callmemadam (callmemadam) wrote,

  • Mood:

Laurence Olivier and Me

Or, in which I show my age.

Even my dislike of Sue MacGregor didn’t stop me listening to The Reunion on Radio 4 yesterday morning. I’ve written before about my admiration for Laurence Olivier. In this programme some very famous actors reminisced about the early days of The National Theatre. It was fascinating for me because when they mentioned the ‘iconic’ production of The Royal Hunt of the Sun or the landmark Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, I could think, ‘I was there!’ As a schoolgirl I was theatre mad and I saw just about every production at the National Theatre when it was still at The Old Vic.

This shows you La MacGregor with Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright and Bill Gaskill. Names to conjure with and I’ve left out their titles! I can’t put it directly on my page (as I did the other day with Mma Ramotswe) because the iPlayer links offered don’t seem to include the code I would need. It took me long enough just to find this (see yesterday’s RANT about the awfulness of the BBC radio web site). What made these great actors feel so nostalgic was that they saw the original company as an actors’ company, led by an actor who understood them. (The early programmes used to print at the back ‘The National Theatre Company’, with ‘Laurence Olivier’ listed alphabetically along with the lowliest walker-on; 'Mike' Gambon, for instance.)

By the end of the discussion there were tears but I can assure you there was nothing luvvie-ish about the conversation. Go here to Listen Again.
Tags: laurence olivier, radio 4, the national theatre

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