Last night, I saw you perform Hamlet for the second time. Unlike so many of those around me, I did not travel to London just to see this performance. I come to London every year because London is the city of my soul.
Although I recognized your talent and have greatly enjoyed your work until now, I frankly was a bigger fan of Hamlet. As an author and English professor, Hamlet is my favorite play, one I’ve both studied and taught. I identify with that melancholy Dane on many levels, so an opportunity to see Hamlet in London, especially starring an actor of your ilk, thrilled me.
After my first viewing, it took me a week to even put my emotions and thoughts into words.
I was so deeply moved that I had to see it again before I returned to the States.
After my second viewing, I waited by the stage door in hopes of an autograph, determined to find the courage I didn’t have after the first. When you made it around to me, I tried my very best not to keep you any longer than necessary. I was just two or three from the end of the line, and I knew you would be leaving soon. After a performance like that, you must’ve been utterly exhausted, especially since you do that an unthinkable seven times a week.
You were kind enough to not only sign my program but also agreed to a selfie. As you moved onto the next person, some girls pushed me, and I cried out as I briefly lost my balance. You stopped and seemed very concerned, and you told them to be careful and not to push.
You went on to sign their programs, and I quietly muttered, “brilliant performance.” To which you sincerely responded, “thank you,” turning back to look at me. Sadly, in my timidity I had cast my eyes down. Although I met yours a second later, I had but a fleeting moment of eye contact before you looked away.
What I had meant to say was this:
Your performance was magnificent. Inspired. Remarkable. You captured Hamlet just as I have always seen him. Raw. Broken. Desperate. Drowning in pain, in such profound despair.
Your delivery was exquisite. Your grief, piercing. Your impassioned anger and sadness deeply touched me. You embodied Hamlet in a way I’ve never seen.
What I had meant to say was that I was in awe to be in the presence of an actor who possesses the level of dedication necessary to deliver such a performance, not to mention the talent. In awe of the focus and effort you must have to become the prolific actor you are.
Before I saw you as Hamlet, I considered you a fine actor.
Now I realize you are an exemplary actor.
What I had meant to say was Thank You for taking the time to sign our programs and pose for pictures. Even though you had given so much of yourself on stage, you took the time to do that for us, and what’s more you were so kind while you did it.
My humble utterance of “brilliant performance” held all of the above and more I’ve not the talent to effectively express in words, despite my profession.
Although I can’t say I have seen everything you’ve done in your career thus far, I have seen many. I have enjoyed them all. I have felt them all. Now, I have a new-found, deepened respect for you as an artist.
I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future, and I can only hope to have the opportunity to express my admiration in person one day. On that day, I won’t cast my eyes down, but I will hold your gaze and fully be present in a rare moment when two human beings truly see and understand one other.
Until then, I wish you continued success, happiness at home, and peace within.