Oxford terms are only 8 weeks long, and I am bemused now at how quickly I fitted in. My greatest stroke of luck was to be selected for a role in the Experimental Theatre Club production of Sophocles’ ‘Oedipus’, produced by Elijah Moshinsky, who subsequently went on to produce opera at Covent Garden (and who remembered me when I saw him there several years later, though continuing the irritating habit of calling me ‘Rajesh’). There were 9 actors all of whom had major roles except for myself. I only had to carry the sage Teiresias on, breathing heavily after we set him/her down. The other stretcher bearer was Mel Smith, who doubled as the shepherd, and later did well in television.
I think now with wonder about how I was able to hear so many whose work I had relished – Graves and Leavis and Galbraith – in so short a time. Also startling is how swiftly I moved to confidence in my own intellectual ability, a trait I fear has not diminished, and which I realize causes much irritation.
Do write to reach me before the 4th so that I can get the details of the budget and send an impassioned plea to the British Council or wherever it is for some sort of assistance. Give me the address, please and also how to put it.
Overseas students are being allowed to stay on in College, but I don’t think I will since everyone else has to go and it’ll probably be deadly dull and it’s too early a holiday to work in. I hope to travel a bit in England or maybe even in Holland, but of course I might decide it’s too cold! However, marvellous though Clara and the family have been, I won’t stay there long. The trouble about traveling is that Enid’s son is getting married on the 1st and I think I should be there, which splits the holiday up. I hope I make up my mind by the 3rd at least – it’s so much easier travelling here, or so I think now. I hope I’ll be allowed to keep my luggage here, though.
I had the most horrible cold last week and I was a bit frightened I’d get fever, so I stayed in and took disprins and it passed – or almost. I went for the play I’d missed this afternoon, though, and it was jolly good – an adaptation of ‘Hard Times’. Last week’s one was rather disappointing. I went for an audition last week and I’ve got the fascinating role of Teiresias in the ‘Oedipus’. The tests are quite ridiculous – you have to pretend being things like a magician turned into a frog or a medium for Stalin and so on, and it’s rumoured that the big parts are given out to the officials of the Drama Society even before the play is decided on! I felt an utter idiot mediumising, and I’ve only got a part since ‘contrasts of voice and appearance are essential’, according to the director, whose name’s Elijah Moshinsky which I think crowns it all. Anyway ‘Hard Times’ was a success. Continue reading