So! James performed in Frost/Nixon at the James Bridges Theater, UCLA, for L.A. Theatre Works. April 19-22. For those that aren't familiar with the LATW plays, they aren't staged or costumed. They're very much like those old fashioned radio plays. The audio is recorded before a live audience and sold at a later date. James played David Frost, and it centers around the interview he did with Richard Nixon.
Thursday after the play. Note the curls, because they didn't make any other appearances that weekend. This is his David Frost attire. Dapper, yes?
The performances were done Thursday through Sunday, with Saturday and Sunday having two performances each.
James came early, dressed in a suit and tie. He shook my hand then gave me a hug, and thanked me for being there. I told him he was sounding very British. Smiling real big, and in full on Frost accent, he said, "Yeah, I've got to sound like David Frost now, don't I?" :-D He told us that he would come out afterward and talk with us.
Patricia came out to the lobby a bit later. We hugged and I told her it was good to see her. There was a group of James fans there (she later called us Marsters Sweethearts on her Facebook) and we got to talking about this and that. She explained that her middle name is Jasmin, and everyone kept telling her that she should use that as her screen name, and since she never liked "Patricia" anyway, she decided to go with Jasmin Marsters. I asked her what James calls her. And she said "Bird". At first I thought she said, "Burt". lol She listed off some names that she calls James, but I don't remember what they were, except they were fun. I said, "But James calls you Patricia, right?" And she said yes. (Which is what James said earlier when someone asked him. Jasmin is just her screen name.)
Patti asked her if she is helping to dress James now. She nodded yes. She said that he doesn't like to shop, but she does. So they'll go together and she'll make suggestions to him. He'll try them on, and decide whether he likes them or not. Left to his own devices, she said he likes to buy awful vintage t-shirts. :-D I mentioned that James thinks that shopping at the mall is selling out. Patricia said yeah it's the Hunter/Gatherer thing. (Yes, he's said this stuff in Q&As. James brain! It's fun and...kinda strange!)
So we had a fun time talking. Much laughter. You know, trying to figure men out. Or one particular man. ;-D
The play was very interesting! The whole cast was very good. James of course really brought it. If you ever get the chance to see him perform live, do eeeeet. There's one scene where Frost is distraught that his TV show has been dropped, and all of a sudden his career is going down the tubes because of all the effort he's been putting into the Nixon interviews. James actually comes to tears within seconds. Then it passes just as fast, as he gets a call from Nixon. The call between the two men is riveting, with Nixon pointing out the similarities between them, how they both were not afforded respect from those who saw themselves as superior. Nixon finally hinting at his desire to go to the wilderness (metaphorically speaking), and Frost becoming determined to be the victor, and keep the limelight. James! Eeee what a magnificent actor. He was so good, you guys. Just brilliant. I'll most definitely be getting the CD when it comes out.
The stage, waiting for its actors to start actoring. There's a table way off to the right there. That's where the sound effects guy does his thing. Need stomping feet sounds? He supplies them. Those stools were there to hold bowls of grapes, which the actors ate during a couple of scenes. When not performing, they sit in the chairs in the back there. At some points, they would show photos of the actual Frost/Nixon interview on the big screen.
So after the play, James came out to mingle a bit. He came up to me and asked if he had hugged me yet. (Um yes, but I'll take more. :-P) So we hugged again, and I handed him my program so he could sign it. He said, "So glad you came, Becky." (Wait. He knows my name?) I said, "You know my name? I didn't think you did." And he said, "Of course I do." (Oh.) He signed my program. And I told him that he was great tonight. He said, "Thank you! Yesterday I thought I had a bad rehearsal. Was too much of a caricature of Frost. So I worked on that." So he was pleased with how it went.
James and me. "Of course I do." (Thanks to Magie Tagie for the photo.)
You guys! How was I to know? Yes, he's called me by name before. But I always wondered if it was because he'd heard Steve say it, or had read it off my badge or whatever. He can be very observant! But now I know, don't I? Mystery of the Ages solved! :-P
Aw, part 2.
James did have one time of mild panic during Friday's performance. He was shuffling his script, and NOT finding the page he needed. Um. NOT AGAIN. lol (This had happened during The Importance of Being Earnest also.) I was a bit worried for him. Would he find the page? Nope, I don't think he did. But hey, he knew his lines anyway. It was right near the end of the play, and he simply said them as he remembered them.
When he came out afterward to talk with us, practically the first thing out of his mouth was that he had gone up on his lines. He was not exactly pleased with himself. I told him I was worried for him for a bit there when he was shuffling his script. I asked him what happened? He said he had thought the play was over. I'm sorry, but I'm LOLing as I'm typing this. And yes, I thought it was funny when James was telling me about it, because it was done at that point, and had all worked out, right? So I told him that I thought that was funny. He said it wasn't funny at the time. True that. But after? Hell yeah. He didn't let that happen with any of the other performances. You could just see it on his face: "Note to self: the play isn't over yet." lol
Signing autos on Friday:
On Saturday, James was running a bit late for the afternoon show, collar askew (which Magie helpfully fixed) so he couldn't stop too long except to say hi. That afternoon we were invited by one of the LATW peeps to a "Brits in L.A." party which was to be held in the lobby after the evening show. The actors were to be there, and was being hosted by Joanne Whalley (James' co-star in She Stoops To Conquer.) When James came out after the play, we hugged and I told him how well he had done. He was happy and thought it went well. I asked him if he was doing photos, and he said no because he had a party to attend. I told him that we had been invited to the party too. He said, "That's great!" Whether he was actoring right there, who knows. ;-D So anyway, I stepped aside so he could go about his business, and sure enough, everyone started asking for photos. Haha. So I did too.
Quite possibly my best photo op EVAH. I was taking my glasses off for the pic, when Magie took it. And this is how the it turned out, right out of the camera, except I made it a bit darker. It's so artsy! And fartsy! With my jacket sleeve flying all willy-nilly. Magie, if anyone asks, you meant to do this. Yay!
We got to chat a little after that. He said he'd only gotten about 4 hours sleep for the past two nights, and was really tired. I confessed I was having similar issues. Magie asked him about the background mumbling crowd noise that they all do during the play, and what were they really saying? He said that they weren't saying anything. It's all gibberish so they don't distract from the speakers. I asked him what they were eating during parts of the play, and he said grapes. You know, someone's gotta ask these burning questions. ;)
I talked to James' niece Brittney for a bit, who was standing off in a corner. We had met a couple of years ago, so I felt comfortable approaching her. I asked her how she enjoyed the play, and she said she really liked it. She's a sweet girl, very nice and very bright.
The actors all had a late call time on Sunday, so by the time James got there, he just had time to say (in a British accent), "Hello! I love you all!" I said, "We love you too!" And then I said, "Have fun!" He smiled real big and said, "I will, it's been really fun!" Exclamation marks galore, but that's how it went. :-D
Funny thing happened before the Sunday afternoon performance. One of the actors was missing when they came out on stage. Ooops. They stood there, trying to decide what mischief they were going to do to this fellow when he got there. Do we give him a standing ovation? Or do we SHUN him. Haha. There were many suggestions on how to make this guy suffer! ;-D Someone finally asked if anyone had a story to tell or a song to sing to pass the time. James did not volunteer. So this guy finally comes in to much applause and general laughter. We found out that he had been missing ten pages of his script, so they had to make copies for him. He was suitably embarrassed, and the play began. After intermission, he was the FIRST to come in, taking bows and applause. lol
I thought the Sunday afternoon performance was the best. The audienced seemed more involved, there was more laughter, and it just seemed to have a certain magic. Later, James told us that he thought that was the best performance too.
So, after the Sunday evening (final) performance, James came out and spent quite a bit of time talking, taking photos, signing autos. He came out with a single rose, and in his Bristish accent said that he planned on talking to us the whole time like David Frost now that he had it down right. "Just kidding," he said. Then James' California boy accent came back. Well, mostly. He slipped back to Brit every now and then.
There he is with his rose.
He asked us how we were all doing, and said that everyone loves us, and that the cast had made a champagne toast to us. He started signing autos, and at the same time said that his son Sullivan had just uploaded an interview on YouTube, and that it's really cute and that we should go watch it. (I have, it's fun.) Most of us were having our LATW CDs signed, which includes all of James' performances. The Importance of Being Earnest, She Stoops to Conquer, and Macbeth. Some people were going to donate their signed CDs to charities. And Magie told James that he had inspired a lot of people to do charity work. He said, "You know what? It makes you feel good, doesn't it? I heard someone say, the way to be happy is human connection. And the way to be connected is to be of service. Or do the dishes." lol
Then I showed him a photo of himself taken in 1980.
Haha! He saw it and said, "Oooh no! That's the production when I decided I didn't like to be famous. That's Godspell. Oh my god, yeah. That hair got me fired." I said, "No." He said, "Yeah, from Baskin Robbins. They said it was going to drop in the ice cream." LOL He continued, "And there was a woman who had bigger hair than that, but they didn't fire her." Bwahahaha! Another fan standing behind me saw the photo (for the first time) and said, "Oh how cute, what an adorable picture, how sweet!" And James started giggling. I said, "It's all over Facebook, by the way." James said, "Oh really?" Much laughter during all this.
James seeing the photo:
ETA: Haha James' official Facebook page just posted this pic (May 18th). :-D
Then he went around collecting presents, signing more autos, and finally taking photos. He suggested that we needed a red carpet to make us all feel special. (Oh, he's good.) So everyone took turns getting their photo taken with him. Someone said, "Who's next?" And I said, "I guess me." James drawled, "Hellooo, love." We took the photo, hugged, and I told him that he's a brilliant actor, and thanked him for his performances, and said I'd really enjoyed myself. He said, "Right on. We all need community, you know?" (Yeah. We do.)
Photo op again! This time with me cleverly edited out. Trust me, it's better this way. (Thanks again to Magie Tagie for the photo.)
He got ready to leave soon thereafter, grabbing among other things, his Star Wars lunch box that a fan had given him, and the rose he was going to give to Patricia. On the way out, one of his fellow actors (Jonathan Nichols) was ribbing him about the Star Wars lunch box. And James stopped and said, "It's to put my lunch in. Star Wars rocks, man!" To which Jonathan said, "My God you were a vampire, for God's sake!" lol
And with that, James waved to us and was gone. :-D
I hope you all enjoyed!