London and Me or Play It Again Sam Part 8

[This post is reconstructed from semi-coherent posts and tweets on Facebook and Twitter.  Social medial experts call it microblogging.  I call it leaving a trail to remember I was there.   If you forgot who or what Winston is, click hereIf you want to read past installments click here.]

June 26

11:00 AM

There’s not much time to be a tourist today; I have a matinee performance of Much Ado and an evening staging of Butley.  Exhaustion is catching up with me.  So after a breakfast becoming more Continental than English, I opt to stay in and relax as much as I can on the sloping bed.  I doze off and dream.

*****

black pug

Winston wonders when the good times will roll. Courtesy of Uglyduckling on Deviant Art

I’m vaguely aware of a soft cold nose nudging me.  It’s Winston again.  Only he’s being stroked by flashy grinning version of myself.  It’s Jodi. As a child, I called Jodi the evil twin I wish I had.  As an adult I realize she’s my id, according to good ole Sigmund, one of the three parts of my psyche- id, ego, and super ego.  (It’s good to read a lot of psychology.)  Usually it’s Jada, the super ego, who does all the thinking and talking.  But ever since Winston discovered Happy Pills, Jodi has had more to say.  Knowing pleasure loving uninhibited Jodi, this is probably not good.

“Ah, sleeping beauty finally awakes,” says Jodi.

Winston drools.

Jada is as practical as ever.  “She really does need her rest. Don’t want to get sick do we?

“Yes, but look at the missed opportunities.  We could be shopping on High Street or at least finding Lords of the North!

I hate when theses chats happen as if I’m not here.  “Look, you weren’t awake for almost two days and sleeping on a bed that feels like it might tip over.  And stop spoiling that dog!”

Jodi flops Winston on his back and rubs his belly.  “Oh, but he’s such a cutie.”

Winston snorts in delight.

“He’s a cute horror. *You* don’t have to deal with him.  What are you guys doing out anyway?”

Jada begins. “We do need to talk about Winston.”

Jodi protests.  “What,  here, in London?”

Jada begins again. “We need to plan-”

Jodi interrupts. “We need to plan what we’re doing tonight.  Evening performance. Saturday night.  A night on the town… ”   She wiggles her hips. “There’s a club next to Hagen Daz in Leicester Square.  You saw last night.  Looked like where the beautiful people in black go. And there were some sexy guys…”

Jada pales.  “We didn’t come prepared for that – sort of thing.”

Jodi grins. “Oh, you even remember what that – sort of thing- is?”

I laugh.  “Beautiful? Well that leaves me out.”

Jodi is not phased. “You should have brought that little black dress.  It’s not too late to hit Marks & Spencer and buy another one.”

“C’mon, I’m really tired.”

Another voice pipes up.  “Yeah, me too.”

Winston sits up.

Oh.  I haven’t heard that voice in a while.  The three of us turn to look at a figure sitting in the shadowy corner.  I peer harder since I’ve never actually seen her.  She’s a younger version of me, much younger than expected, perhaps twenty years.  Oh my, she seems to be lagging behind.  She’s the third element of my psyche, the ego.  She rarely talks so we call her Quiet One.

“I think we should rest and take care of Winston.  We have two shows to sit through so let’s just plan where to eat and take it easy.”

The three of us gape.  That’s the most she’s said in a long time.

Jada coos.  “Hello dear.  That makes a lot of sense.”

Jodi sags.  “Well, she speaks and I’m voted down, naturally.”

I smile. “Good to see you.”

Quiet One smiles back.  “It’s good to be here.  Really.”

Jodi teases. “Oh, we *are* feeling good, aren’t we?”

Winston huffs.

*****

DT and CT in Much Ado

DT knows the good time are rolling.

I awake feeling a bit more refreshed. Winston whines it’s time for lunch so we head back to Leicester Square. There’s an Italian franchise restaurant with a 10% off tourist coupon.  Good enough for me. Finally back at the theater, on time and with a hearing device, I attend the matinee performance of Much Ado. I’m again shocked to find my seat in the 4th row a little off center.  Did Mr. Awesome give me another lottery ticket?  I can’t think enough kind thoughts about that man.  David Tennant is still in fine form although the afternoon audience seems a bit subdued.  He soldiers on and I’m not disappointed.  The audience peps up enough to give the ensemble three curtain calls.

4:50 PM

I debate heading to the backstage door even as I find my feet taking me there.  Lo and behold I locate a spot only three people deep and slide in.  I’ve already gotten footage for his fan club so there’s no purpose to being there except to get his autograph.  However I already got that hard won signature after his Stratford performance as Hamlet in 2008.  What do to? I notice I’m a bit taller than most of the people around me.  I am considered tall but seriously, this crowd is short.  Catherine Tate makes her way around the cordoned area and I impulsively hold out my program over everybody’s heads.  She immediately grabs and signs it.  Cool!

Well, should I go for a matched pair?  DT follows behind Tate and the crowd gets a bit wilder.  He smiles and chats and dives down for photo ops with a child.  He’s nearly in front of me and again stoops for a child.  A handler whispers it’s time to go in.  What the hell.  I shoot my arm out just as he rises.  Tall DT grabs the program from tall me and signs.  He turns to go.  He’s done.  Groans erupt around me.  I walk away grinning like a fool.

Winston chuffs.

Jodi is jubilant.  “SCORE!”

Jada tuts. “You should have allowed somebody else to get that you know.”

“But I wanted a matched pair!”

Quiet One laughs.  “Still that was cool.”

Jada isn’t finished. “You already have  one, why do you need two?”

“Awww, oh c’mon!   Jada, you’re really no fun.”

Winston snorfles.

Quiet One compromises.  “Look, why don’t you got back to the stage door. If you don’t see a needy child to give the program, then you can keep it. Okay?”

I don’t and keep it.

WIN.

 

7:30 PM

 

http://www.jagrant.com/chat/

Paul McGann remembers when the good times rolled.

Still filled with joy from the DT caper, I set out for the Duchess Theatre to see Dominic West in Butley.  Actually, I’m seeing an old crush, Paul McGann in the cast for old time’s sake.  My paper maps fail me as I can’t make out the odd side streets of this part of the West End.  I wander in circles until finally remembering to use Google GPS to find the damn place.  Butley it turns out is a two act biting comedy written by Simon Gray.  Butley is a washed up professor at a college who signals his disillusionment by being a slob, profligate and total bully.  Paul McGann plays Reg Nutall, the closeted boyfriend of Butley’s much abused closeted protege, Joseph Keyston.  Reg is a guy who doesn’t take abuse lightly and sees right through Butley.  PM plays him smooth, calculating and tough. It was a good performance and worth the ticket.

Almost immediately I realize I can’t hear the actors from my seat near the back. Winston stirs and sticks his head up in interest.  I approach the head usher at intermission and ask for a hearing device.  Let’s call him Mr. Nice.

Mr. Nice: I’m sorry but this theater wasn’t outfitted for hearing devices.  That is a problem.

Winston: Ruh roh.

Me: *crestfallen and about to ask for my money back*  Oh, so there’s nothing you can do?

Mr. N:  *thinking*  Come back to me after intermission is over.

Winston: Rawr?

After intermission.

Me:  I’m back.

Mr. N:  Follow me.

Mr. Nice take me down to the front row and whispers to a patron to move his stuff from a spare seat.  The man looks a little affronted.

Mr. N: This is her seat please.

Me: Thank you.

Winston sighs in disappointment

From that point on, I could hear the actors just fine;  they are right there.

I sit inwardly smiling.  Maybe I should find how to get an Irish Sweepstakes ticket.  Does that still exist?

London and Me or The Play Is the Thing: Part 7

[This post is reconstructed from semi-coherent posts and tweets on Facebook and Twitter.  Social medial experts call it microblogging.  I call it leaving a trail to remember I was there.   If you forgot who or what Winston is, click hereIf you want to read past installments click here.]

June 25

much ado poster6:45 PM ish

It’s not a good idea to rest my eyes for a second.  I open them and realize I should have left already for the theater.  I poke around my bag for the precious ticket alarming Winston.  Confident I have everything, I rush to the Tube.  I pelt fast see a waiting train -should I have turned left, not right? – and jump on it.  Time looks good until the robotic voice calls out the wrong stop.  Oh shit, I’m going on the wrong direction!  Teeth gritted I jump off two stops further north and try to cross to the other side – except my Oyster card is confused and won’t let me through the turnstile.  It insists I should continue north, not south.  A kindly conductor spots my ditzy tourist self and sorts the situation.  Finally my train arrives.   Time is very tight; if I’m lucky I might get to Wyndham’s at 7:30 PM sharp.  If I don’t, I won’t be let in until intermission. I can’t believe I got this ticket only to miss half the show?  Damnit!

Winston sticks his head out of the bag in renewed vigor.  Annoying little bugger.

The journey feels interminable.  I swear my iPhone is slowing down just to spite me.  I push through the horde of people to the turnstyle.  Wait, where’s my Oyster card? I pat my pockets. Shit! I’m cursing aloud. I’m going to miss the show!  I look up to see a conductor pushing towards me.  He must have heard me because he opens the  turnstile and points towards the stairs to Wynham’s.  Oh thank you!  I bound up the stairs and race into the theatre and down the hall as the third bell sounds.  SHIT!  I hold up my ticket; am I too late?   The usher waves me through.  Glancing over my shoulder to see how many are behind me, I see her stop some latecomers.  Oh wow. Winston chuffs in disappointment.  Heh, take that little bugger.

I’m quickly sorted out by another user and find myself seated in the 3rd row on the floor, dead center.   My seatmate to the right is the lady from earlier in the day.

Woman: Hi, didn’t I see you this morning?

Me: Yes, you won the lottery ticket.

Woman:  Well, it looks like you did too!

I’m stunned.  Mr. Awesome must have given me a lottery ticket.  I’m actually speechless.  No matter, the lights drop and Much Ado About Nothing with David Tennant and Catherine Tate begins.

Much Ado About Nothing productionSince I didn’t have time to pick up a hearing device before the first act, I have some difficulty hearing the dialogue, but that doesn’t bother me.  DT has my interest from the moment he drives onstage in a golf cart.  The setting is early 1980’s Gibraltar.  He plays Benedick. He  and his crew serve in the navy. Catherine Tate plays, Beatrice, the niece of the Duke.  The show played for all the laughs it can get and the audience is receptive.  In the most modern version of Shakespeare I’ve ever seen, we are treated to discos, stag parties, blow up dolls, slapstick and covert sex.  It’s right up my alley.  DT does a brilliant job in the comedic role and frankly outshines Catherine Tate in her own specialty.   Tomorrow, I’ll have my device for the entire show and will be a better judge in reviewing the performances.  This was the purpose of my journey.  It has been worth it.

I’m a very happy camper.  SQUEE!

10:45 PM

After the show, I head to the stage door.  I already have DT’s autograph from Hamlet a few years ago, so I don’t need another.  His fan forum wants footage of him and I’m there with my trusty iPhone.  The crowd although pushy seems a bit more controlled than the ones in Stratford.  I’m pressed but not beaten up.  Making one of his fastest changes, he’s out and working the crowd.  He’s one of the most considerate and sweetest celebrities I’ve ever seen when dealing with his fans.  Although he’s no longer the Doctor on Doctor Who, he still takes special care with children.

 

David Tennant in London at Much Ado Backstage Door

Back stage of Much Ado with David Tennant on June 25, 2011.

 

It is a cool night but the rain stops by the time the autograph session is over.  I head to Hagen Daz to for dessert.  Leicester Square is a madhouse in the evening but it is invigorating to be out and about like this.  I did some shopping, visited the London Transport Museum (one of my faves), and had a bit of dim sum in Chinatown.  Not bad for my first full day in London.

NEXT: When two squees collide