Thursday, 1 September 2011

On (probably) not meeting Janel Moloney

This morning, I woke up disorientated. My alarm clock was ringing and I wasn't sure why. Or what day of the week it was.

Then I remembered, and all was briefly well with the world, until I recalled that Janel is going to be on Broadway this month, and I didn't know about this until two days ago, and it's too late to do anything about it, even if I did have any money, which I don't.

You have to understand, I have been waiting two years for this. I have Google Alerts set up solely for this purpose. (They were useless, by the way, since the correct time to tell me about her appearance would have been roughly six months ago, not the day after Twitter had already informed me.) It worked for Stockard Channing a while back - and off I went to Dublin.

Which was disappointing. The play was great - The Importance of Being Earnest, one of my favourites - but, frankly, the other actors were stronger. She needed to work on her voice projection and her British accent. All of which I'd have overlooked if she'd been nice to me at Stage Door.

She wasn't. She made it clear she couldn't be bothered to be there and would much rather be inside with the other stars. She dutifully posed for a photo, though, and signed a couple of things. And it was my first West Wing actor sighting, so I still walked away excited and - yes, I'm slightly ashamed of this - shaking.

Then it turned out that not only Richard Schiff but also Elisabeth Moss were going to be in the UK earlier this year. Well, I wasn't going to miss out on that.

For Richard Schiff's play, Smash, we headed down a busy street to a theatre whose existence could easily pass unnoticed. It was old and smelled musty the way that a favourite book passed down the generations might.

We had astonishingly good seats - right in the front row - in a small, intimate theatre, for a play that sounded like - and was - my kind of thing: fun, not too emotionally intense, and featuring a young, slightly insecure writer. Richard Schiff was great - though I'll never get used to seeing him smiling - and so was the rest of the cast. After it was over, my friend abandoned me to my fate when I said I couldn't promise not to embarrass myself or her when I met him.

As it turned out, she would have been, not proud exactly, but not mortified, either. I couldn't think of a single intelligent thing to ask him and stood there looking slightly starstruck and wishing the other people hadn't asked him about the West Wing, because (being a true fan) I knew that was the last thing he wanted to talk about, and it had put him in a bad mood. But I did not say or do anything of which I am ashamed. But he, too, was dutiful - I have a great picture of the two of us and a signed something or other.

A few days later, we went to say Elisabeth Moss in The Children's Hour. The two experiences could not have been more different. We paid four times the price for a ticket right at the back of an enormous theatre. This play was emotionally intense, though I was very distracted by the fake and wobbly American accents. And then, afterwards, we waited.

There were barriers set up and all that stuff. Eventually, eventually, the actors all came out, including Keira Knightley, who was gracious and kind. Now, I know, in my head I know, that Elisabeth Moss doesn't owe me anything. That acting night after night must be exhausting. That maybe she was tired or ill or just needed to get home. That having to smile for cameras all the time must be irritating.

But she didn't come out at stage door, and let's face it, I was cross.

And the thing is, what happens if I fly to New York (which I wasn't going to bother with at all this year) and go to Broadway and wait for ages and Janel doesn't come out at stage door?

Or what if she comes out and I don't get to speak to her?

Or what if I get to speak to her and she is less than lovely?I have no reason to imagine she would be. But wouldn't it be devastating if she were?

What if she speaks to other people more and I get jealous as an only child is prone to - doesn't she know who I am, my addled brain will scream, and the extent of my loyalty?

Or what if she does know, and it freaks her out?

Or what if I do get to speak to her, and she is patient and gracious and kind, and all I can do is babble incoherently about the West Wing and how beautiful she is in real life and how much I want to be Donna Moss and what was it like to kiss Bradley Whitford and can I please have his phone number? And then kick myself afterwards for not being the sophisticated, intelligent writerly type I want to project?

So much potential for disaster. Maybe it's actually a blessing that I'm so far away from New York.

1 comment:

casablanc said...

Thanks for alerting me to Janel's casting in "Love, Loss, and What I Wore." I saw the play in December 2009 (without Janel, of course) here in New York and enjoyed it very much (classic Nora / Delia Ephron material). I plan to get tickets so I can see the play again, and am excited that I'll get to see Janel!