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25th July 2009

I do like Boise, Idaho very much, though many people in the UK have never heard of it. Only thing is it can be very cold in the winter, with a heavy dreary inversion hanging over the City, too cold to go out and now in summer we are enjoying 100 + degree Fahrenheit (I don’t know what it is in Celsius), so now it’s too hot to go out. We performed the show in which I am currently appearing – ‘The Comedy of Errors’ in a temperature of 107 degrees. And I have to wear a full length nun’s outfit. It was even too much for me and I love the heat. Still I feel very lucky to have had this work. The run is nearing its end and I will be back in the UK end of next week and I have enjoyed every moment of my summer.

It has been wonderful to play Shakespeare again after many years and revisit the pleasure of his characterizations and his language. I previously played ‘Perdita’ in ‘A Winter’s Tale’ on television and Portia in the National Youth Theatre’s ‘Julius Caesar’, not enough Shakespeare in a career as long as mine. But maybe I will get lucky again in the future. I feel good that I vocally managed an open air theatre that holds 600+ people and we did not use the body mikes so prevalent in today’s theatre.

We (many of the Company) floated the Payette River this week, over several small rapids in about 7 boats with plenty of beer, fried chicken and fruit. What terrific fun it was, although the ‘pilot’ of our boat did say as we were about to plunge into our first rapid, “you have been told what to do, if you fall in, haven’t you” (we were wearing life jackets). “No” we said in unison. So he instructed us, but all was OK and there were no serious accidents. Wonder if I’ll ever float the Avon, if I’m invited to Stratford on Avon! Don’t think it has any rapids, but I am not sure.

Stratford holds happy memories, the first being of a visit with David Hemmings to see David Warner doing all three parts of ‘Henry V1’. David W was wonderful but loaded with angst and darkness with the weight of all three plays at a young age. But David H soon cheered him up, with many jolly drinking sessions, magic tricks, at which David H was wonderful and silly practical jokes, at which David H was also wonderful. I remember one wonderful moment when David H and Andrew Ray, for a dare, crossed the huge dining room of the grandest hotel in Torquay, at teatime, with all the ladies in hats and gloves taking afternoon tea, on their hands and knees. Andrew and David were on their hands and knees, not the ladies, I hasten to add. There was much consternation and amazement from the ladies and howls of laughter from those of us watching them from behind the pillars in the room. This was during the filming of the film ‘The System’, a wonderful film, with yours truly giving a pretty good performance.

I miss David Hemmings, who died too young, although we hadn’t been in touch for a while. I miss too, John Daly, David’s erstwhile partner at Hemdale the Company they formed together which went on to great things, Oscars etc. I hadn’t seen John in a while either, but I remember him so well, as a charming, funny and clever business man – he died last year. DH as David was known was introduced to this bright young insurance salesman by a friend and John promptly sold life insurance policies to me and David, two out of work actors, who needed life insurance like a hole in the head. DH and I had broken up by the time I landed my part in ‘The Lion in Winter’, but John was there to buy me champagne etc in a celebratory dinner.

However life goes on for us fortunate ones left behind, but too many have gone recently and one just hangs on grimly, determined to extract every moment of what’s left in time to do in this life. There is a great deal of pleasure at this later point in one’s life, when you are just happy to go with the flow and enjoy each moment. More again soon from the good old UK!


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