Britain’s ‘Iron Lady’ died yesterday.The former and first (and only) female British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher’s passing has bought mixed reactions in the UK. Tony and Olivier nominated actress, Haydn Gwynne currently portrays her in Peter Morgan’s new play, THE AUDIENCE at the Gielgud Theatre. “I don’t know many people who would be neutral about Margaret Thatcher,” she wrote in the programme. “Everything about her was antithetical to what I believe in,but I would never play her through a filter of my own view of her…it’s not what is required. The weird thing is that, as soon as you are asked to play someone like this-and of course I watched bits of footage and read her biography and memoirs-you stop judging.”
I was going to do a sketch of Haydn anyway, along with other cast members,so it seemed appropriate to whip one up and have it signed by the Thatcher ‘stage surrogate’ on the day of Maggie’s passing. It was a surreal atmosphere around the stage door as cast and crew filtered in,with the occasional comment about ‘the event’ of the day. I missed Haydn going in, but did get to meet Peter Morgan,who signed my programme which was a bonus.
Everyone left relatively quickly after the performance and the group gathered at the exit soon dispersed once Dame Helen drove off, leaving only me, Phil, the stage door manager and one or two patrons from the gay bar opposite who had popped out for a ciggy….oh and the guy who feeds the pigeons. Haydn finally appeared around 10.45 and looked surprised..that someone was still waiting,let alone with a sketch. “I guess it must have been an interesting night?” I said. “Very interesting”, she replied. She liked the drawing-thought it was a nice touch and the poignancy of the moment felt as she signed it with a spirit-based sharpie.