Know anyone in the thea-tah?
13 April 2011
If you do, have I got a book for them.
I checked out Judi Dench's autobiography/memoir And Furthermore because I love Judi Dench. Although I have learned that there is a lot about Judi Dench I don't know--primarily, that she is a thea-tah actress of long standing, and only did television and film roles quite late in her career. I love her as an American does--for her performance on the BBC series As Time Goes By (not to mention as M in the latest James Bond movies)--not for her theater roles.
I enjoyed this book, although if you're looking for gossipy insights you're not going to find them here. She covers her As Time Goes By experiences in about four pages, and the death of her husband Michael in six. Quite simply, this seems to be a woman who just wants to get on with things and does so. And yet, she's got a lot of sparkle. I enjoyed this anecdote about when a director asked her to play Cleopatra in a play (when she was getting on in years):
"I was always anxious about playing her, because whenever I said I was going to play Cleopatra people used to openly laugh in my face. 'Cleopatra?' You? So I was really paranoid about it, and at the first rehearsal I said to Peter, 'Well, I hope you know what you are doing, setting out to direct Cleopatra with a menopausal dwarf.'" (p. 105.)
This is a woman with a sense of humor.
But most of all this is a book for people who are either serious actors or are enthralled with serious actors. Over the course of her career on (primarily) London's stage, she's played a wide variety of roles and worked with many well-known people, and those are the stories she tells. And she loves her life, you can tell, it's so refreshing:
"Well, I am doing the things I want to do now, so I don't want to retire. Actors are really remarkable people to be with. I like the company of other people, but I love the company of actors, and to be in a company...The whole idea of a group of people coming together and working to one end somehow is very appealing to me. It is the thing I have always wanted to do, and I am lucky enough to be doing it." (p. 240.)
As Lionel's father would have told Judi Dench's character in As Time Goes By: "Rock on."