Tag Archives: John Proctor

I hear it’s your biRthdAy (Na-na-na-na-NANA-na-na)


Richard Armitage, you really are a pretty special guy.

And I have very high standards when it comes to the men I admire, crush on, fall in love with and marry. I did the latter two deeds over 30 years ago and haven’t regretted a moment I’ve spent with one incredibly smart, talented, witty, kind and cuddly guy, a gentle man whose smiles are always reflected in those pretty blue eyes of his. As I said, I know how to pick ’em.

So here it is, the 44th birthday of my favorite actor. I hope you feel really good about what you’ve accomplished since your last birthday.  You’ve certainly been productive, and it seems to me the projects you’ve done are things that really interest and challenge you.

My timeline may be slightly jumbled. I am not only nearly 11 years your senior, I am also feeling lots of “discognition” of late–but anyway, here goes!0a4b2e8b886ae86caf1cbde381e61887

Last summer you managed to win over the hearts of critics and audiences alike with the raw intensity of your performance night after night in “The Crucible,” earning your first (but, I am confident, NOT the last) Olivier Award nomination for best actor. So proud for you!





Later in the year we all marveled once more at Thorin’s majesty, fretted and feared for him in the depths of his madness, grieving his loss with our tears as “The Hobbit” trilogy came to a close (my own dear blue-eyed fella was so kind when I started weeping in the theater). You were nominated and won a Saturn Award for your performance as Thorin–and it was much deserved, my dear fellow. That character has certainly brought you a legion of new fans of both sexes and in a wide range of ages.






You also have three films in the can (or in post production), “Urban,” “Sleepwalker” and “Pilgrimage” offering you three diverse roles: a disillusioned former social worker turned unlikely savior in the UK of a generation ago, a doctor in a contemporary psychological thriller and a medieval French nobleman in a period action/adventure tale.

Production is underway on “Brain on Fire,” you’ve got a cameo in a Tim Burton fantasy film and there is that Edith Wharton period drama project, along with the action film “Clearance” coming up for you.28a955f11c4110059bb9f27a1cdeb31e




And right now—I am anticipating the 12th episode of “Hannibal.” I admit I am feeling sad to know there are only two more new eps counting this one for me to watch. It’s been such a treat to see you on American TV, to be able to DVR your performances and re-watch them when I choose to do so. And I am absolutely thrilled your performance as Francis has been so well received!
hannibalgifra as francis fractured edit

As much as I was dreading this role in some ways, and as difficult as it is for me to watch certain scenes (when the Red Dragon was beating the sh*t out of Francis, I knew you had to be inflicting pain on yourself, too), I am mesmerized by your performance, by all the careful and artful shadings you bring to this role.

Dolarhyde is a monster and yet he is also, as Reba says, “a sweet man.” He’s a calculating and methodical killer of entire families and a tender lover with a touch of the poet in his soul, all bundled into one complex package. I am, indeed, in awe of what you bring to the character of Francis Dolarhyde. Bravo!

Of course, there have also been all the interviews and appearances to promote the various projects, which you managed with your usual grace, good humor and aplomb during the past year. It’s always a pleasure when you are given the opportunity to talk about your craft. And it’s always fun to see what you are wearing! 😉



So I raise my glass of sweet tea in a toast to you, dear Richard–Happy Birthday today and for many years to come. I look forward to seeing what this next year brings for you!

rabdy 5

Fedoralady on ‘Manhunter,’ ‘Hannibal’ and Armitage’s flawed heroes (who haven’t actually eaten anyone)


Richard and I have “been together” for just under eight years now. I discovered him as that absolutely delicious baddie (who turned into a goodie but still had to die for his past sins) Sir Guy on BBC America.

Initially I found Sir Guy to be a smarmy bastard, albeit a good-looking one. I did not fall for him right away as many viewers did when watching RA as John Thornton three years earlier in “North and South.” It was more of a slow burn . . .


I noticed something curious happening—the villainous master-of-arms actually had a heart, damaged and flawed though it might be, with glimmers of humanity in all its vulnerability peeking through that arrogant, brutish facade.

By the end of the first series, I was solidly Team Leather, and angry with Marian for leaving him at the altar. I grew increasingly tired of her machinations in the second series. Marian was a tease, and it was a dangerous game she played with this passionate man who went out of his way more than once to protect her from Vasey.

When she taunted him so cruelly in the desert, I decided she had lost her mind. Poor, devastated Sir Guy acted in desperation and disbelief to her words, and went on to clearly mourn her far more than her husband of five minutes ever seemed to do.

By the end of the third and final series, I cried like a baby. I mourned the death of Sir Guy more than I did  some of the actual flesh-and-blood relatives in my extended family. I was, and am, and shall ever remain a Sir Guy of Gisborne apologist.


Richard Armitage doesn’t have to play “good” characters for me to relate to them, care about them, root for and mourn for them. I love his flawed heroes like John Porter, Lucas North (I don’t believe in Bateman) and Thorin. These characters are all complicated and damaged creatures with their own particular emotional baggage: professional disgrace and estrangement from family, prison, loss of home and fortune, each of them struggling in his own way to reclaim his former life and redeem himself (John Proctor I will discuss in a future post. He deserves one all his own).

Richard has himself said in the past his fans won’t like all the roles he chooses, and at the time I thought primarily of Thorin. Let’s face it, more than a few people, fans and non-fans alike, raised eyebrows over the idea of our tall, handsome heartthrob of a fellow as a 250-odd-year-old hirsute dwarf who could have played Disney’s “Grumpy” as far as his personality was sketched out in Tolkien’s original novel. This character certainly wasn’t the romantic period hero or the charming rom-com leading man some fans were hoping to see him play.

Today, Thorin is the favorite RA character of many newer fans, their gateway to discover other Armitage projects, and they can’t imagine anyone else performing in that role (neither can I). It turns out vertically-challenged hairy dudes can become major heartthrobs, too–at least when played by Richard Armitage.


Richard managed to not only look majestic and handsome beneath the dwarf suit, wig and prosthetics, he also fleshed out that role and brought those subtle layers to Thorin. We felt our hearts constrict when the paranoia and gold lust overcame the warrior king, we cried when he saw him fall “one last time.” Another death, another redeemed character.

But how do I deal with Francis Dolarhyde, a cannibalistic serial killer? Here is a character who does not kill people as part of his employment as a medieval henchman in a difficult time when life was “nasty, short and brutish.” Nor is this character a member of the military or the secret service who sometimes must take a life to save many others.

He’s not a warrior prince fighting to take back the kingdom lost to a fierce dragon years before in order to reclaim a throne and restore his people to their rightful place.

Dolarhyde is a monster who kills innocent people and eats portions of them . . . and let me be perfectly honest. It makes me more than a little uneasy to think I might possibly fall for a monster, even one that’s a fictional character. I guess I wonder if I do get infatuated with Dolarhyde, just what might that say about me? Yes, I know the character had an awful childhood. So do a lot of other people who don’t turn out like this.


I have read the book “Red Dragon” and while I didn’t see the film of the same name, I have viewed the 1986 Michael Mann film “Manhunter” starring William Petersen of CSI fame as the Will Graham character. It’s actually a very well-made film with solid performances, including that of Tom Noonan in the Dolarhyde role. I felt a certain pity for Dolarhyde in this film, but he also scared the daylights out of me.

thHB7J4B83It’s been a number of years since I last saw it, and I would like to see it again.  ( Images found on Bing. Noonan as Dolarhyde and Petersen as Graham).



Manhunter frammenti di un omicidio

I am currently watching the new season of “Hannibal” and find I have no desire to re-watch the two eps I have seen so far. I have read raves about this series from critics and some of its fans, but somehow, I am not “getting it,” not yet. I suppose it would help if I had seen the first two seasons, but I have no desire to do that, either.

Does it have great production values? Yes. Does it have a talented cast? Yes. Do I thus far find it excessively bloody, at times pretentious and on the boring side? Yes, yes and yes. Apparently the ratings are down, making me suspect many of RA’s legion of fans are opting out of watching it until RA appears in the last six eps, and some, not even then. Cannibalistic serial killer seems to be that deal-breaker role for some of us.

I certainly haven’t shied away from scary, spooky, even gory films and TV series in the past. I am not averse to dark, morbid humor. I loved “Dexter,” and its protagonist was a Miami crime scene blood specialist who, oh yeah, was also a serial killer, BUT he only killed other serial killers and similarly rotten individuals. He had a code taught to him by his adoptive father, a cop who recognized the tendencies within his son and taught him how to channel his “dark passenger.” Michael C. Hall did a marvelous job of making Dexter somehow likeable and relatable even as we glimpsed the monster within.


(Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan. Bing IMages)

So I am truly curious to see what Mr. Armitage will bring to the table (other than body parts) in this role. We know from the stills already released that he is in fine physical form for the role and if nothing else, we can enjoy that, I suppose. But I have always found more to appreciate in his performances than merely those bodacious biceps and broad shoulders. Those attributes are the yummy icing on the cake of the chaRActers for me.

Thus far, “Hannibal” just isn’t doing it for me. I want to tell Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) to get away from that crazy nutcase, the same for Gillian Anderson (who plays Hannibal’s wife).

Mads Mikkelsen is a very prominent and respected actor in his native Denmark, and considered quite sexy by many, but honestly, he was creeping me out before I saw him in this role. Granted, I’ve only seen him as a Bond baddie, a BBC Sherlock Holmes baddie and as Igor Stravinski in a film about his affair with Coco Chanel that I found beautiful to look at but ultimately empty—style over substance. The sex scenes seemed clinical and cold. He doesn’t capture my imagination the same way RA does. Maybe if he did, I wouldn’t find “Hannibal” such a disappointment  . . .


This role is not helping the gut “ick” reaction I have to Mr. Mikkelsen to subside. Then again, he is also playing a cannibalistic serial killer, so should I not be icked out? I just have very, very, very mixed feelings about all of this.  I don’t like what I call “torture porn” such as one sees in films like the “Saw” franchise and this show is feeling like that for me, albeit with an elegant and refined façade tacked over it.

Oh, Richard. I understand and applaud your desire to take on a variety of roles rather than falling into the rut of playing the same character again and again. To challenge yourself, to stretch yourself as an actor. To take us on new journeys of discovery with your characters.

And I am sure you will do a brilliant job of bringing Francis Dolarhyde to the small screen, just as you have in so many other roles.  I have complete faith in your acting abilities and good sense.

I just wish that you had stretched in a different direction this time around.

Then again, what do I know? This controversial character may become a new fan favorite–and bring you a whole new crop of fans. We shall see . . .

Judit’s ‘Crucible’ Odyssey Part Three: First Impressions of RA on Stage, Stage Door


Our dearest Judit has returned with the third installment of her Crucible journey, having filled us in on getting prepared and picking the gifts for our beloved Mr. A in her earlier posts. Now to her candid impressions of that first performance (out of three attended) and feeling her own nervous jitters! Thank you, darling Judit, I know you’ve been both busy and fighting some health issues of your own. *hugs*


The big day dawned and I wasn’t feeling well at all. I’d been having some tummy problems in the week leading up to my trip so I was still on a diet, and the fact that I was very nervous didn’t help matters at all.
Thankfully, I arranged to meet two Twitter friends, Armitagina and BatSpeaks who were also attending the play that evening. I met up with the ladies at around 5 p.m., we had a lovely chat at a pub near the Old Vic, and I even managed to eat a bit of pita bread with hummus!
We then had our picture taken by a kind passerby, here it is:
(Armitagina, Bat Speaks and myself)

Now I normally hate pictures of myself, but this one is an exception! We all look very happy and excited.
This was the first viewing of the play for all three of us, and I hope the girls won’t mind me saying that when we entered the auditorium they were freaking out a bit and I was still somewhat in denial that I was going to see Richard perform live . . .

A Room with (Not Such a Great) View

We weren’t sitting together as we all purchased our tickets separately. The girls were sitting on the side of the stage facing the trap door, and I was sitting in 2nd row on the opposite side. As it turned out, 2nd row seats aren’t the best as they are on the same level as 1st row. Additionally, I had the misfortune of having a rather generously built lady with big and I mean BIG hair sitting right in front of me.

I had a lovely, friendly middle-aged couple sitting to the left (in spite of the Daily Mail reviewer trying to make out as if the audience were made up of 90 percent women – aka fangurls – all there to drool over RA, it wasn’t).

Right before the play started I remembered that I was a „woman on a mission”- I promised to get programmes for quite a number of friends around the world, so I decided I might as well start right then- I bought five programmes from one of the ushers standing by the stage. I felt that I needed to give the guy an explanation for getting so many copies, so I told him they were presents for friends. He just smiled and said „You’re going to have to read ALL of them!”

I returned to my seat trying to hold the programmes in such a way that nobody would notice I had so many, as I was afraid people might think I’m a lunatic. 😉

It was only the sixth performance in the run and back then the stage was set with a chair for each character and a pair of boots were placed in front of every character’s chair. Needless to say I instantly spotted which pair of boots belonged to Proctor. His chair was right in the middle of the round stage.

When the actors slowly walked in, I had the strangest of reactions–I almost didn’t dare to look up at Proctor/Richard! I thought if I did, my eyes were going to be glued only to him. Instead I just timidly glanced up at him every now and then. I remember feeling extremely anxious for him, in the silliest of ways–what if he forgets his lines, what if he falls over when he’s putting his boots on, and so forth.

I quite liked this „silent introduction” –the cast slowly walking to their chairs and putting their boots on. To paraphrase a friend on Twitter, it was as if by walking in barefoot and then putting on their shoes on stage, they sort of „stepped into character.” It was a lovely way to set the atmosphere. However, there had already been a lot of complaints from audience members about the running time of the play by then, so I can understand why this introduction was cut.

Too Tense to Take it All In?

I learned from my tennis fan days (oh those blessed late 90s!) that when you are watching a match featuring a player that you’re too emotionally invested in, you kind of lose your „spectator” status. You become too involved, which makes it almost impossible to stay impartial. You can’t just sit back and enjoy the performance. Something similar happened to me during that first viewing of The Crucible. I was holding onto my little backpack for dear life all the way through the first part, and didn’t even realize I was doing it until it was over!

Maybe it had to something to do with my overly tense and anxious state, or the restricted view from my seat, but I wasn’t really sure whether or not I really liked Richard’s performance in his first few scenes. I felt as if he was still somehow searching for the character’s „identity”. I saw an amalgamation of mainly Thorin, Thornton and even Guy but I didn’t feel like I really „met” Proctor until his first scene with Elizabeth.
Now He’s Got IT!

He was about to finish washing himself (by the way, all I could see was his back…) When his wife walked in and then he said his first line („I were planting far out to the forest edge” ) very quietly, and he sounded so…natural. He really did sound like a bone-weary, tired man talking to his wife. Up to that point I felt he was a bit „declamatory”,a bit too forceful, putting unnecessary stress/emphasis on too many words. But at that moment, I thought „That’s IT! Finally. There is Proctor.” From that point onwards, his performance was getting better and better.

I have two overwhelming memories from that first night: funnily enough, the first is the smell of Elizabeth’s „rabbit” stew lingering in the air all the way through the second part of the play. I loved the fact that they actually had real food on stage–-it added a touch of realism. I didn’t know at the time that all the confessions, warrants and so forth are properly written too–had I known, I might have tried to grab a piece of one of those!
Second, I remember a feeling of deep frustration as a result of sitting on the „less favoured” side of the stage. I haven’t seen a play in this kind of setting before and it certainly has many advantages as people have pointed out. However, there are some definite drawbacks to this configuration as well.

I had the impression that the side facing the trap door was heavily favoured which meant that in the majority of the key scenes Richard had his back to me, and I was almost screaming internally „ I want to see his FAAACE!!” When I met Armitagina and BatSpeaks during the interval they were full to the brim with enthusiasm about the performance and I wished I could have shared that feeling but instead I was thinking, „Yeah, it’s all great but NOW I WANT TO SEE THE OTHER HALF of the story!!!”

Learning as a Stage Door Newbie

Stage door that night: as a SD „newbie” I wasn’t aware of the side exit that offers you a sort of short-cut to the stage door, so I left the building through the main exit. That meant that by the time I reached the queue, it was already quite long. Luckily my two companions had secured a spot in the front of the queue so I was able to join them.

Sadly, BatSpeaks had to leave early due to a prior engagement, so only Armitagina and I remained. Eventually, Richard came out and I had yet another inexplicable reaction–I was overcome with shyness and so I couldn’t make myself look at him properly. I sort of stole half-glances in his direction again. He signed Armitagina’s copy of The Crucible (said, „Oh you have the book, well done!”).

I gave him the letter from one of my Italian twitter friends and fellow RA fan, explaining that a friend of mine asked me to hand this to him. He seemed really pleased and even surprised by it (as in, “Someone has written me a letter??” And „Wow, this one here didn’t want me to sign anything!”), thanked me profusely and put the letter in a gift bag that the darling security guy was holding for him. Then he proceeded to put his arm around us for a photo (one of the ladies behind us in the queue was kind enough to offer to take a picture)–but it didn’t come out, unfortunately. 😦

All the way through this short encounter I felt that Richard was present in body, but not in spirit. He was perfectly friendly and his soulful, kind, warm voice melted my insides, but I still felt as he was miles away. Also, I was surprised by how small he seemed at SD compared to how huge he looked on that relatively small stage in Act One. However, Proctor completely „shrinks” as if his legs are about to buckle under the weight they have to carry, his shoulders becoming hunched towards the end of the play. RA still had this „broken man” posture going on at the stage door.

While I felt he was moving on autopilot, he really did take his time with everybody at the stage door that evening. For starters, he was staying put in one spot under the yellow SD light and people in the queue were coming up to him as opposed to him racing down the line. I suppose he was still working out his „Stage dooring” method at the time!

To be continued . . . two more performances to enjoy!

Happy Birthday, dearest Richard. You really ARE getting bettah and bettah.



bvmrymnimamly4p_largeFrom Richard’s very own Twitter Account. The boy is getting braver and braver in his advancing years. 😉  I love this pic. For some reason, it reminds me of Paul McCartney back in his bearded days in the ’70s . . . Sir Paul was my first crush on a “grown up.” Something about those talented Brits that has appealed to me since I was a mere child of four or five. 


Dear Richard,

While you’ve been wowing all those audiences this summer at the Old Vic, I’ve been battling with an angry wrist I can’t seem to get sorted out.  And so I have to apologise–I don’t have a birthday video (or two) prepared for you this year. I do have something in the works, but it’s not finished yet, nor is it, strictly speaking, a birthday video.  I have several ideas, some more light-hearted and others, in a more serious vein, but it takes time, energy, a reasonable degree of comfort and clarity of mind for this old girl to get it together these days.

Actually, I feel like such a namby pamby even complaining about my situation. Look at YOU. Eight grueling shows a week, emoting your heart out, giving your best in every gut-wrenching performance, and yet–there you are, showing up time after time at the stage door, freshly showered, smiling, soft-spoken and sweet-tempered as always . . . I don’t know how you do it.  But bless you for doing it.


You’ve made so many people very, very happy–not only those lucky few (in terms of the overall fandom) who are managing to make it to the Old Vic this summer, but all of us who have vicariously enjoyed these encounters through shared photos, tweets and blog entries. Hey, I even have my VERY OWN “Crucible” programme and poster, thanks to one of your kind and generous fans (thank you, Judit!).



















Can it be that all those highly anticipated appearances to sign autographs, have your photo snapped or accept gifts from your well-wishers help depressurize you after releasing all that raw intensity on stage? Is it a reminder for you of how “our little community” really, truly does admire, respect and adore you? A chance to put aside the gruff Proctor and let the easygoing Rich come out . . . long ago, did you dream of this day, at a well-regarded London theatrical venue, when a throng of fans would be waiting there for you? Ever have to pinch yourself, just a little?


Whatever the reasons, you continue to earn my admiration for being a truly kind, thoughtful and down-to-earth individual, the consummate professional who also happens to be blessed with brains, talent, charm and good looks in a most extraordinary way (sorry, I didn’t mean to make you blush. Or maybe I did. That flush coming to those excellent cheekbones is really quite endearing . . .)



And that talent . . . oh, how THRILLED I have been by all the accolades I’ve read about your performance as Proctor. Not that I expected anything less than a fine performance from you; but not everyone is blessed with that Good Taste Gene.  And Benny and I had so much fun seeing you in “Into the Storm.” I think Porter is still his favorite ChaRActer, but he has a true appreciation for heroic assistant principals who smell like sheep, too, now. 😉


Your skill in dealing with press junkets, red carpets and journalists offering varying degrees of knowledge and tact is ever evolving. Unflappable Armitage lives, and continues to entertain, inform and disarm us. And what a treat you look–stylish, a true star, and yet very comfortable in your own skin.





















There’s so much to look forward to in your 43rd year, Richard. We eagerly await the release of “Urban” (even if I have to wait on a DVD to see it); there’s the extended edition of the second Hobbit film and the accompanying promotion for that. And, of course, the last juggernaut for the final installment of PJ’s trilogy, offering the return of majestic Thorin, the world’s sexiest (and most angst-ridden) dwarf (now, quit rolling those baby blues at me. Thorin. is. sexy. Period. Or full stop as you lot say)


I don’t know what else is on tap for you; maybe you’ll be sharing that soon in your conversation at the Old Vic? What I do know is I wish you more—more excellent acting roles in whatever venues you desire, more happiness, friendship and good health. More opportunities to learn and grow, to laugh and love. To live life to the fullest in the way you want to live it.

Happy Birthday, Rich.


Because I certainly am. Ever so proud.


Oh, and never stop talking with your hands. It’s an extra added value to the fangurling I dearly love.


an ardent Armitage admirer

aka fedoralady

What and who I want Richard Armitage to be.


I want Richard Armitage to be fulfilled–in terms of his work, I want him to be cast in the kinds of roles he truly desires to play, to be able to dig into characters he finds intriguing, juicy, an exciting challenge that will flex his acting muscles.



I want him to keep finding satisfaction in practicing his craft. If he chooses to go into directing, writing and producing at some point, I am all for that, too–although, selfishly, I hope he never chooses to leave acting behind altogether.  He’s much too good at it.

I also want him to be happy and satisfied in his personal life. He believes in nourishment and nurturing; I want Richard to have friends, family, lovers who give him the nourishing and nurturing he so richly deserves.  People with whom he feels truly at home, no matter where his career may take him, because they are always there in his heart.

I want Richard Armitage to know he has many, many admirers who appreciate him for all he has given us, and not just through his performances.  We appreciate all the stage door appearances, no matter what the weather, all those autographs signed, photos posed for and happy moments provided when fans get to look directly into those beautiful eyes and be on the receiving end of one of those stellar smiles.  He speaks so kindly of us in interviews and never seems to take his little community for granted.  I don’t want him to ever feel he owes his fandom a thing, except, perhaps, to bring his best to his roles–and he hasn’t failed me yet.



Yes, I want Richard to be happy, satisfied, fulfilled in all facets of his life, to keep learning and growing and being the special human being that he is; to love and to be loved.

I want Richard to be himself. Bright, talented, funny, thoughtful, kind, generous, talented, versatile, and just a little mysterious.  To reveal what he choses to reveal, and to keep private that which he chooses to keep to himself. It’s his right and privilege as a fellow human being.

I consider myself most fortunate to have been his admirer for seven years, seven years of experiencing masculine beauty coupled with an amazing and always evolving talent, a delightful sense of humor and a gentle and humble spirit.

What he brings into my life is more than enough for me, and I regularly say, “Thank you, God, for creating such a wonder as Richard Armitage.”



“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image.  Otherwise, we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

~ Thomas Merton: No Man is an Island


Catching up with Fedoralady; thoughts on moving out of comfort zones



(Blogger’s note: I started this post this morning and then decided to take a nice long nap. Turned out to be even longer than I planned.  Yeah, I was tired.)

My physical therapist told me to take it easy this weekend and I would hate to let her down.  We are out of cereal so I had cold pizza for a late breakfast. It’s really very tasty. I’m catching up on some of the movies and TV shows I have DVRed while thinking seriously about a nap. My husband will chide me for being a couch potato when he gets home this afternoon, but just call me “Spuds Fedora” today.

Pain kept me up well into the night.  I keep reminding myself that sometimes things get worse before they get better and it’s not as if I am unaccustomed to pain and discomfort, right? The tennis elbow (more like photographer/videographer’s elbow) and tendonitis have improved, I think; the ulnar nerve, on the other hand, has given me absolute fits.  I suspect a nerve conductivity test will be unavoidable (with minor surgery to relieve the nerve compression to follow).


72165WThe above illustration pretty much explains what is going on.

Speaking of nerves, my car has broken down five times in the last two weeks, forcing me to miss my much-needed therapy last Friday.  It’s getting on my last nerve, that big, comfy old (emphasis on “old”) tank.  It’s not the battery or alternator, apparently; sometimes it just decides it doesn’t want to crank. Well, I feel the same way some days, so perhaps I shouldn’t be too hard on the Crown Vic.  And I have to be thankful for cell phones and the kindness of the local police force, who obligingly moved The Old Tank out of the roundabout and into a safe spot last Friday . . . it could be worse.

I have been thinking a lot about comfort zones of late, too; dear friend Judit, aka the Hungarian Honey, is writing about her Crucible experiences and sharing them here with us at my blog. For Judit, writing something for publication, putting it out there where anyone online could potentially see it, was scary. Unnerving. Those feelings are perfectly understandable.



A few years back, when I wrote my first fan fic, a one-off story with Lucas, I was very apprehensive about publishing it. And keep in mind, I was a working newspaper reporter and columnist at the time. But this was something different; this was fiction, not fact, not an area I had a great deal of experience in writing-wise. I was dealing with a whole new group of potential readers. I knew the horror stories about “flamers.” Who wants their creative efforts to be ripped apart?

So yes, I had some butterflies in the stomach before I hit that “publish” button at Live Journal.

After some initial technical glitches, it all went pretty well. Better even than I expected.  So I kept at it, started writing longer multi-chapter fiction. I had a lot of fun and felt a definite sadness when a project came to the end and I had to say “goodbye” to the characters.  I can understand better how actors can become attached to and protective of their characters, too.

I even moved on to writing a novel with my own characters, although for various reasons it’s languishing for now, its inhabitants still knocking at the door of my imagination from time to time. The point is, writing fan fiction gave me the opportunity to flex some creative muscles in ways I hadn’t used them before. As the graphic above says, I had to be willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable along the way.



I did worry about what people would think, what they would say, when I first started sharing my creative efforts within the fandom. You know what? I have learned you have to leave those worries behind, too, as you step outside the static safety of the comfort zone. I love this quote you see above. You can never, nor should you ever try, to please everyone. Haters are gonna sit on the sidelines and be haters. Always have been, and always will be.

Jealousy and envy have been around as long as humankind; don’t let it stop you when others display theirs.   If you feel the desire, the need, the passion to share your creativity and imagination and dreams through writing, drawing, painting, photo editing, video making, blogging, dancing, singing or other means, DO IT.  And look for like-minded people who will encourage and nurture and inspire you along the way!


Even though life I am still relatively poor, with a chronic condition affecting me mind, body and spirit, no longer a cute young thing and driving a vehicle the reliability of which is suspect–I think it isn’t over yet, that I still have something to say, something to share, someone to inspire, new things to learn, growing to do. I am still looking for the magic . . . it’s the attitude I believe the man who inspired/inspires me would champion, the one who has kept pushing against the boundaries of his own comfort zone.


graphics courtesy of pinterest

ICYMI Richard interviewed by Andrew Marr: “You Leave Drenched in Sweat”


Screencap from interview courtesy of Fly High at Richard Armitage Friends Network on Facebook

A few of the quotes:

“They are living and breathing it with us . . . ” (referring to “The Crucible” audiences)

“I think Spooks may be the last of its kind . . . we shot on film. It was slightly ahead of its time.”

(When asked about the “romantic enthusiasm” often displayed by actors who had appeared in the LOTR/TH films)

“You feel as if you are making a home movie in Peter Jackson’s back garden. New Zealand is such a magical place.”

(When asked about doing future roles, including Shakespeare, on stage)

“If you are asking me that today, I’d say ‘enough already.’ (laughs) But no, there are other roles I would like to tackle . . . I didn’t know if I could do it before I started . . .”  And now he KNOWS. 😀  Even if he hasn’t actually read any of the reviews! Boy, will your cheeks flush red when you finally do, Mr. Humility!

And I am guessing that Mr. Marr hasn’t seen The Hobbit? Pssst, Richard plays a dwarf, Andrew, not a hobbit . . .  😉

Mr. A, when considering more stage roles—consider coming to the U.S. and your new “home city,” NYC. Because I might be able to beg, borrow and/or steal enough to make it to see you!



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



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.


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!”).




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!


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).





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


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.


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 . . .


 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.




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.


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.


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.




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.


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


What else could I add to my RA gift list?


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


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.


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.


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.


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


(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?)


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!


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 . . .

Part 1 of Judit’s “Crucible” Odyssey: A Hungarian RA Fan ‘Seizes the Day’

Part 1 of Judit’s “Crucible” Odyssey: A Hungarian RA Fan ‘Seizes the Day’

Dear friend Judit, aka the Hungarian Honey, was lucky enough to not only see RA perform live as John Proctor in “The Crucible”–she saw him three times, and once from the front row!  Now that she has pretty much regained her equilibrium after meeting HIM she is sharing her experience with us here at TAE in installments.  Now, Part I of Judit’s own “Crucible” story . . . with lots more to come!  Thank you, Judit, for dishing all about your experiences with us. You rock!


I know RA had talked about going back to theatre often, but when he moved to NYC I had given up hope that it would happen (yeah, my usual optimistic self taking charge again!), and I thought if it were to happen it would happen on Broadway…

So, I was very sceptical when the rumour first surfaced about him being in talks to star in a play in LONDON!  Especially as the source was the Daily Mail and we all know how reliable they normally are.


In any case, a few days after I first read about the rumour, I joined the Old Vic’s “friends” circle (there’s a yearly membership fee in exchange for which you get a tiny discount from ticket prices, you don’t get charged booking fee when booking online, plus you get newsletters and, as it turned out, I also got a Crucible flyer in the post some weeks later). I thought, “I had better be prepared IF the rumours indeed turn out to be true!”


And then…all of a sudden there it was–a confirmation of Richard being cast as John Proctor on the Old Vic’s website! Needless to say, the Armitage Army “fell upon the online booking system of the Old Vic like an ocean” (to paraphrase John Proctor!).




For the first time ever in my life, I found myself in a virtual/online queue!! I think I was about 300th when I first logged into my account and clicked on ’book a ticket’. Luckily, I had someone to share the excitement with – I phoned Helen in London, so we basically “queued” together, she in London and I in Budapest, watching our respective numbers go down to zero.. There was an awful lot of OMG-ing and exclamations along the lines of “can you believe this is happening??” (all this was made more awkward by the fact that I was at work, and this whole scene was witnessed by our accountant and a student who was doing her work experience with us – good job neither of them speak English!).

Helen and myself decided to go for an early date in the run, as we were afraid that RA might miss some dates later on in the run due to Comic Con in July or ITS premiere in August…

And, we were very lucky to score first row tickets for the 30th June…!

Later on, when I booked my flight tickets to London, I was more and more tempted by the idea that if I was going to spend five days in London, why not go for more than just one performance??

In the end I just couldn’t resist;  I booked a ticket for 27th June and then, yet another for the evening performance of the 28th..

I know it sounds excessive but I was thinking, who knows if I’ll ever have the chance to see RA perform live on stage again?? Why not make the most of my time in London??

Yes, of course he might do another play in a few years’ time- but who knows where I will be then? Whether I’ll still have a job by then? And my health?


So I decided to just seize the day–and I went for it!!! Boy am I glad that I did!!!


Next chapter:  preparations!  (coming up soon!)


Richard interviewed on “Breakfast Show.” Mr. Spacey, if you can film that much, why not . . .


Richard appeared on the Breakfast Show on the Beeb and Marlise kindly posted it for the Anglophile Channel. He discusses The Crucible and the various elements attracting him to the production; they also touch on his work in The Hobbit and being directed by Andy Serkis, as well as Into the Storm and the challenges of an American accent. RA is thoughtful and gracious as always, and looked smashing, but what really intrigued me . . .

. . . was that snippet of video from the production itself. Because this got me thinking. If they can manage to shoot those scenes, why not shoot the whole thing? I know we are already asking for this–a DVD of the performance, that is- by petition and tweet and email and maybe by smoke signal, but seeing that footage really seals the deal for me. Thus far, from all I’ve seen and read, The Crucible is very much a hit. The critics who matter love it and audiences seem to be downright mesmerized. Wouldn’t those who have attended love to have this performance preserved on DVD as a wonderful memento of their experience?


And (hint, hint) wouldn’t all of us who can’t possibly get across the pond or around the world to see this play LOVE to get our hands on it? I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, honestly I don’t–but please, Mr. Spacey, please—consider producing a DVD of The Crucible. I am completely convinced it will be a moneymaker for your theatre, which, I am also certain, could use the monies raised.

Now, I am not one of the fans with abundant disposable income, but unless you are planning highway robbery, I am certain I can come up with the funds to purchase such a DVD. Yep, if I can purchase a copy of that rubbishy epic Cleopatra in order to ogle RA in a toga and Caesar cut, I can definitely do this.

To paraphrase Sting in the old Dire Straits song, “We want our, we want our, we want our DVD . . .”

THREE Five star reviews; Armitage may need some tea and honey


“Richard Armitage, though sounding a bit vocally strained, admirably conveys Proctor’s mix of muscularity and guilt  . . .” From the Guardian’s review of The Crucible.


Like so many of you, I was following Servetus’ posts last night, Press Night for “The Crucible,” reading Tweets and feeling both eager and anxious about any forthcoming reviews from the papers. I knew Richard would be good in this role before hearing word one from any audience members during the previews; I have this sort of child-like belief in him, in his acting prowess and his determination to always bring his best to a performance.  And I saw how much intensity he was projecting even in the still photos from rehearsals.

Still, it was with tremendous relief and a great deal of pride that I read glowing reviews from two of the publications that, shall we say, matter (sorry, Daily Mail, you aren’t one of them). To see Richard get praise for his performance and Farber’s production awarded five stars by both the Times and the Telegraph was—well, it was as exhilarating as RA’s performance was to one of the critics!

But now I am a bit worried about those vocal cords.  Dearest Richard, please take care of yourself and that honeyed voice of yours. Hot tea with lemon and honey, perhaps? Restrict yourself to a whisper when you are off-stage? You have many more performances to give, and I don’t want anyone to miss out on your powerful, passionate portrayal of Proctor . . .  now, more virtual ((((hugs)))) from me, your ardent admirer from Alabama! XXOOXXOOXXOOproctorrighteousanger22completebellow2cropbwedit


Now I’m imagining RA milking cows. New Yahoo interview.


I have a treat for you later–the thoughtful and candid review by our own Helen (Wydville) after seeing “The Crucible” for the first time and briefly meeting RA last night, along with some of my own thoughts . . . but my wrist situation requires me to give it some rest for now. 

In the meantime, a new interview at yahoo.com about The Crucible with quotes from RA and his director, Yael Farber. Turns out he not only visited Salem in preparation for the role, he worked with some cows. Who knew?



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I’ve seen fire, and I’ve seen rain . . . Mr. A is having a wet, hot summer! *squee*


It’s the Summer of the Armitage! Richard is spending the next couple of months giving audiences an impassioned, impressive performance as the conflicted farmer John Proctor, adulterous husband embroiled in the Salem Witch Trials. I know I have shared this edit of mine before, but I like it so much I’m sharing it again. Hey, the beauty of having one’s own blog.


So there he goes, setting London on fire . . .  this big, fit, beautiful, bearded man, acting his linen smock off (literally at one point. *heaves sigh*) and using that commanding presence, physicality and voice to enthrall once more.  And then turning up at the stage door to be as sweet and affable and accommodating as always. What a guy!



But we are ALSO getting more Armitage– a contemporary role as the clean-shaven all-American high school assistant principal Gary Morris, a widower caught with his sons in a deadly day of tornadoes in the (long-awaited!) August New Line release, “Into the Storm.”

Serv posted some screencaps earlier from the new trailer, and naturally, I couldn’t resist having some fun with Wet Gary, aka the Hunky Educator Hero in the High-Waisted Slacks. Do you all remember some of those promo stills that came out after they do some additional shooting for the film? When RA’s hair was still a bit longer on top (as compared to how it was cut for principal photography)? I do . . .  hmmmm, Gary must have been blown into some Miracle-Gro at some point (a fertilizer here in the US) and it went to town on his hair. 😉 I am sure most folks won’t even notice.

But I always think of Lucas and his Mysterious Travelling Tattoo . . .

I’ve been right smack-dab in the middle of a tornado (on the campus of the Alabama School for the Blind) and I’ve taught high school kids. And neither one is a picnic! 😉


Having been in a tornado, very close to the path of tornadoes and having seen on more than one occasion the deadly toll they can take and massive destruction they can cause, honestly, a twister movie is generally not my first choice in movie viewing.

But this disaster flick has Richard Armitage. Wet. Fatherly. Heroic. Trying out an American accent for the first time in a really measurable amount.  How can I resist??  A good mindless popcorn movie might be just what I need . . .




So, planning to go and see Mr. A in August? What are your thoughts on the trailer? His accent? Did you notice how great Sarah looked even bedraggled? (Curse her!) Eye candy for everyone in this pic–cute teens for the younger set and hunky and hot adults for the rest of us.  As for any of you lucky ducks who will be seeing Mr. A in person in the round at the Old Vic–please let me know about your experience! And now, it’s time to ice the Troublesome Wrist, boys and girls.