Diary of an RA Fan — Part 24 Good-Bye My Fancy — SPOILERS

See Diary Part 23 here, or to access all entries, hit “The Diary” tab above.

Spoilers for ‘The Impressionists’ and maybe a little for ‘Between the Sheets.’

[note: Regarding this diary, I sometimes get very kind notes from people wanting to comfort me. I really appreciate that. You will never know how much. But it has begged that I address the time line of these entries. Please know that these diary pieces are from two years ago or more. In fact, some entries are now almost three years ago. I thank all of you again who have expressed concern for me. I’m long since over the state of mind I was in then although in some respects I’m not over it. LOL!]

Entry — A few weeks later and still Fall, 2008:

Haven’t watched any Richard Armitage lately, and I’m glad I quit watching so many things repetitively. I think I finally snapped to when I got to the point I was watching but not really watching. My mind kept wandering to all sorts of crazy notions, but I was dutiful in slapping myself mentally for wasting time. It seems I’m always doing that. My daydreaming is almost a sickness. I wonder if I can ever outgrow it. When I was a kid, I was too naive to cover it up, and it was a constant source of teasing. Dad always liked to tell the story of me walking to school and the neighbors seeing me and chuckling at my strolling around looking at the bushes and the trees and singing to myself, and how they would holler at me to hurry up or I’d be late. I still love looking at things along the way. I’ve never been able to completely stop, but the specter of being late is always there. SO seems to be the only one who doesn’t think daydreaming is a problem. I just wish I had been smart enough to make a living at it, and it was always about a living dammit!

When I was 18 and wanted to major in music in college, I got a lecture about what I was really looking at — “Unless you get lucky, you’re going to play dives for years or you’re going to teach other people’s children to play.” Dad was a fantastic musician, and his years of playing gigs legitimized the truth of what he was saying. If he couldn’t succeed, then how the hell was I going to? Anyway, neither of those paths sounded appealing, and so I let myself be talked out of my first love.

Today, ‘The Impressionists’ came from Netflix. I forgot I had it in my queue, and I’m not sure when I’ll watch. It’s just going to make me remember again how I sold out. Maybe I’ll just send it back since two of the little SOs want me to get ‘Jane Eyre’ w/Toby Stephens no matter that they’ve seen it several times. According to them he’s so good that they’re now head over heels in love with Rochester. Of course that was true after they read the book! They even made a Facebook page about fictional characters ruining their love lives. LOL!

I look at them fangirling, and I’m so glad they are lighthearted enough to do it and laugh at themselves. I wish I had let myself revel in things like that as a girl. Eventually I fancied myself above it and was too busy making fun of it to ever enjoy it myself. I was a pompous ass and probably still am. Maybe I’ll keep the ‘The Impressionists’ discs.

A few days later:

The little SOs have had to content themselves with watching ‘The Impressionists,’ and although they’re still into Toby, they’re rapidly becoming big fans of Richard Armitage. They’re just not great fans of him in this particular series. But then they’re too young to really appreciate the nuances of his Monet, and how can they truly understand the conflict over Camille — his contrition to her and his honor to his father? They can’t. Not yet, and hopefully never.

And so much for being lighthearted about this. I was hanging on Richard Armitage’s every move. LOL! I cannot believe I was unaffected by how he looks when I first saw him. Must have been one of my most shallow moments. Granted, he is not the most handsome man I’ve ever seen, yet he is continually making me re-examine how I define handsome. No, actually, he’s beautiful in this. I have rarely thought a man was beautiful, but that’s the best description. He is definitely physically attractive, but it’s something inside coming out of this character, that longing for Camille and something more which permeates his eyes and moves to his shoulders and arms and onto his fingers, and returns to his shoulders, and settles there.

A little while later:

After everything I’ve seen of Richard Armitage’s acting, I can still be in this much awe of how he brings out depth of character? Will this ever get old? I hope it never does, and it has me continually wondering what he draws on to convey his expressions. “Quite a detailed actor” — yes, but what detail is in the mind’s eye? Or does he even do this consciously? Is this part of unfocusing the conscious? I don’t think he has a wife and kids or a pregnant girlfriend stashed somewhere, yet the purity of his movements is stunning. Whatever is happening in his head, I find myself replaying mere seconds of footage to dissect exactly what he does as Monet to convey these impressions and can’t escape recognition of SO in his demeanor.

There’s an earnestness and an innocence in Monet that makes me see SO, my young man who had everything to anticipate but pulling some baggage. How in hell does Richard Armitage capture that? (need to finish the Stanislavski book). I know he’s not innocent, or maybe he is. I don’t know. I’m so curious how he can play this character and the one in ‘Between the Sheets,’ who now that I think of it had a believable innocence as well despite the revelation of his heinous behavior. Or how he could play the stalwart but naive John Thornton and then the mercenary Guy of Gisborne, whose behavior also had a childlike expectation woven through it. Interesting. I keep writing down my impressions, but I can’t quite capture the essence of his performances. It’s like I’m in the dark trying to find a lamp but stumbling over something at my feet when I come close.

The only other actor to stir me to this degree is James Dean. I watched ‘East of Eden’ again the other day (after about a 25 year respite from it), and he nails Cal’s angst. He strays into melodrama some, but I figure it’s the era the movie was made. When I was twelve, this performance embodied the questioning and frustration I had long felt. I remember thinking I would eventually find the answer and some relief when I was grown. But I still question what drives people and what drives me, and I try to push it away and function normally, and “normal” dictates that I figure everything out in a moment. I know that’s not possible, but I keep trying to sum everything up, always trying to conclude, but I can never conclude. In hindsight it was alternately relieving and excruciating to watch Cal.

And now in watching Richard Armitage, that relief and agony is heightened again. Maybe much worse this time. It has created an almost painful longing to express what it is that dogs me all the time, and at one point in my life literally drove me insane. When I was watching him in this, I wanted to paint or play, and even toyed with the idea of writing a story, but writing has a vulnerability I can’t bear. I can’t write and exposing my clumsy attempts at it makes me shudder, and I haven’t painted anything in such a long time I’m not sure I can anymore. I’ve become too jaded to paint anything. But I can still play. I think. All I know is Armitage’s movements as Monet have a resonance that’s clear and sweet, and it reminds me of a finger slipping across a note, the feel of it coming off the note, and the tension and resolution and sometimes lack of resolution it expresses. And now I haven’t put my fingers on any notes for two years, and my frustration at not being able to express adequately how I feel has been locked up. I’ve wondered why I quit playing; I don’t remember any other time I didn’t play. I was playing before I could read. There are pictures of me trying to pick out pieces when I was barely able to sit on the piano bench. But I can’t bring myself to play. The thought of it leaves me…I’m not sure how it leaves me.

The next day:

I wish SO would watch this guy! He would agree with me about his abilities. SO is very attentive to detail when it concerns human beings. He still surprises me at times with what he perceives; I know he would appreciate Richard Armitage’s sensitivity and craftmanship. I would love to hear his thoughts! What a shame he hasn’t really watched anything. He was only half watching Vicar of Dibley, and Richard Armitage is mostly a foil in that. Then there was such a break between Vicar and George Gently that I don’t think SO realized it was the same guy, and Ricky Deeming also wasn’t a big part. Mostly I would love to talk to SO about what is happening to me and my urge to capture on paper the types of ethos and emotions I’m seeing Richard Armitage convey in his portrayals. Until now I’ve been content to swell up like a toad with what I perceive of people and things. I’m about ready to burst with what I want to express, and that’s much more interesting than writing all of this crap about my life.

Present day:

Getting ready to start Claude and Camille: A Novel of Monet

And I have to mention this video:

This has become one of my favorites. I love the version of Ave Verum Corpus that bccmee used. She has a great sense about her music selections not to mention tight, well done videos, and this was her first one! I’ve been anxious to post this piece so I could highlight it.

I also love this music because it’s a wonderful Welsh baritone. The Welsh are my weakness. I am a quarter Welsh, and when I visited Wales, the sense of kinship was overwhelming. More about that later. For now, the version of Ave Verum Corpus that I normally listen to is on this album, but the Ave is not my favorite piece in that collection. So glad bccmee introduced me to this new version.

I really need to start that music blog. Maybe I’ll work it in during my spare time. LOL!

See Diary Part 25 here.

Screencap and screenclips courtesy of my stash.

Diary of an RA Fan — Part 19 “the important thing is that you play truly.”

See Diary Part 18 here, or to access all entries, hit “The Diary” tab above.

Entry — Fall, 2008

Autumn is finally here in earnest, and its beauty usually makes me pensive. But this year I feel rushed. There is so much I’ve wanted to do, and I’ve done almost nothing. Dad’s gone and Mom’s not in great health, but that doesn’t seem to stop her from talking about England. That’s all she ever talks about, and I know full well the chance we’ll go there is almost nil. She is simply not up to it, and I can’t be gone for another month. The world would stop around here if I were gone for a month as I was last summer. Then again, maybe that would be a good thing. LOL!

I was driving over to see Mimi the other day. I love to drive to Mimi’s. It takes me on one of my favorite routes. The trees are close to the road and seem to glow as if they’re lighting the way to somewhere sublime. I swear they’re backlit by something other than the sun. Even though I love visiting Mimi, I wanted to just sit in the woods. It was a gorgeous day, truly a halcyon day — sunny but cool and barely a cloud in the sky. Just enough clouds to make the sky seem painted. Yeah, sometimes it’s so blue it doesn’t look real. I’m blessed to live here.

But I’m not satisfied. I wonder what that really feels like. Maybe I experienced it when SO and I were coming to know each other or when we had the little SOs. I certainly love them all more than I can express, but feeling satisfied is so fleeting, I’m not sure I’ve experienced it. Maybe it’s not supposed to last long. I don’t know. So much I don’t know, and there’ s not much time to figure it out.

I haven’t watched any Richard Armitage for a couple of weeks, and I’m feeling some withdrawal. That simply can’t happen. It’s an inexpensive thrill for me even if I do have several hundred dollars invested, and I’m going to continue. And whom does it hurt? I watch when I have time! ROFLOL!! Yeah, I’ve made time for it, but I’ve got to have some outlet or I’ll go nuts, and I don’t want to go nuts again. I’d rather re-immerse myself in Robin Hood even though the frustration lingers about its ending and my silly urge to blame someone hasn’t gone away. Dominic Minghella, the chief writer, is apparently the guilty party. Must find out more about him because I need to understand how someone could develop those characters and then use them like that? Or maybe it was just over my head.

I’ve got to put all of that aside. At least long enough to rewatch the show; otherwise, it will be a constant specter, and I’ll never figure out what fascinates me so much about a character who’s a thug, and of course I realize he wants redemption. Redemption stories are almost always powerful, but I’ve never had quite this reaction to such a minor character.

I could dismiss it as mere objectification of Richard Armitage. Damn. No! But oh his movements are beautiful. Even his seemingly languid movements are rife with something begging to be explored. His movements in total are imbued with something I just can’t name. I would love to describe what it is, but words fail. They always fail. I guess I’m lazy. If it’s not easy to say, I drop it and move on. I’ve always had a problem expressing myself about anything that moves me deeply except to sometimes fob it off with a crack. But something truly fitting for what I feel never comes. My words never sound as I want them to sound. They’re prosaic, and I cringe at them.

A few days later:

I started reading Stanislavski. That’s something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a teen and became fascinated with Brando and James Dean. Richard Armitage reminds me of those two more than any other actors. In my mind he’s those two fused. When I was a kid, Mom referenced the Actors Studio where Brando and Dean studied. She also spoke some of Stella Adler. From there it wasn’t too many steps to pique my interest in Stanislavski. I should have read him years ago. Only a few pages into his book and I was intrigued. He is speaking of things I’ve thought but didn’t feel free to pursue. To pursue them would be playing mind games, but heck, I’ve done that anyway. I wonder how much better I could have expressed myself if I had let my mind unfocus and tap into my subconscious. What I’m loving is that I have finally figured out what Richard Armitage is doing that has sucked me in so thoroughly!

This explains a lot and contains a description of what happens to me when I watch Richard:

The fundamental aim of our art is the creation of this inner life of a human spirit, and its expression in an artistic form… Our experience has led to a firm belief that only our kind of art, soaked as it is in the living experiences of human beings, can artistically reproduce the impalpable shadings and depths of life. Only such art can completely absorb the spectator and make both understand and also inwardly experience the happenings on the stage, enriching his inner life, and leaving impressions which will not fade with time. — Spoken by Director Tortsov from An Actor Prepares

The inner man he’s created, the inner life is playing out, and the truth of it is so beautiful I can’t get enough. There’s a sanity to it that I’ve seldom seen in an actor. Maybe I’ve never seen it.

“Impalpable shadings and depths of life.” What a way to describe it. Perfect really. John Thornton drinking tea at the Hale’s, nodding his head but unable to look at or speak to his mother after his rejection from Margaret, agonizing at the train station before Margaret comes back to him with her portmanteau. John Standring having his mouth full of sausage, being frustrated at his body’s impatience in an intimate moment with Carol, grinning at Carol as he tries on a suit. And Guy. Guy awkwardly holding the Sheriff’s bird, lighting up when he realizes the nun is a fake, looking intently at Marian when he sees she’s not wearing her betrothal ring, beaming when he comes to tell her the king is returning, rushing up like a little boy to her before the wedding. The ring of truth in these moments completely submerges Richard Armitage and the person he’s fashioned is there thinking and feeling and drawing me into his story.

“Will not fade with time.” Certainly I will remember John Thornton’s sweet eyes looking at Margaret as she explains her business proposition or Guy saying to his servant Thornton that the thing is to be understood.

[note: imagine my grin a year later when I read RA’s crack in this article. There will be more about all of this. It’s too much for one post. Oh, and I went on to read more Stanislavski and some Grotowski and Vakhtangov. Phew.]

Quote in the title from Mikhail Shchepkin.

See Diary Part 20 here.