Thursday, 12 July 2007

The Green Room

Chugging up the A30 in the dark, back from another working trip to London, and having spent the day thinking and talking about theatre, I had a sudden flashback. Aeons ago I worked for a year or so in the Green Room at the RSC in Stratford upon Avon. It was an exciting time. The Swan Theatre had its Royal opening - I was there to see the surprisingly titchy Queen sweep to her seat - with the magical performance of The Fair Maid of the West, and I have been a mega fan of Imelda Staunton ever since.
There are dozens of stories to tell about that era in my life, making and serving breakfast, lunch and supper to the cast, crew and staff while truly extraordinary plays were being made and delivered simultaneously in three auditoria. Gossip flowed with the cans of lager and the mugs of tea. Young, beautiful faces, many of them now middle aged stage, television and film stars and stalwarts, flirted with the already famous and the older backbone of skilled performers and directors.
You couldn't afford to be star-struck; pouring hot tea over Roman sandal clad feet, or burning the longed-for toast after a trying rehearsal would not have been popular, and Jeremy Irons was very particular about his poached eggs. But one day a mother came to see her daughter and they chatted and snacked before curtain up. I cannot even begin to tell you how nervous I was saying my lines: "your cauliflower cheese is ready, Vanessa".


Flowerpot said...

I'm a great fan of Imelda Staunton's as well, Mopsa. She can't go wrong as far as I'm concerned. I also worked at a theatre - Hampstead - in the evenings, back in the late 70s. Great fun. Met Harold Pinter who was desperately shy..... but that's my only claim to fame.

Arthur Clewley said...

I am always quite starstuck by these famous actors mopsa. A few years ago we saw Tara Fitzgerald in 'A Dolls House' at Darlington and I had goose bumps all the way through, although this was mostly because of the wintery norwegian draught coming from backstage as it was snowing outside as well as on the set.

Agape said...

But tell us what did she say? Did she liked the cheese cauliflower ?
This is the kind of job I'll never be able to do, we work with an looser from BB and that already gives me funny butterflies in the stomach, and yes, I know he is nobody, can you imagine the tragedy if I was with someopne serioulsy worth the fame they have ? :)

mutterings and meanderings said...

Ooh, you should write all their secrets in your memoirs...

Was Jeremy as divine in the flesh? I have rather a fancy for him ..

Mopsa said...

FP - great men can afford to be shy.
AC - you are a hoot - wear combinations next time.
Agape - she took it, she ate it, she continued on her famous way. I was far more nervous of meeting her than I would the Queen - isn't it odd?
M&M - I have to say that JI was absolutely NOT divine - not a man of warm character, unlike his incredibly friendly and open wife, Sinead Cusack, who was also in the cast that season. The truly lovely men were Alun Armstrong, Nathaniel Parker (inspector Lynley), Pete Postlethwaite, Jim Carter (Imelda's husband) and Sean Bean was lush.