I’m gearing up for The Carer’s publication in July with various events and festivals planned – Wrexham on April 29th, Hay in May/June, Emma Bridgewater’s Festival in Stoke on 8 June (where I’m appearing with Celia Imrie) and lots more during the summer – I’ll post links and details later.
And the ill-fated film of Tulip Fever, about which you’ve heard so much, is showing at the Courtyard in Hereford on 16th April, where I’ll be giving a talk. As you know, its distribution has been sparse and erratic, due to all the scandal surrounding Harvey Weinstein, but it does pop up here and there – my husband watched it on a flight to Japan the other day. I could write a book about its 20-year saga, if it weren’t so tragic – just thinking about it, and all the wasted work of its talented cast and crew, makes me feel too sad. And the movie is pretty good! That’s the awful thing.
Meanwhile I’ve been adapting The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel as a stage play for Chichester Theatre, for next year. This is being more complicated than I thought, as of course the elderly residents were created nearly twenty years ago, and would be rather different people were they in their seventies today. In the book they reminisce about Lyons Corner houses and Nye Bevan, which would make them about a hundred years old in 2019. In fact, much to my mortification they would be about my age (70) and my generation is very different to the one before. Some of us are old hippies, for goodness sake! So adjustments have to be made.
I’m also updating another stage play of mine, Double Take. This was performed in the 1980s in Liverpool and Chichester but I’ve been asked to revive it. It’s a comedy about a woman who has an affair, and in Act Two lives her life again, as it would have been if she’d been married to her lover – a sort of “Sliding Doors”, I guess.
What’s fascinating is how some things in the original play still seem contemporary – for instance, there’s a mention of some trendy restaurant having “the most obscure mineral water in London”, and Covent Garden buskers doing interminable mimes. But other things are terribly dated – cheque books, for instance. Landlines and missed calls when we all have mobile phones.
However, it’s the sexist remarks that really grate. Post #Metoo some fairly mild flirting sounds wildly inappropriate, indeed sleazy. I can’t believe my admittedly raffish lover said, on the phone to some woman, “what colour are they today? Oh you naughty girl!” Simply reading that turns my stomach. And even some of the lesser remarks seem patronizing.
This cheers me up. We’ve come a very long way since the eighties and in these ghastly times that, at least, is cause for celebration.
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