Friday, 26 November 2010

Happy Birthday, Eric!

Continuing in my delightful birthday series, I wanted to say Happy Birthday to one of my favourite people - Yalie and Maryland native, Eric. After a capering friendship which has taken in the heady environments of New Haven, New Canaan and Paris, I thought I would post sixteen of our shared "best bits." Some of these may seem cruel.

1. "Gareth, I don't understand what you're saying, but you're wrong."

2. Eric to our fabulous waitress, Karen: Can you tell me about the risotto?
Karen (cheerfully): For sure. OK, so the risotto is one of our best-selling items on the menu. It's really filling, it's really rich; it's got some great herbs used in it. Cooked to perfection and so flavourful. It's really delicious.
Eric (bantering): Oh, wow. I guess you really want me to get the risotto then, right?
Karen (instantly stony): I don't care. I mean, I'm not the one that's going to be eating it.

3. "I feel like my life has suddenly turned into me being like a 1950s housewife, permanently acting as a buffer between you and the rest of the world. Like, you know the kind of wife who wipes the beer glass down when a waitress brings it over and some beers sloshes down the side? And the wife wipes it up before the husband sees it? That's me."

4. "Gareth, if you don't shut up, I'm going to take you to where the Bastille stood, laugh, and then bring you over to the Place de la Concorde, trip you up, and run away."

5. "Of course it's not good enough for you, Gareth! Because you think you should be with Scarlett, murmuring 'Lover' in each other's ears, while you lie on a cloud spun by Chanel and are served Fiji water by angels!" 

6. You introduced me to the world of froyo. And for that, I am eternally grateful. 

7. "If I wear what he's wearing, he can't make fun of it!"


9. One night in Mory's, when I had to drink from an ENORMOUS tankard while you all sang Yale songs, Alexa and I had a serious breakdown in communication and I didn't quite entirely understand the rules of the game. It turns out that I didn't have to keep chugging until the song finished, but I had to have finished chugging the entire thing by the time the song had finished. My mistake was made clear to me when I realised that the second part of the game was having the cup placed atop my head to make sure I'd drunk it all. A full third of this enormous pitcher still remained and I was therefore soaked. And I thought you were going to have an aneurysm you were laughing so hard. I then informed you that some day, one day and somehow God would take revenge on you on my behalf for laughing so hard at my liquor-created misfortune. Then, a glass of wine was spilled in your lap. And you proceeded to yell at me for praying for it to happen.

10. You patting my shoulder and murmuring, "Take your time," when I drained of all colour and got a far-off, misty look in my eye when we entered the site of Marie-Antoinette's final prison cell in the Conciergerie.

11. "Are you drunk?" 
"Of course I am."

12. The night you came to the Pi Phi house to discover that Coco and I had somehow concocted a plan to have a baby together.... "So, dinner went well then?"

13. The world's slowest sliding automatic doors and your face of pure, frustrated rage.

14. "This is a picture of a manatee. Manatees are protected against the cold by a layer of blubber; I can only assume that this is how fat professor copes, since he refuses to turn up the heat in this room."

15. BBM-related sleep sync-up

16. The fact that for the first two weeks of our friendship you repeatedly referred to my book as Fabulous 

Hope you had an amazing birthday and remember, Harry Potter Day.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

An Interview with Emerald Fennell

One of Britain's leading newspapers, The Observer, has run an interview with five of the young stars of Channel 4's forthcoming drama Any Human Heart - Freddie Fox, Lydia Wilson, Emerald Fennell, Charity Wakefield and Hugh Skinner.

There's more info about the production and Emerald on a previous post, here.

And the full article is here.

The delicious Emerald's Q&A's were: -

Born in London, the 23-year-old plays Lottie Edgefield, Logan's first wife.

Tell us about Lottie.
She's spoilt, glamorous and very, very posh – an earl's daughter. Logan is dazzled by her whole shtick, but their relationship is a bad idea from the get-go. It was fun to do; we scream at each other a lot and it gave us the opportunity to run the whole gamut of a relationship in a short time. I like flouncing about and pouting and being spoiled, so Lottie suited me to a T.

Where have we seen you before?
As Rachel, one of Howard Marks's girlfriends in Mr Nice. I lounged around in 60s clothes and smoked a lot. It was my first job and mostly improvised. The director gave us fake joints, sat us in a fake dorm, and said: "Away you go."

What 20th-century age would you like to live through?
The roaring 20s, because everyone was so mortal then and really lived. And of course, being a girl, I would have loved the clothes.

Which 20th-century figure would you like to meet?
WB Yeats. He was probably a lunatic, with all that automatic writing stuff, but I'd like to sit at his feet and listen to him recite. Marilyn Monroe would be great too. I could ask her for makeup tips.

What do you do when you're not working?
I'm writing a novel – to keep my mind working and make sure I don't lounge in bed eating chocolates until three in the afternoon. My dad [jeweller Theo Fennell] is very supportive.

What would you like to do next?
More theatre. Something new and exciting and filthy at the Royal Court, maybe.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

"Any Human Heart" trailer

I'm so excited to be able to post a link to Channel 4's new television series, Any Human Heart, an adaptation of the bestselling novel by William Boyd. The novel is published by Penguin (naturally!) and you can order it here. And the new television version of it has one of my favourite people, Emerald Fennell, amongst its glitteringly delightful cast. Very exciting. 

Emerald and I first met at Oxford just before Christmas of 2006, when I was directing my second student play  there (glamorous, I know) and she auditioned on the second day of auditions, as one of 83 girls competing for the three main roles in my favourite play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams.
We got to speak properly for the first time at the call-backs, when I accidentally scheduled the next auditionee an hour after Emerald's audition was due to end. So, she kept me company and  we chatted for a while, during which time a beautiful friendship was born. I was very relieved that, at last, someone agreed with me that my fear of flying was more than justified. It's not how often it happens, but how bad it will be when it happens. (Even worse if the plane nose dives, then rights itself, and you're the person who wet yourself mid-plummet and have to live with that shame for the rest of the flight.)  Or unbuckled some aged granny next to you and tried to use her as a human shield, then have to explain to her why you did that when the plane doesn't actually crash... Food for thought.
Perhaps some of my favourite memories of our time in Oxford include us, bedraggled and exhausted sitting, without shame, with various 18th century costumes and props slung over our arms as we waited for a post-rehearsal supper table to open up at the Chiang Mai restaurant. Good times. Less endearingly, on my part, there was an incident during a rehearsal for Dangerous Liaisons in a music room at Worcester College, when I - very tired and stressed with the dress-rehearsal approaching - was interrupted by someone banging away on a defunct drum kit behind me. For some reason, I assumed it was my friend Johnny Rhodes, so I spun round in high fury and snapped, "Johnny, for f***'s sake! What are you doing?" Only to discover that it was Emerald on said drums; at which point, my demeanour changed entirely and I beamed, "Oh, it's you, Emmy. Well done!"  I may even have applauded her slightly. Johnny meanwhile, from the far corner of the room, glowered with seething fury from behind his butler's outfit, as Emerald gave me an encore performance.
Anyway, Any Human Heart is a fantastic book with a wonderful cast for the adaptation, which was written by William Boyd. A great idea, I think. It will be broadcast later this year by Channel 4 over four weeks.  So do look out for it! Amongst the cast are Oscar winner Jim Broadbent, Pirates of the Caribbean 4's Sam Claflin, Pride and Prejudice's Matthew McFayden, Hayley Atwell, Sex and the City's Kim Cattrall, Tom Hollander as Edward VIII, Gillian Anderson as Wallis Simpson and The West Wing's Richard Schiff. 

I'm obviously hugely excited about this, especially since it seems absolutely no time at all since I was directing Emerald in a student production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Dangerous Liaisons. And giving her the first ever three chapters of Popular which I had written, to see if she thought they were any good. I'm obviously pretty grateful for the feedback I received right after she had finished reading them. She was also the first ever person to read aloud the role of Imogen, when I wanted to hear how everything sounded. Massively enjoyable day.
Drummer Johnny, on the other hand, failed to read them at all and got away with saying, "Yeah, yeah, I loved the party in Chapter ...." And inserted any number he could think of. A clever strategy which worked until he accidentally hit upon the one chapter in the book sans party.

It's incredibly exciting that Any Human Heart is finished and I can't wait to see it.

The trailer for Any Human Heart can be watched here.
Related Posts with Thumbnails