My UK stage debut

I'm officially famous, and my bf is even more famous. Last night we saw The Reduced Shakespeare Company's touring production of Completely Hollywood. We ended up with front-row tickets, which seemed strange to me since we'd booked quite late. Then WR mentioned that being in the front row quite likely means that you'll be called up on stage. So I told him that we needed to move, now, because I wasn't doing that. Only then there was nowhere else to go.

So, of course, it happened. The 3 actors decided that they needed a body double, so one of them walked down off the stage and stopped right in front of WR and asked him to go up. When he got on stage they took one look at the dress shirt and tie and asked if he was Mormon. I got a kick out of that.

But suddenly the whole "Yeah, all that was left were these here front row seats" claim became very suspect to me. I think WR did it on purpose, because not only was he perfectly relaxed and happy up there, but he also did a really good job! And they made him do a whole speech and everything with the "Tara" theme in the background. So he got a wild round of applause, and I was quite happy with my vicarious fame.

Only then in the 2nd act they decided to bring the entire front row (ie, "The Extras") up on stage. This meant me. So I'm up there, thinking, "Okay, this is fine, I'm in the middle of a whole group of people." Then they decided that someone needed to stand at the front of the stage and be a femme fatale in the manner of Sharon Stone. And they grabbed me. And told me to look seductive and pretend to smoke a cigarette.

I had to tell them (and the rest of the Leicester Haymarket Theatre) that I don't actually smoke, so how exactly should my fingers go? Because really, does anyone pretend to smoke after the age of 7? We got that sorted, and I struck a few vampish poses. Only then they accused me of trying to solicit one of the older British gentlemen in front.

Actor: "Hey! She could be your daughter!"
Elderly British Gentleman in Front: "She is my daughter!"
Actors: (shocked expressions at him, then at me)
Me: (innocent hair twirl while looking off into corner)
Audience: (much laughter)

After a bit more of this we wrapped up and headed back to our seats.

I think my favorite part, though, came at the very end with the applause. We clapped enthusiastically for the actors (with a special nod to WR). And yet, and yet, the audience somehow refrained from rising to give a standing ovation like a gaggle of hysterical Pageant Mothers. It felt so, SO nice not to be guilted into a standing ovation for a show that, while lots of fun, did not actually transport my soul from my body, which is my personal criteria for such a thing. Otherwise it doesn't mean anything. It's like french-kissing your waiter just because your food was hot.

And there you have it--the story of my UK Stage Debut. Oh yeah. I tread the boards, baby.


foodie said... [reply]

I think you may need to consider changing your Master's Degree to theater. It sounds like you were almost just as natural as WR. Way to go Nem!

I have to agree with you on the standing ovation criteria. The analogy of someone french kissing their waiter was so perfect! Thanks so much!

redlaw said... [reply]

I would french-kiss my waiter if the food was good because A) I care about food that much and B) I need the practice. But I am glad that you didn't have to stand - I too think the ovation should be reserved for special occasions - like if I were to make-out with the waiter, I'd like to think that would be enough of an occassion to merit a standing ovation...

Th. said... [reply]


Let me be the third to weigh in on the excellence of the waiter metaphor.

edgy killer bunny said... [reply]

I have decided to move to England so that I can follow you around. No, I'm not going to be a stalker. Well, not THAT kind of stalker anyway. But despite the brilliant write up, I feel that I'm missing out in not actually seeing you feign smoking and seduce elderly British gentlemen with WR by your side. Sigh.

ambrosia ananas said... [reply]

Wow. You got to see the Reduced Shakespeare Company, *and* you were on stage. Not that I'd want to be on stage, but it's cool when my friends are all famous and stuff.

So, have you seen them do the complete works of Shakespeare?

Stupidramblings said... [reply]

At least they didn't make you sing disco karaoke. (see my first post ever.

Do they have a Screen Actors Guild equivalent in the UK? Cuz you need to sign up. I'm to lazy to search for a link for you, but I bet you could find it by googling "Screene Actorse Guilde."

Having performed on stage many times, I am tired of the standing O craze in Utah. "Everybody's doing it. No one will ever know." Well not me bucko! I will not stand to clap if I am perfectly comfortable in my seat. I DO get uncomfortable in my seat when the performance is very good. That's when I stand. My standing O criteria, unlike most of my fellow audience members, is not "they're better than me; I must stand."

Nemesis said... [reply]

Foodie, I will consider your suggestions. And I'll be sure to dedicate my first Olivier award to you!

Redlaw, I care about food that much too. I mean, if the food were perfect and the waiter brought me some complimentary warm marinated brie on the side, then he might get a little sumpn' sumpn' in the cloak room, know what I'm saying?

Th., how you flatter me.

You know, as much as I would love a groupie, ekb, I think you would probably wind up bored out of your mind after the first 5 minutes. Sad but true . . .

Hi Brozy! I saw a production of the Compleat Works at the U once, done by students--hysterically funny students, though. I can't imagine what it would've been like to see the real RSC do it.

Stupid--Darn flipping straight.

Panini said... [reply]

I've seen that hair twirl...and it's good acting. :)

J Alfred said... [reply]

sumpn' sumpn' ? (raised eye brow)

Nemesis said... [reply]

Well Panini, I never compliment myself. I only know that my friends say I do know how to twirl my hair.

J Alfred--Possibly that's a strictly American term. We can compare notes later. (raised eyebrow)

redlaw said... [reply]

Trust me, J. Alfred, sumpn' sumpn' is nothing to be triffled with.
(no raised eyebrow as I cannot raise just one eyebrow)

Th. said... [reply]


I heard on talk radio about a Beverly Hills restraunteur who makes the sumpn' sumpn' in the wine closet an integral part of his business plan.

April said... [reply]

I think I've actually forgotten how sumpn' sumpn' works.

How fun to get to go on stage! I'd be so nervous, but how often would you get an opportunity like that? Yay for you, and your vicarious living through your English love slave. I mean boyfriend.

Cicada said... [reply]

Wow, I loved this post. And I loved the kissing the waiter comparison, too, and obviously everyone else did. And the asking him if he was Mormon was really funny, too. Two of my cousins worked together one summer at a job where they had to wear a shirt and tie. One day when they were out to lunch, their waiter commented, "You look like a couple of Mormons!"

JB said... [reply]

Way to go, Nem! What a blast! :) Glad you were able to be fun and coy and not get all clammed up.

I agree with you on the standing O thing. Yeah, a lot of stuff I've seen out here is really good, but not all of it is standing O stuff and it seems to always happen that after a performance everyone has this dire need to stand as they applaud. Jeesh...

Kiki said... [reply]

"It's like french-kissing your waiter just because your food was hot."

That's exactly how I feel about live performances in Utah. I've just never been able to put it into those words.

It sounds like your UK stage premiere was a success and a lot of fun.

amyjane said... [reply]

You have such a following these days. Since I refuse to join your groupies, I think your analogy was dumb. Just kidding, of course. You know my views on these things. I maintain though, that it does at least give one permission to stand and stretch after long productions, and that part is nice.
BTW, your lovely neice tried to poke out my baby's eye today. And then he cried a little and she flung herself into her mommy's arms wailing like no tomorrow. We had decided she might just be a wimp, only then she started shrieking (James bit her fingers when she stuck them in his mouth to feed him his sandwich) and made Patrick cry hysterically. So they might not be the best of friends quite yet. Yeah, it was a great time all around. :)

Nemesis said... [reply]

Th.--Well there you go!

Hi April! I was nervous too, but then I think the adrenaline saved the day. That and the huge signing bonus they offered me!

I was thinking about this, Cic, and I think that the white dress shirts must stand out even more over here because most guys wear colored shirts all the time.

See, JB you get the standing ovation too! We all get it! Why is it that the Pageant Moms don't??

Thanks Carrie! I went over to your blog yesterday, btw, and almost died laughing/gasping in shocked outrage at the Ver-sales story.

Dearest! How glad I am that you are not dead and that motherhood is treating you well. I'm sorry that my darling niece is trying to ocularly impair your sweet baby boy, though. Pretty soon she'll have her own small baby to poke at, so maybe Patrick will get a break!

daltongirl said... [reply]

Love your analogy, and may I remind you that I actually attended the only Utah Non-Standing Ovation Performance EVER just last week? That almost made it worth going.

Oh, how I wish I could have seen your performance!

And I just bet j. alfred is quite familiar with "sumpn' sumpn'," even if he doesn't know what it's called.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Daltongirl, I'm sure I have no idea to what you are referring.

(Haughty sniff.)

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