Monday, March 12, 2007
Like my hat?
Oh WEEP ye jealous mortals, ye envious clay!
(why is it I always get a new hat on a bad hair day?)
And yes—before you ask, I’ve worn it outside, in public, with actual people. No one has said anything yet, but I can’t figure out if that’s the famous British reserve or not being able to figure out what they’re seeing (“is it some new fashion trend?!” “Yes.”) or if they’re just green with envy.
I have to confess, gentle readers, that owing to a certain indisposition on Saturday, I didn’t make it to Apsley House. And when I presented myself bright and bushy-tailed this afternoon, the house was closed. I thought I sensed a malicious presence behind the door giggling at my frustration, but that was probably my imagination. Probably. Luckily. Covent Garden was still open, so I did a bit of shopping. I very nearly bought an antique makeup case with an ornate “N” on it that I thought looked like Napoleon’s seal…which was sitting right next to a bust of the emperor himself. The guy behind the counter offered it to me for £25 which caused a short bark of derision. I may not be an expert in antiques, but I was pretty sure I had seen the Napoleon bust at a tourist stop in France. Then I had to go waltzing into Nauticalia and to finally buy the pack of Nelson playing cards I’ve had my eye on (they were on sale!!!) and also a Nelson bottle stopper, which I intend to stick into a bottle of Napoleon brandy in a highly ironic manner. I managed to not buy a scale model of the Victory, but only because I really can’t justify useless objets d’art unless they started life as theatre props. That, and the ones on display were tacky and plastic. I considered buying the wooden model (on sale for £200!) and making a project of it, but decided I have shipped (ha!) enough stuff home for one trip. I also, somehow, said no to a signed program of Richard III with Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier. Somehow. It was hard…I did ask the seller if he’d be back next Monday…oh, I tempt myself. Lessee: Food/Olivier. Food/Olivier. Food/Olivier….
Then I went to see “The Entertainer” at the Old Vic. I wanted to see it mostly for it’s value as a revival of an old and groundbreaking play, but I was completely drawn into the story. It’s about Archie Rice, a music-hall entertainer who is trying to keep his form of entertainment going while his family slowly decomposes around him. It’s quite shouty, but the playwright managed to keep it from being a mess and everyone got their points across. I’m fascinated by this script. I would have loved to sit in on rehearsals. The performances were amazing—no, not amazing, they were inspired. There was no “Development” of “Character:” everyone arrived onstage fully formed and totally willing to launch into this savage piece. It was so good. I’m going to buy the DVD of the movie when I get home—Laurence Olivier first created the role, and he’s in the movie. Wait—how have I not mentioned that yet?! Oh right: because this play was BRILLIANT and all you people reading this in Britain should go see it.