The Bubble Rule bursts (sort of): August 26th, part 1

Continued from here. I don’t think I’m putting any pictures in this one. Just words. But words that mean a lot to me, as this turned out to be one of the happiest evenings of my life.

The cancellation of the show on August 25th was crushing to so many people, especially those who’d flown from abroad and had only one chance to see it. I saw them talking about the problem on line, and talked to at least one of them myself. I am not equating my woes with theirs, for I still held tickets to seven more performances. If I were a better person, I might have given some of those up, but I confess, at that point, having come so far in a state of conflict to be held off yet one more day from something that I’d been steeling myself to experience for weeks, I wanted to know what it was about, and I wasn’t ready to surrender any chance to figure out what was going with the play — and with me. The cancellation annoyed me on two levels, though. First, it was the only ticket I’d had from the rear of the stage perspective (so I never saw the play from the rear stalls). Second, I’d wanted to see the play on my own for the first time, and now that opportunity had been lost. Guylty was coming to see the play on Tuesday and to meet me. (That aspect turned out completely differently than I thought, but at first I was annoyed at the lost chance to see it “alone.”)

Guylty turned out to be wonderful. Of course, you will say, we knew that all along. I knew it too — or I wouldn’t have asked her to transfer her *ooof* series here for my edification. But my trust level for fellow fans had been so reduced by the events of the spring that I didn’t even tell Guylty I was going to be at the play until August 15th, though I’ve never had any reason to doubt her. So kudos to her for being willing to take a chance, tamp down her frugalista impulses, and organize an expensive plane fare to come down to London at the last second to meet a stranger. She may have her own story to narrate about this rather remarkable evening, though I am just a part of the uproar of her last week.

I’d slept well, again — probably a combination of the tramping through the rain and the physical response to adrenaline rush and dissipation — and was actually a bit groggy in the morning. By about 10 or so, the Old Vic had gotten its act together to tweet that the evening’s performance would be offered as scheduled and Armitage had confirmed his enthusiasm.

Guylty popped up around noon, and it was still raining, and there was not a second of awkwardness between us, and we decided to take a tramp down to the Canteen at the Royal Festival Hall for a long chat. Fuck London, I said, this is about talking to you. And we had a wonderful, hours long chat about this and that: Richard Armitage, of course, and the play, and the fandom, and that ever-recurring topic of whether our behavior suggests that we’re “in too deep” (whatever that means). She tolerated my increasingly stumbling use of German, and it was just a charming afternoon altogether, apart from the rain. I felt immediately at home with her. I know that some of that was life experience (having spent years in a relationship with someone who came from very far away from where Guylty grew up), but most of it was simply a high level of personal affinity. It’s so rare to meet someone to whom one doesn’t feel obligated to explain oneself, and that was how I felt around Guylty: understood and affirmed.

We’d talked briefly about whether we wanted to visit the stage door. She’d been before, and been bemused; I was still so conflicted and remembered the horrible feeling of nausea the previous day when I even got close to the theater. Still, when a professional photographer goes with you to a play? I said what I’d been saying all along — let’s see what happens — without any confidence at all about what would happen.

I had an interesting lunch — Stilton-celery soup, raspberry ice cream with homemade shortbread — but my stomach was still too nervous to hold much (a pattern that held during much of my week in Southwark). My nervousness grew over the course of the afternoon, and I was worried that I was infecting her with my vibe. Eventually Guylty suggested we go back to the hotel. I once again put on my costume of black, and sorted through the tickets. It turned out that we’d be sitting at 90 degree angles to each other; she was in C18 stalls and I was in F19 stalls. So in a way, it was a bit like I was seeing the play by myself. We had a funny chat about the question of preparation — punctuality is important to Germans, but the ones I know tend not to like to wait around ahead of time. I, in contrast, wanted to sit for at least a half hour before the play and ponder and prepare myself. So when we got to the theater, we entered and separated, Guylty to look around a bit in the theater itself (she’d seen the play before), and me to find my seat and prepare for something I’d been anticipating, not entirely with pleasure, for such a long time.

[ETA: Guylty’s impressions of our meeting are here.


to August 26th, part 2.

~ by Servetus on September 5, 2014.

17 Responses to “The Bubble Rule bursts (sort of): August 26th, part 1”

  1. […] To August 26th, part 1. […]


  2. […] with all sorts of wonderful ideas to make others happy. As Servetus already described in her post, we wandered to a restaurant for lunch and talked for hours. Then we made it back to the hotel to […]


  3. I simply love the way you write. It is gift . Not everyone can do it. I find it difficult to put even my simplest thought in words. You should seriously consider writing professionally if you do not already.


  4. I feel the tension and anxiety in myself mounting as I read this. Can hardly wait till the play begins in the next one.


  5. […] from here. Funny — this post somehow seems extremely important, one of the most important ones […]


  6. I am thrilled and envious of the time you and Guylty had together.


  7. sounds like one of the best things that happened in London was meeting her 🙂 that alone was worth the trip :-)))) i am not sure being nervous is a bad thing, being oblivious and unprepared to what is going to happen to you can be even more strange. As to fans , well we all have something in common, but we are all still different people, with some we click, we some we don’t and that’s ok ( i’ve learned it the hard way myself too) I think it is ok to bond with the people we feel closer to, beyond the one common thing and it’s equally ok to not feel close to everyone and for others not to feel close to us. We can still all very much like and wish the best for the OOOA (object of our affection 😉 but we don’t have to like each other all the time and under all circumstances, being polite is enough 🙂


    • You don’t know this if you’re not familiar with the fandom, and I don’t want to raise or amplify the issue here, but longer term readers know there is a very specific reason I didn’t want to risk running into fans at these performances that goes beyond “us not all liking each other.”


      • i understand, i’m afraid i struggle catching up with all and certain things maybe better not known in that much detail? i wasn’t speaking about this fandom, but fans in general from year long experience and unfortunately there is a certain element of negativity and aggressiveness that seem to always crop up. But i don’t want to bring up bad things and past problems. I think what i was trying to say in no uncertain terms is what i feel and where i stand. I’m here, reading, writing because i choose to and i like it:-) I like what i read and what you write and how you do it.


  8. […] saw the play seven times and I commented in detail on every single performance, starting with August 26th. I wrote about how seeing his artistry changed my […]


  9. […] not — it was a lot of fun and a typical regional moment), two who prefer to remain nameless, Guylty, LadySquid, and Kathy […]


  10. […] met Guylty for the first time! Here’s the post (written a week or so later). This is a placeholder, because I want to write about how I feel about […]


  11. […] was looking at my copy of The Crucible today. This is a night I will never […]


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