I am not even sure I can give this blog a title. I just know I had a few more things to say before I tumble into Hamlet at the Park Theatre, http://www.parktheatre.co.uk It opens 2nd of December playing briefly until the 14th. My nerves have settled a little, as I feel my way towards Gertrude, who strikes me as harder to access than a stone. She is so much trickier for me to grasp than Cleopatra (in Antony and Cleopatra), for instance. It amazes me when people immediately state how suited they feel I am for Gertrude, when I feel she is cold, easily manipulated and while she thinks she knows her own mind, she does not at all. She has never really been allowed to know herself. My hunch is that at the point when the play occurs, it is the point when Gertrude is experiencing some form of an awakening to herself and her wishes, and she is not sure she likes what she finds.
When I state these ideas to the Captain, he responds with the fact that there are many, many women who only come to realise who they might be in their middle years. Their life has been propelled by other people, beginning with their parents, then their husbands (usually), followed by the arrival of their offspring. When their children reach an adult age, the woman of middle years has a chance to look at what happened and what will happen.
On this assessment, I realise that I am not a usual woman. I never felt that I did what I was told, and if I did, it was made known by me to the oppressor that I was not pleased about it. When I did eventually choose to marry as a heterosexual woman, it was in my thirties and the choice was mine and the Captain’s. Due to a long and by now tedious history of my own personal biology which can be read in my archived blogs, the Captain and I did not manage to have children, so being a mother has not been part of my life experience. Gertrude, in all these aspects, is new territory to me. Not to mention that it is Shakespeare’s language and it has been set in a time which will remain a secret to the reader. You will have to come and see it to know that. In addition, I do not think Gertrude is actually very honest, to herself or to others, which makes her a polarised opposite to me. So, I am being challenged massively. I think I like it.
Now, you may have noticed that Dylan Thomas is being much celebrated. The Captain and I went to stay in a cottage run by the Landmark Trust near Carmarthen in a village called Llanarthney. It overlooked Paxton’s Tower and the Botanical Gardens of Wales with a dome designed by Norman Foster. The sitting room window offered a panoramic view of green hills that took my breath away. We walked in the rain and sun, took hot baths and sat by the fire. We ate one night at Y Polyn in Capei Dewi, and I would venture that it falls into my top ten restaurants in the whole of the UK. We visited Laugharne, the town where Dylan Thomas lived with his writing shed still in tact and on which Under Milk Wood was based. It recharged our batteries in an inspirational way.
Television recommendations include BBC Four’s The Detectorists written and directed and acted by Mackenzie Crook with Toby Jones co-starring. It is delicate and sweet and I am convinced will be commissioned again, since while the story is about a group of metal detector enthusiasts, it actually, cleverly is about being human and wanting to make one’s mark in life. Channel Four’s Scrotal Recall is the opposite, but delightfully funny and written with insight by Tom Edge for Clerkenwell Films (of The Misfits fame).
As we are now in November, I am looking forward to eating cheese fondues with the Captain. We recently adored our baked potatoes with the richest fromage frais and chives that money could buy. I know, it is hard to cope with the glare of our wild and wicked lifestyle choices we make, is it not? Well, my only remaining vice is alchohol, and while I am rehearsing for Hamlet, I cannot cope with the 24 hour hangovers that I get nowadays. Shame, but true. It did not stop me from enjoying a Negroni the other day. (Campari, Red Vermouth, Gin, equally measured and I like to add a boiled cherry after it has been through the ice and shaker). Manhattans also continue to be a favourite. But ONLY one. ONLY one. No more than ONE.
On the transfer from Summer to Autumn, which has been hilarious with it’s 25 degrees temperatures in the last days of October, I have found both my hair (which is growing out from short) and my skin unmanageable. Here’s the science bit, to quote Jennifer Anniston: For the face, Biore Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser and use a Clarisonic face brush. LIFECHANGING, certainly for blackheads, at least. For the hair, Klorane Almond Milk shampoo, smells the way Vidal Sassoon’s smelt in the seventies, of marzipan, and gives the hair body. Elvive Extraordinary Oil Mist for hair that smells beautiful and behaves itself.
That’s it. No more to be said. I will just get on with the play now. See you all there.