Sunday, June 29, 2014

Valentina's Experience with The Crucible - Guest Post

Photo Property of Valentina - Do Not Publish Without Permission

(Note: If you haven't read or seen the play The Crucible this post may have some SPOILERS.  Fabo)


There I am again! Thank you so much Fabo for hosting me again on your blog!!

First of all I must say that this is not a theatre's a fan report.

When I heard that Richard was going to play John Proctor in The Crucible here in London, I was so excited! As I said before, I've always dreamt of seeing him on stage! I booked a seat in row J... but I wasn't sure how far I would be from the stage. Then I found out that the first rows had been removed so I was in 4th row!

I tried to imagine how big the Old Vic Theatre might be, and I never imagined I was so close to the stage!! This theatre is beautiful, it's a very intimate experience, because the audience surrounds the stage and the actors are so close.

I didn't like the smell of alcohol  all over the show.  People next to me were drinking vodka or wine... bleah. How is that? In Italy nobody is allowed to drink in the theatre...not even water! Furthermore, the girl next to me had a huge rucksack that prevented me from sitting properly in my OWN space!..not to mention that her feet were stinky.

Natalie and I met up quite early in Waterloo. It was a beautiful sunny day.  Judit also joined us and we had a nice chat and dinner. We almost forgot that we were going to see the Richard on stage! I must say that I was so excited and nervous. I don't know why, but I think it's normal when seeing the Richard.

We went back to the theatre at 7:00pm and took our seats...oh my God! I was so close to the stage! Actually...there isn't a stage! We were so incredibly excited ! I was trembling..and I never stopped.

The lights went down and a mysterious music started … I'm not going to describe every scene... it would be too much !

Richard first appeared in the middle of the stage, surrounded by the other actors.  His presence is so majestic... he's a big man! He comes on stage for the first time when he meets Abigail in Parris' house. You can feel the tension between them. He looks really vulnerable against her, he tries hard not to be too involved while she tries to seduce him. Suddenly the tension between them leads to a flaming  “fight”, where they touch and reject each other with anger. Abigail literally jumps on him so That really gave me the idea of the “flying witch”.

This scene is really good , I held my breath until it ended...but to be honest...I held my breath through the entire show!

Richard's voice is amazing,  I agree with someone who said that it's different to Thorin's voice, it's deeper and rougher.. it is roaring in certain moments, and sorrowfully soft in others.

The mysterious music plays again in the intervals between one act and another. All the actors move the props for the next scene.

My lovely friend Natalie sat just behind me (Judit was on the other side of the stage), so we had the chance to gaze around during some scenes...and we suddenly looked at each other when we saw a girl bringing a wash basin. We knew what was going to happen!

John Proctor appears in the dark... tired, gasping.  He leaves his rifle in a corner, takes off his boots.. and goes to the fireplace. I couldn't imagine he would strip in the middle of the fact, he didn't. He squats over the basin  and takes off his shirt. It seems he knows that there is an audience around him, so it's a very intimate and private moment for him. OK! I know what you want...

I was shocked ! His shoulders are big... he's a built man, not too muscular but well shaped. His chesticles... ahhhhhhhhhh sorry! I’m sorry I couldn't scream in the theatre! His arms are so I wish somebody could steal that moment...he's got a beautiful body, perfectly proportioned. His feet are perfect too, almost “elegant”!

 He puts his shirt on again while he is still squatting. Proctor's wife enters, she's a very cold woman. She became remote after her husband's betrayal. Their house is quiet, dark...there's no more love between them. John Proctor feels guilty but he knows he won't be able to change the situation. Their dialogue goes very slowly until Mary Warren arrives … I won't explain what happens's too long!

Richard is wearing a shirt opened in the can clearly see his chest O_O it gets really hard to follow the lines!!!! He wears black trousers and he's barefoot...his feet!!! beautiful!

Elizabeth is accused of being a witch by Abigail. She asks John to talk to Abigail... he's confused, he doesn't know what to do, he knows he can't see the girl...he feels guilty. Richard is gorgeous here (well...everywhere!)

At the end of this scene, Elizabeth is brought to jail and  John Proctor (Richard) goes mad, he fills up the whole theatre with his voice, the lights hit his beautiful eyes...they're shining and sparkling... he's lost.....he cries, he's desperate. Ohhhhhhhh Richard was amazing!  We have never seen him acting like this, he shouts with his full voice ... very passionate! I can still hear it in my head.

The third act takes place at Court where the trial is being held.

Proctor comes with Mary Warren, she might save his wife from hanging. John tries to convince the court that the girls are pretending to be witches. Mary Warren says she has never seen the Devil. The situation turns against John Proctor. The girls go crazy and start shouting and trembling. John (Richard) runs around them to try to make them stop... he's desperate...his only hope was Mary but the other girls make her change her mind and she starts behaving like a fool. Proctor's last attempt is to proclaim his guilt publicly, calling Abigail a “whore”... but this only leads to his own arrest. He goes wild. Richard shouts with all his breath “God is dead!!” 

His voice rumbles everywhere... he spews out all his anger like a Vulcano... “..we will burn together”... I think I fired up there!

Last act takes place in the dungeons, Elizabeth and John have been there for three months. She's pregnant. John is going to hang. He wears a tattered white shirt, blood stained, ripped trousers, he's dirty.

Richard speaks proudly, his voice becomes softer as he speaks to Elizabeth. Proctor is devoted to her, he cries. They hold hands. Richard made this scene between Proctor and his wife very intimate.

Proctor refuses to give a false confession for personal and religious reasons.  A false admission would also dishonor him, staining not just his public reputation, but also his soul. By refusing to give up his personal integrity Proctor implicitly proclaims his conviction that such integrity will bring him to heaven.

As Miller describes this scene..”with a cry of his soul” (Richard) Proctor cries out all his pride, crying...his eyes are full of intense! He goes to the gallows redeemed for his sin.

There's a kiss between Elizabeth and her husband, that is described as “ a kiss with great passion”. I think the train scene in North&South was much more passionate !! I think there's no chemistry between them anymore or there's not much chemistry between RA and the actress.

I held my breath throughout the whole show. The entire cast was amazing, our Richard was outstanding! His performance was impressive. I didn't expect such a powerful interpretation. The whole experience was fantastic.

They got another standing ovation, the audience loved the show, and they praised Richard with much applause.

Personally, I loved Natalie Gavin's performance, I think she was great, whereas I wasn't really impressed by Samantha Colley. She doesn't steal the show at all, in my modest opinion.

Photo Property of Valentina - Do Not Publish Without Permission

After the show we flew to the stage door, there was already a long queue but we were quite close. Natalie couldn't meet Richard unfortunately because she had to catch the coach. What a shame!! Richard appeared five minutes after she had left. Me and lovely Judit stayed in the line.. I was calmer this time...or so I thought!!!

Photo Property of Valentina - Do Not Publish Without Permission

There I was again, in front of Richard Armitage! I brought my book for him to sign, he was pleased!! “Oh the book!”  I told him he was outstanding. I don't know if he said something. I asked a Belgian girl to take a picture of the three of us. So me and Judit hugged him and he put his arms around our shoulders. I managed to smell him again. Judit gave him a letter from Alessia. He was so happy! He said : “ Thank you for coming” and we left..

What a pity that my camera didn't work. That pic would have been a good one, but I shouldn't complain as I have a great one of me and Richard.

I would like to bump into him one day by chance and have a little chat. The stage door is not the right place for that, he's tired and in a hurry. He can't talk with everybody.

I am very proud of being part of this group of well-wishers, or at least of those who really “wish well”.  They stay in the line and are very respectful of him and for the others.

Last time I saw different kinds of people queuing. I think there were not just RA fans but also theatre lovers who wanted to congratulate him, because he's a very talented actor.

Thank you for reading my humble report. I tried to express my feelings as best I could.

Thank you Fabo for your help and for sharing with me this attempt at writing my story!!


Read more of Valentina's story, her first meeting with Richard Armitage, and more  at the links below

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Valentina Meets Richard Armitage: The Crucible Stage Door - Guest Post - Part 3

Photo Property of Valentina 

Meeting Richard - Part 3

The time was running out.. then I found myself almost in front of him again..GOD! I asked her to say something to him in a proper English because I was thrilled to bits!

We were the last in the queue. Richard was exhausted, he had probably been there all day. He couldn't wait to go home, but he talked to us again. I remember his face when he saw me, I think he said “did you queue back again?” :D My friend asked if we could take a proper photo (she wasn't happy with hers as well) because he I showed him the photo as proof..he smiled. I don't remember what I said.. I only know he said “of course”, he was amused...

I quickly wrapped his waist like a KOALA on his tree and he put his arm on my shoulders to pose. Then he said “never blink in photos!!” and  smiled.

I smelled him twice...he smells really good. I don't know what perfume it might be. I only know that I was overwhelmed by his presence. He is a very handsome man, kind and gentle with fans. He's shy in these situations and moves dorkly... how adorable?? He is really hot, in the true sense of the word. I felt the heat and the pleasant scent his body was giving off...does this sound crazy? :P
I failed again to introduce myself and shake his hand, but there is still time.

My friend took a beautiful picture of me and Richard, and every time I look at it, I can't believe I really met him.

As I wrote on Twitter, he's so kind, he loves to see that his fans are there to support him. So if you can attend the show, go and say “hello” to him (if he does this again). I don't think that the stage door thing disturbs him, what would he think if he didn't find anyone waiting for him?

I heard the Tom Hiddleston had problems with some crazy fans and he stopped doing the stage door after the show. BUT this is Richard Armitage and The Armitage Well Wishers Army is made of educated people.

I saw a quiet and organised queue, nobody complained, he wouldn't leave until he had met everybody, even us for the second time!

He got many gifts, nice words for his performance and  looked very happy.

Ask him for a hug.. one girl said “can I hug you??” and he replied:”sure, come here!” and welcomed her into his arms... bless him!

My friend asked “how did it go?”
Richard “it wasn't too bad for the first night...” He's so humble and modest.

I will see the show next Friday, I'm literally counting the days.I can't wait! I heard great reviews about the whole show and his performance.

I hope to meet him again after the show and finally say something more, though we don't know if he'll do it again.

I wish all of you could meet him, I was so lucky to be here in London at this particular time. I couldn't imagine he would work here on stage!

When you meet him, after recovering from fainting, you realise he's a normal guy, very genuine (although I don't know him personally) he's not like the other celebrities. That's why we love him so much!

OH! I didn't mention his voice.. so deep and yet so delicate... a cuddle for your ears …..

I felt the need to tell you how I met him. We waited for him for more than six hours in the wind.. but it was worth it.

I'm sorry for my bad English..I hope I let you share this amazing experience with me !

Thank you for reading!!

Thank you so much Fabo for hosting me in your blog!!

I will write more in seven days...If I recover after seeing him shirtless on stage!!! ;P



Thank you to Valentina for trusting my blog to publish her wonderful story. It's my pleasure to do so.

Please do not post any of her photos without her permission.

Valentina Meets Richard Armitage: The Crucible Stage Door - Guest Post - Part 2

Photo by Valentina 

Meeting Richard - Part 2

We decided to have dinner somewhere and rest. At 9.30pm we went back to the theatre but nobody was there, except the three of us and the photo sellers. No cars, taxis, drivers.. so the door man was right, the show was going on.

The sun set and we were now freezing .. but we NEVER left that door. I was getting really nervous. I had to think about what to say to him this time, I didn't bring anything to sign. I just wanted to shake his  hand and take a picture..and possibly TOUCH him..just to make sure he is real! :)

Time went by really slowly from 9:30pm to 11pm. I was freezing cold, my back was aching, but I was going to finally  meet Richard! The security man arrived and I heard “last 5 minutes”... oh my God! There we are! It's over!

We made a queue..and my friends and I were the first. We saw Richard and the other actors leaving the stage, he was wearing a white tattered heart skipped a beat.. he was really there!!!!!!!!

I started getting REALLY nervous. After a while, the actors started to come out and leave the theatre. I felt a bit embarrassed because nobody stopped them and they saw the long queue of Richard Armitage fans along the wall.

I didn't know them, maybe after seeing the show later this month I will talk to the rest of the cast. One after the other, they were leaving...every time the security guard opened that door, we thought it might be him and stopped breathing.

Then he finally appeared at the door... wow he was breathtaking!

I told my friend to go first because I was freaking out! He came out towards us with the sweetest smile on his face. My friend got him a Hobbit poster to sign and then I don't really know what happened, I only remember I asked him if we could take a photo. I failed to shake his hand but I hugged him as much as I could, as he was wearing his rucksack.

I decided to take a selfie and he said “ah! Ok!” :) So he tried to stay in the he's so tall and I'm so short! He gave me directions “ and I took it”

He put his arm around my shoulders. I felt his hot hand... he said “thank you for waiting for so long!” (more than 6 hours...)

Everything happened so quickly.I found myself behind him but with a picture of me with him blinking...NO!!!! What could I do??!! the last tube was going to leave Waterloo Station and I didn't know how to get home, because the night bus doesn't stop near my house, so I had only 15 minutes left, it was 11:45pm

My friend said I should queue again and ask for a new picture but I didn't want to bother him, how could I go there again????

She was very determined and started queing again saying to me “I'll queue for you so that you can get a proper photo”, she's lovely! I didn't want to!

Continued in Part 3

(Please do not post any of Valentina's photos without her permission)

Valentina Meets Richard Armitage: The Crucible Stage Door - Guest Post - Part 1


First of all, I must thank Fabo for hosting me on her blog.

Where do I start??????? I imagined this moment so many times..when I first saw him in person in December at the Waterstones Piccadilly Q&A, I was so so excited that I couldn't say a word when I was standing in front of him waiting for my autograph! I wanted my second chance, although there's never time to actually “talk”... unless you are so lucky to bump into him in the street. When I heard about The Crucible I was thrilled! How lucky I am to be here in London !! I soon bought my ticket, I'm attending the show next Friday...I can't wait ! I have always dreamt of seeing him on stage since I started following him...I always thought he would be amazing! 

When did I start following him? In January 2013...

I didn't want to watch The Hobbit because I was scared it wouldn't be good, being a huge fan of the LOTR trilogy. In January 2013 I found news about the movie everywhere, and at last I decided I wanted to know more about it.. so I watched the trailers and I decided to watch it (all the movies in Italy are dubbed in Italian...). I loved the movie since the first scenes...then Thorin knocked at the door...and my life was ruined! :) and I didn't even hear his original voice!

After watching the movie I wanted to know everything about the actor who played Thorin Oakenshield...I was shocked when I googled his name ! So I started following him and I soon “fell in love” with him as probably all of you!

I was bit disappointed after The Hobbit Q&A in Waterstones because I couldn't talk to him. Furthermore, I missed him at the Empire Awards as I didn't know he would attend the show...I wish I would have seen him with that ponytail..he looked gorgeous!

I was determined to meet him again and shake his hand or take a picture with him. So yesterday I had my chance: I wanted to go to the theatre and see if I could see him at the famous “stage door”, but being very shy and not used to doing this kind of things, I didn't want to go on my own.

I asked on Twitter and Facebook if anyone was going to the Old Vic but nobody answered me, which was a bit surprising to be honest. I thought many fans would go there hoping to meet Richard.
I was going to give up, I wouldn't stand there on my own like an idiot...but eventually an RA fan answered me on Facebook and we decided to meet up!

I wanted to go at 4:00pm, as my lovely friend Marie suggested, and she was right. I'm sure Richard arrived around that time. My friend and I met at Waterloo Station at 4:30pm, we had a cold drink as it was really hot..I wonder why????!!! ;) then we went to the stage door and found only some photo sellers and two girls, who were waiting for Richard. So we started chatting and was 5:00pm.

Some actors in the cast went outside several times to smoke or have a coffee, but Richard never showed up. But we knew they were doing rehearsals in a big room on the third floor (if I am not mistaken). Through the windows I could see the stairs and the rehearsal room (or changing room) door, we saw some of the actors going up and down with their costumes.. no sign of Richard.

There was a lovely girl,who has met Richard a couple of times already (he even recognised her!!), that got some cupcakes for Richard, so he probably knew some fans were waiting for him outside,and the other actors were looking at us and smiling through the windows.

The time flew by and it was 7:30pm. The show started and the doorman told us that nobody would come out of the stage door until 23.15(11:15pm) !!!!!!! I didn't really believe him, I thought he wanted to get rid of us.. afterwords  I realised he was right!

Continued on Part 2

Saturday, June 21, 2014

This Could Be The Start Of Something Big

 Cast of The Crucible - Break a Leg tonight 

Dear Richard - Love You! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Crucible Rehearsals

Beautiful Crucible Rehearsal Photos from the Old Vic

Photos by Johan Persson 

(Collage by me)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Laurence Olivier and The Old Vic ...oh yes, and Richard Armitage

Richard Armitage Signing his Crucible Poster with what looks like
Photo of Lord Laurence Olivier in the background

Laurence Olivier, son of an Anglican minister, was claimed in his lifetime as the greatest English-speaking actor of the 20th century and the first actor to receive a life peerage, Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier.

 In 1944 after serving in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm in World War II, Lord Laurence teamed with longtime friend Ralph Richardson (also a great actor, and later a knight) to revitalize the fabled Old Vic Theatre. This new phase of his career allowed Olivier to appear in an extensive repertory of  Shakespearean roles of his choosing, but also allowed him to direct, though he had been doing so sporadically since the 1930s.

Olivier's Old Vic repertory company, then housed in the building today known as the Old Vic, formed the core of the National Theatre of Great Britain on its formation in 1963, under Laurence Olivier. The National Theatre stayed at the Old Vic until the new National Theater building we know today was constructed on the South Bank in 1976.

Laurence Olivier Photo (Old Vic) 

The Old Vic first opened in May 1818

As a fan, or well-wisher, or supporter, whatever we want to call ourselves, of Richard Armitage for a few years now, I have to wonder what this moment is like for him personally.  How does he feel to see his name above the title and to be at the Old Vic, knowing the history of this theater, and the legendary actors, like Laurence Olivier, who came before him.  

(Sources:, Rob Wilton's Theatricalia, Wikipedia, The Old Vic)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Voices - More Hobbit: Adam Brown, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Ken Stott, Royd Tolkien

Royd Tolkien (left) in LOTR: Return of the King 

MiddleEarthNetworks and Legendarium have posted some wonderful interviews on YouTube from HobbitCon 2014 in Germany.  Below I'm featuring a few of my favorite ones so far, including an interview with Tolkien's great-grandson Royd Tolkien- plus a bonus interview of Royd from 2007.

...and in one of the interviews, there's mention of 
Richard Armitage 

Ken Stott talks about attending his first fan convention:

Mark Hadlow talks about the start of his acting career:

Royd Tolkien talks about growing up Tolkien and how he got involved with the Lord of the Rings movies:

In a 2007 interview with James Russell, Royd Tolkien talks about the Lord of the Rings films and the possibility of filming The Hobbit:

Bonus video from Legendarium: Adam Brown, John Callen, Mark Hadlow at HobbitCon 2014 and
mention of  Richard Armitage starting at 3:08 approx:

Some old posts from this blog featuring The Hobbit cast:

Friday, June 6, 2014

Sean Bean: Legends Promo

TNT - LEGENDS from LOICA on Vimeo.

Different from the usual new show promo - Sean Bean in Legends - Premieres August 13 on TNT
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