Dumb Waiter and the American Contingency

Jason Isaacs appeared opposite Lee Evans in this play by Harold Pinter for seven weeks in the spring of 2007

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Gillian
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Post by Gillian » Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:01 pm

I stand corrected Marie. I was under the impression Char was staying a while longer. God knows where I got that idea.

Hilary, you're pictures are great! I know you're camera's a bit old (a relative term considering how redundant new technology becomes), but it only confirms that my long standing envy is well justified -- good saturation, healthy skin tones, sharp, crisp images. That's a great little piece of equipment you got there.

P.S. I love old graveyards. (And no, I'm not sick.) I just think they're incredibly fascinating places. Did you have a chance to go inside?

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Post by Hilary the Touched » Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:31 pm

Thanks, Gillian!
That church, St. Olave, stands only a few blocks from another that is described as the site from which Samuel Pepys watched the Great Fire in 1666, as well as being the baptism site of William Penn. Unfortunately, I think both were damaged (both churches, not Pepys and Penn!) by bombing during WWII, and there is an interesting combination of techniques used in their reconstruction.
St. Olave's churchyard is very tiny--I think the custom, for anyone of importance, was to entomb them in the crypt, so typically you don't see a whole lot of very old tombstones in the churchyard, you see 'em on the floor. :shock: But both had other groovy carvings and windows and stuff inside.

On the Sunday, the two Kates and Kathleen and I walked the couple of blocks up to St. Martin-in-the-Field to attend service. It was very lovely, surprisingly lightly attended but graced with a remarkable choir and amazing acoustics.
I also enjoyed as much of the Hogarth exhibit at the Tate Britain as could be absorbed in an hour and a half, as well as a quick whip-round at the National Gallery, during which I bumped into Char and KateP and was able to triumphantly usher them to bask in the presence of Reynolds' depiction of the Boy Ban. I think Doc M said a while ago that he'd just been cleaned, and his colours were very fresh and intense. Saw Gainsborough's two little daughters.

More piccies etc. tomorrow, eh?
But Marie's right: it was the trip of a lifetime. :D

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Post by Chari910 » Mon Mar 26, 2007 8:04 pm

I LOVE your camera! I WANTED an Olympus this time but Chuck talked me into getting HP Photosmart. :-(

Great pics!

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Post by Hilary the Touched » Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:05 pm

:D

Here's a very cliché shot of the fountain in Trafalgar Square, taken from the stairs of the National Gallery:

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Our flat, which, as Marie says, was one of a row contemporaneous with Mr. Franklin's lodgings, was a five-minute walk from Trafalgar Square. And that's if you walked slow.
It was 10 minutes to the theatre.
The first couple of days were relatively warm, but after that it got mighty blustery. Marie and Kate were forced to yield to necessity and adopt the wearing of Kashmiri babushkas. Here is a photo of them, sans head-covering, taken near St. Olave:


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They are posing with one of the markers placed, I think, along the boundaries of the City of London proper. Is it a dragon?

I HOPE that photo was taken after we exited the premises advertised by this sign, and not before:

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The pub is a hundred yards from Tower Hill.

Here is a not particularly revelatory photo of the first flat, with some of the Lost Girls, including the lovely Kay, webmistress of the FanZone:

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...and more!

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Don't they look as if they are producing the next issue of some esteemed literary review?? I am sorry I haven't a better shot of LadyLucius close to hand, and surprised that this one doesn't depict her halo more clearly.
LadyLucius was combination tour guide, excursion nurse, transportation supervisor and provision overseer to us all. I personally witnessed her jamming a train door open to ensure that her entire distracted flock managed to squeeze into the same Tube car. She chaperoned pairs and individuals hither and yon and once they were safely delivered, she disappeared to rustle up some bottled water or stamps or whatever else it was we needed.
BLESSINGS UPON YOU!!!!

So, um, back to Jason Isaacs for a moment--
He was astonishingly gracious, even though the first time I saw him, the Saturday matinee, he said he was fiercely tired and really needed to get a nap in before the evening performance. He explained he'd been up the night before watching Comic Relief, and stayed up way too late; he complained that this had diminished his performance because he wasn't able to modulate Ben's responses the way he feels he should. He described both characters as shit scared, but Ben represses his terror while Gus, Lee Evans' character, just lets fly; on Saturday he was too tired and allowed Gus' hysteria to seep into his own responses.
Okay I didn't get that but alright.

Child must have signed about 8,327 autographs. He is a name-signing machine. He was always sweet about it, pausing to ask for dedications and checking the spelling. We did see a pro waiting (lurking) with us; he held a whole stack o' shit, including a DVD box set of Black Hawk Down, and it was a little chilling how different JI's manner was with him. He wasn't rude, but he was just this side of brusque. He asked the guy, "so where are these gonna end up then?" and only did a few before thrusting the rest back with a "that's enough". "I spent a lot of time getting this stuff!" the guy protested apropos of nothing. Well good. Go home and enjoy it then.

I totally forgot Helen's funny question. I'm sorry. I was busy helping pass stuff and trying to wedge things in and listening and, um, looking.
I did ask him why the goatee--we've heard before that, among other things, the production used a 1963 vintage newspaper, I think it was, and certainly the set and costumes suggested a bygone decade (some wooden matches feature in the plot, for example) and I didn't think a goatee was an especially signature look for that time (though I didn't say so). He replied that the director had originally intended Ben to have a mustache, at which JI interjected something foul-mouthed, expressing his dismay, and said that he'd started out with growing a full beard, IMPLYING to the director that just before the production opened he would shave off all that the director wished. But then, of course, he pretended to be quite taken with the goatee effect and asked the director, "gee, whaddya think if I just keep this?" He did a very funny imitation of the director, evidently a somewhat fey gentleman, agreeing that actually it was quite a good look.
He said that the photos for the posters etc. had been taken on like the very first day, when he'd just come in to meet Lee, and he hadn't even indicated whether or not he'd take the job. He thought it was a bit premature, but couldn't dissuade them. So that's why the early stuff (and the programs) looked so disparate.
He explained that yes, the goatee is much greyer in person! It gets a lot of mascara on stage. Ben's (and Gus's) hair is horrible--slicked down in all the wrong spots. Very 60s. Plus Gus has dreadful bed-head bursting through. JI said that he changed the part for his hair just because--he didn't want to just see himself looking back from the mirror.

I did ask about Shamrock Boy, to which he responded with a dismissive and instant no. No thought, no confusion, no explanation--just a quick no. I don't know if he'd ever been connected, wanted to be connected, what, but he certainly doesn't seem to be now.

I think it was Catloveyes who pointed out to JI that LadyLucius is a biomedical researcher. He seemed quite interested (and taken aback!) at that, and mused about doing research on a physiological origin, some interesting brain phenomenon, of fandom. "Like, does it reflect the presence of an extra lobe", he cracked, "or the absence of one??!"

Gillian, speaking of cerebral anomalies, I didn't GIVE Cherrio to JI, I merely presented her. What the hell would the poor man do with her--never mind his hapless children?? No, I just showed her to him. Keith got a cracking shot of him holding the box. Cherrio will go up for raffle/auction soon.

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Post by kontara » Wed Mar 28, 2007 3:25 pm

SIGH!!! Glad to see you lucky girls took a hop over the pond to see the play and him...and me stuck in HELL... don't ask....

Miss Hil et all you all look wonderful...

hugs to all
Penny

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dumbwaiter stuff

Post by malfoygrandma » Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:42 pm

Very nice reporting, and interesting. Nice lesson in the business of serious acting from JI, explaining how tired he was and how badly it might affect his acting partner. Very good. We tend to forget what a really hard job acting on stage live really is, and this was a very good comment from a pro. Also, wonder what he really thinks fans are, or what the devotion a fan puts toward the object of the emotional attachment means to the object of that attachment. Nice psychological question for all of us, if we care to look at ourselves that closely. Thanks for the notes and pics.

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Hilary the Touched
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Post by Hilary the Touched » Thu Mar 29, 2007 8:12 am

Yeah, JI puts a lot of thought and effort into this activity!

On the way home, KateJ and I stood in the (interminable) airport security line near Irish actor Adrian Dunbar. Actually the line was so excruciatingly long that I am surprised we didn't see you in it as well.
Funnily enough, I was convinced that I'd seen Dunbar in loads of stuff, but when I went to IMDb to check it out, I didn't recognize anything but a single Cracker...but I knew his face immediately.
Now if I could just remember where I left my car keys... :hit

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Post by Helen8 » Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:19 am

Hey, Miss Hils. Not to worry about not asking the question. The answer would have also been a resounding "No." And speaking of Customs . . . did any of them question and/or open/inspect the PB jar?

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Post by Guest » Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:25 am

LOL, Hil, I know what you mean about those queues...
I stood 1 3/4 hrs to get my boarding pass, then when I found the security queue, it was OUTSIDE of the terminal, wrapped around the pavement...Heathrow Terminal 4, NEVER AGAIN...

Susan and I did see Eric Clapton out on the pavement near the Spamalot theater one day, during one of our Hikes, and at the matinee performance on Wednesday, Keith spied the actor who was in "Love Actually", he played the little kid (son) of Liam Neeson...he's much taller now...LOL.

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Post by kjshd05 » Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:28 am

OOPS, sorry, got kicked out when I posted..that's my post up above, sorry for the double post :shock:

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Post by Hilary the Touched » Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:16 am

Heathrow is disgusting.

And no, to answer your question, Helen, nobody blinked at the PB, though I advised security screeners at both ends--the woman at the United check-in desk had no idea what I was talking about.
When we'd finally made our way through the danged line, I don't think anybody was actually paying any attention whatsoever to our luggage. As Char had previously discovered, at Heathrow, you are limited to a single piece of carryon luggage--I was told this was a security consideration. So I had a life-or-death struggle to cram my poor leather purse into my carryon bag. I personally believe that this is a sop to screeners so that they don't have to replenish the stack of bins as often, and that there is no other rationale whatsoever for it. I nearly forgot to extricate my Burt's Bees lip balm from my purse to shove into the ubiquitous Ziplock :shock: ("turn this plane around or I will liberally besmear your imperialist face with magenta goo!!"). Did utterly forget my contact lens solution, which no one remarked upon. Didn't remove shoes. Nearly lost boarding pass as well as green card.
Fucking hell.

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Post by kjshd05 » Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:50 pm

Hil, I was told the same thing, and had to cram my mini back pack into my carry on, kept my shoes on, and I agree, how in the hell can anyone looking at an xray machine move items thru so quickly?
Once on the plane, before I sat down, I removed my mini and put it under the seat in front of me...then a nice man hoisted my carry on up into the overhead compartment..
I got to the gate with about 12 minutes to spare, before boarding
began...good thing the flight had dinner, I was bloody starving after all
that running around and waiting in queues...

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Post by Chari910 » Thu Mar 29, 2007 3:47 pm

Marie and I had a pretty smooth trip to Gatwick. We upgraded to first class on the express train and asked for the Fast Track passes to go thru priority security line. That was sweet. We were able to get something to eat/shop for more souvenirs and made it to our Gate right when boarding started.

I'm ready to go back again!!

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Post by Moira » Fri Mar 30, 2007 7:57 pm

Thanks for posting those great photos!

Oh I want to see London again!

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Gillian
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Post by Gillian » Sat Mar 31, 2007 9:58 am

I HOPE that photo was taken after we exited the premises advertised by this sign, and not before:
Wow. Just, wow.
Who needs bouncers with a sign like that.

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