06/07/2014

LONDON - THE CRUCIBLE EXPERIENCE


After all these years, at last 



I know you've been reading  all those excellent reviews the show has been getting after press night and I don't dare compete with them. This is just my totally biased account of an incredible adventure, the one my friends and I shared going to London to see The Crucible and, of course, Richard Armitage. Can you imagine how thrilling it might have been meeting him and, above all, seeing him in action on stage? I bet you can, if you know me at least a little. And can a dream come true meet expectations? Yes, unbelievably so, in my case. Even surpass them. Before you go on reading, here are a couple of due warnings: 1. you'll find some spoilers here and there 2. you may suffer from sudden fits of envy or jealousy. Sorry. 



The Crucible  - My review


Yaël Farber's adaptation of Arthur Miller's play is a powerful show: it has the power to touch your heart, provoke your brain and punch your stomach. I heard Miller's classic drama about persecution and mass hysteria risks to be removed from school syllabuses  in the UK. What a  pity! Nonetheless,  it is successfully  back on stage thanks to Farber's atmospheric, thrilling adaptation  performed by a brilliant cast led by Richard Armitage

The Crucible  tells of the infamous Salem witch trials that ended up with innocent bloodshed  between February 1692 and May 1693. 

The director's main aim  seems to be connecting those ancient facts to the present-day as much as possible. Fear of  the unknown, of the foreigner, of the different has provoked collective hysteria on more than one occasion in history and the frightening power of false accusations has brought so many lives to an end so often. 

In order to create a connection with more recent events,  the opening scene of the play develops around a pile of shoes on the floor, at the centre of the stage,  ashes pouring down from the ceiling. The actors enter in scrambled order, sit on chairs and wear a pair of those shoes.   Shoes and  ashes are all that is left of the victims of past horrors, the actors are ready to be in their shoes for three hours and thirty, they are ready to give them back voice and life. (I was sorry this scene was cut when we saw the show again on 2nd July)

Then the story starts off, constantly accompanied by a gloomy, low, visceral soundtrack and, mainly,  in a very dark, minimal  scenery. Impossible to remain untouched, impossible not to notice how engaging this show is. The energy the 24-actor ensemble conveys through their intense facial expressions,  frantic movements, overloud voices is undeniable. I was completely absorbed in the story-telling,  concentrated on and concerned about what was happening on stage. It was simply magical. It was as if I was part of the story. I found myself gesturing, nodding or shaking my head in denial to what I was seeing or hearing. 

If you don't know anything of the plot, my advice is to read the text before you see the play,  so that you can focus on other details. Or if you can, do as my friends and I did:  we saw it twice. We could notice a lot more, that way. 
If you haven't decided yet, I recommend you to go and see it. Farber's The Crucible  is breathtaking, mind-blowing, gripping. I came out shaking and speechless after seeing it for the first time. More than moved, as I thought I'd be, I was shocked, angry, frustrated and puzzled. 

I think nobody can see this show and remain indifferent . Except,  maybe,   if they decide to leave the theatre during the twenty-minute break and having seen just the first half of it, like the 3 people sitting in front of me on press night one  on 2nd July.  Those three people made me terribly happy, because I could see everything perfectly after they left, but I suspect that one of them, the only man in the trio, might be the author of this awful, unfair review on the Daily Mail. If only he had stayed on! I would have seen less perfectly,  but he would have written a different review. That's for sure. 

How many stars, you ask? I think... Five with honors and distinction.


John Proctor



Richard Armitage as John Proctor - my edit

Richard Armitage is a passionate John Proctor. Stunning acting, I was in awe. I must confess I studied him the second time: his movements, the strain in his muscles and sinews, his stares, how he used his hands, his feet, his voice. I was sitting aside the round stage and could see everything from a very short distance, a privileged perspective indeed.
Richard's guilt - ridden John Proctor stands up proudly when in  public, shouts and roars aggressively and becomes frightening, almost feline, when he chases bold Abigail or disobedient  Mary, but he bends his shoulders and head a little and  speaks  softly when with Elizabeth, his wife. His wife... The scenes between Richard Armitage and Anna Madeley were  my favourite ones. No, no, don't get me wrong! Not because of the shirtless moment, which I think is an extra bonus for Richard's female fans he graciously accepted to perform. 


I liked it much more once John put  his shirt back on and Elizabeth entered the stage. Their postures, her stiffness and his restlessness, their silences spoke volumes. There was palpable sexual tension, there was desire suppressed and denied. There was so much said in the unsaid, that I found their acting touching and realized I was not breathing. 

When all that tension was released in the end,  and their marriage renewed in their final passionate kiss,  my feelings were overwhelming.
At that point, I was already shivering because of the helpless, visceral cries with which Richard had delivered Proctor's famous quotes: "I say:  God is dead" and "Because it is my name". After John and Elizabeth's moving farewell,  I was totally smitten, undone.

To relate with John Proctor while watching the show is really a shattering experience. I was exhausted, tachycardic. I just can't imagine how Richard may feel  at the end of each performance. May God give him the strength to relive such an absorbing, devastating experience so many times in the next two months and a half.  It must be cathartic but, nevertheless, draining.


Meeting  Samantha  Colley aka Abigail Williams



Samantha Colley on stage and outside the Old Vic with me and my friends - my edit 
On our first night at the Old Vic, on 30th June, I sat in the Dress Circle with my friend Antonella, the rest of our friends were, instead, downstairs in the Stalls. At the end of the show, still shaken and a bit confused, I followed  Antonella downstairs,  in order to join the others. 
Since we couldn't find them outside, I stood at the main entrance and Antonella walked toward the stage door to see if they were already there waiting for Richard to come out. Of course, they were. How could I doubt?
While I was waiting for Antonella's return at the main entrance, the young actress playing Abigail Williams passed by and stood just next to me waiting to cross the road. My friend got back right then and I whispered,  "Look at this girl! She's Abigail!" . With no hesitation, Antonella called out: "Abigail? The lovely girl turned, smiled at us,  surprised and happy.  

We talked with her and she answered kindly and was so grateful for our compliments. She told us her name was Sam, that this was her first experience on stage after drama school, that she was humbled to be chosen for such a great play and in a leading role.

We asked her if she liked being Abigail, admitting we had hated her while watching the show.   She told us she definitely liked the role,  especially because she can relate to Abigail and understand her  reasons . "Abigail", she said, "is desperately in love with John Proctor. And once you feel her motivations, you can understand,  if not like, her".

"And what about the other Salem girls? Why do they do what they do?", Antonella asked. "The others are just sheep!", Sam admitted. "While Abigail is strong and manipulative, the others are gullible and weak".

We had been talking for a while, when Sam suddenly asked: "Sorry,  but ... Aren't you going to see Richard?" I'm sure we stared at her: "Ehm, yes, but no hurry, there's a long queue."

We congratulated her again before saying good - bye. We were astonished after discovering  how young she was and how different from Abigail she was!
She is new in the profession, but talent compensates everything she may lack in experience: scary and bold on stage, sweet-and-disarming-in-real-life Samantha Colley, turns into an amazing Abigail, and interacts with the rest of the cast so convincingly! 

I met her again at the stage door on 2nd July and she posed in photos with us and signed my friends' books. She left saying to me: "Bye! See you later" . "Later!?!",  I thought.  When? Where?

Guess what? I saw her later! She was talking with 2 people at Waterloo Station while we were getting to the underground and I thought, " She was right. We've seen each other again,  later". Gosh. Sam/Abigail must be a real witch!


Meeting  Richard  Armitage


Richard after the show, by my friend, Luisa. Wrong date, it was June 30!
The first thing I noticed was that he was tall, just very, very tall, as I expected. He is handsomer, slimmer and looks younger in person. I  also noticed how different his natural posture is respect to that of most of his characters. Since I had just seen an imposing, fierce John Proctor on stage, that was my term of comparison when I met him at the stage door.  Nothing imposing, overbearing or fierce in Richard 's posture,  he looked meek and laid-back. He was wearing jeans, a white t-shirt and an olive green jacket. 

He was clearly exhausted and a bit in a hurry,  but approached the line of people standing neatly and stopped to talk with them, sign  autographs, smile at their comments, pose for photos with them. 
I was ready with my copy of Miller's The Crucible opened on the first page. I didn't want Richard to see the book cover,  because it was just the ugliest one I had ever seen! My book is a MacMillan scholastic edition, with glossary and study questions, useful to a teacher like me, but, actually, the only edition I could find in London that afternoon. I really hoped Richard wouldn't notice it. 


"How many of you do I have to hug?" - Picture by my friend, Luisa
I watched him approaching the end of the line where I stood.  I went on grasping my book and my smartphone, trying to take pictures of him from time to time,   but with nothing intelligent or interesting to say coming to my mind. My disloyal mind had gone blank. 

When he got to my friend Antonella and me, we had just the time to say "Hello Richard!" and he had already taken my book in his hands:  he looked at the blank page, then closed it to have a look at the cover before he signed and ... I wanted to disappear when he gave me a puzzled look or something like Gisborne's smirk  after looking at the possessed girl on the cover. It was just a fraction of a second , you know.  I tried to apologize telling him: "it's just an awful edition of The Crucible" while he was signing it. I finally thanked him saying, "But now it is better". 

He looked at me a bit puzzled again. How silly must I have sounded? He moved to Antonella then,  and I felt  relieved it was over for me. At least,  I couldn't tell him anything stupid anymore.  I stared at his autograph on my book ready to move soon after he had finished with my friend  Antonella. She was a bit more in control than me,  so she told him the proper things: that we were Italians, that she had come from York  and I  from Rome to see the show. And he said: "York? Oh!" and then, addressing to us both he added,  "Bless you!"

When I thought it was definitely over and looked around to join my friends, I felt Richard's hand on my shoulder ... he was approaching me to take a picture... he leaned in ... an automatic blissed smile sprang on my face ... and ... shot taken by Antonella who was super ready to do it ! Wasn't that luck?  My friends went on teasing me all the rest of our stay in London. "She,  the one who didn't ask for a picture with Richard, instead got to get one!".   


Here we are! My one weakness & incredibly happy me. I still can't believe it.

We met Richard again on Wednesday, 2nd July. We weren't sure he would appear back stage to sign autographs again, but he did it  and that day he had performed in two shows in a row: one at 2 p. m. and one at 7.30 p. m.


I already had my picture with him and his autograph on my ugly book, but I was so excited after being almost on stage with the cast that night,  my memory was still filled with blue stares (Richard's) and my heart leaping up in total awe, so I followed the hit of the moment and decided I could do it again. This time Antonella wasn't with me, she had returned to York, but I was with my other Italian friends, who had travelled from Rome to London with me. They had had a picture with Richard all together and wanted one with him each of them alone, instead. 

While waiting for Richard, we congratulated all the cast leaving the theatre from the back door. I saw Sam/Abigail first and called her by her name because my friends wanted to meet her. She joined us smiling, ready to sign autographs and pose for pictures. Then we greeted and congratulated Tituba (Sarah Niles), Reverend  Hale (Adrian Schiller) and Mary Warren (Natalie Gavin). 


Finally Richard came and, like the first time,  he seemed in a hurry, but stopped with anyone queueing for him. This time I asked him to autograph one of his pictures in The Old Vic book of  The Crucible, which I had bought in the foyer.  I told him, "Second time even better, Richard. We saw the show twice". He said, "Really? Bless you." That's it. Again, I couldn't find anything interesting to tell him. 

However, all my friends are now the proud owners of a picture with Richard Armitage and we are all satisfied. 
We stayed there until he signed the last autograph, took the last picture and said good-bye. Bittersweet moment when we realized, "no more Richard Armitage live for us,  but lots of good memories".  

Meeting Marama Corlett


Marama Corlett in rehearsals, on stage and with me - my edit

We were all very happy, satisfied and chatty,  while reaching the underground station to go back to our hotel. At the station, as I've already told you before (see Meeting Samantha Colley aka Abigail Williams above), we saw Samantha Colley again, but from a distance. Anyway,  our lucky encounters were not over yet.
Unbelievably, waiting for our underground train to arrive,  I casually turned my head back and I saw little Betty Parris just behind me. I mean, the young actress playing that role in The Crucible was there just behind me.  How fortuitous was that?  


I was blunt enough to speak to her and she was really friendly when I approached  her with "May I ask you a question?

She was surprised and honestly happy we had recognized her. She even told me something rather weird, "I saw you in the theatre. You were sitting  just on the right of the stage". OMG! How did she notice me?
I just remarked,  "Really?!?",  then told her, "What I wanted to ask you is ... your age! We've bet, you know. One of my friend says you are more than 20, I say you are younger, much younger." She laughed and said, "I'm afraid,  your friend wins."


Marama Corlett and Sam Colley in rehearsals
We discovered several things talking with her in the underground train.   Marama Corlett is her name. She is from Malta. She understands and can speak some Italian. She learnt watching Italian TV with her grandfather in Malta.  She used to be a dancer, but now she wants to be an actress. She has been living in London these past seven years.
She was friendly and honestly interested in our opinions on the show. She answered all our questions with  a radiant smile lighting up her brown eyes and pretty face all the time.  
We asked her about her role, about the changes we noticed between the first and the second time we saw the show. She asked us how we became friends, since we came from different places in Italy and we had to tell her that we had become friends  thanks to our common interest in Richard Armitage.  "You liked him in The Hobbit?", Marama asked. "The Hobbit?!? We've been friends and have travelled to and around England together in the last 5 years", we answered. "Have you ever heard of  North and South? " 
Marama Corlett's official still
Well,  she hasn't. Marama knows Richard as an actor because of The Hobbit, she doesn't know anything of a Mr Thornton from Milton. What does that tell you?  Yes, that she is very young!


By the way, talking with Marama, we happened to know that Richard had appreciated the little gifts my friends E. and S.  had brought him on our first night at The Old Vic.  She told us that in the latest days , he had told the rest of the cast   that he had met many Italians come to see the show and that they had brought him chocolates and a small red luck bringer. We were so excited hearing that Richard had appreciated E.'s & S. 's  little gifts, and even shown them to the other actors in the cast. He had talked to them about us Italians and Marama said that he liked the red luck bringer and asked her if she knew what it meant, and that he had appreciated and eaten the chocolates. (Good, glad he did it.  He needs lots of luck and lots of energy to face the next extremely fatiguing months) We explained to Marama what she might say to Richard about the little red luck bringer. She gently coped with our enthusiasm, she carefully listened on,  looking at us with eyes saying,  "I can't believe I just met you . What a coincindence!"
We took pictures with her and she wanted one taken with her mobile. We said good-bye to Marama at Lancaster Gate.

Marama Corlett is an extremely kind girl and such a talented artist. Her convulsions and contortions on the bed were impressive, as well as her facial expressions and feeble voice were disquieting. She is a fascinating, sweet, little creature. To see her on stage with all the other  Salem girls was a really frightening experience. To meet her after the show,  be granted her smile and talk to her  was a delightful, memorable surprise.



Conclusions. where I confess the last of my sins  (... for now)



Those who confessed were safe and free in Salem. Even if their confession was a lie. However,  my confession here is the truth: at the end of the show, I stole something. I picked up from the floor half of the sheet of paper with John Proctor's fake confession on. It's  the document he signs, then tears, then keeps in his angry grasp during his desperate final soliloquy,  and which he finally throws away.
When my friends saw where I was sitting, they asked me to do it. We had seen where more or less the paper fell during the first show.
So, at the end of the second night at The Old Vic, nonchalantly, after the actors left,  I walked from my seat directly to the centre of the stage (only 3/4 steps away), looked down with a fake  What-is-this?  look,  bent down and collected my prey.
I took it discreetly to one of my friends, who longed to have it. I was astonished at myself. She had asked me that as a favour and I had answered: "I can't do that! Please, you know I'm not that bold". But then I did it,  anyway.  As I also did other things I'd never thought I'd do in my life.  For instance, flying to London to see my favourite actor on stage twice! Do you think I'll go to hell? OK! I think I can do this. I hope I 'll meet John Proctor there.

You can see all my pictures from The Crucible Experience on facebook

For more info about the show visit The Old Vic official site


Thanks to all my friends who were in London with me. Without them, without any of them, this incredible adventure wouldn't have been the same. Many thanks to Richard Armitage, Samantha Colley, Marama Corlett, Adrian Schiller for being so kind to us. 

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

omg you're worse than sock-stealing Richard Armitage himself *giggles* KUDOS. Thank you for your great report

Elena said...

Delightful commentary, MG! Totally agree with your impressions about the play and the experience of meeting actors and lovely Richard, of course. Something I'll never forget in my life, as well as the company of you all my deary friends.
But... did You-Know-Who read about your meeting with the handsome and talented man? I bet is something to empty drawers for.... ;-) LOL

Thanks!

Gratiana Lovelace said...

Loved reading your experiences attending The Crucible (twice!) and meeting Richard Armitage and others. Thanks so much for sharing your remembrances with us! Hugs and Cheers! Grati ;->

Carolyn aka Onemorelurker said...

You're right, I was as jealous as much as excited while reading your post. How lucky not only to meet so many of the actors even if briefly, but to have a chit chat with them. I hope Marama has the opportunity to watch N&S sometime in the future, hehe. How could you not love the man? He must be absolutely drained after every performance and yet takes the time to at least sign an autograph to each person waiting for him...like have his pic taken with the "(not so)shy one" ;-). Sounds like he's really moved by the signs of affection from fans, really happy that he liked the gifts you guys gave him. I've been commenting out loud as I read everything... As if I was reading a very good fic, lol. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Lots of hugs to you MG.

Servetus said...

All i can say is that when I read this from someone I've known practically since the moment I became a fan, and it's so wonderful, it picks up my whole day. What a wonderful experience and thanks for sharing it!

JaneGS said...

Fantastic post to what was clearly a memorable trip/experience both on and off stage. I really enjoyed studying The Crucible in school and would love to see this production--not a chance of it, I'm afraid.

So glad things worked so that you could a photo, autograph, and special moments with the incomparable Richard Armitage.

Maria Grazia said...

Thank you all for visiting and commenting, ladies!

So happy to be compared to Richard in something, Anonymous: if he can steal socks, I may well steal props he held in his hands ;-)

Ciao Elena! Don't worry for me and Mr I-know-Who. The drawers are still full and I've been ironing for him and his sons all day today. In addition, he is not that good at English, so he never reads my stuff. He can understand pictures and photos, though. And those, he was not so happy about! ;-)

Hi Gratiana,
Thanks for your kindness, for promoting my post on facebook and for reading it!

Carolyn! Do you remember when we met in Rome and spent the afternoon/evening talking about Richard? Can you imagine how excited I was at the Old Vic? I'm sure you can! Thanks for laughing at, commenting out loud and appreciating my account. I hope you can go to London and see The Crucible yourself. It's such a rewarding experience! Hugs :-)

Maria Grazia said...

Dear Servetus,
I'm grateful for your sympathy and your words. I'm sure a long term fan like you can totally understand what a thrilling experience this was to me. I hope you'll be lucky enough to live a similar adventure sooner or later, you'd deserve that!
Thanks for promoting this post on your site.

Hello Jane,
I must confess that as it has often happened following Richard's career, I owe him one! I owe him a great one, this time. I mean, I had never read or studied "The Crucible". I studied lots of British Literature but very, very little North-American literature at University. Instead, thanks to him, I read The Crucible first and then even saw the play at the theatre. Now, I've found another immensely interesting text to propose to my students! As I have often written in the past, this man has enriched my life in so many ways and widened my horizons. Now I can say that he also made me do things I'd never thought myself capable of. Nothing indecent, of course. Just what I told about in the post above :-) Sorry you live so far to go and see Richard on stage. But we might have a DVD of the production if our prayers are granted. Never lose hope! Take care, Jane :-)

A said...

How wonderful, I just love your story so much!!! You are a lovely person, I can tell that.

Maria Grazia said...

Thanks A., you're very kind. Did we see each other at the Old Vic?

Marielle said...

I'm a newcomer in Richard Armitage's world and I really would like to thank you for your review on your experience on The Crucible and the cast. I'm going to get my own experience in August flying from the southeast of France with my 16-year-old son and I try to get as many spoilers or indications on the play as I can to make sure I can explain to my son what it is about and get the most of the acting without spending too much time on the understanding. Buying the tickets, I remember, made me feel rather odd: just on a name and an intuition even if I had also checked on the play and Yael Farber just before. Nevertheless, I'm just happy to have done it. I was hoping to share a unique experience with my son and by reading all the reviews, your blog and others, make me feel that it will be... UNIQUE. So thanks for sharing, thanks for all the generosity pervading your post and I can't wait to be hooked by all the tremendous cast.

Faboamanto said...

Thank you so much for sharing your lovely story with us, and wonderful reading about your two encounters with Richard and some of the cast.

Anonymous said...

As a long time professional fangirl I can’t but truly and utterly appreciate your enthusiastic and passionate report, MG.
I don’t agree 100% with the 5-star reviews (the play has its flaws IMHO, it’s a bit too emphatic at times, and I blame the Director for forcing Richard to deform his lovely voice to a strangled howl most of the time :-( ) but I cannot deny I enjoyed every minute of our London adventure!
I’glad you don’t account as indecent the innocent act of stealing a prop, and can’t thank you enough for the preciousssss gift. You know I’ll treasure it <3
xx K/V/M_T

Maria Grazia said...

Dear Marielle,
welcome to "our world" then. I can't deny I am part of it, I have been for a while now. Have you visited my RA-dedicated page? Just to have a clue... To see Richard on stage was the most exciting part of the experience, to see him acting live. More than meeting him later standing in a queue. That was pretty awkward to my standards. As for knowing the play before you go, that's something good to do. I read the play and even saw the 1996 movie with Daniel Day-Lewis and Wynona Ryder. I was moved to tears watching that movie. It's such a terrible story. Tough stuff. I wish you the best for your trip to London in August. Looking forward to hearing from you after you come back!

Hello Fabo,
glad to hear from you. I hope everything's fine, Useless to say I've been FLYING really HIGH these latest days. Still have to land back, actually. Anyway, it was a pleasure to share. How could I not? I'm not so sure it was well written, so many things to share, so many emotions to convey. Not an easy task, especially in a foreign language. Hugs and a smile!

Ciao K/V,
proud owner of the stolen little prop. Have you put it in a frame? :P
As for RA's voice, it was really tired and strained the first night we were there, but not the second. The second, it was perfect. It was the right sound for impotence, rage, desperation channelled simultaneously into one sound. It didn't sound fake, it just sounded tragically realistic. That is my humble opinion. We also discussed the shirtless moment, and we were on different sides. I would have cut out that scene, not the one with shoes. That is using Richard's as a hunk in my opinion, and that is something I don't like much. You instead ... OK... You know, apart from ONE thing (person), we rarely agree on something... which makes it a wonder we are still friends :P Glad we can overcome our differences and enjoy our time together anyway. Super hug <3

Joanna said...

Hi ,Maria Gracia!
Thank you very much for sharing :)
I'm singing... ma ma ma ma ma Maria..hope you don't mind?

Maria Grazia said...

Hello Joanna,
Thanks to you for reading and commenting. I can hear you singing, you know? Not really my favourite song, but it is quite a cheerful one.I don't mind that at all. I'm happy to make you happy! Cheers :-)

Monica said...

I loved your report. Thanks for all the details and pictures. What a great experience!

Maria Grazia said...

Thanks, Monica. It surely was a great, unforgettable experience. I'm still coping with a sort of emotional burn-out. Everyday life seems rather dull now! ;-)

Phyllys Faves said...

What a fantastic experience you had to see such a wonderful production (twice!) and to meet so many of ther performers on an informal basis. Of course meeting Richard and speaking! with him was the icing on the cake!
Thank you so much for sharing this with us, and for all the extra details. I can almost imagine myself there. :)

Maria Grazia said...

Hi Phyllys,
we've known each other for a while now and share our enthusiasm and opinion often, so I'm sure you can understand how thrilling, gripping, exciting this experience must have been. I'll never forget it, I'll treasure it for life. And sharing it with lovely people who can sympathize with me is a real pleasure. As Richard would say, "Bless you" :-)

Twinkling Moon said...

That was an awesome report!!!

Thanks a million for sharing all the details! I am so happy for you and the fact that you were able to meet other folks involved with the production just adds to the experience all the more.

I think it is wonderful to hear of RA's true feelings and sincere appreciation and interest in the tokens of affection he received from the Italian contingent in the audience. How fortunate to hear that and get some follow-up on what was given to him. Most folks never really know what the celeb truly thinks about the stuff given to them.

This is one of the best fan encounters I have read. Thanks for letting the rest of us live vicariously through your experience :)

Congrats on your experience! I think your international voyage was so worth it! *thumbs up*

Well done!

Maria Grazia said...

Thank you so much for your appreciative comment, Twinkling Moon, and for your thumbs up :-)
It is actually a period of firsts for me: it is my first ever experience at "fan encounters", because I have never done something like that, and never had someone I admire so much to take a plane and fly to see him "at work". I know my friends and I were very lucky to meet, not only Richard Armitage, but also other members of the cast. It was a thrilling experience every minute of it. As you say, it was definitely worth it. Unforgettable.

Vava, A country dreaming mum said...

Ah ah ah, sorry for starting with a laugh, but you'll understand when I explain. When I read about one of your friends asking you to steal the prop from the stage, I thought I knew who that may be, and when I read the other comments, I had the confirmation. It could only have been her ;-) Anyway, well done! I loved your review, very captivating and full of the thrill you must have felt. You confirmed just what I expected to read about Richard Armitage, that he is kind, polite, tall and very, very handsome! I am glad for you and the other girls and yes, also a little jelous. I wouldn' be normal if I wasn't ;-)! Silvana

Maria Grazia said...

I don't mind if you laugh, Silvana. My report was meant to make readers smile - inevitable fits of envy and jealousy apart. So... you know our friend well enough to be able to imagine she is now very proud of her special memento. I must ask her whether it has been framed as a trophy and put on the wall in her living room ;-) I'll discover it soon! Enjoy your evening, Vava!Thanks xxx MG

Marielle said...

Hello Maria Grazia,
This is it, the time has come to pack to cross the Channel and come face to face with the Crucible. I still have to finish my 120-page essay but never mind these past few weeks have been tremendously short and long. This word to thank you and all the well-wishers who have written about their experience at the Old Vic. While waiting my time (and I know, I'm lucky), I have discovered a play and bits and pieces of its staging through your eyes. It is not just an actor I am pleased to see acting in flesh on Thursday but also a full cast with characters I have grown to reflect on (especially Abigail). The eloquent 5 star-reviews would not have done the same effect. It is not just like any play you don't have time to think about before going. It is nurtured with your different insights and emotions. So thank you all

Maria Grazia said...

Thanks to you, Marielle, for visiting, reading and commenting. You'll see, it's a very special experience. Not only because of Mr A., as you say. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

Marielle said...

Dear Maria Grazia,

Last Thursday was a great experience at The Old Vic for my son and I. I'm not going to go through it as it has been done so much better by others. It was an audio-description night and I could see a woman perched at the top of the theatre facing (a screen?) and apparently talking. I took a picture of the stage while the people were getting in and a man barked at me: "No photographs allowed!" It made me start. I thought I was going to jump from the Dress Circle. I did not dare to take any other picture right at the end when saluting. I was surprised by the audience. I'm more a concert than a theatre goer but the applause right at the end with no time to settle your emotions down is weird. Eating sorbet while actors are struggling on stage is even weirder (mind you, we had our own very delicious treat and if it can help The Old Vic, that's our small contribution!). And when I stood up for the last applause, I felt a bit lonely as the people around me remained seated. Fair enough! I think I would have crash some sorbet on the man next to me when he commented upon my standing ovation: "Must be one of those XKDFKAOIFN!" It is better I did not hear what was next!
The play and the actors where great. I really enjoyed Abigail's fierceness and childish attitude mixed. Hale's transformation during the play is incredible. All were really good and even their "back" was expressive like in a ballet. Richard Armitage was really convincing as an impulsive man who speaks his heart. His croaky voice when talking to his wife was so moving. For people like us not close enough to really get the facial expressions, the physicality of the acting was enormous.
When going out of the theatre, I went to have a look at the stage door but I could not join in (crazy me!).
Anyway, we had a wonderful evening, I have my "stolen" picture and now that we're home, my son is making some computer sounds similar to those during the play. Great!
Your blog is really amazing and I'm hooked to your comments on different English films or else. Many thanks for your hard work.

Maria Grazia said...

Thank you, Marielle, for sharing with us! We had a similar experience, too. Three people sitting in front of me left the theatre before the break and my friends and I suspect that one of them was a journalist who wrote a terrible review. Many men can be so jealous and envious of other men's success and appeal. Let's ignore them.
I'm really glad you liked the show and quite surprised you didn't join the line to say hello or congratulate Richard and the rest of the cast. Never mind! As I already said, the strongest emotions I experienced were inside, not outside, the theatre.
Finally, thanks a lot for visiting and reading my blog. It's a pleasure to share what I like with lovely people like you. It is rewarding and makes the "work", as you call it, just pleasure. Cheers! MG :-)

Nat at RA FanBlog said...

This is one of the best reviews I've read. I'm so glad you got to meet Richard! Such a cute pic of you two. :)

Maria Grazia said...

Thanks a lot, Nat, for reading and liking my review. I'm sure you can truly appreciate what a great, exciting, unforgettable experience that was!

Guylty Pleasure said...

I cannot believe that I have missed this review and the account of your stage door experiences. Such a joy to read, and brings back lovely memories of what I call "the summer of love". Thank you for sharing that, and for all the other RA goodness you have spread on your blog.
PS: I followed Servetus' link from her post re. your literary festival. I think a donation is in order, as a small thanks for the entertainment and info you have shared over the years. All the best for the festival!

Maria Grazia said...

Welcome, Guilty Pleasure, and thanks for appreciating my The Crucible Experience post. It was so thrilling, unforgettable adventure! I'm so grateful to Servetus for spreading the word about our literary festival and of course I'm in awe for your generosity. Any little help is so precious to us!
Till next RA related post, then! Or whenever you feel like dropping by. Cheers. MG