Tag Archives: fan encounters with RA

Part 2 of Judit’s ‘Crucible’ Oddysey: Prepping, Pressies and a Study in Contrast

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The eagerly awaited second part of Hungarian RA fan Judit’s “Crucible” experience is here! Not only did Judit get to see RA perform in the role of John Proctor three times at the Old Vic, she also had the opportunity to see the play staged this spring in her native Hungary, providing us with a study in contrasts between the two productions.  We also get to vicariously enjoy the fun of picking out presents for our favorite fella, who spent considerable time in Judit’s “stomping grounds” of Budapest! Read on, enjoy and comment. And thanks once again, Judit.

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Theatre tickets, flights and accommodation booked – yet I was still a bit like Geraldine in VOD when Harry asks her to dinner. “OMG, only FIVE hours to get ready” (only in my case, it was “OMG. only two-and-a-half months to get ready!”).

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PREPARATION!

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First things first. I had to get my hands on the original English version of the play. I do have the Hungarian translation, but I wanted to read it as it was written. So I ordered an inexpensive used copy from Amazon. And it turned out to be the same edition as the one Richard was working from during rehearsal! How I squeed when I saw “my” book in those huge hands!

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RA script

A coincidence, which turned out to be part of my “preparation process,” was the chance to see a guest performance of “The Crucible” at the National Theatre in Budapest on 30th April. Having never been to our National Theatre (it’s a relatively new building), I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. I thought it would be interesting to see another staging and have something to which I could compare the Old Vic’s version ( I had not yet read the play when I saw the version at the National Theatre).

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From the Hungarian National Theatre production of The Crucible, courtesy of Judit.

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A huge difference straight away was the traditional staging of the Hungarian version.  As it turned out, the script was also  cut compared to the Old Vic’s. production–the performance in Hungary was 40 minutes shorter.  The costumes were a mixture of different eras–perhaps to emphasize the story’s timelessness? I am not sure. They also “sexed up” the play a bit in some of the scenes with John and Abigail, and John and Elizabeth. There was one particularly gruesome torture scene involving Tituba. Elizabeth Proctor recited the Lord’s Prayer at the end of the play–which certainly was not in the original script, nor did I quite see the point of it.

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In terms of performances, I thought the Hungarian cast was really strong all around–except for the actor who played John Proctor. He just didn’t have the stage presence or the charisma to make me take him or his plight seriously.I am afraid the Hungarian version of Proctor had all the charisma of a wet sock, and was definitely the weakest link in that cast. In fact, I thought that the real protagonists of the play were the Reverend Hale and Elizabeth, not Proctor! It was hard for me to figure out what made Richard want to play that character . . .

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 Anyway, my favourite performance of the evening came from the actor (who incidentally, looks like he could be William Gaunt’s long-lost twin brother) playing Giles Corey. I think Giles is one of the most relatable characters and he brings much-needed comic relief to the proceedings.

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PRESSIES!

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I’d decided very early on that I was going to bring RA some presents – something to remind him of Hungary, since he’d spent almost two years here shooting the three series of Robin Hood.

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I figured that since most people in the queue at the stage door are there to get something FROM him (i.e. autographs, photos, etc.) he might appreciate it if someone wanted to GIVE him something for a change.

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Since Hungary is a bit of a wine country (not as renowned as say, France, but we do have some 22 wine regions in our tiny little country) and RA is a wine connoisseur, a bottle of wine was an obvious choice.

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http://www.decanter.com/dwwa/dwwa-coverage/584305/dwwa-2013-international-trophies-red-bordeaux-varietal-over-15

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I decided to go with a wine that was lesser known, but at the same time, internationally recognized. I ended up with a 2011 Cuvée.

Chocolates were another obvious choice. I wanted to get him something that you can’t really get outside of Hungary.

So, I ended up with this:

chocolates for RA

It’s a marzipan praliné with alcoholic cherry filling– very. very nice, indeed! I particularly liked the box because it features an image of our most beautiful bridge, the Chain Bridge (Lánchíd), which was designed by an English architect, Adam Clark, in the mid-19th century.

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I had to test it, of course, because I didn’t want to give our man something that was less than top quality!

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What else could I add to my RA gift list?

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My young sister-in-RA, Brigitta and her family make their own EXQUISITE strawberry jam every year from fresh Hungarian strawberries.

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This year they were kind enough to make a batch for me. The idea came to me that I should bring Richard a jar of it. Brigitta was very sad that she couldn’t come to the UK and see the play with me, so I thought this way she could be part of the experience.

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Of course, I wanted to put a nice label on the jar. However, I’m the world’s least creative person and have never designed anything in my life before.

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Luckily I found a website (www.jamlabelizer.com) that allows you to design your own personalized jam label and so I ended up with this:

sir guy jame

 I really do wish I could have come up with something a LOT wittier and funnier, but I was pushing the boundaries of my creativity as it was.

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Since I wanted a label with some kind of reference to the time RA spent in Hungary, Sir Guy seemed the perfect choice!

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(Brigitta insisted that I put my name on the label, even though I had nothing to do with the preparation of the jam itself. She said she would refuse to give me permission to even give the jar to Richard unless my name was on the label. What could I do but give in?)

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I also wanted to write him a letter.  I started writing it in my head from the day we booked the tickets,  actually. But none of those thoughts ever saw the light of day in the end. That’s probably the only regret I have about the whole experience: I wish I’d have been brave enough to write that letter–or at the very least, a card!

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So, here they are, jam and bottle of wine –safely delivered to London on the 26th June!!!

wine and jam

Coming up: Part 3 Viewing The Crucible (Three Times!) and The Stage Door Experience with RA! Stay tuned . . .

This. You must read this. Wow.

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This is an excerpt from a 17-year-old cancer patient’s Make-A-Wish experience on the set of “The Hobbit.” The link to the entire post is at bottom. The whole thing is well worth reading–what a dream come true for this young Tolkien fan!–but I think this passage was of particular interest. And I found myself laughing and crying and feeling so ulifted. God bless RA and all the cast and crew who helped give Samm such an amazing time. And thank you, Servetus, for sharing this on your blog so I could discover this wonderful story and share it with you all XXOO
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photo from tumblr courtesy of DJ at Heirs of Durin

photo from tumblr courtesy of DJ at Heirs of Durin

. . . Then I turned back around to Peter and he saw my necklace move (Which is a keychain of The Key to Erebor, but I broke the keychain part off and made it a necklace because the necklaces are expensive and the keychains have more detail) and Mr. Jackson said “Oh, that’s Richard’s key!” then this little bugger totally tilted his head and gave a little smirk and said “I bet Richard would like to see that.” THIS SUCKER KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING. I LOVE YOU. So then, before I could let myself totally fangirl an make a mockery of myself, I said “I would love to show Richard my key!” and Peter turned to Sebastian and Phil and nodded like a little miracle worker and said “I think Richard would like to see that key.” And off we went!
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We walked out of that stage and across the lot to another stage. Phil and Sebastian went with us and said that Richard was just finishing up filming a scene. So when we entered that stage and there was another giant set. It was significantly darker in here than it was in the other stage, but I didn’t care one bit. We arrived and there were more lawn chairs and another TV on wheels thing set up but this one wasn’t on. Apparently it wasn’t working, and they tried so hard to get it working, and I told them it was really okay if they didn’t get it working! And they were like “noo it’s not okay!” But, you guys, it was, because we were so close to Richard Armitage filming that I could hear EVERYTHING.
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And I was so close to a camera that I was watching the screen on the camera. I was AMAZING. I watched Richard Armitage ACT. I am proud to say that, it was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Inspiring, just any nice word you wanna throw out there, it was that. Then we heard “cut” and I saw him walk off set. And we all know how Richard is a method actor. He stays in character all day. He walked off the set with /the/ meanest look on his face and glared RIGHT at me. I GOT A THORIN STAREEEEEEEEEEEE. Then Sebastian walked over and whispered in his ear and literally it was like night and day. His face went from “imma kill” to “Flowers and tea, yay let’s go play” And I got up and walked over to him. He said (in the mst adorable accent on the planet) Hello there, I’m Richard.” Now guys………I love Richard Armitage ok. Proud member of the Armitage Army like come on look at my blog, so you can imagine what my insides were like when I was standing in front of him.
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He was sooo tall compared to me (well I mean everyone is, I’m 5’2) but I was like (in a really dorky tone because I was literally over the moon) “Hello Mr. Armitage!” and I was shaking a little becaUSE RICHARD ARMITAGE. And then he held up two swords that he was holding and was showing them to me saying how they were covered in orc blood and we were touching it together and he was like “Yeah it’s pretty sticky, I have it all over me” and then we had a conversation about something that I can’t say but damn I’m pretty sure it made me seem educated in the world of Tolkien. Then he turned away to look at something and I was like “Can I ask you something?” and he was like “Sure!”
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So I asked him if he really played flute or if it was just a rumor, and he was like “Yeah I do, why?” And I said “Well, I play too!” And he was like Oh, really!! What level are you?” Then in my brain I was like Oh awkward because in America (at least where I come from we don’t have levels) so I told him that I have been playing for 6 years, and then he rubbed his majestic beard and was like “You know, you should really check out this Skavinsky piece, it’s one of my most favorite things to play, you’ll love playing it.”
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So I told him I would, and then I told him I had to tell him something. I explained how The Lord of the Rings was a huge part of my life growing up in a rough childhood, and waiting for The Hobbit really helped me get through cancer, because it gave me something to look forward to, and I thanked him for bringing Thorin to life so beautifully. I started to get a little choked up because cancer was tough on me and he was like “Oh my, come here.” And pulled me in to a giant bear hug. I thanked him again even though my voice was muffled in his fur shoulder thing. It was such a great moment, and then guess what happened. Typical Samm moment. My earcuff I was wearing was dangly, and had these elvish looking leaves on them, and one of the leaves got stuck in Richard’s wig. IT WAS SO EMBARRASSING. Actually, at the moment it wasn’t because we were both laughing about it trying to get undone. And my aunt told me later that Richard was smiling like an idiot and looked like a little 5 year old trying to get untangled and he said “Oh! I think we may be stuck!”
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But now that I look back at it I kinda die with embarrassment lol but I guess how many girls can say their earring got stuck in Richard’s wig? Not many ;) But after we were unstuck I was like “I’m so sorry!” and he was like “no no, it’s fine, but i really like your earring!” I told him thank you, it’s my elvish cuff, i wore it just for today, and he was like “Aaah! I’m wearing one too, see!” And he pulled his wig hair back with his giant dwarf prosthetic fingers and revealed his dwarven ear cuff on his right ear. Then idfk why i said this i was like “Wow! We’re twinning!” =__= don’t ask my mind wasn’t on earth.  Then he was like “Would you like a picture?” So we took a normal picture together, and then he handed me a sword and my cousin one and he was like “Alright, take a swing at me.” And I was like “????????? I don’t wanna hurt you! I’m really clumsy” and he was like “You won’t, just do it like this” and then he pointed the end of my sword at his chest and he acted like he was getting stabbed, and we took the picture like that and I just can’t believe how creative that was and sdfghjkl RICHARD <3 So then after that I gave him another hug and said goodbye and then we were off to lunch! . . .
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The entire account, including encounters with Orlando Bloom, Aidan Turner, Lee Pace (my side crush on him has simply increased after reading how sweet he was to this girl), Peter Jackson and more is at link below. You Will want to read it all . . .