Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Samuel West Debacle

Thursday was the day I was going to Sheffield and as part of the trip I was off to The Crucible to see Mr Sam West in 'Much Ado About Nothing'.
I was excited. After all he is one of my favourite actors as well as being extremely easy on the eye. Mr West also had the great privilege of being the man I based my first hero on. Admittedly this hero is now languishing at the bottom of a drawer "resting". But hey, Sam's an actor! He should be used to that.

7pm found me in the bar at the theatre having a sneaky vodka and tonic before curtain up and checking out the programme. A young blonde boy (well mid twenties but very young) asked to read said programme. We got to chatting and it turned out he was a friend of a member of the cast and was up to see him. We agreed to meet at the interval.

I settled into my seat for the performance and found myself falling under the spell of the theatre. And then there he was. Dodgy 'tash and all. Samuel West. In uniform. And acting the rest of the cast of the stage. Speaking the lines like it was easy conversation, no Shakespeare declaiming here. I might have started to drool.

By the interval I was starting to become a little bit of a mess. Nothing like someone doing something really well and looking good at the same time to make my hormones go a little haywire. Another vodka and tonic was obviously called for. My kind new friend Matthew obliged and we cursed Mr West's talent.

On to the second half. The dodgy 'tash has gone. He was GOOD!

By the time the curtain came down I am definitely in need of a calming drink. Back to the bar to meet Matthew and wait for his mate. I realise I'm now in the position to be introduced to Mr West. I start to become a little fuzzy.

Matthew's friend, Jeremy is cool. We complimented him on his performance (whch was good). When suddenly he's there. Hair wet from a shower and falling in little ringlets. What had we been talking about?? I take a large slug of drink and pretend to be cool.

Twenty minutes later with much pushing by Jeremy and Matthew, I introduce myself. This is when I realise I haven't actually thought this through.
1) I don't know what I am going to say
2) I'm not asking for an autograph so can't use that
3) I might have had a tad too much vodka
4) I very tired

I introduce myself, say how much I Like the play and then I should have just left it like that. But I am a an idiot. I start some awful rabbling something or other about his audio book being one Oneword next month. I can see the fear in his eyes. I can see the look that says... "Who is this freak?"
Do I leave? Do I apologise for being a blithering idiot?
Like some sort of car accident that you can see happening in slow motion, I just dig myself deeper and deeper.
At this point he is looking desperately for an escape.
I am beginning to glow like a beacon as the true horror of what I have been doing dawns on me.
Somehow I mumble something and walk off. I might have been in the middle of a sentence at the time. I get back to the table, down my drink and wait for the earth to open under me and take me down.
I feel sick. What an IDIOT!!
Ten minutes later Jeremy and Matthew ask if I'd like to join the rest of the cast for what looks like a drinking session. I realise that Sam would also be there. I couldn't. My mortification was already too great. If I stayed I would make an even bigger fool of myself.
I excused myself and wandered back to the hotel cursing myself all the way.

Obviously I should never meet any of heroes... Now everytime I think of Sam West I can see this dawning look of horror in his eyes and the panicked cornered body language of someone desperate for escape.



Sela Carsen said...

Noooo!!! It couldn't possibly have been that bad. You were under the influence. Imagining things, I'm sure. You were NOT that bad. You couldn't have been.

Kate Hardy said...

Bids, calm down. You were NOT as bad as that. Actors and the like have to put up with FAR crazier women. (But bugger - you could've had such a good time yakking to the cast...)

Know what you mean, though. If I met any actors I really admire (like Rufus Sewell, Robert Lindsay, Derek Jacobi or Antonio Banderas), I would just gibber! (I quite like Mr West, too. Gorgeous voice. Was he playing Benedick? If so, I reckon every woman in the audience was a puddle of hormones, too!)

I bet Matthew or Jeremy told him you're in radio which is WHY you know about audiobooks. And I bet he's flattered. Honestly!

Michelle Styles said...

((Bids)) I am sure he was flattered.
Pity about not going for a drinking session as that sounds like it could have been fun.
AsKate H says actors are used to such things. They HATE not being recognised.

Biddy said...

It is all very sweet of you to say it wasn't that bad. It was. Very bad. The rendition I have given you is glossing over the truly horrendous bits. One day I hope they will fade.
If I hadn't had to be at a meeting in Birmingham the next morning I might have tried to rectify it but I just couldn't.
Kate - I told him I was on radio. Believe you me when you tell someone that one of the books they voice is going to be on radio it is a good idea to remember which one. Especially when they voice so many.
*bangs head against wall*

Julie said...

I am totally sure he was flattered. I mean, come ON, wouldn't you LOVE it if someone were reduced to a gibbering wreck in your presence because of your sheer gorgeousness and talent?

And you have also glossed over the fact that you TOTALLY managed to charm a stranger who bought you drinks, introduced you to the cast, etc.

Good result!

Kate H said...

What Julie said. Times ten.

Biddy said...

One day I hope someone will be reduced to a gibbering wreck in my presence :) Because I will soon be famous! MWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! In fact maybe one day I will reduce Mr West to jelly with just the sound of my voice... (must keep off the booze as it is making me delusional)

Charming the total stranger wasn't hard... I think he was looking for some work out of me!

Donna Alward said...

I don't know whether to laugh or sympathize!

I made the same mistake with someone far less famous not long ago, introduced myself, asked a question and then realized what a commanding person this person was (besides being about six foot five) and turned brilliant red, stammered, and tried to gracefully excuse myself. I grow embarrassed just remembering.

And it was at a church so not a drop of consolatory vodka in sight.

Liz Fielding said...

What a nightmare! But it's that, um, whadaycallit... experience. When you write that scene (and you are going to write it, yes? -- although maybe with the droolworthy Sam West featuring as a hunky tycoon instead of an actor) you can put all that feeling to good use. But as you said, bugger about the party.

Biddy said...

Liz - one day I will write about it, when I feel less like throwing up at the thought.

Yes, it is all experience. *sigh*