In 2010 English actress Miranda Raison played Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s notorious second wife at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. In fact she played her twice in the same season in different productions. Once in the world premiere of Howard Benton’s play, simply entitled ANNE BOLEYN and again in the Bard’s HENRY VIII.
Keeping with the ‘two’ theme, I drew her twice as Anne from the former production and posted the first sketch on this blog in November 2013. Both sketches depict the opening scene when the ghost of Anne Boleyn addresses the audience, carrying a bloodied bag containing her severed head and a copy of Tyndale’s bible. The previous sketch is a full-bodied version. This is the close-up and has more ‘energy’ in the rendering.
Since her beheading for treason Anne became a heroine and key figure in the political and religious upheaval of the English Reformation inspiring numerous cultural works since.
The reason for two similar sketches is simples. I often do a number of variations, some subtle, then select one for signing and sometimes giving the ‘victim’ one of the others. In this case I had dropped off the close-up drawing at the Globe for Miranda to sign and must have forgotten about it. Sometimes I do this just in case I don’t get an ‘in-person’ sig. As you can see I got both, with a nice little note on the flyer with the one mailed back to me.
So this is a second, similar drawing of Miranda in the same role and the Raisons (sorry)
Here’s another quick sketch of one of my fave actresses, Miranda Raison. Most may know her as Jo Portman in the British TV series Spooks, she is also in the third series of the BBC legal drama Silk. Miranda has just finished the theatrical version of Strangers on a Train at the Gielgud Theatre in London’s Shaftesbury Ave.
When not gracing the screens or treading the boards, Miranda walks the fairways and greens as a keen and very able golfer. She happily signed my drawing at the Donmar Warehouse during the season of The Physicists: A Comedy in Two Acts directed by Josie Rourke in July 2012
A ‘film noir’, live on stage. Robert Allan Ackerman’s stylish psychological crime thriller Strangers On A Train pays homage to Hollywood and heralds the successful return of the thriller to the West End.
Adapted by Craig Warner from Patricia Highsmith’s iconic 1950 novel and Alfred Hitchcock’s film version. The plot concerns two men that both have good reason to wish someone else dead. A seemingly innocent conversation soon turns into a nightmare for architect Guy Haines (Laurence Fox) when he meets Charles Bruno (Jack Huston) on a train journey. Over a bottle of whisky, Bruno suggests they should ‘exchange’ murders. Haines is trying to divorce his unfaithful wife (MyAnna Buring). Bruno hates his cruel father and wants an early inheritance.
Watertight alibis. No connection – the perfect criss cross crime. Except, when Bruno performs his side of what was never a real deal, it exposes the appalled Haines to the dangerous reality of blackmail and stalking.
Christian McKay plays the detective who sees through the flawed collusion; Miranda Raison plays the perfect Hitchcock blonde and Imogen Stubbs is the psychopath’s besotted mother. A swirling set constantly in motion, effortlessly changing locations and watch out for an impressive closing effect.
All the cast signed and inscribed the 4b pencil montage after Saturday’s matinee performance at the Gielgud Theatre London.
Shakespeare’s Globe commissioned Howard Brenton to write a new play – Anne Boleyn. It premiered at the Globe Theatre on 24 July 2010 with Miranda Raison in the title role as Henry VIIIs notorious second wife. It received high critical acclaim and won Best New Play at the What’s On Stage Theatregoers Choice Awards in 2011. Sell out performances resulted in its return for two months in 2011.
Not some dusty, historical drama, it was described as a tale full of life and humour, adventure and romance, all tinged with sadness. It is a celebration of a great English heroine who was a significant force in the political and religious fight leading to the English reformation. While sharp intelligence, political acumen and forward manners are desirable in a mistress, they were at the time unacceptable in a wife… the rest, as they say, is ‘herstory’.
Miranda is best known for her role as Jo Portman in the British television series Spooks (a show Howard Brenton also wrote scripts for). She also played Anne Boleyn in Henry VIII in the same season at the Globe.
The play opens with Miranda addressing the audience holding her severed head, rendered in my sketch which Miranda kindly signed. She also sent me a lovely note, thanking me for a “wonderful drawing”.
One of my favourite actresses… no, people is Sophie Thompson (younger sister of Emma… another one of my favourites). Many will know her from Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. In fact, what British performer isn’t in that franchise? Or even Eastenders for the soap slaves?
I met Sophie after a performance of the racial satire Claybourne Park at Wyndham’s Theatre and asked her to sign a sketch. She loved it so much I gave her a copy. A week later she sent me a lovely thank you note. Her handwriting and ‘spiral’ signature is very distinctive.
She has an enchanting, bubbly personality that makes you want to spend more time with her. She could probably turn you down and you would still feel happy.
In July 2012 I did another sketch of Sophie, along with Miranda Raison and John Hefferman from the Donmar Warehouse production of the critically acclaimed The Physicists. Miranda, with an equally infectious personality, signed for me while she was in Anne Boleyn at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2010. She is best remembered as Jo Portman in the TV series Spooks.
I asked Sophie if she would kindly sign the sketch and ask Miranda and John to do the same. Sure as eggs, she completed the task and returned it along with copies for each to keep, and along with her customary and welcomed complimentary note.