Seven years of The Crucible

Yesterday Richard Armitage tweeted this…

… and I can relate to the feeling old statement. It doesn’t feel like seven years ago that this play was staged at The Old Vic in London and that I went to see it during ‘the summer of love’, a term coined by some Armitage fans at the time due to the outpouring of love for this production and for Richard during that summer run. The Crucible gave me a lot personally as well.

By the time I traveled with my husband to London in July of 2014 to see The Crucible, I had been an Armitage fan for 8 years. I was a solitary fangirl at the time, eagerly slurping up Richard Armitage news and discussions on message boards and on certain blogs, lurking but never jumping in myself. During that summer, Servetus on her blog very helpfully kept a running commentary on all stage door encounters that were shared online, hence making it really feel like a summer of love for me. Check out the archives on her blog for June – September of 2014 if you are curious to see pictures of fans with Richard and read fan reports.

In tandem with this trip I had also been wanting to jump in to blogging on my own blog for a long time. I had started this blog with a single post in 2013 but didn’t know where to go from there as I didn’t want to write a single issue blog, so I stopped again. I was feeling especially inspired by some other Armitage blogs I also read (like Guylty’s blog or Herba’s blog and some other really great blogs that have alas gone silent over time, but popped up again partially during last year’s online blog reunion, see this Twitter hashtag).

Anyway, during this summer of Crucible love I started to feel the pull to also share my Crucible play and stage door experience. I was just a bit iffy about the public attention, i.e. worried that if I did get active, I too would eventually be caught in fandom spats as I had seen happening from the beginning of my fangirling days. I wanted to share but I didn’t want the drama, real life was busy enough. Then in September of 2014 I finally decided to stop over-thinking and over-analyzing, I just jumped in and wrote about my Crucible experience. With that post, really, this blog was born. Richard Armitage in The Crucible and the fans’ enthusiasm had pulled me over the edge and finally got me blogging. I didn’t announce anything about that post anywhere and it wasn’t until a few months later that this blog even started getting any traction but the slow start suited me well.

Not only did The Crucible get me blogging, it also, very importantly, led to my first personal encounter with Richard Armitage whom I had admired from afar for all those years. I can still remember the excitement while meeting him and handing him a little gift and exhanging a few quick words with him. Alas my camera failed that evening (also it was dark outside that stage door) and the pictures are all grainy but I don’t mind so much as the memories are all still there and really do not feel like 7 years ago! I am forever grateful to Mr Esther who helped me get my Crucible booklet and ticket signed and my little North and South poster as well that I had brought from home.

He also took this picture of me with Richard (I look a little manic!), which is now still the lock screen of my phone before I unlock it to reveal Mr Esther and our cats.

What The Crucible also gave me was a renewed admiration for Richard’s acting talents. I’d not been a huge fan of Robin Hood and Spooks and while I did love him in The Hobbit, I longed to see him do a great role without prosthetics. And boy, did I get that with Richard as John Proctor…

Mr E and I were both quite blown away by the production, by the cast and especially by Richard in it. We were mesmerized throughout and feeling quite shaken and drained by the end of it. My husband, who has always been supportive of my fangirling hobbies but always benignly from a distance, was just as much in awe as I was. Richard Armitage on stage is a wonderful thing to behold, he has a big presence there, he feels large and powerful, and when we met him at the stage door after the play he suddenly felt slight and almost shy. He must have felt competely drained.

That Crucible experience stayed with me for a long time (still very much alive in my mind and heart when I finally posted about it a month and a half after I’d seen it) and I was pleased when it was announced that the play would be filmed. When it came to the cinema in early 2015, I took my mother to see it and she too was very impressed. So much so, in fact, that for my birthday two months later she even gave me a watercolour painting she had made of a Crucible scene. It is now hanging above my signed Crucible ticket and poster in our dining area. That painting became my blog header and I also had a phone cover made of it that Richard Armitage even signed a few years later at the Newcastle International Film Festival.

I am glad The Crucible made me able to share some fangirling with my husband and even with my mother and I credit Richard as John Proctor for giving me the push to set me off on this blogging journey that I have really been enjoying these past almost 7 years. The play has been an important catalyst for me and I have loved revisiting it again and again over the years. I still think it is one of the absolute best things Richard has done in his career, he would have really deserved that Olivier Award he was nominated for at the time.

Long story short: happy 7th anniversary to The Old Vic’s The Crucible production, I’m glad you were made.

19 thoughts on “Seven years of The Crucible

  1. I’ve only seen the Digital Theatre version three times now each time more emotional because that theatre run was four years before my discovery. Great that this blog grew from your experience there in London
    Fabulous pics w The Man ❤️❤️❤️👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. 🙂
      I’ve seen it in the cinema and have seen the video a few times but nothing beats that first experience live in the theatre. In the filmed version the camera chooses where you look, watching it live I could choose where to look and that was somehow even more immersive. Yes, it’s a great production.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I found the same experience with Uncle Vanya when we saw it
        On film it is more objective due to the director whereas live on stage that first night RIchard just mesmerized me with his stage presence ❤️

        Liked by 2 people

  2. What memories! I seem to spend all my time now saying “I can”t believe such and such was that long ago:” but The Crucible does seem to be about seven years ago. I remember reading and enjoying your blog at the time. It was the first time that i met RA too, I wonder if you and I were there on the same night because he was wearing the same outfit. In my nervous state, I took an awful picture of just his torso, which is now my phone background.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I was there on July 19th, a Saturday night, you too? This was of course shortly before I started blogging. He was quick and efficient at the stage door even then, so there was never time to take a great picture. He seems to have sped up his technique even more over the years. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So nice to go down memory lane with you, Esther. Yes, the “summer of love” was really such. (I think it was me who coined the phrase; it also came as a response to my own personal grief at the time.) And even though it’s 7 years, it’s still really vivid in my mind. The best bit really was the daily flood of SD images and news from London, thanks to Serv and all the other bloggers and tweeps etc. It was great to see so many new people joining the ranks, and revive the blog world. I am very glad that you became an active blogger on the back of it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks and I still haven’t regretted doing this blogging thing yet. 🙂

      I was already lurking on your blog at the time and can well have found the phrase there. It doesn’t surprise me that you should be the one to coin it. 🙂 I still love it and it always stuck with me. I think there was a giddiness about that time as well as it was the first theatre Richard had done since he became known through N&S, so there was that new element to it as well of seeing him live and of getting a chance to actually meet him. Very different from meeting him at a premiere, I think.

      Like

      1. Couldn’t agree more. The SD line always feels more personal, partly because it is post-event and so the audience is still under the spell of the play.
        Glad to know you still enjoy the blogging. I also have to say that it is a very enjoyable thing for me, and I can’t even imagine stopping it!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the post , I have to admit that watching it online was really emotionally draining that I’m genuinely unsure of how I would have coped with the real thing especially as its based on true events. Hard to believe, but I’m actually really very sensitive! Lol

    Love your Mums painting btw. And you don’t look manic in your pic!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do believe it! And yes, watching it live was really draining.
      That painting is one of my greatest treasures. 🙂
      As for the manic look – glad it doesn’t come across as such but the eyes wide open and frozen smile tell me something different. But at least this picture is better than one I had 3 years ago with RA at NIFF – there I looked washed out and was having a bad hair and double chin day. 😂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What a lovely post in memory of a great time. Really a summer of love with the constant stream of new pics and reports of the play and SD.

    I am glad that play (and RA of course) got you over the edge and let you start your own blog 🙂
    And thanks for the link love of course, much appreciated! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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