Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm notatallohmyGod Ready for my Close-Up

I once saw Ralph Fiennes play Hamlet in London. Francesca Annis - of Dune fame - played a very sympathetic Gertrude (I've always actually liked her a little nasty and in-the-know) and Tara FitzGerald was a passable Ophelia. I don't recall the name of the actor who played Horatio, but I liked him very much.

I fell off-my-rocker in love with Ralph Fiennes that afternoon. It was a matinee, and therefore I got to sit very close to the stage. It was also put on by the Almeida Theatre and was the first professional-level play I'd ever been to see. Now, I already loved Shakespeare, and I can suspend disbelief in a heartbeat (just ask my sister, who stared at me in abject, gaping horror when I cried during the preview for Air Force One...the air force pilot flies in front of the missile to save the President...that's heartbreaking, folks!).

So, I'm working on gutting stomping on rewriting my god-awful piece of crap manuscript for submission, and I'm trying to put on the page the written equivalent of Mr. Fiennes' performance. He lived, he breathed, he moved up and down the depth of the stage, coming so close that I could see the sweat on his brow, the color of his eyes. Now, my friends say "Ralph Fiennes? How do you even pronounce that name? Isn't his hair getting thin? Didn't he get into trouble on a Quantas flight or something? Didn't he play that awful Nazi?" * First of all, I don't want to hear about the Australian flight attendant debacle. Second, he was a really hot Nazi, if you didn't pay too-close attention to his actions.

I don't mean that I'm trying to write about his actual life, with its waking up and yawning and wearing rumpled khakis or anything like that. I just mean that I want to write in such a way that I can affect someone the way that performance affected me.

I don't for a second think I'm going to succeed. I'm not classically trained. I haven't been selected to write alongside the literary equivalent of Judy Dench** I've taken some classes. I've written to amuse myself forever. I've received good advice and listened very closely to the good advice given to others. So I'll roll up my sleeves and squeeze every last inkling of creativity out of my brain. None of this "I'm tired of rehearsals" or "I can't remember my line". No. I'm going to put on the best damn show I can.

*For the records, my friends say nothing like this, but I'm trying to make some inelegant kind of point.

** Margaret Atwood, perhaps? I'll have to think on that.


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  2. *hug* hang in there- your tweets made my heart hurt but I know that you will find your way through all of this! Remember, you are made of Awesome!

    Tell me how tired I am- I read this "It was a matinee, and therefore I got to sit very close to the stage."

    And my mind came up with "It was a manatee" and it took me all the way to the end of your post to even begin to wonder how the hell a sea cow shaped rocker would be in a theater in London where Fiennes was playing Hamlet let alone why they would put it close to the stage...

    Yeah, I am TIRED.


    (sorry, had to fix my typo, gahhhh)

  3. Hillary, I enjoyed reading this interesting account. All the best for your editing. Ralph Fiennes. Hmmm..:)

  4. L'Aussie,

    I know, I is something outside of my control. *shakes head and thinks about what she has done*