Continuing on from yesterday’s post… while at the Donmar to collect cast graphs on my THE NIGHT ALIVE sketch, I noticed some unusual activity, well unusual is very subjective term in the middle of London on a balmy July evening, with the small hand on 10 and the big hand fast approaching it.
The narrow, cobblestoned Earlham Street on which the theatre stands, at number 41 to be precise, was filling fast with flash vehicles, some with diplomatic licence plates, carrying suited gentlemen, who quickly surrounded the Donmar door. Some even went in. Now this small little theatre in Covent Garden has a seating capacity of 250, with 251 seats according to its website.
Sounds Irish I know and many a true word said in jest. On that one extra seat was sitting a person of importance on this very night. It doesn’t take long for 250 people to file out, so the 251st person soon appeared, escorted by the suited gentlemen who went in previously. It was none other than the Irish President, popular politician, poet, sociologist, author and broadcaster, one Michael D Higgins, himself. A person I had cartooned for my weekly contribution to The Irish World on 11.11.11, when he took office… and which adorns this page. I remember thinking at the time that this man had the perfect, almost leprechaun qualities for caricaturing. Meeting him confirmed this.
But what self-respecting satirist doesn’t carry around with him a copy of a cartoon depicting the 9th President of the Republic of Ireland, to get it signed if, by chance the subject appears in front of him. How remiss of me! He did however sign my sketch pad in a vivid blue sharpie, while telling me how much he enjoyed the play in the 251st seat. He’s back in April, at the invitation of the Queen, to become the first Irish President to pay a State visit to the UK. I just might have to slip down to the Palace with a copy of the cartoon depicting the 9th President of the Republic of Ireland if, by chance we meet again!