Shakespearean stalwart Amanda Harris won the Best Performance in a Supporting Role Olivier Award in 2005 for her portrayal of Emilia, the wife of the evil Iago (played by Anthony Sher) and Desdemona’s maidservent in the 2004 Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of OTHELLO, directed by Gregory Doran. After its initial staging in Stratford-upon-Avon, followed by a tour of Japan it returned to England and opened the larger of the two theatres at the Trafalgar Studios in London in June.
My wife and I were fortunate to see Amanda in the RSC’s staging of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW at the Barbican Theatre in London in 2019 as part of our annual Shakespearean tradition to celebrate our wedding anniversary. The production switched the genders for every role with Amanda playing Minola Baptista, one of the wealthiest ‘men’ in Padua and ‘father’ of Kate, the ‘shrew’ of the play’s title and Bianca.
Her screen credentials include appearances in all the popular British TV programmes, including MIDSOMER MURDERS, THE BILL, A TOUCH OF FROST and HEARTBEAT. Amanda has taught drama and Shakespeare at the University of Alicante in Spain and is an Associate Artist at the RSC, where I sent this Emilia/Baptista sketch of her as for her to sign, which she kindly did and returned with a nice complementary note.
This is a sketch of Hugo Weaving as Vladimir in WAITING FOR GODOT. It’s one of two drawings I did last week based on the Sydney Theatre Company’s production that had a short season at the Barbican in London. The other sketch was a montage of all four cast members, including Richard Roxburgh, Philip Quast and Luke Mullins, which they all signed for me earlier in the run. Hugo had graphed ‘hugo w’, which was more personal, but I thought on this one I would like a full ‘hugo weaving’ (he likes his lower case letters). Collectors like to have exemplars of all autograph variations.
After the final performance last Saturday evening, it was way past 11 before the cast emerged intent on climbing into cars, to whisk them to the after-party. A large group of hunters and collectors… and the obligotary dealers (which I place in the former category) were waiting. Hugo was the last to appear and he signed a few LOTR books and stills, as his PA announced that he was in a hurry and couldn’t sign. This caused a panic amongst the hunters who swarmed on the target with the likelihood of me getting anything, let alone a full ‘hugo weaving’ diminishing by the milisecond. however he saw the sketch, took my pen-not my trusty sharpie, but a new Pentel fine point- which I’ve discovered is excellent for signing the drawings on the sketch paper-and signed ‘hugo w’. Since he still had my pen, signing a few items as the official hurridly escorted him to the waiting vehicle, I tried to get the ‘eaving’ after the ‘w’, but to no avail. So I have two ‘personal’ graphed GODOT sketches…no ‘eaving’ and no Pentel fine point pen. It must be an Australian thing, I thought, walking to the tube station holding the cap.they like to collect collectors pens minus their caps. Previously I had the same experience, on more than one occasion with Aussie tennis ace Lleyton Hewitt, the subject of another blog you may care to read for reference.
Dutch violist Janine Jansen is considered one of the world’s great violin players. She regularly works with the most eminent orchestras around the globe.
Janine is renowned for her success in the digital music charts, being dubbed the ‘Queen of the downloads’ in recognition of her award-winning and immensely popular recordings.
She currently plays a 1727 Baron Deurbroucq Stradivari violin, which is named after Dutch Baron Deurbroucq of the Hague who commissioned it to be made.
“I don’t own it, I have it on loan,” Janine said. “My father insisted that I had to make a choice based only on my feeling – not because of either name or appearance. So he made me wear a blindfold while choosing, I picked up one after another. After only six notes on the Baron Deurbroucq violin, I said, ‘this is it'”.
Janine signed my portrait at the Barbican in London last week where she performed Mendelssohn in the International Violin Festival with the London Symphony Orchestra.
David Tennant calls theatre work his “default way of being” but there’s no faulting his latest foray on to the boards with the Bard’s Richard II at Stratford-Upon-Avon in October and November 2013, before transferring to the Barbican in London, completing its run last Saturday.
“There are many splendid things about the RSCs production of Shakespeare’s history play, not least of which is David Tennant’s hair,” one critic wrote. “With his startled eyes and concentrated frowns, Tennant is frail, pale and consistently interesting.”