Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hump Day Hottie: An Evening with Alan Rickman

I'm a huge Alan Rickman fan and have been ever since I saw Les Liaisons Dangereuses on Broadway in the 1980's. I've been lucky enough to see him perform in Mephisto in London and Private Lives a few years back. Last night I got a chance to hear him speak at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. A production of Strindberg's Creditors which he directed has been playing for the past several weeks and this talk last night was part of the run.

I haven't seen Creditors yet because I think Strindberg is a mysognistic bastard, but I will just because he's directed it. Anywhoo, I was late getting out to BAM because getting to Brooklyn from the Upper West Side takes about as long as it does to drive to Long Island. Consequently I was forced to sit upstairs instead of in the orchestra where I would have been closer and able to ask a question (after knocking several people down). However, I have to say that my view of Alan was probably much better from the balcony and I was sitting in the first row.

The interviewer whose name escapes and wasn't really that important anyhow, asked Alan many boring questions about the play which Alan graciously answered although one could tell that he didn't think much of him or his questions. He made a point of telling the audience that he just fell into directing, it wasn't a job that he sought out. He's only directed 2 plays and a film and all 3 times, people came to him with the projects and there was something compelling about Creditors and Rachel Corrie that he made him want to do the project. He talked briefly about working on the Harry Potter movies where a great deal is done in front of a green screen which was why he wanted to do a play with just 3 actors.

He was lovely and self-depracating which the English have down as an art.  The interviewer mentioned that scientists in England had concluded that the perfect voice was a combination of Alan Rickman's and Jeremy Irons. He mentioned that one of his drama teachers had said that his voice sounded as if it came from the back of a drainpipe. He offered up that the feminist critic Germaine Greer once wrote a review of one of his earliest performances saying that his diction was so peculiar that it made his performance incomprehensible.

There was a too short period for questions from the audience and some people brought gifts which I totally didn't think of. If I had, I would have Leanna Renee Hieber autograph copies of her book with an invitation to Lady Jane's Salon for Monday. I totally know that if she had been able to be there, she would have issued the invitation during the Q&A. I lingered in the lobby afterwards with a friend, hoping to capture a glimpse of him milling around with the crowd but he wasn't there. Instead, we repaired to a lovely Viennese restaurant and had a smoked trout crepe and white wine.

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