Wednesday, July 27, 2011

to war!

If you want to get to see a show at the Donmar Warehouse you have to be really lucky, really famous, or you have to line up at 7:00 am and hope to grab a ticket when they open the box office at 10:30. Since I am neither lucky or famous (Stalking Santa is not the phenomenon here that it is in the US) I took the 7 am option and was the first guy in line! Seats assured! Now just for the 3 ½ hour wait. Luckily, the next customer was Eri Manor, who showed up at 7:40. At first I was planning to just sit quietly and read Peeta, which is my name for The Hunger Games, because I can never remember that name. I was just planning to read m' Peeta and wait it out, but turns out Eri, an Israeli who runs the Tel Aviv film festival, was fascinating. We talked film and politics for a few hours and the time flew by. I was grateful he was there. Sometimes I need to be reminded that there are fascinating people all around me, and I can’t close myself off to them just because it’s easier to stay in my comfort zone. Besides, I’m on book two of Peeta and I don’t really love it. Some of the writing is so cheesy. Here’s an actual line:

“everything will just get more complicated and I really can’t think about kissing when I’ve got a rebellion to incite.”


We hit two war museums today: the Imperial War Museum and the Churchill War Rooms. I’ve been to the Imperial several times, and I always love it. They had a special exhibit on about children’s war literature, but I didn’t go. I saved that money and had some lunch in the cafĂ©. And then I had a nap outside under a huge tree. Are you sensing a theme in this trip? Bikes and naps?

The War Rooms I have never been to. I was inspired to make today a “war” theme, since the students are seeing War Horse tonight. But I was also encouraged to go to the War Rooms because my mom told me to. She’s on a Churchill kick, she tells me, and I need to check this thing out. So I did! It was really cool – fun to be in a museum that doesn’t just tell you about the war rooms, but actually was the war rooms. It was fun to wander the halls – it’s this large series of bunkers under Whitehall palace – and think about how many decisions were made down there that shaped the face of WWII. Some of the people who worked there had to live and breathe down there for weeks at a time. I thought it was so incredible, and I learned a lot about Wintston Churchill the man. What a guy.

Walked home through St. James’ Park today. It was full of people and the weather was balmy. Perfect day to be in the park. I wish I could be there with my family! Sometimes homesickness hits me when I’m not prepared for it.

I had a great dinner with Peter White, who is dating my good friend Jenny Latimer. Jenny is like a younger sister to me, so I needed to meet this lad and give him the once over. Which he passed with flying colors. Great guy. Jenny and Peter met while he was music directing the tour of Les Miserables, where she plays Cosette. Peter is English, and we had a great talk about the British/American relationship over dinner at Covent Garden. We also shared audition horror stories, which I especially liked. And we talked about Jenny and all the things we hate about her.

Thanks to my early morning efforts, I got great tickets tonight to see Luise Miller at the Donmar, starring a bunch of people but especially Alex Kingston from ER! I sat by Eri and his wife Ruth, and I loved the show. I love any show at the Donmar, because it’s so intimate. Another person who loved it was Ben Whishaw, who sat right behind me. I’ve never seen this play – it’s 230 years old but you would ever know it. Amazing how good actors can transform old pieces into new ones. I’m always inspired by new visions and new stories, but new visions of old stories are maybe even more exciting.