My cover

My cover
Nell and her oranges

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A few days on....

I haven't been able to get internet access as consistently as I'd hoped, but now I'm back on the Island (Isle of Dogs, that is), I can always come down to my old haunt the Lord Nelson pub and use the wireless connection!

Last Wednesday I spent a second afternoon in the archives of the V&A on Blythe Road. Found pictures of Nell's houses on Pall Mall and in Windsor, pictures of some of her contemporary actors and other theatre people - Edward Kynaston (who briefly played women's roles after the Restoration), William Cartwright, Michael Mohun, and John Lacy (all old-timers who'd been actors before Cromwell closed the theatres in 1642) and playwright John Dryden.

Also had the opportunity to see (and photograph - thanks, iPhone!) the original 1669 script of "Secret Love," the play that made a star of Nell. She and her lover Charles Hart, the leading actor of the King's Company, played opposite each other as a pair of sparring, witty lovers, somewhat in the Beatrice and Benedick vein, who of course get together in the end but set out the contract under which they'll have a freewheeling and happy relationship despite being married!

The days since have been a blitz of theatre, as well as getting a bit of writing done.

Thursday night I went with Alice, Alison, and Donna to the Natioal to see "Never So Good," a new play about prime minister Harold Macmillan starring Jeremey Irons. It covered the 30s to 60s, but especially the 50s and 60s, a period of British history that I didn't know much about.

Friday was "Pygmalion" at the Old Vic, directed by Peter Hall, also very good. Saturday afternoon saw my friend Cathy Owen in "This Wide Night" at the Soho Theatre, a very intense drama about two women who were cell mates in prison reuniting after being released. Both Cathy and the other actress were great! I hadn't seen Cathy on stage before and it was great to do so.

Last night went with Donna to the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre to see "Gigi", fun and charming of course.

Now back to more Nell research! Off to the British Library to register for a reader's card and hunt out some period maps to help me pinpoint the location of Nell's houses and other haunts.

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