dresses they wear metal plates attached to batteries. This is something that actually occurred. The intention was to shock any would-be attackers. I added one line for when some punters come along to try and pick us up and my junior inspector seems to get a little to enthusiastic in his role as a prostitute trying to pick up passing trade. "For God's Sake, man, pull yourself together. I thought you were a Methodist!"
Now doing the Claudius speech to the audience and the cross. Took trip out to the nudist beach at Sandy Hook for a last of the Summer Wine.
I saw the film The Constant Gardener with Ralph Feinnes. Super. And on DVD Being Julia with Annette Benning and Jeremy Irons with a script by Ronald Harwood. Highly highly recommended You'd love it!
Love you and miss you...
but am enjoying the acting... doing what I love...you know... Claudius is a joy. Hair is short a la George Clooney (I want to get the grey back) and I have put on some weight. It looks rather good.
Must get back to lines... Peter has suggested to Louis that he write me up a little in Dr J&H. I'm flattered...so I have tons to do.
That was a lovely letter - thank you so very much...I will write back very shortly but this is to tell you that I am ok. Was just about to write to you last night when you came through on Buddy speak - I had sent about three lines when I realised it was Robin, not you. He is unhappy. I said it was the weather...it has been freocious...you know oppressive - I have to hide as get very cross and potentially violent.
The knee has been a pain..and Poppet is on anti biotics as has some ort of kidney thing...I dread that it might be a fore-runner of PKD which is Persian Cat Kidney Disease and it kills...and infects other Persians in the vicinity...if one happened to have one. I think when the pills are finished I might get her tested. she is a dear little thing but is costing us...
We moved most of George's photos into the hut yesterday for his exhibition...it is now pouring for the first time in ages so hope they will all be safe. also went to Sainsbury's and got wine and Evian for the visitors (and that light beer that has good ads...Stella Artoise)...we hid the booze under the sink and then put the bin and washing up and cleaning stuff in front of it to hide it in case we are vandalised in the meantime.
Of course, next weekend is the Test Match...so I imagine we will be sitting there by ourselves.
Jacqui is not too marvellous. Her arm is broken in two places and I think she is feeling it now…
Ah Gertrude Gertrude, when sorrows come they come not single spies
But in battallions
anyway, that really puts more onus on me to do something...not that I don't want to but it has come at a tricky time for us what with the exhibition, the cat and the knee and all!!!! Poor Jacqui. Cannot even open a bottle of wine - has to have boxes instead...
also as well as being aggressive in this weather, I am floppy as well.
speaking of wedding anniversaries I think mine to your Dad is 9/9 - maybe 6/9 - the September before your April..I did two shows in the evening and your Dad went out and got drunk - who can blame him...I was just sick all the time - they had a bucket in the wings...
Ah Gertrude, etc.
I think you will be even more stunning as Claudius when your hair is back again - so glad you are enjoying it.
Must go as breakfast calls and I have not had my bath.
.how will you pay the flat, Richard? How will Heidi manage? She will just have to publish a best-seller. Think Margaret Mitchell- that should keep you both and get a ranch as well.
What is to happen when the tour goes to the Southern States - are there any left?
Anyway, it is pouring now - think the car roof is open but it will get the seagull pooh off...hurrah!!
Just to let you and George know that I have sent a package to you via Amazon. This is Imo's birthday present. I haven't got her address, so if you would pass it on I'd be grateful.
I have cold/flu type bug jut when I am about to be most hectic. Leave on Saturday.
All well besides.
Sorry must run
Write longer soon...
Lovely to speak to you yesterday.
I do hope you feel better soon - cannot imagine what it must be like trying to act but feeling so ill - apart from when expecting you, of course...bucket in the wings job...not so much morning sickness as all the time sickness....
Anyway, it was worth it - I am so proud of you and love you to bits..
Sorry about the delay here...just tired old bag stuff...
Another weekend of exhibitions and then my auditions on Sunday
off to work now
lots and lots of love
Hi Richard, hope everything is well with you.
I got your e-mail address from Robin's wife when I visited The Lillac Room. I have worked in Hastings during the summer doing a Youth Theatre Project. The director of the project knows your brother with whom she has worked earlier. She happened to mention your brother's full name, Robin Willis and then of course I concluded it had to be family. Then she mentioned your mother was living in Hastings too. I thought this was too much of a coincidence, so I decided to get in touch with you again.
I purchased a flat in London close to five years ago. I have lived here now
for two years and is looking to sell my flat and to buy in Hastings .
I have kept well. Done quite a lot of interesting work for The Norwegian
Opera House and done some studying in London . My plan is to stay on and get some more work in London and in South-East England .
Hope we can keep in touch now, that I've found you.
How wonderful to hear from you and how strange you should be here...and meeting my brother's wife, in Hastings .
I now live in New York . I have been here since 2001. I'm not sure how long I'm going to be here, but it seems that I can make a living here at the moment ... and I am following my heart and the adventure I am an associate artist for the Aquila Theatre Company that travel the States out of NYC with Shakespeare and other classical plays..(no Ibsen yet). I am currently on my 5th tour playing Claudius in Hamlet.
Where will you buy in Hastings ? I hope it's in the Old Town . That is where my mother lives as well, right opposite winkle Island in Winkle Cottage. I love the old Town and hope to buy a twitten there one day. Twittens are the little houses that go up the side of the cliffs.
Anyway...let me know more... where are you working? Or are you studying? What did you think of the Lilac Room? I haven't seen it yet. It's my brother's first business for 15 years. He retired at 30.
I suppose your little dog has left us by now. Do you still keep in touch with the others of our company. I have contact with Bente. She came and stayed with me in London and we had a passionate affair!!!
love and light
Sorry it's taken me so long to contact you. No reason to offer except not getting round to it. Hope you are still at this email address.
Is all well with you?
We have decided to sell up here in Ireland and head for Brittany . At the moment, the house is on the market - a couple of interested contenders, but decisions still to be made!
We're off to France in three weeks to have a general squizz at the place - see if we like the croissants!
Let me know how you are and what you're doing.
I tried to email you a few times but your old email address kept returning my messages. I am so thrilled to hear from you again.
All is well with me. I finally got the green card in June this year. I have worked fairly constantly whilst I've been here. The highlights have been doing Stoppard in Philadelphia and the great man coming to see the show; A guest lead in an episode of Law & Order and doing a shot in Times Square wearing Armani clothes; and doing guest role in a new independent film called a Big Bad Swim. All details on www.richardwillis.org
Personally I am living in Inwood, NYC. Kate wrote a biography which was a little one-sided in her version of our relationship, I found myself hoping that she was earning a lot of money for it. My own biography will be a little more restrained, but ruthless. My kids are pretty much in the same place ...unfortunately. Oh ..and I went to the White House to do Shakespeare for Mr and Mrs Bush.
Now on tour with Aquila ... Hamlet and Dr Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. Just leaving Philly for upstate New York .
Good Luck with your move to Brittany. You are brave. Let me know how it goes and if you like the croissants!!
loads of love
Someday, we’ll spend more than a few minutes together, chatting about life over tea and crumpets (I tried an airport bar wine spritzer – yikes – too much wine, so it remains tea for me), but, until then, it was wonderful to see you and to watch you work – you are a master!
How is it going? and where are you now? Someplace beautiful (at least more beautiful that northern NJ), I hope.
Here is my “take” on Candace’s and my weekend in NY . There was so much more, but I’ll leave that to just play as pictures in my head.
Love to you and many hugs,
Well, we did it! Candace and I walked Manhattan from top to tip – not in a straight line, but in waves, loops, zig-zags, meanders along the river and Central Park, and in spits and spurts down Broadway. All the while, we took in faces, accents, languages, smells, architecture, signs (CAUTION! HOLLOW SIDEWALK HERE ????), dented cars, and dogs (and a black squirrel). In Fort Tryon Park we talked to a gardening volunteer about how to deal with a beautiful creeping weed, and quietly watched a tall graceful woman with enormous hands practice Tai Chi. In Chelsea we laughed with a young father from Senegal who was having trouble opening a plastic bag because he was wearing gloves (“I’m from Senegal ! It’s cold here!” It was 70 degrees). He would be heading home to his wife and 5 month old child, but not until January. We wished him luck and Godspeed.
We chatted with a Philippino woman who had lived in Montreal for 30 years, and traveled the world. It was her first trip to NY, but she had it figured out. We wearily followed her ‘home’, from bus to hotel, without a doubt that she would take care of us.
We joshed with the owner of a coffee shop at Varick and Franklin who took an instant shine to Candace, ribbing her mercilessly with a deadpan face (great sandwiches - we highly recommend it), and ate a delicious dinner at Regional Thai, served by polite, handsome, humble Thai waiters.
We saw our favorite theater troupe perform a rousing Hamlet under less than ideal conditions, including sounds of a jazz saxophonist, practicing somewhere, wafting into our peripheral consciousness as our friend and consummate actor, Richard (as Claudius) delivered, without a miss, an emotional monologue with a passion that left us twisted inside. We felt the pain and pathetic wrenching of lives devoured by tragedy. Then, the next day, on a whim, we took a break from walking long enough to watch “Wicked”, a musical extravaganza that sat us on a dream cloud for 2 ½ hours.
On Sunday we parked on the street in lower Manhattan in anticipation of driving to LaGuardia Airport later in the day. Then we rambled north to Greenwich Village , stopping to chat with street vendors in Tribeca., and to chuckle at the dogs in Washington Square Park . We were on our way to visit a friend from Vermont who, newly single, is living in a small apartment on 11 th St . Laura’s second floor apartment is the one of my dreams: quiet, tree-lined street, brick, wrought iron and white, many coats of paint over plaster, bright light from the windows and two working fireplaces. The bedroom is a closet – just big enough for a bed and dresser, but with a large window. Two living rooms are spacious enough to dance in as long as furniture is kept to a minimum. The kitchen has a window into a courtyard, and the bathroom would consistently renew one’s incentive to stay on a diet. But, best of all is the deck, just the size for a round table and chairs, that extends into the courtyard, shaded by a large cherry tree. There was no street noise in the house. Laura’s neighbors are friendly and interesting – the single mom downstairs has shared many a glass of wine with her on the deck; the architect next door has a passion for old toys, filling one of his windows with them, adding a sign inviting passersby to view and enjoy. I’m sure many days ahead will be hard for Laura, but this morning was sunny and crisp, and her tree in its protected spot will most likely keep its leaves far into the chilly late fall.
After leaving Laura at the intersection where the TV series Sex in the City was filmed, we turned south again and made our way to the tip – Battery Park – window shopping and admiring the street art all the way. There we met up with Heidi, a young Canadian writer who was very tolerant of our delight in her company. By this point it was a gloriously warm day so we filed aboard the Staten Island Ferry, standing in the wind at the bow. I took in the sights as Candace and Heidi talked writings, writers and college programs.
And, woven throughout our days and night, we got lost...and found, although not without wrong turns, the frustrating lack of signs large enough to catch our eyes, and many slow deep breaths, particularly from Candace, who preferred driving to navigating, although would rather neither, I do believe. By the end of the weekend I think she was on her way to becoming desensitized to tunnels (she sure did seem to be able to hold her breath for a long time while driving through one), and kept her levity, kindly expressing confidence that I would “get us found”, even though it is truly the navigator who loses the way in the first place. Heidi rode quietly in the back seat, assuring us she was fine (too polite, I think!), watching us fumble, twist and turn, ask questions of people who spoke little English or had never been outside of their town limits, miss a turn that sent us to Jersey City in the south rather than to Wayne, and Richard’s play, in the northwest, only to be late (horrors!), taking an hour and a half to go 16 miles!. A small relief for her would be that she stayed in Wayne after the play while we headed home, getting lost a few more times, arriving, finally!, back at the hotel at quarter to one in the morning. But...nothing phased us for long. I did lose it with the gas station pump that asked for my “5 digit ip” just before returning the car, but not for long. That was “zip” code, by the way. A few choice words for ‘dying’ LED screens and a chuckle from the man on the other side who kindly explained what I was to do.
The car deserves a paragraph all to itself. Given what we put it through – u-turns, slammed breaks, near misses while threading through lanes of tailgaters (but no dents!)....we succumbed to a very (I believe ) teenage American custom of naming it: the Yellow Canary. And it was yellow! We were hailed a few times by those looking for a cab, but we also were noticed (handy when we failed to notice who was noticing us). There were no other brilliant yellow cars on the road except the taxis and one jeep. When Candace saw the car in the rental parking lot and exclaimed, “I want that yellow one” to which I replied, “Yeah right, Candace, they’ll never give us a sports car (it had a spoiler on the back) with our cut-rate package”, I was thinking how flashy it was, not that we would look right at home in it if we wore baseball hats with multicolored spinners on the top.
We didn’t see the East side, or have oysters and champagne in Grand Central Station, or visit museums or dozens of other things, but we filled our plates over and over, leaving (after a beer for Candace and a much too large wine spritzer for me), determined to return to visit places we have yet to explore. Driving home from the airport in Vermont was dark and quiet, with only an occasional car and a few dots of house lights. We breathed deeply of our meadows, knowing our life here would be hard to give up. Candace would not, she knows. I need more adventures before I decide, if I ever do. But, for now, we’ll run the pictures of our weekend in our heads while breathing in the crisp fall air that will soon be filled with brilliant autumn colors.
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