Stage Door, 1st Pers. Sg.

[I apologize for the length of this. I am considering renaming my blog “Attention-Hog Central”.]

Attending the stage door is an emotionally charged experience. So much so that my little “review” from yesterday may have come across as slightly cynical, or maybe even dismissive. A couple of comments have hinted at that (no accusation, ladies), and those who know me, probably realised that the form my post took was a feeble attempt at distancing myself from my own participation in “that kind of thing”. And so I have decided to write another, first person singular account of that memorable experience. I will be honest, but I will try and leave the irony outside. And just to make it clear from the beginning: I think it cannot be credited enough that Mr A goes out to meet his fans night after night after night, mentally and physically exhausted from what must be a harrowing journey in the head of Proctor, eight times a week. I know that that kind of fan-friendly behaviour is not a matter of course, or an attitude of duty and gratitude that all performers of his popularity display, but an attempt by RA to acknowledge the support his well-wishers are bestowing upon him. There may be a few words of criticism contained in my account, but please note that I do not criticize anyone specifically and individually or that I might not condone certain behaviour. I only want to describe honestly and truthfully what I saw, what I felt and how I reacted. And please also realize that I do not want to spoil anyone’s future or past fan experience with my account. This is not judgmental or prescriptive, it is only my very own and private reflections on an extraordinary event I was part of. Phew. Ok. Now.

Armitage fan

I attended the performance of The Crucible on Friday, the 1st of August 2014. I was accompanied by my good friend D___ (who had also braved the Berlin Premiere of THDOS with me in December 2013 and who is also a well-wisher of Mr A’s, but not an active fan and not nearly as deep in this as I am). The suggestion to go and wait by the  stage door was mine,not D___’s, but good sport that she is, she agreed to come along. I was quite timid about the whole thing myself. Yes, I wanted to see Mr A in the flesh (as opposed to John Proctor), and this seemed the only opportunity to do so, but I was yet quite ambivalent about queuing at the stage door. You see, when you go to the stage door, you are essentially outing yourself as a fan. Not just to yourself, your companions and other innocent passers-by on that road by the Old Vic, but also to the star in question. I quite like the idea of the fourth wall – of being openly “fan”, but without acknowledgment by the person you “fan” for. It keeps things easy and liberated that way, without the need for self-censoring thoughts or posts. Having said that, I also believe that it is important to show appreciation openly whenever we have experienced something in our lives that merits comment. I give positive feedback freely, whether it is to the person in the call-center who was able to answer my query or the lecturer at the local Georgian Society who spent an hour explaining about the power of symmetry. The stage door, so I convinced myself, was a way of showing my appreciation for Mr A’s talent in general and his performance that night in particular. And yes, I will admit that I was also quite interested in seeing the man a little bit closer up.

keep calm and

Before it came to that, I deliberately stalled a little bit, smoking a quick fag outside the theatre, basically dragging my feet at the idea of moving to the stage door and outing myself. So by the time we peeped around the corner, the queue was already half way between the stage door and the front of the theatre building. We joined. And cringed. “Embarrassing” was the word of the moment. Just for myself, not for anyone else. Being there, a grown woman, for a man I do not know. Part of a herd. Yes, I thought it was slightly surreal. If I had let D___, she would have left, I think. But now that I was there, I was going to wait and see. And she was caught with me.

ecard 18 richarding

I hadn’t really come to the stage door with any expectation at all. Attendance at the red carpet in Berlin had taught me that encounters like that are not conducive to any personal interaction. So I just wanted to observe, and this time without the filter of a lens between me and RA. I wasn’t even nervous. I was just curious. If I had had any plan for that  kind of situation it was only that I wanted to congratulate RA on his performance. “Thank you for your performance – you had me in goosebumps and tears.” I did not want a picture with Mr A and I did not want an autograph, either. Instead of demanding something from him, I wanted to give something back – my honest thanks. That was why I was prepared to out myself and stand in that queue.

However, as soon as we were aware of his appearance outside, it became clear very quickly that he had quite a task in front of him. It’s hard to tell how many people were there – maybe 50 or 70? Predominantly women, of course, but of all ages. We were about half way down the line, and as he got closer, his dark head hovering over the crowd, turning here and there, the occasional camera flash going off, it became clear that he had to move quickly in order to meet all his fans, and that he would only stop if you had one of those requests that I had actually wanted to avoid i.e. if you had something for him to sign or requested a photograph. So I said to D___ that we’d have to get him to sign Pop Thorin if we didn’t want to be passed by. Since I felt too timid to talk, she offered to ask him.

And that’s what happened. He finally came near our spot, and D___ asked him “Can you sign this, please?” He did the tiniest of double-takes and asked for confirmation “You want me to sign this?” D___ said yes and also offered him a silver gel pen that I had in my bag (only the most precious for the King under the Mountain…). He took the pen and scribbled his trademark “RA” on Thorin’s head, simultaneously thanking us for coming. It happened all very quickly, and either totally dumbstruck or simply too lame to speak, I didn’t get my compliments in. At least I was able to reply to his thanks with an emphasised “Thank you *very* much!” To say more, and hogging his attention seemed impolite to the next fan in line. I made no such attempt. And on to the next well-wisher in line he went.

It was fascinating to watch his interaction with his fans: He would step sideways along the line, his head inclined to spot the posters and cards he was supposed to sign, also bending down slightly to his fans who, being women, tend to be shorter than him. It was almost as if he was making himself smaller, deflecting attention and *re*flecting attention back. But every time there was a photo request, he would draw himself up, straight spine, shoulders back, and smile nicely at the camera. (And by the way – he didn’t appear as tall in RL as he does in photos, on film or on stage. His fellow actors must all be really small. For reference – I am not that tall myself, 5’6″/1.68m.) As for his attire that night – much like in Berlin the moment was again such an onslaught that I could not even remember much. I thought he wore a red and white stripy shirt. D___ thought he wore a blue jacket. (It was a red and white checked shirt under a blue jacket!)

There is no photographic evidence of RA signing Pop Thorin, or of our short interaction with him. I had deliberately left Marky Mark at home, and I had decided not to live an encounter remotely through the screen of my iPhone or from behind the shield of my camera again. I was also slightly put off by a scene I had witnessed earlier on where a scrum of people surrounded him while he was working the line, taking pictures of him. This may sound hypocritical coming from me, a photographer, who takes pictures all the time, but it just made me feel uncomfortable. (Please do not take this personally as an attack on you, if you are someone who takes pictures at such an event. I acknowledge that my attitude is positively schizophrenic – I feel the situation is plain weird, the “zoo” as I described it in Berlin, with the rare animal on one side, and the public on the other, snapping away. And yet I like looking at those fan pics from stage door and red carpet myself, and I am glad that someone took them and shares them with us. I am not sure what is up with my attitude. It may have to do with my own inherent discomfort at being photographed.)

We did not hang around after that, to see RA meeting each and every last fan in the line, but hurried to the tube station to make it back before the trains stopped. It was about a quarter to midnight at that point. We had left the theatre at 11.10, joined the queue at 11.15 and RA appeared at about 11.30. So he must have spent a good half hour meeting his fans.

Friendly reminder

Was I disappointed by the experience? Emphatically no. I got what I wanted – a chance to observe RA in RL. And an autograph on Pop Thorin’s head. Did it feel like a performance? No, not really. I had the distinct impression that RA was there of his own volition. He was courteous, smiling, and complied with all the requests. He thanked everybody for being there and he seemed determined to meet as many requests as he could. I would not say that he actively avoided any conversations, either. But he appeared very humble and modest, something that very much endeared him to me. Would I do it again? Not on my own, no. I have seen it/him once, and I now know what the stage door is like. Plus, much of the fun of the event was sharing it with my friend. We were laughing about the absurdity of us, two adult women, queuing to see a fellow human being. But I was definitely impressed by the sense of genuine gratitude that RA exuded, his courteous manners, his dutiful demeanor, the sheer stamina of the man. And I was also very taken with the respectful and sweet behaviour of the crowd who were so happy to see him, who showed their appreciation of him openly and freely, and who did not make any unreasonable demands.

RArmytaged

The longer I think about it, the more heart-warming I find it all. So if anyone asks, and as long as I don’t have to be there on my own, I’d confront my inner shyness again and give it another go. Even if only to vote with my feet and express through my mere presence that I appreciate RA’s talent. And his exciting taste in men’s trousers, of course.

Armitaged

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87 thoughts on “Stage Door, 1st Pers. Sg.

  1. Pingback: The real story: Guylty’s stage door experience of Richard Armitage at The Crucible | Me + Richard Armitage

  2. Thank you for sharing the experience, Guylty! He is really someone special.
    BTW I have not commented your previous post on the stage door experience but I have liked it a lot!

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    • Thank you Barsine – and don’t worry, there is no obligation to comment on everything! If we did, then how would we know something is special? Special is when something is better than average. Just like RA 😀

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  3. This sounds so surreal and reflects all my ideas about stage door experience. I will see the play in the end of August and still struggle with the decision to do the stage door or not. So far I think I will lurk somewhere on the opposite street side and watch it from afar. Don’t think I will be brave enough to stand in line. So kudos to you that you were brave enough to out yourself as a fan to the artist himself. And I clearly understand all your mixed feelings about showing appreciation / credit where credit is due / so embarrassing etc. I feel very much as schizophrenic as you described it. Maybe we should arrange a support group 🙂

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    • Instead of “experimental drama” I could’ve also called it “theatre of the absurd”, i.f., and not because I am dismissive of RA, or of the fans, but because it is just slightly funny to think that you have to queue to be nice to someone. 🙂
      I fully understand your struggle over going or not going. My advice: Do it, “get over youself”. If you are alone, you won’t have to justify it to anyone. And make friends with someone in the line, so you have someone to chat with. Everyone was in a great mood. There were many people on their own there. If you are with someone, tell them it is fun and a unique experience. Giggle at yourself, and tell yourself that you are young and open-minded. All you are doing is being nice and complimentary. There is no harm.
      And then afterwards we’ll establish that support group!

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    • In hindsight, it wasn’t that hard, I suppose. Because really – I was a face in the crowd, and he does not know me. Must be harder for him, because everyone knows *him* :-D. There, ready to praise him at any given moment. Mad.

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  4. Great review, both here and your previous review of the Stage Door production! I wanted to comment on that post but darn RL keeps getting in the way of proper Richarding. 🙂 Anyway, so glad you decided to meet him. I too know how weird it can seem (especially considering my advanced age) but I’m looking forward to it. I met him briefly after Pinter/Proust and was totally happy and satisfied with that encounter, but as you said, this time I’d like to actually thank him and say something coherent! Even if it’s for a couple of seconds, it will be worth it. Plus, I need to see the Beard up close.

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    • Oh, you’ll see the beard up close alright *lol*. And with a previous stage door experience under your belt you can probably act quicker (than me) and get your congratulations in. I think it is important to voice that. Even from anonymous fans, an honest compliment is a compliment. And artists *need* compliments and validation to continue working.

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  5. I understand your dilemma perfectly. Yet, when you get a chance you can’t NOT use it – and you did it perfectly. I’m happy for you! As for confirming once again how worthy he is of our attention (including the final tongue-in-cheek remark!) – thank you, thank you so much. 🙂

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    • That was it, Richardiana – it was that *one* chance, and even though I felt uncomfortable, I thought I had to get over myself and just do it. After all no one knew me there, so what did I have to lose? Nothing. I think I would’ve regretted it if I hadn’t done it.
      And yes, even under those impersonal circumstances I thought he was worthy of our attention. He came across as a decent bloke. Not arrogant, not haughty or dismissive. Maybe ever so slightly incredulous (“are they really all here for me???”), but grateful in accepting the attention.

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  6. Thanks for sharing this. I am sure I would have felt a bit absurd myself, and yet, carpe diem, right? Again, really glad you got to have this experience—-how lovely it is to know he’s such a gent in real life.

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    • Absolutely carpe diem. You know, I am still laughing about the absurdity. But I don’t really feel embarrassed about it anymore. It’s an experience, and I had the guts to do it (not that it is *that* daring a thing to do). And to non-fans it is a great anecdote. I have no problem explaining it to anyone, and if anybody thinks me a fool for doing this, then I can only say that they haven’t got an open mind. I was there to show my appreciation. How could that ever be wrong? Seeing my impression of him as a decent bloke confirmed was the bonus.

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  7. Guylty – Thanks for filling in the blanks, this is what I deep down wanted to know 🙂 …..
    I sensed some underlying reticence in your earlier post (clever as it was!) and appreciate your overcoming your own, I guess, contradictory emotions…. I would probably feel a bit odd too, though I know that performers do appreciate knowing they have been able to touch others (unless they are the kind of idiots who don’t deserve my dollars – and I like knowing that too, sooner than later). Of course, our man is NOT in that category! I would probably have some of those thoughts re: “outing” myself too :/ – just not the kind to talk about all my business in RL, as I love friendly debate but not about my own stuff – with the world in general anyway 🙂
    Again, so glad you were able to attend BOTH productions 😉

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    • You know me well, S *ggg*. Yesterday’s post was an attempt at murking the waters a bit, of getting out of it without spilling my own ambivalent thoughts. But the longer I think about it, the less embarrassing and stupid it all feels. Probably also because the feedback from my fellow fans has been so positive and kind. That helps when you have your “coming out” :-D.
      As I have said before – it cannot be wrong to be nice to others, and showing your interest at the stage door certainly is a compliment. Waiting for 20 minutes only to say thank you. But you are right, performers need that – they need the applause at the end of the play. Any artist does. It’s part of the deal. Otherwise there is not much point in displaying your art and craft. And the stage door was the little extra applause, just for him.

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  8. We could be twins I think. I felt pretty much as you did about the whole thing and I haven’t ever done it! If I were alone I’d never stand there in line to meet him no matter how much I wanted to. Much easier being with a friend. I too don’t really care about autographs and I don’t need a picture to remind me that I met him. Of course he has little time to talk and part of that is that he is flat out exhausted but the man just keeps on going like a Eveready battery! I fully believe that he feels that this part is something that he needs to do. He genuinely cares about the people who wait for him and have supported him.

    If he ever becomes a major star all of this will most likely disappear, not because he really wants it to but because his time for it will be non existent. Even those of us who have never met him know from his actions that he does value us.

    You wrote a great post and I didn’t really feel you were being that critical on some things. It was your experience. I don’t like being photographed myself and as much as I like Richard I still wouldn’t put myself out there for a photograph. The chance to say Thank You is enough. He sees me and I see him and that is all that matters.

    Thank you for a very well done post, possibly one of the best and most honest ones here.

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    • Thanks Peggy! Maybe what you say about things changing once he has become a major star was something that subconsciously motivated me to overcome my reluctance and take this chance. Who knows if there is ever a stage door opportunity like this again? So this whole thing was not just done to give him something back, but also my opportunity to take a look for myself. Not disappointed. He’s validated himself in my eyes. However fleeting that impression was – he came across as genuine and happy with the attention. Good man.

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  9. First of all, there can never be too much posting from you, dear Guylty. Impossible! I am glad upon reflection that you would be willing to go through the process again. It was really interesting that he did not seem as tall as you expected him to be. Maybe because most people are expecting a dwarf? I have built him up in my mind so much I imagine him to be a cross between Paul Bunyan and Manute Bol. (Might have to Google these.) Anyway, glad you came “Out” and had a brief encounter. I am jealous.

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    • Aw, Kathy, you don’t know what you are saying. But you may soon find our for yourself… I have a lot to say, and you may need to shut me up :-D.
      If someone asks me to do it again in a week or three, I will oblige them gladly 😉 After parking husbands in pub 😀 I will also serve as excuse and will ruthlessly take all the blame a la “Guylty wanted to do it, it was her idea.”
      Paul Bunyan *lol*. I googled indeed, and I have to say the similarity is stunning. The beard!!!! I already suspected his height was overrated. Even though I was shooting from above in Berlin, I thought he was smaller there than I had expected. But no worries, everyone, he’s still impressively tall enough 😀

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      • Ah,, Guylty. I already blame my “Irish” friend for everything involving RA. It’s all your fault. So if I find myself inexplicably at a stage door somewhere in London, my husband will be raising a glass to you in thanks. Because he avoided the whole embarassing (for him, not me) scene without major fallout with spouse.

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        • *ggg* Glad to be of service 😀 You can use me as an excuse any time. Really. I do not mind at all. Whatever it takes to make this a nice fan-outing and meeting-of-minds! It’s all the better for him if he doesn’t have to hang around, anyway. I completely understand that it wouldn’t be of great interest for anyone unless they are a) fans or b) students of sociology *ggg*

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          • Hey Guylty and Kathy,

            Please take copious notes and report here what your experiences are. I will be anxiously waiting to read it as it looks like I will not make it to the UK in time to see this play.

            I am a bit of two minds with the lining up for an artist. As you both already know, I organized artist events, signing sessions, receptions, etc. I could not ditch my hubs in the pub to wait at the stage door. He would insist on waiting at the stage door too, where I could count on him to crack wise and embarrass myself because I would not be able to maintain control, so more than likely laugh. (He can be such a tease.) So there is that, but while I would not hesitate to line-up (queue) as a fan for one I admire, this particular one might be too awkward. I think it is a positive demonstration of respect for the artist’s work to wait in a line for them. In this particular situation, not just because my hubs would make it extra interesting, I don’t know if I would wait by the stage door. So please let us all know how things go if you find yourselves at the stage door.

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            • I have no idea what you are alluding at, Mimi 😀 Stage Door? Who??? 😉
              You know what, I think it might be an interesting experience to have an SO at the stage door with me. I am pretty sure it would be completely different, not least because I’d find myself even more embarrassed 😀 OTOH an SO would probably provide much comic relief, taking the piss of me for being there. Unfortunately, Mr Guylty will not entertain any such nonsense for me 😦 He’s even responded lukewarm to seeing Cumberbatch on stage next year. And I have no investment there in any whichever way. Pah!

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  10. I understand what you mean about outing yourself as a fan. I felt like I did that last night by taking my friends to see ITS. They know I am a fan but probably have no idea quite how much. Or maybe it’s that I am RArmytaged. I like that expression and that is certainly a big part of being a fan for me. I couldn’t wait at the stage door alone either. It would have to be with a friend (or fellow fan) and even then I’m not sure.

    I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to share your experience with us. I know I am devouring everything I can about The Crucible experience because it is impossible for me to attend. Every bit I read and every picture I see brings me a little closer.

    The following portion of your story makes me so proud and happy to be a part of the RA fandom. “But I was definitely impressed by the sense of genuine gratitude that RA exuded, his courteous manners, his dutiful demeanor, the sheer stamina of the man. And I was also very taken with the respectful and sweet behaviour of the crowd who were so happy to see him, who showed their appreciation of him openly and freely, and who did not make any unreasonable demands.” It just doesn’t get better than that. Thank you.

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    • The fandom is a major part of the whole experience of being a fan. It is great when you feel you belong to a group of people who not only share an interest in the same person, but of whose conduct you can not only approve of but who also inspire you. That is the case here, and is certainly something that has kept me interested in the whole fan experience even at times when my interest in RA might have waned a bit (as it does occasionally – it’s a bit of a rollercoaster sometimes).
      As for outing oneself – yes, hard. Because we don’t want to be belittled for being “fans”. Or be forced to justify our interest. Most of my friends and family know that I am following RA’s career, they know I have been to the RC and have travelled to London to see him live on stage. Maybe they shake their heads a little bit. But mostly people approve when they notice that you are not afraid to do your own thing, that you are confident in your pursuits and that you are open to experiences that others might judge unfavourably. Essentially it shows that we are alive. 🙂
      Oh, and sharing this is part of the journey now. I am glad that someone wants to know! ❤

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  11. Du hast es geschafft, mich beim Lesen wieder mit in die Schlange zu nehmen (nicht zum Rauchen 🙂 ). Alles wieder da: Licht, Geruch, Atmosphäre, Anspannung, Erwartung, Ungläubigkeit (ich hier in meinem Alter, geht’s noch? ) Und warum war es trotzdem gut? Weil ich wie du nicht alleine war. Mit (halbwegs) Gleichgesinnten bekommt das einen ganz anderen Dreh. Das gemeinsame Erleben schaffte mir den Unterbau für diese emotional zumindest unvorhersehbare Situation. Ich wusste schon, dass ich nicht zusammenbreche :-), war mir aber nicht sicher, ob ich danach nicht vielleicht emotional quasi in mich zusammenfalle. Alleine hätte ich sicher kein Ventil gefunden, so haben wir uns zu dritt das Erlebnis wieder auf ein normales Mass zurechtgequatscht. Fazit: Jederzeit gerne wieder mit mentaler und physischer Unterstützung aus der RArmy 😀

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    • Ja, das Ganze ist erheblich einfacher, wenn man es nicht alleine machen muss. Und hinterher ausführlich analysieren kann. War er geschminkt? Fandst du ihn auch viel kleiner als erwartet? Hat er eigentlich deine Hand berührt, als er den Stift genommen hat? So die wirklich wichtigen Dinge eben. Wenn man das alles nur im eigenen Kopf ausmachen muss, wird man irre 🙂 Ein Lob also auch auf die Fan-Blogs, wo man das dann noch mal alles en detail ausbreiten kann, um sich selber klar zu werden. Auf die RArmy ist da sowieso Verlass.

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      • WAR er geschminkt? Dafür war es definitiv zu dunkel. Ich denke geduscht und mit lecker Seife geschäumt 😀 Und er hat dann vor dem verlassen des Theaters auf JEDEN Fall die Luft aus seinem Prachtleib gelassen. Das macht er bestimmt, weil er ja wohl glaubt, so ein huuuh grosser und furchteinflössender Kerl zu sein. Wahrscheinlich habe ich ihn mir nur in meiner Fantasie auf Masse gezoomt, die mir persönlich in den (Schmacht)-Kram passen. Jedem seine Folie halt 😀

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        • Nee, geschminkt war er meines Wissens nicht. Das war nur gewitzelt. Hab leider auch nicht nah genug an ihm schnüffeln können, um das Duschgel zu identifizieren. Aber er sah frisch geduschelt und geschniegelt aus.
          “Luft aus dem Prachtleib gelassen” ROFL. Ja! Wie gesagt, ich fand es absolut auffallend, wie klein er sich machte, wenn er vor den Mädels stand, um die Ovationen entgegenzunehmen. “Immer kleine drunter weg”. Und dann sich aufplusterte, wenn er für ein Bild posieren sollte. Das sagt schon eine Menge aus (wenn dieser Eindruck von mir korrekt sein sollte.) Ich fand ihn extremst bescheiden. Sehr, sehr sympathisch. Sehr, sehr englisch. Gute Kinderstube und ein Freundeskreis, der ihn auf dem Boden hält, würde ich sagen.
          Für mich dürfte er gerne so groß sein, wie er auf Bildern immer aussieht 😀 1,87m ist mir fast zu klein 😀

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          • Für mich dann bitte die 1,92 m -Variante. Das ist relativ nackenschonend 🙂
            Ich denke, dass optimalste Encounter-Erlebnis hätten wir in den ersten 2 Wochen gehabt. Da waren sicher auch nochmal ein bis zwei Wortwechsel möglich. Er war noch frisch im “crucible-stage-door-job” und entsprechend unverbraucht (jungfräulich *smirk*). Aber wir konnten ja schlecht alle innerhalb einer Woche dort antanzen 🙂
            Und was die Fotohaltung angeht, ganz der Routinier mittlerweile. Das sieht man immer deutlicher auf allen Fanfotos der letzten Wochen. Haltung und Gesichtsausdruck schon sehr identisch. Soll nicht ungnädig klingen, ist ja immer der gleiche Typ (Tatsächlich? Haben wir schonmal über ein Double reflektiert?). Bin jedenfalls fast froh, dass ich ihn aus einer etwas anderen Perspektive habe. Aber suchen wir nicht alle das Einzigartige, um dann doch in der Meute unterzugehen?

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            • Wer zu spät kommt, den bestraft das Leben. Und wir waren zu spät 😀 Aber ich neide es den Damen der ersten Stunde(n) nicht. Immerhin war es auch ein Risiko, vor offizieller Premiere sich das Stück anzutun. Wer wusste schon, was das wird. (Ok, ich rede mir das hier gerade auch schön oder schlecht… natürlich konnte das mit Mr A nur gut gehen.) Ich glaube, dass die Stage Door übrigens auch erst jetzt zu einer so großen Sache geworden ist. Am Anfang waren doch gar nicht so viele Leute da, oder? das hat sich dank der schnellen Verbreitung von schönen Nachrichten dann ja sehr schnell als must-do herumgesprochen.
              Fotohaltung, Routinier. Ich wollte es so deutlich ja nicht sagen, aber ja. Ist aber ok. Er kann ja schließlich keine Grimassen schneiden. Und ich finde sehr schön, dass er sich bemüht, ordentlich auszusehen. Stell dir mal vor, er würde sich da gehenlassen. Dann kommste nach Hause und bemerkst, dass er gezwinkert hat, auf diesem *einen* Beweisfoto. Derp!

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              • Ich glaube, jede nimmt ihr Foto als etwas Einzigartiges mit (ja ich wiederhole mich). Aber nicht alle konsumieren die komplette Bilderflut aus der RA-Welt. Somit ist auch das “Stereotype” , das die Profis (hust) bemerken längst nicht allen so präsent, und dann spielt es keine Rolle, dass man ihn auch in alle Fotos reinfotoshoppen könnte. Da gab es am Anfang bei Serv mal eine Fotoshopvorlage, weisst du noch? Das war echt nett. Spart Zeit und Nerven 🙂

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    • Hehe, I am prone to overanalysing everything. And much like with Berlin, it took a week to settle the experience in my head and come to a conclusion. It’s all good, and I can only recommend it *hinthint*. We’ll see, shall we?

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  12. WOW und DANKE guylty, ist das großartig geschrieben! Diesmal hast Du (wie damals besagter Herr) mir Tränen in die Augen getrieben, so sehr habe ich mich über den letzten Absatz gefreut (incl. der abenteuerlichen Beinkleider 😉 )
    Und alles habe ich wiedergefunden von Anfang bis Ende (auch die nervöse Zigarette 😉 ) – schade, dass wir uns nicht zum ausgiebigen Klön zusammenhocken können 🙂

    Kleine Episode: im Theater saß eine recht reservierte Londonerin in meinem Alter (fortgeschritten mittel 😉 ) neben mir, die auf höflich-freundliche Fragen nur sehr sparsam reagierte. In der Pause war sie völlig verändert, aufgewühlt und tief beeindruckt wie ich auch. Als wir uns darüber austauschten, wie hervorragend die schauspielerische Leistung war, hat sie sehr spontan und überzeugt gesagt “Bitte sagen Sie ihnen das, sie werden sich sehr darüber freuen”. Es stellte sich heraus, dass sie häufiger ins Theater geht (Londonerin eben) und Stage Door zum Bedanken bei herausragenden Vorstellungen für sie zum guten Ton gehört.
    Vielleicht erleichtert das ein wenig das nächste Mal 🙂

    Vielen Dank nochmal für Deine ehrlichen Eindrücke und den Mut, sie mit uns zu teilen. Ta xx

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    • Ah, Fufi – ich bin froh, dass ich den Eindruck von gestern wieder zurechtrücken konnte. Du siehst, ich war happy, alles war gut – ich war gestern nur ein bisschen in Witzelstimmung. Aber deine Nachfrage mit vorsichtiger Kritik (ich kann manchmal ein bisschen mimosig sein) war gut und hat mich selbst auch noch mal zum Nachdenken gebracht. Und das kann ja, wenn dabei auch noch mal RA vor’s geistige Auge tritt, niemals schlecht sein :-D.
      Die Episode, die du von dem Chat mit der Londoner Sitznachbarin erzählt hast, fand ich superinteressant. Das ist natürlich immer das Blöde, wenn man mit Begleitung unterwegs ist – man hat nicht so den Anlass, auch mal mit anderen zu sprechen und kocht so sein eigenes Süppchen. Ich habe da also außer mit meiner Freundin mit niemandem gesprochen. Jedenfalls finde ich den Ansatz der Dame sehr gut. Obwohl ich hier in meiner Schilderung als schüchtern rüberkomme (“timid” und “wollte selber nichts sagen”), bin ich sonst nie auf den Mund gefallen und habe schon oft nach Veranstaltungen (meistens Konzerten) die Gelegenheit ergriffen und spontan den Künstlern noch gesagt, wie toll ich die Vorstellung fand. Dabei hat sich bei mir der Eindruck erhärtet, dass diese das auch gerne hören und entgegennehmen. Weil eben doch viel zu viele Menschen sich nicht trauen, ihr Lob offen auszusprechen. Schade eigentlich – ich wiederhole mich, aber es kann doch wirklich nie schlecht sein, wenn man jemandem ein ehrliches Kompliment macht. Mir selbst geht es ja auch so, dass ich mich über ernst gemeinte Kritik freue, selbst wenn sie mal nicht positiv ist. Ist eine Frage des Tons. Und selbst in negativer Kritik steckt ein Kompliment – denn jemand hat sich Gedanken gemacht und findet mein Werk wichtig genug, mir dazu etwas zu sagen.
      So, und abschließend noch: Ein echtes Pläuschchen (zudem noch mit “sneaky fag”) wäre wirklich nett! Mal sehen, ob sich das nicht doch noch irgendwie mal ergibt!

      Like

  13. Wer hätte das nicht gerne? Das Pläuschchen, meine ich… 😉 Thanks for your very insightful report, guylty! Es ist genau das alles, was mich beschäftigt, denn ich habe die “Aktion” noch vor mir und je mehr Bilder ich sehe, je mehr Berichte ich lese, umso mehr frage ich mich: “Will ich ein Foto?” Ich glaube NEIN. Ein Autogramm wäre nett. Und ihm danken. Das ist es. Auch wenn er es schon zigfach gehört hat.Zwiespalt eines Fangirls (fortgeschritten – mittel – super getroffen, Fufi ;-)) … We’ll see…

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    • Nell, entscheide dich für das Autogramm und statte dich entsprechend aus. Hobbit-Buch, ausgedrucktes Lieblingsfoto, notfalls das Programmheft vom Stück. Und schon hast du die Gelegenheit, auch noch etwas zu sagen.
      Fortgeschritten – mittel :-D. Zählt da eigentlich Herrn Armitages Alter auch mit dazu?

      Like

  14. Ok…me again.
    Anscheinend waren wir doch am selben Abend da xD…und wenn ich Deinen persönlichen Bericht so lese, kommt es mir so vor, als ob ich das geschrieben habe, mit dem Unterschied, das mein Freund dabei war und für mich Fotos gemacht hat. Ich habe mir ein Programmheft unterschreiben lassen (vor mir stand lustigerweise auch jemand aus Deutschland…also falls das hier eine Dame liest, die ein schlechtgemachtes Foto von sich über Richards Schulter schauend bekommen hat-das war ich 😉
    – surreal, wenn man dann aus der Schlange treten möchte, damit die nächsten auch ihre 5 seconds haben und vor lauter Gedränge nicht mehr weg kommt. Und dann steht man da einige Sekunden wie ein dummes Schaf vor the man himself, der sich ständig bedankt und unterschreibt, was das Zeug hält.

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    • LOL – also doch am selben Tag. Nun habe ich hier schon zwei weitere deutsche Fans entdeckt. Nur noch nicht die nette Frau, die zwei Plätze vor mir stand und freundlich lächelte, als D___ und ich ständig “Nee, wie ist das peeeeeeeeeeinlich” sagten.
      Gratulation zum gut trainierten Freund! Meiner baut mir zwar Armitage-Schreine, will aber partout nicht mit zu einer Armitage-Vorstellung. Pah.
      Das mit dem Gedränge war bei uns nicht so, aber bei der manischen Unterschreiberei musste man aufpassen, dass man nicht unvorsichtigerweise was in der Hand hatte, was man NICHT unterschrieben haben wollte *hähä* (ich hatte einen Bildband von Don McCullin dabei – das hätte aber Theater gegeben, sach ich dir :-D)
      Schade, dass wir nicht wussten, dass wir beide da sind. Ich lerne eigentlich immer gerne andere Freundinnen des guten Geschmacks kennen. Und je mehr, desto hochkarätiger der Genuss. 🙂
      Danke, dass du kommentiert hast! x

      Like

  15. You are such an astute writer, Guylty. I enjoyed both posts- I laughed hard at the first one and this one touched me as it reflected so much of my thinking. Never apologise and never stop sharing your wonderful insight.

    Like

    • Thank you Bolly *beams*. Where have you been? I have been missing you 🙂
      And yes, two very different posts, but essentially the same content. A memorable experience, one way or another. Much much food for my own thoughts, too. The analysis is still going on.
      And if you are not careful, I will not shut up 😀

      Like

      • You are such a darling- I wouldn’t have thought anyone would notice my absence. In short, I am still here, still reading end enjoying the wonderful contributions of my favorite bloggers but by the time i get there, everything I would have said has already been said! I took on a new job at the beginning of the year- just what I had been working towards but my goodness it is exhausting and has definitely impacted on my ability to put together a cohesive response to many a post!

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        • Well, while I am sorry to be doing without you – because I really do miss your funny and eloquent comments, remembering so many witty remarks you threw in in the past – I am glad to hear about your professional success! RL goes first, always!
          As for “everything has already been said” – ha, if we all thought that, we’d only ever see one comment on each others’ blog posts! Cos all we do is praise Mr A *ggg*. Comment any time, any thing. But no pressure – it’s just nice to know you are still around. xx

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          • Awwww…thanks Guylty! {{{{big hug}}}}

            But I wouldn’t call it ‘professional success’ , more like ‘paddling frantically to keep my head above water’ at the moment!

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            • Don’t put yourself down!!! We are always far too ready to criticise our successes and to sell ourselves short. Particularly as women. Men are so much better at that. They “know what they are selling” 😀 We should, too!

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  16. Thanks for sharing your internal debate. I learned a lot about the stage door in the past and I know it is what it is. You grab whatever interaction you can manage and take it home with you. It only becomes meaningful once you’ve processed it a bit. You have to think fast. I think it’s very hard. From what I’ve heard, the Pinter/Proust interactions seemed the best opportunity for fans. Mostly I think he just doesn’t know what to do unless someone tells him, sign this, please take a picture. It’s not like he’s Santa and you’re coming up to have him ask him what you want for Christmas! 😀 He’s coming out to say thank you to his fans for being there. What a guy! Thanks for your story. I personally feel very differently, so that’s interesting to me.

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    • I think you make very interesting points there, Marie, about the experience only gaining weight once it has been processed, or put into perspective. It certainly was like that for me. With your previous experience of meeting Hugh Jackman at the stage door, you probably have a good idea how to assess it all.
      RA as Santa – lol, but oh-so-right! I guess there is an element of that (especially now with the beard 😉 just kidding). Thank goodness I had already said good-bye to that idea after Berlin :-D.
      I’d love to know what the differences are that you see, but it is quite a personal, emotionally charged thing, this open fan-girling, so no pressure! Thanks for commenting! X

      Like

  17. Spot on. Thanks for sharing. It’s all grist for the mill of whatever the hell it is we are all trying to figure out (about ourselves).

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    • Yup. Yet another life-experience that has the potential of giving us an insight more into ourselves than in the person we were there for. It pleases me to think, though, that I still have guts, an open mind, and the willingness to learn. Despite middle-age 😀

      Like

  18. Oje, ja, sich vor ihm als Fans zu outen – schreckliche Vorstellung! *gg*

    Danke für den ausführlichen Bericht. 🙂

    PS: Ich glaube nicht, dass du irgendwas geschrieben hast, das irgendwem das Erlebnis verderben könnte. – Falls das also wirklich deine Befürchtung (gewesen) sein sollte: Entspann dich, lehn dich beruhigt zurück und qualm noch eine. 😉

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    • Hehe, trotz ungestörter Anonymität fand ich das Outen in der Tat unangenehm. Aber nun ist der Ruf ja ruiniert, ab jetzt also völlig ungeniert. Ich glaub, so geht es vielen…
      *zigarettequarz*

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  19. Thank you for writing this post. I don’t think that I could or want to met RA. I am way to shy I think. Maybe in numbers it would be o.k.

    I have to laugh about not being tall at 5’6, that is tall for the little short person that I am at 5’1,1/2″ (not sure how to write that. I know son1 would give to be as tall as you are, he is 5’2,3/4″. We really need to add the 1/2 and 3/4 to get us a little height.

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    • Lol, it’s all relative, isn’t it? In my native Germany I am considered short. In Ireland I am tall (for a woman of my generation). Both my kids are already taller than me. I am appalled! And secretly happy for them…

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      • I really never thought that son1 was short till he was about 18 and it dawned on me was. I was to busy with sons2 & 3 growing and all the well checkups at the doctor that I didn’t think anything of son1 not getting taller. I think part of it was I don’t have to look up at him to talk to him. Sons 2 & 3 are taller with son3 I think going to be the tallest of the three. At 13 he has a long body and the longest hands that could be called piano hands, long, slim hands. All the boys are so different from each other but Mr. 70 and his two brothers are the same way.

        No matter where I go I am short but am taller than my mom was at 4’11.

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  20. You echo my own feelings Guylty, I’m inherently shy myself and while I could attend the play without too much trouble I don’t know if I could do the stage door and be bold enough to ‘out’ myself as a fan. I would really have to psych myself up to do it. I’m so glad you did it, had that experience and then shared it with us. Thanks.

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    • A pleasure, Joanne, and maybe it serves as an inspiration? You never know until you are there. I was not sure whether I was going to do the stage door. But when I was at the theatre I just thought that I would regret it if I didn’t. And so…

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  21. Guylty, thank you for sharing the nuances of your journey in this fandom with such heart and style. I love this fandom. Sure it seems that every two weeks there some brouhaha over a photo or whatever and internal strife, but for the most part, the support and open-mindedness makes for an amazing fan community. It is a reflection of the man.

    I share the same ambivalence in meeting RA at the stage door and come August 29th, I’m not sure what I will do. I am so glad that, regardless of your brief encounter with RA, you saw his graciousness and his genuine appreciation for fans who showed up, and that was enough for you.

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    • I would like to think the same as you, that my experience and conduct in this fandom reflects the guy who inspires it. But ultimately it is our own decision how we experience the fandom. I am having great fun in it, and it serves to make me happy.
      Whatever you will do on the 29th, it will be a great night. The play will make sure that it is. If you feel like it, peep around that corner and check the queue. Think of it as a way of showing your appreciation, and not as an embarrassing outing :-D. Think of it as a gift you are willing to give, not a concession. Or think of it as a fandom experience. That might make it easier 🙂

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      • “Think of it as a gift you are willing to give, not a concession.”
        That is really a beautiful way to put it….he thinks of it as giving back, and we can also think of it as giving back. Nice 🙂

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  22. Thank you for sharing. I can speak as one who will never meet him or see him in person unless he comes to my hometown (LOL for sure). I do believe if any fan has a chance and doesn’t take it you will regret it forever. It was so kind of you to write about your experience.

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    • If my account was entertaining to read, then my mission has been fulfilled. I don’t want to convince anybody of anything – but yeah, I agree that it is not very often that you get the chance to see Mr A in the flesh, so from that POV it was unmissable, and I would’ve regretted it, had I not stayed for the stage door. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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  23. Great post! It’s very helpful for me that you shared your experience (and especially yours thoughts) because I have tickets for 3 and 4 September and I’ll be alone in this “adventure” … I am a woman “of a certain age” and for me is also very strange “to do the stage door”. So, it’s very helpful to know that I am not the only one to have to overcome my embarassement.
    Your words convinced me that I must try this experience: “But I was definitely impressed by the sense of genuine gratitude that RA exuded, his courteous manners, his dutiful demeanor, the sheer stamina of the man. And I was also very taken with the respectful and sweet behaviour of the crowd who were so happy to see him, who showed their appreciation of him openly and freely, and who did not make any unreasonable demands.” (excuse my English…)

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    • So glad to know that you will be able to see the play yourself, Mariana. It is stunning and a really worth-while experience. I do think that RA makes the stage door experience very easy for everyone, and it was fun doing it. Having done it, my feelings about it have changed. I do not find it embarrassing anymore, but fun. And I am that tiny bit proud that I actually overcame my reticence.
      PS: If you send me an e-mail at guylty (at) photographer (dot) net I will let you in on a secret that you might find encouraging.

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  24. Thank you for all your honest insights here, Guylty. A close encounter like the one you’ve experienced brings the whole fandom concept into sharp focus, doesn’t it? The inner debate beforehand, and the time needed to process it all afterwards. Glad you have no regrets about it all.

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    • Yes, sharp focus is the word. There was a lot of over-thinking beforehand, and much analysis afterwards, but essentially it was a positive experience. I am sure I would have regretted it, had I not done it. It does help that everyone here has been so receptive about my honest misgivings and ditherings.

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  25. And Guylty made “There and Back Again” at The Stage Door. I like your description of these few minutes (because it’s not longer than that) with RA. I had not the same feelings as yours but hopefully all of us, well-wishers or not are all different and that’s what is interesting because everyone feels the Stage Door differently and I think it must be the same for RA. Even if he is going out everynight, may be he had preferred some nights against others for personnal reasons. For me this Stage Door has been like going into a parallel universe as I forgot how old I am to be so “stupid”, I forgot my country, I even forgot how to speak. LOL. But the picture is here to remind me that it was true, not because I like me on the picture (never) but because I am near RA, our lovely star. Thanks Guylty. And one interesting question : Did RA gave you back your wonderful pen or not ???

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    • I am glad you see it like that, Katia. My account is nothing but *one* individual view, and everybody lives this experience differently. If you went into it happy and carefree, then that is brilliant and I envy you. 🙂
      In answer to your question: Yes – he gave back the pen :-D. It is currently sitting in a glass case, on a cushion of red velvet, illuminated with spotlights from four sides. The house alarm will be installed tomorrow 😀 (Just kidding… But yeah, while still in London, a few days after the stage door I was rummaging in my bag and came across the pen. And I held it up to my friend and said “RA handled this pen” *dreamysigh* LOL, the madness never stops…)

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  26. Really great review. Thank you for your great insight of the whole thing. I went to see the line after the play myself but did not have the guts (that is the word) to actually go and meet Richard Armitage feeling the oddity of it all, fearing to be disapointed by the shortness of it all. I must admit I envied the people able to go but I gave myself all sort of reasons to go back to my hotel with my son. To out one’s self as a fan is not easy (my husband does not know about it yet). Thanks to all the ones having guts to acknowledged it truly, I enjoy their accounts. I was hoping to sit beside one at the Old Vic to maybe exchange a little but it appeared I was the weirdo fan of the row standing at the end (gasp! but I DID it!!!) and I did not just stand for one man but for the entire cast and producer such the play was brilliant. Definitely, it is a strange thing to do but I really appreciate every single account about this oddity: lining up to get a glimpse of him. GREAT MADNESS, it is so good to be MAD. Next time, I’ll go with a friend… Oh oh, I can feel a problem there… None of my friends can speak English good enough to understand a full play. Thanks.

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    • Dear Marielle, thank you for your comment – and making me feel good about having the guts. You know, I really had to push myself, too. The oddity is very hard to suppress. 😀 However, I tell myself that I am expressing my compliments that way, that I am *not only* doing it for the sake of seeing the man up close, but to actually show him that he is good enough an actor for me to make that leap…
      And don’t beat yourself up for not going. I think I would have found it difficult to do it had I been there with my husband or son/daughter. It’s hard to expect a non-fan to wait for 20 minutes only to see RA pass by in a blur :-D.

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  27. Pingback: DeRAnged Part 3: “De-RA’ed but Be-Muse’d” – A Reaction to Seeing RA Act | GUYLTY PLEASURE

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