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.

This Father’s Day…

… I’m again appreciating the wonderful father to my children, he was deservedly spoiled this morning…

… and I’m also thinking about my own papa, who I will miss forever and whose hand I used to hold all the time. I can still remember the feeling of his large hand clasping mine.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers and beloved father figures out there.

The end in sight

Took the afternoon off work today so that I could accompany Mr E for his second Covid-19 jab. I didn’t go in with him, just waited outside, but we took advantage of the warm weather and went out for an outdoor lunch after. It’s been quite hot today, hot enough that the fire department had to cool down the building where vaccinations were taking place…

We drove on to a spot my husband had recently discovered alongside the Lek river, in the shade underneath some old trees. It was gorgeous sitting there, watching boats and cargo barges going by.

Fun little tidbit: yesterday I read that it was the 49th birthday of my fave David Bowie album and today I saw a ‘Ziggy’ car (see number plate) parked at the river, as if in celebration of that little fact. ๐Ÿ™‚

Vaccination has taken flight here and with a bit of luck as of tomorrow people born in 2001 (like my son!) can make their appointments. Corona cases are in rapid decline here and it looks like some more restrictions may be lifted soon, even the working from home order may be lifted. It all feels so very weird to me, I think I may need to re-learn to socialize. I can totally relate to this…

The end of the pandemic seems to be in sight and I have to admit it feels very strange that (a part of) the world is returning to ‘normal’. I am thrilled that cases are falling and less people are getting sick, I am thrilled that we have a vaccine to protect us, but I am less thrilled at the prospect of everything going back to the way it used to be. Maybe I don’t want everything to go back to what it used to be…

Lunch break

Mini me, Mr Esther and I just got back from a nice little lunch break. We live near lakes and there is a restaurant just at the lake where we decided to go to for a bite to eat…

It is outdoors, but in an alcove with screens between the tables, and it overlooks the lake, a few islands and the boats that are moored there.

In other news, this week my daughter had a headache so to make sure it was nothing more than that, she took her first DIY at home Covid quick test…

It was negative, thankfully, and she felt fine again not long after. School has given out these free tests to the students so that they can test themselves at home now and again to make sure they are not infectious to others when they go to school.

Ok, back to work now for me for a few more hours to finish up some reports (bleh) before the weekend starts for real (yay!).

A joke, dinner & Eurovision

Came across this the other day and it made me think of my father. He was a doctor in Theology with almost illegible handwriting that pretty much looked like the handwriting on this sign…

Terraces outside restaurants are open here now till 8 pm instead of 6 pm. Mr Esther and I were eating alone yesterday evening, so decided to go out for dinner in the center of our home town for the first time since (we think) last summer. We were done at about a quarter to eight, walked around for a little bit and then saw that at 8 pm indeed everyone was asked to leave and all the chairs were empty again.

Vaccination has finally been picking up here and two older siblings of mine have recently also had their first shots. Those born in 1970 (which is me) will soon be called for vaccination as well. My sister in law will soon receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which requires only one shot. The Covid 19 infections are going down here, as are hospitalizations and deaths. It really feels like we are heading into the home stretch now.

In further news, we watched the Eurovision song contest last night, as we do every year. Italy (the winner) was on Mr Esther’s and my shortlist for our vote but in the end we both chose other songs to vote for. We didn’t much like the many young women and women’s groups with all the same kinds of backing dancers but we did like a few of the other songs. In the end I’m more than OK with the Italy win, even though I had other favourites I voted for. The ones we liked all did end up in the top 10, though, which was good.

My fave was the song from Ukraine. I’d visited my mom in the afternoon and had played it for her, she hated it…

She liked France, which had strong Edith Piaf vibes. I liked that one too (it came in second).

Mr. Esther quite liked the Lithuania entry (I did too). Campy Right Said Fred, really.

None of these songs are songs we necessarily normally would listen to but it was fun.

Anyway, we couldn’t really choose so we texted 4 votes each for songs we each liked. We texted them well on time from my phone but apparently our votes were never received on time. Only an hour after the show ended did I receive the first voting confirmation text and then throughout the night the confirmations of the next seven votes we had cast also came in. All of them said, “Thank you for participating. Alas the voting has already closed.” So, eeek! Our votes were never counted and we weren’t the only ones here in The Netherlands. According to the news at least hundreds of people were affected.

A statement released today says, “The EBU says the votes were not processed and sent on time due to the problem at the Telecom provider. “We are sorry for any disappointment this has caused, but the EBU had no control over it.” The EBU did not disclose which provider and how many votes it concerns. Despite the problem in the Netherlands, the outcome of the vote is valid, the EBU reports. “We were only able to take votes that came in on time,” said a statement.

There go my โ‚ฌ3,60 in voting fees but more importantly, our votes didn’t count and through no fault of our own. Not a matter of life and death, of course, but somewhat frustrating anyway. Better luck next year?

Modified to add that Richard Armitage seems to have enjoyed Eurovision as well. Nice to see him mention Rotterdam so enthusiastically. ๐Ÿ™‚