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31st May 2012

I am sorry that I will miss the Queen’s Jubilee, especially as my flat in London is on the river and I could have seen some of the flotilla, although the Queen gets on her barge a bit further down from me. Still the apartment is rented out and duty to grandkids calls here in Idaho. What would you do? No choice really, especially when you know how much I am seeing of their growing up.

When I was doing shows like DANGER MAN, THE SAINT, RANDALL AND HOPKIRK....ETC, little did I dream where my life would take me and frankly Idaho held rather bad memories for me, so I did not really want to come back here. However now some of my best experiences are happening to me here in Boise and I wouldn’t miss them for the world. Even as I write my 10 month old grandson is trying to help me write this......BLISS.

I do miss the anticipation of a call from my agent saying read this script or get to this interview, but one phase of life at a time, I think or one really do not fully participate in the activities of the moment. Yesterday I went to see THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, with all those wonderful English actors in it. The theatre was full at 4:30pm, which shows the demand for films of this kind, which really is about old people, trying to find a meaningful end to their lives. It is superb, the script, the acting, the extraordinary visions of India. I do recommend a visit. The actors all came from the best background, experience and training and I hope the drama schools of today teach their students, the crafts they will need as well as all the other things, like character development and motivation. You can be the most brilliant actor in the world, but if your audience cant hear you, what’s the point?! I know many people will disagree with me, but all the great artists of the past did learn the basics of their art, before they took off in their own direction. It is so frustrating when you go to a theatre or a movie and haven’t the faintest idea what is going on.

I had a wonderful time in London, a lovely flat in South Kensington, courtesy of my closest friend. I saw A MAN WITH TWO GUVNORS and laughed like a drain, no wonder it is such a hit in London and New York. The girl sitting next to me was invited up on the stage and it wasn’t till much later, that I realised she was part of the show. Like a fool, I kept on encouraging her, as she was acting so shy, saying “go on, it will fun, you’ll be fine”. When friend Terry Frisby and I realised that the man sitting next to her, wasn’t with her, we caught on that she was a plant. But she was brilliant, had us fooled! It is rather a pantomime, but so what, it was hilarious. Saw MISTERMAN, a strange play with one actor the terrific Cillian Murphy.

Why are the Irish such excellent actors. Many of the Celts and Gaels are brilliant, you know; we have the Irish Peter O’Toole, Richard Harris (sadly now gone) Anthony Hopkins (Welsh) Richard Burton (Welsh) and many others, they have an intensity and daring that often we British actors do not have. It’s an inner soul thing and our more uptight heritage doesn’t allow it. Although I suspect we had it before the Victorian age came along, with everyone trying to be proper, well mannered and being seen to do the correct thing. Of course this all rather superficial speculation, but the truth is there somewhere.

Now on to learning the lines for THE YELLOW WALLPAPER. I did a one woman play some years ago VIVIEN LEIGH, A PORTRAIT, which ran for just under an hour and having learned the lines for that swore, I would never do a one person piece again and here I am planning another one. To learn it, you have to break the script into segments and identify each segment in your memory somehow, to get from one thought to another, because, if you get it wrong, you literally lose the plot and neither you or the audience know what’s going on. I much prefer two person plays, they are fun, especially if you have someone good to spark off.

I did one two person play in Hollywood SEA MARKS by Gardner McKay, who had been a well know actor, turned to writing. It was more of a love poem rather than a play, set in Ireland about an English woman and Irish fisherman, who have a love affair. I did it with a very good actor Joshua Bryant and we had a great time. The spark was there and the play worked. I remember going to meet Gardner to discuss the script at his house in Hollywood. He kept some wild animals up there, including a couger or a panther, maybe it was both. I have blocked it out of my memory till now. Gardner said “just come through the gate, they wont hurt you”, so, although I was pretty terrified, I did. I must have been a fool or incredibly brave. Needless to say i did not get eaten, but I did not go back again to his house!

So there we are folks. I shall be glued to the television for the next three days to see how well England does its pageantry and it does do it well, largely because it’s all for real!

Till next time

All content copyright Jane Merrow