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Monday, 17 October 2005


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A gem of a post, David. (See, I can do it when I really try.) Not for the admission of blind spots. We all have them, some of us mature enough to merely lump them. But for the admission that you directed a Stoppard, and I admit that I'm impressed. How did it go? And I'd like more of that, please.

BTW, you're quite wrong about Pinter, as Tom Stoppard will tell you.

BTW 2, would it kill you to add me to to your "Some of the Blogs I read"?

D'you know Stoppard's tale of being the Motoring Correspondent of a paper when he couldn't drive. "I reviewed the upholstery."

'Dave', I'm embarrassed! I'm always taking a look at your 'hurriedly scribbled words' and I can't think how I missed you off my list. However, I should warn you that I failed completely to understand how to put up a links list until the friendly host of
helped me. Alas, I may well have forgotten again by now but I will give it a try.

As for directing Stoppard, I have been lucky enough to direct 'EGBDF' and 'Travesties', as well as 'Arcadia'. I belong to the Richmond Shakespeare Society which has its own 100-seat theatre by the Thames in Twickenham and produces 8-10 plays a year - two of which are always Shakespeare. We are only amateurs but around that part of SW London there is a considerable 'gene pool' of acting talent which helps raise our standards - sometimes!

For 'Arcadia' I was very lucky in my cast. A young woman called Helen Linstead played Thomasina, and she was the best 'Thomasina' I have seen, and that includes the many professional productions I have been to. My Septimus was excellent and has since gone professional, as has the man who played Bernard Nightingale. It was just one of those shows where everything came together and I treasure the memory of it. I do think it is the job of a director to serve the writer and I think, or hope, that I did just that, and that if the man himself had been there, he would have nodded in approval. I should add quickly, that I discovered that Paul Shelley, who played (superbly) Bernard Nightingale in the West End and on tour, lived nearby and I wrote to him inviting him and his wife, Paula Stockbridge, to come and give us a talk. They both came and not only did he chat to us but he stayed to watch the rehearsal and both of them offered some excellent and pertinent tips and hints. Even better, they did so without the slightest sign of patronising us. They also came to the final performance. Great mkemories!

'Dearieme', thanks for that typical example of Stoppard's wit. He used to write for one of the Bristol papers, in the days when there was more than one. Fortunately for him, and us, he never went to university and thus avoided the damage that can do to any young talent. I admire him for several reasons but perhaps mostly for the way he deploys his wit to cover the deadly seriousness of his topic.

Oh God! If only I had the wherewithall to stage "The Coast of Utopia"!

Ahem, if you DO consider and get the wherewithal to restage "The Coast of Utopia" can I insist that you re-employ Douglas Henshall as Bakunin who was so hilarious at the National? (And if you do, can I help out in the production in any role you have to offer? Pretty, pretty please...)

Damn, the shame of it. Pleading at Duff and Nonsense. It must be a bad Monday morning (with no lunchbreak today: teaching straight through... For the love of Hegel, I need to schedule lunchbreaks!)

Oh, Lisa, Lisa, Lisa .... How can I persuade you away from your obsession with that 'Jock MacThesp' with *ginger* hair, for God's sake; and those creepy, slightly bulbous, blue eyes; and, my dear, those freckles!!! I think you should consider the worldly charms of the older man. The distinguished silver hair, the slow but stately gait that speaks equally of gravitas and rheumatism, the gentle *brown* eyes with only a hint of wateriness, the gentle aroma of Laphroag on the lips .... I could go on, but I'm sure an imaginative girl like you can fill in the gaps.

Actually, Henshall was good in those plays, as indeed, were they all. I saw all three on one day, an unforgettable experience. I just wish they would reprise that production but I guess economics rules the day. Pity! (And those idiot Swedes gave their silly prize to Pinter. You couldn't make it up!)

Incidentally, Hegel had no love, the rotten, little, proto-fascist toad!

I'm sorry... I'm feeling rather ill...

(and btw, I do use the phrase "for the love of Hegel" in much the same ironic tone that Stoppard wrote it...)

Spurned and crushed - again!

I didn't recognise the quote mostly because I haven't actually got the script. Each time I go to the National I mean to pick one up but the Bar always intervenes!

I'm sure your ego can cope.

BTW: the scripts were available via Amazon with a bit of money off not long ago. Radical suggestion, but you could always buy them! (Alternatively, second hand book stores and remainder shops can offer the most obscure of delights like this).

Thanks, Lisa, but I only think of it when I'm actually at the National. Besides, my pile of unread books is growing! Mind you, were I to get a sniff of a chance to actually work on the trilogy, I'd be on to Amazon, or abeboooks, like a shot.

What's happening up at Nottingham? You should post more on what the Playhouse has on offer.

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