Saturday, December 15, 2012

18 Hours Part 3 - Julie Andrews and Shakespeare at 3am

Close Call
There was a break while the director, producer and others watched the rushes and decided what was left to do on this number. By now, it was late in the evening, Finally, I decided to go out and get something to eat from the machines outside.

I was looking down as I edged along the row, and just about to step out in the aisle, when for some reason, some sense of force, I stepped back. Looking up, I saw that Julie had come off the stage and was RUNNING, no, FLYING up the aisle to Blake and her in-laws. If I had not stepped back, we would have crashed on the stairs! As it was, I came to a quick halt just in the nick of time, and I lost my breath because she was a living being, who had coming out of that heaven on the stage – the kind of beauty I’d dreamed of since I was eight years old.

As she passed, I stepped into the aisle and followed her up the stairs, walking in the wake of that beautiful gown and the chiffon floating around her.

Outside I had to breathe a sigh of relief. I dared not think of what would have happened had we crashed. She was running with such force, I thought we both would have been hurt, but along with that, I was sure I would have been thrown out. In the future, I would look before I stepped into the aisle.

I bought a quick snack and did not stay outside long. My curiosity about Julie and her family got the better of me. When I returned, she was still in the back, talking to Blake and Jenny. Later, Emma came rushing into the audience and jumped about. Then, in a flash, she ran back onstage.  A few minutes later, she ran up to her mother and kissed her. Julie returned the kiss, and then Emma was off again. She’s never still for a moment. Emma is a little round (more than I picture Julie being at that age) and looks more grown-up now then when I first saw her two months ago.

Julie and Keith practiced the “Dancing in the Dark” number over and over again, but every time they got to that last spiral turn and drop onto the floor (if that’s what you call it), Julie would break, saying, “no good.” It was a very difficult move. They stopped and started so many times, and I saw it so many times, I’m not even sure I ever saw them complete the dance.

Oh! At the end, they brought in two extremely large two mirrors. They were very wide and about eight feet tall. I couldn’t actually see Julie when they taped this part, but I could see her in the mirror so clearly that I thought she was actually there. Gorgeous! Wonderful!

They had a break for a while. Julie sat in her chair drinking a ginger ale, and Blake’s mother and father came up to talk to her. I noticed they didn’t kiss her goodbye. Maybe they were afraid they’d ruin her makeup. I also noticed that the makeup man came over and put darker powder on either side of her nose.

By now, it was almost one o’ clock in the morning. I’m not really sure what time they finished, but finally, that scene was finished. I was sorry to see the set flying up into the ceiling, but it was fascinating to watch.

Vivien went over to talk to Julie’s hairdresser, Lorraine, and she told her there was a lot more to do. 

The Break and Questions
Earlier in the day – actually that morning (by now that seemed a long time ago) -- Vivian and I had walked over to the backstage entrance. She wanted to show me where it was. She told me she had seen Julie arrive that morning and she also saw that Julie’s dressing room was in the back of the building. She told me that the hall back there was lined with green doors.

While the crew was changing the set, I stood up for a while. Then, I went outside to buy a drink and some candy from the vending machines. Vivian joined me and showed me the exercises she had seen Julie doing in the morning. She made me laugh.

Then we went back inside. During this same break, a man came down to talk to us. He asked us all our ages. When I told him I was eighteen, he said he though I was twenty-two. I think he must have been joking because most people think I’m only sixteen. Then the man said,
“If anything would happen to you in the parking lot or on the way home, how would it look for Julie’s image that you stayed out all night to be with her?”
I think we were all kind of shocked by this comment. We felt safe at the studio.

Earlier in the evening, Julie’s fan mail secretary, Mrs. Priest, came in and sat by me for a while. She said she was not going backstage tonight, but finally she did. She didn’t return for over an hour. When the girls all wondered what had happened to her, I cracked in a silly way, “Crystal Klutz (Julie’s dog) ate her!” which got a laugh. I asked Vivian if Crystal Klutz was going to Switzerland or could she get a passport? Vivien explained that dogs have to live in one country so long before they are allowed in. I thought that sounded funny. “So, she couldn’t get a passport,” I said.

The man who owns Crystal Klutz’s mother brought her mother and sister into the studio wearing red sweaters. Jenny was in the back of the studio with them and they looked so adorable. They are black, silky spaniel dogs. Vivien told me she was going to get the last puppy but the owners’ wife decided to keep it.

3am – The Taming of the Shrew
After what seemed a long time, Julie reappeared, and I could hardly believe it was her. She was wearing a Shakespearean style low-cut, gold gown with rhinestones down the front, but that was not the shock. It was the wig she wore with the tiara. From where we sat, she looked so young and beautiful and different, like a real princess. It was then we learned that Julie and Keith were going to perform a scene from Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.

The scene opened with Keith’s monologue. Then, before entering, Julie stamped her feet and projected her voice from outside a window on the set.
The latter part of the scene was very physical as Petruchio struggles to conquer Kate. Julie and Keith practiced the fight and the struggle part the scene. They were on a table and he was on top of her. Then, they rolled off the table, onto the floor. When they decided to do the fight for real, Julie told Keith,
“I’ll try not to slap you too hard, alright?”

During the scene, Keith blew his lines quite a bit, causing them to do many retakes. I don’t recall that Julie missed a single line. They finally got a good take and we watched the tape replay. They even taped Keith’s blowing-up with the director saying “go right on!” It was fascinating, but compared to seeing their performance live on the stage, the taped version looked like a TV melodrama. Watching it from our vantage point in the audience, we felt we had seen the great acting of a great play. Keith and Julie’s Shakespearean acting was quite interesting; they seemed to go about it so naturally, and I know from experience that acting Shakespeare is not easy.

Finally, it was decided that Julie and Keith should take a rest. Then, they would do another take of the ending where Keith has to kiss Julie hard. He did kiss her hard, so much so that as he ran offstage, she was actually panting and sat down, panting with her head bowed. (I’m not sure if that was acting, but don’t think it was.)

Meanwhile, everyone in the studio was extremely tired. While the men checked the lights, Julie was sitting there, eyes closed, falling asleep. The girls were curled up in their chairs, some with their coats over them. Even the producer was falling asleep in his chair. I could only imagine if someone came into this studio, (were it not for the lighting and camera men) they might imagine that they had come upon Sleeping Beauty’s castle with everyone under a spell and there, in the midst of it all, the beautiful sleeping princess.

After a while, Julie got up and sat in her own chair, and Keith came over and sat beside her, while the cue card man held the cue cards for them to run over their lines. While they were sitting here, they discussed how they wanted to change the way they said their lines, their reactions to the lines and other business in the scene.

For almost twenty minutes nothing happened. It was now nearing three am. Julie watched us and we watched her. We couldn’t help wondering what she thought of us. When it was time for them to shoot the scene again, she got up and rushed out to have some powder (or paint) put on her teeth. The powder takes the shininess out of the teeth. On camera, shiny teeth look like they have gray shadows.

To be continued…

If you would like to see The Julie Andrews Hour back on television and released on DVD, along with music releases of Julie and her guests, please e-mail a polite request:
If you prefer, you may look up ITV in London or Los Angeles, and send a letter there. 

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