My background was, I suppose, theatrical…
Simon Callow, My Life in Pieces: An Alternative Autobiography
After about half an hour of waiting for Simon Callow at the stage door of Trafalgar Studios following a performance of his one-man show Being Shakespeare, Ottawa playwright Lawrence Aronovitch asked me: How determined are you?
Considering his book Being An Actor was practically my bible throughout high school and ‘Meet Simon Callow’ is number 91 on my list of 101/1001, yes, I was pretty keen to exchange a few words with the guy, perhaps snag an autograph.
Just as we were contemplating heading back to our respective homes, Lawrence looked over my shoulder, smiled, and said simply, There he is.
And out walked The Actor into the dimly lit street, followed closely by a young man with a fold-up bicycle. He greeted us warmly and happily agreed to sign our newly purchased books.
Did you find the script or did the script find you, I asked with uncharacteristic succinctness.
He laughed and replied: Well, I wrote it.
Didn’t the playwright write it…?
It was a collaborative process. We worked together quite closely. There were some changes made.
Lawrence is a playwright! I couldn’t resist playing the role of agent/producer…
Ah, really! T.E. or Olivier?
Confirming the correct spelling of his name, my companion mentioned that he, too, was working on a one-man show.
You inspire, Lawrence said graciously. I saw you in Wilde. And I’ve read Tuesdays at Tescos.
An extraordinary play, noted Simon Callow. A difficult play, difficult to memorize.
Probably keen to continue with their evening, The Actor and the man with the fold-up bicycle politely made their excuses and headed up the street and into the crowds of Trafalgar Square.
Funny he would say that, said Lawrence.
That he wrote the play. Really, Shakespeare wrote most of it. And the playwright, presumably. There was a lot of subtext in that statement.
Yeah, true. Interesting. [pause] Hey – we met Simon Callow! Nice!!
And that’s how I celebrated my sixth month anniversary of living in London.