What is lost when fame is found?

These are some reflections on fame that have occurred to me after being present for The Old Vic (London) production of Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’ four times, and lining up at the Stage Door on several occasions, and some comments on the production itself. Not a rant. More of a ramble. A long and winding ramble.

I admit to knowing nothing about the play before seeing it, and booking my first ticket because it starred Richard Armitage, one of my very favourite actors. All I knew was that it depicted Salem, Massachusetts, amidst its witch-hunting madness. I cried the first time. In the courtroom scene, Jack Ellis as Deputy Governor Danforth so terrified me that my stomach was in knots of anguish, and I actually wanted to cry out ‘No! Stop!  This is wrong! Can’t you see what’s happening?’ When he explains the facts of witchcraft cases, where there are no witnesses, and you have only the testimony of the victim, he asks “What is left for a lawyer to bring out?” The logic there is so apt for the time, yet so warped by today’s standards that I was just dumbfounded. I felt like I was floundering for an answer. Well, the second time I saw it, I could have cheered when he entered, because he so gripped me that I knew I was in for a hell of a ride.

Samantha Colley as accuser Abigail Williams, and Anna Madeley as Elizabeth Proctor also made strong impressions on me, for very different reasons. Samantha was totally fearless and unforgiving, yet nuanced and scheming. Anna was subdued and sombre, showing little appearance of emotion until the end, when Elizabeth confesses to feeling uncertain of how to show her love for her husband, when she sees herself as “so plain and poorly made” that she didn’t believe she was worthy of “any honest love”. As we come to understand that John Proctor truly does love and treasure his wife, the awareness of their lost opportunities is incredibly poignant.

At first, I assumed that the play would be a starring vehicle for Richard Armitage, with the other actors in supporting roles. Partway through the courtroom scene that first time, it dawned on me that Richard hadn’t been on stage for quite some time, and although I love him to bits, I hadn’t missed him for a second. Because the other cast members were so completely ‘in’ their characters and the dialogue that I was dragged along by the hair and the guts with them. I think as soon as I left, I realised that I wanted to see it again, very much. Not because of Richard, but because of everything. Every aspect of the production.

This serves as an introduction to my thoughts about fame. My first visit was to a matinee. I returned at the end of that evening’s show to line up at the Stage Door, hoping for an autograph from Richard, and maybe a photo. I got an autograph, but while waiting in line, it was strange to see the other cast leave the theatre with little notice from the ‘fans’. Admittedly, I’d been sitting right up the top in a restricted view seat so I had trouble recognising some of them out of costume, especially the women who all looked quite similar from that distance, until removing their head coverings. But it was strange. We were lining up for this ‘star’ as if he’d done a solo performance and everyone else on stage was simply support crew. I recognised Jack Ellis leaving, that night, and felt a wave of new fangirl delight, and sadness because I couldn’t leave the line to speak to him. I live in London, so I could easily have turned up one night in the previous weeks for an autograph before this. But as I hadn’t then seen the play, I felt that I had not yet earned the right to ask.

I think it was three occasions after this that I went to the theatre in the afternoon, hoping to see some of the cast as they arrived. I had a notion that until they entered the theatre, they might still be in ‘real-world’ mode, and feel alright about talking to people. Plus, I’m pretty good at being nice and polite, remaining aware that I’m asking for a favour that they’re not obliged to grant. Although not having worked in professional theatre, I have been involved in amateur productions (as a musical director) and this matched my own feelings when arriving for a performance – once I get inside the building, let me do my thing, but before that, the preparation hasn’t really begun.

I met numerous cast members, and sometimes there were one or two other fans waiting as well. I remember the delightful Chris Godwin (Judge Hathorne) who had smiles and good humour for us all. He drives an old car and I had the clever idea to ask him about it. I complimented it, asked its age, and we were rewarded with a laughing tale of how he came to own it  (the previous owner once ran out of petrol, and left it in their garage intending to buy fuel, but twelve years later they still hadn’t, so sold it). Because we were polite and respectful, he gave us a moment of his time and happily signed autographs and posed for photos. The beautiful and delightful Marama Corlett, who contorts her body so frighteningly as Betty Parriss, arrived, and I asked for an autograph on my ticket. She asked who to make it out to, and wrote ‘To dear Lyla, thank you, love Marama Corlett x’. I mentioned that my friend and I had thought she must be a dancer to move her body like that, and she said yes, she used to be. She also looked me up and down (not in a weird way) and asked if I’m a dancer (I’m a lot taller than her, have a long neck and relatively slim, but alas not a dancer). Perhaps my guessing that she’s a dancer is something that a dancer would say..? She did not give the impression of being in a hurry to get inside, and seemed genuinely pleased to receive our compliments. William Gaunt (Giles Corey) and Ann Firbank were lovely and happy to give a couple of minutes to well-wishers. One night I decided to tell Ann that her performance reminded me of Katharine Hepburn because of her character’s inner strength and stoicism, and she thanked me, remarking that Hepburn was “one of my gods”. I was thrilled to meet Anna Madeley one afternoon, and see her beautiful smile lighting up her face, after watching Elizabeth’s seriousness. She even asked the stage-door-man what time Jack was likely to arrive for me.

Speaking of the brilliant Jack Ellis, I am lucky to have spoken to him twice. On the penultimate night I lined up solely to see him and was able to speak to him briefly.

But Richard, on the other hand…

While I can genuinely say that I ‘met’ Jack, Samantha, Anna, Chris and Marama (not so as they’d remember me, though, obviously), I can’t possibly say that I ‘met’ Richard. He very generously gave his time to fans after every single evening performance (six days a week), signing autographs, posing for photos and accepting gifts. But fans are lucky to make eye contact with him, unless it’s down a camera lens, as he tries to autograph as much as possible. That’s not ‘meeting’ someone. His bodyguards gently ushered him along the line, trying to keep fans in order and off the road, but often had to cut short his time when people began swarming and standing on the road. On Friday night, when I arrived early to wait right at the Stage Door for Jack, I got to talk to these friendly gentlemen. One of them explained to me the situation: because the theatre doesn’t own the footpath, they can get in trouble from the council if they seem to be taking over and disrupting public space. It’s also a residential street on the Stage Door side. So if they don’t behave themselves, the council could stop them from allowing people to be there at all. There are apparently police patrols around there at times, too, watching them. Also, in the modern climate of litigation and blame-placing, the theatre is at risk of being sued if someone gets hit by a car while trying to meet a star.

I lined up again after closing night, as I had a letter for him on behalf of a Facebook fan group. Being in the stalls, I managed to exit through a side door pretty quickly after the bows, but, as usual, many fans had arrived well before the end just to line up (and probably more for the closing night). Hurrying away from the Stage Door, the end of the line was now around the corner, in front of the theatre. And it wasn’t even a ‘line’ now. It was a crowd. I saw one of the bodyguards, Ola, pass and remind everyone to stay against the wall. I asked helplessly if he thought Richard would make it this far, and he said he thought he’d try. But looking around me, I think I knew it wouldn’t be a positive experience before it happened.

We didn’t actually have to wait very long. Richard seemed to appear very quickly after the end of the play, and before we knew it he was suddenly at the corner. His bodyguards were actually pushing through people to make a path for him, heading straight for the front door of the theatre, and they didn’t return. They passed within about a metre from me, but the only way I could have given Richard or Ola my letter would have been through aggression and shoving someone else, so tightly packed were we at that point, and I’m just not like that. It was awful, and it made me so very sad.

Those of us present at any performance had cried, laughed a bit, and had our minds challenged and our hearts broken by the cast. Every minute of the play was emotional and thought-provoking. There are two mentions of ‘stone’ in the play, that I recall. John Proctor says, in anguish, to Elizabeth in Act II something like ‘if I were stone I would have cracked for shame this seven-month’. In Act IV, Danforth urges Elizabeth to convince John to confess, and her lack of outward emotion leads him to shout “Are you stone, woman? An ape would weep at such calamity.” Whatever may have been in the hearts of audiences taking their seats in The Old Vic this summer, there could certainly have been no stones unshattered three-and-a-half hours later.

And this is why the chaos at the Stage Door so appalled and upset me. Yes, I’d been part of it on other nights, although the line in the side street was well-behaved when I saw it, and quietly gave their thanks to Richard and let him move on. But the swarm of people around him on Saturday… He became a commodity that we all wanted a piece of, like the latest iPhone, or a packet of Tim-Tams at afternoon tea, rather than a person we respected and a performer whose work we cherished. There was no love there, no heart, and not much respect. After the shock had diminished, I returned to the Stage Door (wondering what to do with my letter). A new friend I’d met via the Facebook group joined me. We were able to speak to Samantha Colley as she exited and she offered to take it for us. I clearly remember seeing Jack standing there in the parking spot, looking perfectly comfortable to spend time amongst the fans, as no-one was being a nuisance.

I spoke to him again then, and I think he might have remembered me, because he asked how many times I’d seen it. He also asked if I thought that night was the best, and listened while I explained that I couldn’t tell, because sitting in such vastly different seats (up in the gods compared to the second row) makes it seem almost a different production. He said that he found that interesting, and seemed genuinely complimented when I expressed how much I’ve enjoyed watching his scenes, and how much he terrifies me. He even smiled when I asked gingerly if I could touch his jacket (it was black velvet, and I’m a total sensualist), and he agreed that he likes velvet too. He even answered thoughtfully and honestly when I asked if he knew whether another of the bodyguards was there, who I had a card for. That night he stood in that parking spot amidst fans for probably ten minutes or more, happily conversing with anyone who wanted to speak to him.

Richard’s level of fame now means that he will be used to this, I expect, and knows that this behaviour will now accompany all his appearances. No doubt his fame will also increasingly provide him with the freedom to have more choice in the roles he accepts, whereas lesser-known actors sometimes take roles more for exposure than artistic merit. And of course, he’s one of the lucky ones to achieve financial security, not forced to search for work because of the necessity of paying bills. But what he’s lost is the ability to connect with genuine fans and well-wishers in the way he once would have been able to. How many eyes did he really notice light up at his appearance in that dim street? Did he truly feel our love and respect, or did making an appearance simply become a task that his good nature continued to repeat? We’ll probably never know.

He has spoken of some very memorable and moving letters received from people around the world during this production, which he’s sure to remember for a long time, and he very generously provides autographs for his management to respond to fan mail. He has also spoken of his awareness of audience reactions during the play; the holding of breath, the laughter, the silences (sudden grief was audible, too; a whisper of a pained groan that would suddenly clutch our insides). But it seems to me that people with that level of fame, and more, lose the chance to interact personally with their supporters. It seems that their own safety necessitates keeping their distance most of the time, not allowing them to look with focus into the faces of people they’ve inspired and moved. We know that John Proctor stayed with Richard after each show, and that he didn’t really want to shake him off completely. Many photos of him outside the Stage Door seem to show an expression of tiredness and sometimes vagueness. I’ve seen that, too. He can look a little removed from the situation, as if on autopilot. And the stark contrast between this and the broad grins on the faces of Samantha Colley and Anna Madeley as they were able to stop and interact with audience members in safety and relative calm.

There are a few times in my life that I’ve been a bit of a ‘celebrity’ in a situation. As the Musical Director of several high school productions, each year a few students in the cast would ask me to autograph their programmes, present me with gifts and bring their parents to speak to me. I once performed a clarinet solo at one of my singing teacher’s house concerts. I chose a much-loved piece over something showy (the slow movement of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto) and did my absolute best (thankfully, my performance just about reached my hopes for it, which thrilled me). On another occasion I performed a flute concerto with a local community orchestra. After these latter two events, I was greeted by audience members praising my performance. Managing to set aside my ever-present self-criticism and accept the praise they were offering made me extremely happy, and filled with warmth. I saw in their faces the glow of appreciation and enjoyment at what I had given them, and I couldn’t help but feel honoured.

Cast members of The Crucible who were able to interact properly with fans would no doubt have felt this. Performers who spend years learning their art, and learning to be critical of themselves, will always be pleased to know that they got something right in the eyes of their audience. Their hard work has earned them the reward of seeing the glow of admiration on the faces of their audience.

Is one of the accoutrements of fame the necessity of translating anonymous crowds into those individual smiling faces? Needing to hold on to those moments of genuine interaction with a supporter in times of madness and chaos, and shoving and security guards, and autograph-hunters trying to make money who mutter curses at said security who only want to keep everyone safe. Every cast member other than Richard had just enough fame to be recognised outside the theatre, and were excellent enough to receive attention from audience members. But not so famous that they feared for their safety or anyone else’s, or risked creating chaos by their very presence.

Richard undertook the Ice Bucket Challenge on his birthday, at the Stage Door after the play. Another cast member, Michael Thomas, did the challenge a few days later, after a matinee. This was publicised so fans could be present to watch and make donations collected by other cast members. Richard wasn’t present for this. I assume, because of the fact his presence would have taken the attention away from Michael and created unnecessary drama.

Many people easily criticise the rich and famous, and believe that invasions of privacy and fan mania are somehow deserved, and a perfectly acceptable part of their life – that they do indeed become public property, and have chosen to do so. I don’t agree with this. I believe that anyone who tries hard to do their job well, and gives the impression of being a decent, honourable person, earns and deserves respect from all quarters. (If you’re an arrogant s.o.b., however, who has become famous without much actual talent, you don’t.) I think that’s why I felt so upset at the sense of anticlimax that night. So many people were left disappointed (including me) because it was just such a difficult situation. It was nearly 11.30pm, after 7 hours’ intense performance for the day. He gave what he could to his fans, and was swept back inside the theatre for his own safety. Returning to the Stage Door, there were other cast members appearing to calm yet happy fans, many of whom were somewhat nervous about asking for autographs and photos, but with the time to speak words of gratitude and admiration, and make a genuine, albeit momentary, connection.

~ ~ ~

If anyone made it this far, I thank you. I’m not sure that I organised my thoughts very well, but I did warn you that it would be a ramble.

😉

~ L.Q. ~

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29 thoughts on “What is lost when fame is found?

  1. felinefemale says:

    We purposely chose the very first preview night Sat. eve June 21st for the chance to meet Richard at the stagedoor when everything was still new and interesting. My husband asked innocently had he received our letter with the Daniel-Day-Lewis letter (photocopied) written to me in quill pen and ink on parchment, circa.1692!! (when he played John Proctor in the film of the Crucible 1996.) which we sent R.A knowing that he models himself and is a fan of D.D.L, and he said regretfully ‘ Oh, I’m sorry, I’m a bit behind with my post!’ Poor man looked quite guilty as though he’d been told off! So I said You like D.D.L. don’t you? We know you probably get about 6 million letters a week’ and he nodded and put his arm around me as I had my photo taken with him… he is such a sweetie and so tall, I had to bend my head back to look up at him close to (pure adoration in my eyes – sickening I know, I’m SO embarressed!) A few days later, I read an interviewer saying that he had been going through his post in his dressing room going in early to read it!’ So he does remember some things said to him maybe at the SD! He spoke at length with the American girl behind us who was somehow related to the character in the play, Rebecca Nurse and was very interested. The queue wasn’t so long- not round the corner, we spoke to Giles Corey too.

  2. april73 says:

    That’s a great report. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I’ve seen the play twice in July an once in September, it was wonderful. 🙂

  3. nellindreams says:

    Thanks for this thoughtful post! Both stage door experiences I had in August were calm and friendly, once he stopped his tour abruptly behind us, but there was no pushing or whatsoever. The 2nd evening he took more time to pass the queue.
    I appreciate his commitment very much and had not expected to actually “meet” him. I realized he had to change his stage door habits after the previews – it would have become to strenuous after those intense performances.
    But I would not have dared to leave the queue to talk to the other actors leaving the Old Vic althoughI would have loved to ! 😉 And I really regret this!
    Last Saturday everything culminated with the crowds due to the last performance day – a sad exception but obviously partly to be expected given the additional security provided by the Old Vic.
    Richard Armitage was, as Kaprekar said, the draw to the play and as his profile rises he will hopefully cope with public frenzy. Although this will sadly put the barrier higher between the fans and him.

  4. I’m thrilled that you were able to enjoy the play four times–and see Richard Armitage in person several times at the Stage Door! Lucky Lady! Cheers!

    • Thanks Gratiana! I definitely am, especially considering I’d only been living in this city for a couple of months when I heard about the play! Australia misses out on a lot of great art due to being so far away from Europe and America. Great memories. 🙂

  5. NYCPAT says:

    Reblogged this on Obsessive Behavior and commented:
    This is a really thought-provoking post on The Crucible experience, and follows nicely with what I have shared about it.

  6. NYCPAT says:

    Great post! Well done! I made a point to try to wave to the other actors or give them a thumbs up or send them tweets because I thought they were all amazing. Jack Ellis in particular and Natalie Gavin. Others just bypassed the SD line without looking at us. I only saw The Crucible once and I feel fortunate to have seen it live.

    The STAGE DOOR EXPERIENCE should be a Uni course, I think! LOL! We all have our perceptions, feelings, theories and reactions to what was going on there. The closing night of the show was not the time to expect any meaningful interaction though, I think. I don’t blame the fans at all. I agree that it was all about crowd control. London VERY different from Broadway, for example! On Broadway there are barriers between the fans and the Stage Door. Fans fight for spaces on the barrier for popular actors, like at a movie premiere. There’s very little interaction with the actors other than to compliment them, maybe get an autograph or picture. Maybe. They don’t always even stop by at all, but leave by another exit. I think Richard is a hero for what he attempted – to go to the SD and face the line-up every day. He did the best he could. Some people got some interaction with him. They were the lucky ones.

    Thanks very much for sharing your experience in such a thought-provoking way.

    • Thanks for your thoughts. I actually had no experience with stage door visits much before that, just at Wicked (also in London), which was pretty calm. I’ve seen some footage of Idina Menzel outside her show in New York and I understand what you mean. I agree that Richard did a very special thing for us and we’re hugely lucky. 🙂

  7. SH says:

    This was a great read, thank you for sharing.

  8. jholland says:

    I also wish I had taken the time to acknowledge the other cast members. I am happy to say I chanced upon Natalie Gavin and Adrian Schiller outside the Pit Bar one evening, and expressed my appreciation to them. They were both truly superb. For what it’s worth, I think RA did everything feasible, and more, at the Stage Door. During the previews, I read many accounts of personal interactions, as if the celebrity Richard was on holiday for a short while, but time constraints, exhaustion and ever increasing demand required the celebrity approach as the days turned into weeks and then months. It was so special for him to have continued despite his fatigue, and it warms me that he made the effort for the entire run. I do feel that the final stage door was a let down, that excitement caused the crowd to surge and shove and made him uncomfortable. He didn’t deserve that, and it’s regrettable that those who would have been orderly were overrun with those who were not.

  9. Juliette says:

    Very interesting & thought provoking post.

  10. Servetus says:

    Thanks for this; it is interesting and well-written.

    re: meeting other actors — Before I was there, I wondered why the other actors were not getting more attention, but it became clear to me after I was there two or three times. At least three weeks ago, one could leave the line and talk to the other actors and rejoin the line at the same point if one spoke to one’s neighbors, but it made people really tense. I did it on one night and spoke with Corlett, Atwell, Niles and Colley — all very generous and to some extent funny people. Corlett was also getting pestered by an autograph reseller that night. But it obviously bugged the people around me, so I stopped. Everyone in the line is responsible for keeping the temperature down and obviously my moving around circumvented that. I had spoken to Schiller on the afternoon of the bucket challenge when the security people came out and said, no pictures, no autograph requests — which cut the crowd by about a third. I would have liked to have spoken to Ellis as well, in particular, but every time I saw him, he left via the side street and without pausing which indicated to me that for whatever reason, a stage door encounter would not have been one of his choosing. And for whatever reason I never saw (or perhaps did not recognize in her civvies) Natalie Gavin.

    I’ve read (roughly speaking) just short of two dozen accounts of the Saturday stage door from different people who were there. Given what was being reported by Monday, I also think Saturday’s atmosphere was predictable well in advance, so I don’t know why the theater didn’t take measures.

    My bigger question, though, after observing this fandom for so many years, and looking back further into its archives, is about the persistent discourse of loss we perpetuate among ourselves. If we read back into the archives of the forums, this is observable as early as 2006/7 and Robin Hood (and perhaps there were earlier manifestations of it that I have not seen). Fans regret, in progression, that Armitage no longer wrote personal letters in response to those he received; that the messages had slowed down or lost a personal quality; that the treatment of the crowd by the show’s staff at the Dibley event (collecting gifts for him in garbage bags) suggested that he didn’t care enough to meet fans; that messages appeared to have stopped; that the barriers at the BAFTA ceremonies meant one couldn’t really speak to him; the while he was filming in NZ delays on obtaining an autograph or a response from him were incredibly long and he appeared to have missed many requests; that the Hobbit premieres were too massive to let people meet him; that if you were standing on the wrong side of the street at one of them you couldn’t see his face; that as The Crucible progressed, after a few wonderful evenings, it was no longer possible to speak to him at the stage door, have a picture taken with him there, or eventually, even to reliably get an autograph.

    Somehow that stuff buries the alternative strand: that increased demands on his time mean increased popularity and salability of his work; that he was working more and thus busier; that the fandom had expanded in ways that made it impossible for him to be aware of it all; that it was possible to see him in person and maybe get a candid at a premiere (candids before the Hobbit were quite rare); that he was available at the stage door every night except one for all the performances of the play — and that he has a Twitter account now and it’s not unreasonable to expect that we might hear more regularly from him now and in a much more informal tone than of late.

    And then there’s the whole luck thing. I think of Monday, August 25th. I think we often have a notion of merit in relationship to these sorts of things. What I observed at the stage door suggested quite the opposite — that there were people who were skilled in navigating it or figured it out, and/or you could be standing in the right place at the right time and still not find what you were looking for.

    Finally, I’m not trying to pooh pooh what happened on Saturday, although after reading so many accounts, it appears to me more a problem in crowd control than the result of malicious, grasping, or inherently bad behavior from fans. (And many people in that line were provably not fans — they were autograph resellers or celebrity autograph collectors.) My question is why the prevalent label for discussing it all over the fandom (not just here) is one of loss, rather than marking the caesura of his career and the move to the next level. Why do we not rejoice that in all of these moments when (IMO) very inadequate crowd control overall by the Old Vic *could* have had negative consequences, there were one (or perhaps two) evenings when something problematic happened?

    • Thanks for your comments. I always enjoy reading your words. Yes, I do agree that the theatre should have had more awareness of how things were progressing with the crowd as weeks went by, and even made arrangements with the council (who they have to be careful not to upset by letting fans block the roadway). I wasn’t aware that the idea of loss has become so common in the fandom. I’ll admit I don’t read too much of the fan sites and blogs, just dabble here and there, and usually find out things like this way after they’ve happened. 😉

      For me I think the sense of loss was about the human side. I love that he’s become more widely celebrated, and he might not have to fight quite so hard for roles he wants in the future, because he’s more bankable. I think it was about me, too. When I was surrounded by people pushing and shoving on that last night, thrusting things in his face to sign, I suddenly realised that I had a choice to make. That I could be just like those people (and yes, it’s true, many of them probably were just autograph hunters) treating him like he owed them something, demanding his attention, or I could remember that I’m not inherently like that. And if I disliked seeing that behaviour in others, I didn’t have to do it myself just to get my way. It made me very sad that people behaved that way. But then, I’m always disappointed when people can’t just play nice. 😉

  11. kaprekar says:

    You are right – I encountered Richard 4 times over the summer but I feel I only met him once. But is this any surprise? Richard was the draw to put “bums on seats” after all. I’m amazed he did SD almost every night – I think he missed one time – and apologised for that! Plenty actors avoid the stage door at least some of the time – he could have escaped via the main exit o many occasions I am sure – but he chose not to. He could not give every fan a meaningful moment – but he did what he could in the circumstances.

    • ceallaig says:

      This, right here. He was under NO obligation to do the stage door,and I don’t think, after the rigors of the play,anyone would have had anything to say about it if he didn’t , or if he didn’t do it each time. And if things had gotten unpleasant, I am certain he would have stopped doing the door. He chose to keep on, giving as much as he could to as many as he could. Was it the sort of ‘close encounter’ you would have liked? Maybe not, but he’s one man, with a lot of demands on him, and doing his level best. I’d rather say he’s to be commended, and I hope to Mahal the guy is taking a nice long vacation somewhere where there is skiing!

  12. guylty says:

    This was really interesting, Lyla, thank you for that. I braved the SD three times myself, and only ever had positive experiences with the crowd. But all you say is true – there is no “meeting” and I also felt a bit ashamed for not giving the other actors their dues. Because they were fabulous. I am very glad to read that you made the effort to show them your appreciation. I should’ve done the same…
    Your general comments on the SD past, recent, and future, were extremely interesting. And I agree with you – some of it leaves me feeling very uncomfortable.
    Thanks for writing this up.

  13. Perry says:

    Reblogged this on Armitage Agonistes and commented:
    Tweeted by Herba, this is a good read about a fan who also took the time to meet the rest of The Crucible cast.

  14. Silent in Flames says:

    Thank you for so eloquently expressing my exact feelings. I was there on Saturday. I had also been there a few months earlier, end of June, so I was utterly shocked at what path things had taken in the meantime. I am very saddened for Richard, he did seem to enjoy the calm and very behaved Stage Door back in June, when he took much more time than he did recently. On Saturday, I was standing at the corner of the building and I saw his face, his eyes when the crowd rushed toward him. I was scared myself even though I stepped back so the crowd rushed away from me. I saw him raise his hands in a defensive gesture, heard him say “slow down” and then he was gone.

    How must this change for the worse make someone so good-natured feel? :((

  15. I had such a nicely written response and then it was lost. Needless to say I agreed with all your thoughts. I really wish you had your one moment like you did with the rest of the cast. I think your best chance of this would have been during the preview week, in hindsight.

    • Thanks Fernanda. I’ve read a number of reports of people getting to talk to him early on, and having a really calm, lovely time – and that he did seem to enjoy it. I know when I’ve been involved in live performances, I love talking to the audience afterwards. Sure, it’s nice to be complimented on your work, but it’s a great feeling when you see the look in someone’s eyes showing that you’ve just given them something they really enjoyed; that you made them happy. I’m sure he would have enjoyed that early on, and it’s a shame there was little opportunity for that as time went on.

      The thought did cross my mind to visit the stage door early on, but I was still in the process of working out when my friend in the country could visit and see it with me. I know not everyone felt this way, but I didn’t feel that I had *earned* the right to see him and try for an autograph/photo before I’d seen it. I just couldn’t bring myself to before I’d actually supported his work properly, it seemed like exploitation. I did hope to miraculously bump into him around the city one day though, but alas! hehe

  16. Thank you. I enjoyed reading about your experience. I have been living vicariously through everyone generous enough to share their thoughts.

  17. I’ve only read the play, never seen it. And you’ve made me want to hop in line for it. Good thoughts!

    • Thanks Apple Hill! I’m sorry I’m sooo late replying to these comments, but I’ve had the most appalling few months with home internet, it’s been a nightmare! I hope you have or will get to see the filmed version! It screened in London and I thought it was brilliantly done. Gave a slightly different experience to seeing it live – more cinematic – but I thought it *really* worked for the format. 🙂

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