Sunday, April 7, 2013

ABOUT DAME MAGGIE

The choices of English newspapers that I can read without a subscription are narrowing.The Independent is stingy, allowing only 3 free reads per month, and the Times of London simply will not allow non-subscribers to read at all.  The Spectator would not let me in, because I had exceeded my allowance, and I had not clicked on their site for ages.  What's that about?  Anyway, I can still read the Guardian (Thank heaven!), but for how long?  And The Daily Mail, in which there's a lovely article about Maggie Smith.

Dame Maggie and I are the same age, but she lost the love of her life, the playwright Beverley Cross. Her words about her loss are poignant.
'Is it lonely?’ She replied: ‘I don’t know. It seems a bit pointless. Going on one’s own and not having someone to share it with.’

Warming to the theme of aging she also said she didn’t like it and added: ‘I don’t know who does. Noel Coward-- and I don’t mean to name drop.

'But he said,”The awful thing about getting old is that you have breakfast every half-hour.” And that’s sort of what it is. I can’t understand why everything has to go so fast.‘
Nor do I understand why everything must go so fast.
Interviewer Steve Kroft asks her: ‘But you have no interest in finding someone else?’

Dame Maggie replies: ‘Absolutely not. I – no way’.
We're together there.  I don't think there's any way that I could learn to live in intimacy with another person at my age.  And by intimacy, I do not necessarily mean sex. Dame Maggie and I have in common that we are both survivors of breast cancer.

If Maggie continues to work, I'll be more than grateful.  In the late 1980s, from a second row seat at the Gielgud Theatre in London, I had the great pleasure of seeing her in Peter Shaffer's play, Lettice and Lovage, written especially for Maggie.  Her performance was beyond superb.  Although there are other performers in the drama, Lettice, Maggie's character, carries the play.  It's a night I'll never forget.  Tickets were scarce, but the concierge at the hotel managed to find a single seat for me.  To the right is a scan of the copy of the play which I bought that night.

22 comments:

  1. Thanks for this, Mimi (and Dame Maggie. Funny, I feel I should address you "Dame Mimi"! ;-p).

    As I've never heard Maggie was gay, I'm going to guess that Beverley Cross was a man (along the lines of Evelyn Waugh).

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    1. "Dame Mimi". You made me laugh. Beverley was male. My father had a brother named Beverley.

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    2. I think Dame Mimi is just right too! (beats the heck out of Abuelita Mimi)...afterall, it's about time that you were given a English title, knighted or not as you often keep us connected to those cousins of ours (as they roll their eyeballs)!

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    3. Thank you, Len. And, after all, I am not your grandmother. :-)

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  2. Other available UK newspapers:

    free access:
    - the Telegraph (right-wing, occasionally interesting articles, and the cookery column's not bad)
    - the Daily Express (neofascist racist rag)
    - the Sun, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Star (like your National Enquirer but worse. The Mirror leans left, the Sun and Star lean right)

    limited access
    - the Financial Times (8 articles a month, or you have to pay)

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    1. James, thanks for the updated list. I check in at the Telegraph from time to time, but the rest of them I don't care about, because I don't visit their websites.

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    2. Correction: I do read the FT. I'd better. A good friend of mine works there.

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  3. What a lovely post, thank you Mimi! And that play, what a gift that you were able to see it at that time.

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    1. Thanks, Fran. As I said, the evening was unforgettable.

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  4. I love Maggie Smith too, Mimi. Refreshing to read something real about aging. I hate all the sentimental tripe people post about golden years. And the thing that makes me crankiest of all is December romance hogwash. One of the good things about getting old is getting past that form of self-delusion.

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    1. Much about the reality of aging is difficult, but getting old has pluses, too. One benefit I enjoy is having lived through a good bit of history that the youngsters only know from accounts from those who were there or second-hand accounts.

      I wouldn't rule out December romances for other people, but I don't think it would work for me. I was pretty set in my ways when I was young, but I did manage to make adjustments, but now I could not.

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  5. I saw Lettice and Lovage in London too! And then got to see it again in New York. How lucky am I?

    In fact, I was just thinking about that show when walking around the St. Louis cemetery. We kept attaching ourselves to different tour groups that were going through. And each time a different tour guide reached this one tomb heavily covered with graffiti, the story of the graffiti got more and more mysterious and bizarre : )

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    1. Twice! Lucky you, 8thday. I can see how the NO tours reminded you of Lettice. The cemetery and other tour guides are known for their truthiness rather than for strict adherence to historical fact. What's so wrong with a bit of southern embellishment to make the story more interesting? I do it myself, but I try not to stray too far from the facts. :-)

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  6. For so many reasons, I love this post. Thanks, Mimi!

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    1. You're welcome, Prairie Soul. I'm pleased you liked it.

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  7. .P.S. Have you seen her in 'Quartet'? One of the best movies I've seen in the past year.

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    1. Tim, you're welcome. I have not seen Quartet. Shame on me. I'll put the film in my Netflix queue today.

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  8. I saw Lettice and Lovage with Maggie Smith in NY -- oh so wonderful.

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    1. Yes, it was sublime.

      Shaffer altered in a few lines for the NYC production of the play.

      Peter Shaffer describes Lettice and Lovage as a "very English piece" as far as its humor and references. He altered the ending for the American production, but not for the reason of "Americanizing" it:

      "This version contains a significant rewrite. In the original... the two ladies were left at the end preparing to blow up a select list of modern architectural monstrosities with a petard - a medieval explosive device. This fantastic conclusion produced much laughter, but I was always aware of how assiduously it had been tacked onto the play in order to do just that. It was a forced climax, dismissing the piece into improbability... Finally the present one was born, and seemed to me both correct and pleasing... with this rewrite, Lettice prospers, and Lotte prospers with her, and their progenitor is happy."


      I remember the laughter. The buildings near St Paul's that replaced those destroyed in the Blitz certainly crowd in on cathedral with their ugliness.

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  9. Great post, Mimi. Maybe as with Thatcher a US female president will have to be a conservative. Sigh. What is this phenomenon about?

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    1. I hope never to see a Republican president in my lifetime, but I must say I'm quite disappointed with Obama's budget. Does he really think Republicans will suddenly get serious and responsible because he cuts Social Security and Medicare?

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