It was one thing to go to the V&A, which I didn't realize was free, in the company of another history enthusiast and fellow fan. She shepherded me, or we shepherded each other, around the ancient, medieval, and renaissance exhibits, around the jewelry collection, and through the silver and glass corridors to the secret members' tea room, which was beautifully tranquil and had lunch available. She got me a lovely tea and gave freely of her painkillers (apparently we synced over the internet before meeting), and we sat and talked for quite awhile before I gathered the wherewithal to get to the Globe.
We arrived just as the doors were closing, barely in time for the opening lines of Julius Caesar. It was spectacular. I can't even begin to explain how much more important the Globe practice of entering and exiting through the audience becomes for a play in which the most important character is the Roman populace.
Brutus and Antony were both crying messes for at least half of their impassioned speeches, respectively, and it was perfect.
I went to the Swan to get some iron content in my stomach and he and half the rest of the cast wandered in and dispersed through the bar about 20 minutes later. The girl who had been standing near us in the yard came and sat down with me and talked to me for awhile, then encouraged me when I mentioned I was gonna go say hi and good show.
So I went over after I’d finished my pie, and told him how much I’d cried. He said he hoped they hadn’t been tears of boredom! No, we were congratulating him on his performance. It was a sad play! We talked about how not only were empires falling and politics grinding but also how tragic it is to see friendships breaking up, especially deep friendships like that between Brutus and Cassius.
We spent a long time talking about how important humanity was in Shakespeare and how much he loved the play and this was the part he’d wanted when he first read it and sometimes it can get to be about ideas instead of people and I was like “but Romans are people too” and he was like “exactly!” and we dorked out about performance and character. He did comment on how basically straightforward it was to do with this material, as you have to say the words and think them, and I agreed as how there’s probably a reason we have this theatre that’s for the sake of the one playwright, but even considering the greatness of the text, you have to say the words and think them and I have to believe them. And that what is great about the Globe is that I always believe you.
He noted I must have been to the Globe before so I told him about Scottish Play last year and Antony & Cleopatra two days before and how mind-blowingly awesome they were and he asked where I’m from so I told him my Massachusetts-California-Houston spiel. We talked about how LA is hard to live in unless you know people because he’s been doing a couple plays there over the past few years and then the girl who came up with me for moral support (who had been talking to the lady Brutus was sitting with) mentioned how London’s not much better, and we talked about living in big cities and friendliness. Everyone had been pretty friendly to me, I said! But he thought LA was easier to make friends in, which surprised me.
He complimented me on my hair and scarf and so of course I told him Fry had said that and he said “aha, that means I have good taste” and asked if I’d seen Fry in Twelfth Night and I explained I’d seen it on Broadway and also cried even though it wasn’t sad and he said well but even the comedies have a kind of melancholy to them and we talked about how humanity contains melancholy, even comic characters like Malvolio.
I explained how I’d been floored by not only Fry and his tragic Malvolio but also Sam Barnett and his exquisite Viola and he said he and Sam were in the same year at RADA! And we talked about how awesome Sam is, and I asked if that meant he knew Jamie Parker, and he did! Not in the same year, but he actually knew him before RADA because of school in Edinburgh. I told him I’d gone to see Jamie in Guys & Dolls in Chichester last week, and he asked how it was. I told him it was previews, so it was just a tiny bit rough, but I don’t even particularly like that show and I loved it because Jamie was genius. He (though he loves the show) agreed how he thought Jamie must be perfect for Sky, since despite his natural bounciness (someone who knows Jamie Parker well agrees he has natural bounciness) he is so good at playing bleak, and there is a bleakness to the character that has to come through if it’s going to be good, if it’s not going to be *jazz hands* “its a musical!” (and he actually did the jazz hands, it was charming). I agreed, and said that as much as I love musicals, for me to be invested it has to be at least marginally Real. And that brought us back around to character and performance and how awesome the theatre is. I told him I was trying not to be weird, as I do perform and I know it can be weird, but he was very sweet and said as how it wasn’t weird at all, but very kind, and he really appreciated talking with me and how lucky he was to be here doing this.
And I took my leave and he charmingly introduced himself as Tom and asked my name and we shook hands and I ambled out with the girl who came up with me for moral support. (We went the wrong way, but it was all right).
So chalk another actor up in the ranks of proper dears who will enthuse with you about the things they’re doing. His name’s Tom Mckay. Keep an eye out for him.