Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Remember when you were happy

I'm in a rather bittersweet mood today. Clive Francis has just sent me lots more pics - focusing on his television career. A few days ago it was his theater. All these performances that I never saw, of course - and will never get a chance to see. That's because the BBC has a tendency to "wipe" programs so it can reuse the tapes, and I'm sure the studios in the USA followed the same practice. Oh...there are a few shows out there you can get, but the vast majority of an actors ouvre before..the 80s will probably never be seen again.

And then of course there's the theater. Live performance. An actor on stage can give the best performance of his life - unrivaled in the part, and at most a few hundred people will see it and they'll have forgot everything about it (except the emotion generated) in a year or two.

Many years ago I was able to travel to England once a year (sister stationed over there, Air Force) and we'd go see plays in the West End and at Stratford, and I loved 'em, and we'd see 'em twice because I liked 'em so much and I hoped that by seeing them twice I'd be able to remember every second of them later on...and now its 20 years and I can maybe remember a line here, a line there...

I used to live in Minneapolis and attended the Guthrie Theater there regularly - saw Richard III with Byron Jennings and loved it, saw the entire cycle of the History Plays and was there on closing night when they got standing ovations between Henry IV and Henry V and after Henry V was so special... but ask me to recount every scene that at that point was so vividly impressed on my mind and I couldn't do it.

Copyright laws prohibit the filming of stage plays, I'm sure, or the Actors Guild, or something, but it's a damn shame because every actors performance, in every play, should be saved for posterity. For *me!*

Anyway, Clive Francis guest-starred in one of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, The Man With The Twisted Lip. I present for your edification a photo of Clive and Jeremy Brett larking about on the set.

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