THE PLAY: No Man's Land
The set was spare and perfect with a lovely use of lightening to emphasize various moods.The play revolves around two older men who meet up in a local pub and continue their almost nonstop drinking at the home of one of them, Hirst, the Patrick Stewart character. The two younger men are in essence Hirst's caretakers who feel threatened with this new interloper, Spooner, the Ian McKellen character.
Word-play abounds and the exchange of slow smoldering looks. A lot is left ambiguous, bits I didn't get, but I laughed and was moved and was basically all those things you are supposed to be when seeing such work. When the play began, when the curtain went up and I first saw Stewart and McKellen, I turned to Lauren and I squeed. I admit it freely. Cindy told me later that, even though above and behind us, she heard me. Cool.
During intermission, when we got up to meet up with Cindy and Jimmy out in the lobby, the woman who was sitting with her daughter behind Lauren and me, tapped me on the shoulder and told me that when I squeed, I had done exactly what she had wanted to do, but hadn't. Even cooler.
Shuler Hensley, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Billy Crudup
After THE PLAY, while waiting with other autograph hunters in the courtyard of the theater, we were able to get Shuler Hensley's autograph, somehow we'd missed Billy Crudup who'd already left, but were then told that everyone else was gone. So sad...no Ian...no Patrick. We left, hanging around across the street for several minutes just in case, but both men were a no-show so, we drifted on down to the corner restaurant, it being 4:30pm-ish, looking for something to eat.
We spent a few minutes checking the restaurant's window menu then, turning back toward the street, we were confronted by an adorable family, mom, dad, older son(14-ish) and younger son (9-ish) asking if we'd seen Ian, that he'd just passed right by us heading down the street. WTF!!!
Me to youngest son: Did you get his autograph? Grinning big, he showed me his playbill emblazoned silver on black IAN McKELLEN. OMG!!!
They describe to us his attire in detail, emphasizing his lovely white and wide-brimmed woven hat and so, off we went down the street, searching, not sure what we'd do even IF we did find him. Interestingly, especially Cindy was determined that we WOULD. Sadly though, we didn't so, we headed back to our original corner and as we passed by, purely by accident, I looked into the corner restaurant's window and saw, just sitting there on a chair, a lovely white and wide-brimmed woven hat. It took a second to compute and then, stopping, I turned back and double-checking the table that accompanied the hat's chair, I saw Mr. McKellen sitting there, alone, eating and reading.OMG!!!OMG!!! I turned back to Lauren and whispered, 'IAN!!!' asking her to double-check my double-checking. She confirmed.
The four of us basically went ALL giddy and bolted into the restaurant where we were told we would be seated shortly, dinner service didn't begin until 5pm. Mr. McKellen obviously received special treatment, having only so much time to eat before the next performance plus his table backed up behind the hostess stand, thereby hiding him to some degree. Finally they did seat us where we had a lovely view of him, but we were good fans and weren't TOO obvious and didn't stare TOO much. None of that. We happily ordered dinner, halibut all around, and we waited. Suddenly Lauren, who had the direct view, yelped, 'He's paying his bill' which was the moment we'd been waiting for as our plan was to send Lauren and Jimmy outside to get Mr. McKellen's autograph when he left the restaurant, our idea of being polite.
They left, loitering outside until he left. Cindy and I could only wait, hoping they'd 'be brave'. When they returned, after about 10 minutes, Lauren was flushed and her eyes were glowing, absolutely glowing. I'd never seen her like that, just so totally jazzed by her and Jimmy's encounter, a few brief moments with Ian McKellen!!! Then we ate, then we left, all the way home, going over every detail. So freaking cool especially to watch two teenage kids go batshit crazy over a couple of guys 73 and 74 years old.
As Jimmy was still talking about how to approach Mr. McKellen, he was walking past them so,
Lauren said_Excuse me, could we get your autograph? As she fumbled with her felt tip pen, Mr. McKellen turned and walked toward them as they were tucked in the doorway of the restaurant.
Jimmy said_We just saw your show.
Lauren said_It was magnificent_as she handed Mr. McKellen her pen and our playbills
Mr. McKellen said_What did you know about it?
Lauren was thrown but said_I read up on it (from the playbill while we waiting for the curtain to go up, but he didn't need to know that, now did he?)
Mr. McKellen said_You read up on it? (still signing her playbill)
Jimmy interrupted, thereby saving her ass, and said_But you’ll always be Gandalf and Mr. McKellen grinned.
Lauren removed her first playbill revealing mine underneath.
Mr. McKellenI said_ What is this? (with tone & eye contact) (I think he thought she might want a second playbill to sell on ebay)
Lauren recovering quickly from his tone & eye contact said_It’s for my mom!
Mr. McKellen finished with Lauren and, turning to Jimmy to sign both of his playbills, said_Have you been waiting long for me? or as Jimmy wrote it to Lauren_Hav you beeeen waiting long foa me? ie: Mr. McKellen spoke total Posh Brit, which he didn't do during the play.
Jimmy said_Not too long (even though we'd actually been waiting over an hour, Jimmy didn't want to lie but also didn't want us to sound like we were stalkers)
And that's it. Neither Lauren nor Jimmy remember him leaving or remember saying thank to him, which I'm pretty sure they did, but don't remember, due, I believe, to the stars in their eyes <3
Wait! I'm not quite done. I wanted to include these little bits which Lauren snagged from tumblr and sent to me ages ago.
Now really and truly ALL DONE