March 21, 2011


Filed under: BBC radio addiction,family,misc,This is not a mommy blog — Duchess @ 9:52 pm

My third child, who invariably begins all our phone conversations with the words, Mother!  It’s your favourite son! called a couple of weeks ago to congratulate me on my new mooring (of which more later) and to prepare me for his appearance as the Chevalier Danceny in the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

My son is finishing his final year in drama school, a time when all young aspiring actors hope to find an agent.  To that end the school puts on a series of public performances to give its actors exposure.

Just a Parental Advisory Warning about the performance, said my son, On account of nudity.

My nudity, he added, just so I was clear.

I hesitated a moment and then asked, Are you (pause) decent?

I have a cushion, he replied, his voice rising cheerfully to confirm the helpfulness of soft furnishings.

His father and I debated as we booked our seats.  The website wanted to put us in the front row. Eventually, however, we managed to get tickets for a discreet half dozen or so rows back.

My son did not have the leading role – most of the characters are women – but his was the second most important male part, with a critical plot element, since he kills the leading man in a sword fight.   I thought, well, any agents around will remember him – he’s the bare bottomed one, handy with his épée.

Before the sword fight, he makes love to the leading man’s lover.

In the end, for reasons of artistic integrity (and public decency, no doubt) the director abandoned the cushion idea in favour of breeches, and since his parents were going to be in the audience, my son had permission to hitch his breeches higher than usual as he rose from his lady love.

Nevertheless, even from row i we had a pretty good view of his bare bottom.

His father and younger sister disliked the play, but I found it interesting and disturbing, despite clumsy anachronisms.  Even a weak 20th century adaptation didn’t obscure the point of the original text:  sex was all about tactics and power.  Love mostly interfered with sex, and no one lived happily ever after.

On the drive home we watched the moon rise above the horizon, wonderfully large and glowing red.  I remarked to my daughter in the back seat that I had heard this was the closest to the earth the moon had visited in 19 years – exactly her whole life.  I guess I was too distracted with my new baby in March 1992 to notice the last perigee.

The Crow reminded me of that grown up word (and I instantly mentally replied with apogee).  Brits are astonishingly ignorant about the most basic science, and though BBC radio did tell me the moon would be nearest, the p word never crossed their lips.


  1. Duchess, you’ve done it again! You’ve given us a delightful tale of a moon of a different color, if you’ll pardon my pun, and the paraphrasing.

    The way I remember the meaning of the words apogee and perigee is to associate them with zenith and nadir, respectively, which – while not exactly the same – are close enough to help me remember the differences.

    What a brave son you have, too, by the way, what with all his naked swordplay…as it were. A confident lad!

    Comment by Martha McLemore (The Crow) — March 22, 2011 @ 1:14 am

  2. Directorial perversity. If ever there was a play that was well dressed – over-dressed, perhaps – it’s surely Les Liaisons. At least they decided to get rid of the cushion, a device which would otherwise have sailed close to the lee shore of farce. Watching one’s offspring on the stage is an equivocal experience. While still at high school my elder daughter and another student sang Dream, Dream, the Roy Orbison song in a concert. Believe me, I was pleased the words were clear and she sang in tune – both factors undermined when they were required to lurch awkwardly into a stance where they supported each other back to back, attempting to simulate a mirror image effect. They looked coy and didn’t deserve to.

    If you think Brits know little about science now, you should be grateful you weren’t living here forty years ago. Then it was terribly fashionable among people who’d read Meredith to sneer quite actively about even the mildest allusion to science and, especially, technology. Such people were so grateful when “nerd” was invented since it provided them with a shorthand term for everything they disliked but which was in truth everything they were quite incapable of understanding. Now their descendants are wont to gush about the poetry of particle physics and I can’t decide which is the more insidious offense.
    Barrett Bonden recently posted..A small detour round present times

    Comment by Barrett Bonden — March 22, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

  3. Almost 20 years ago, the Kennedy Center had a performance by the Bill T. Jones/Artie Zane dance company. The last number was all male dancers with “costumes: by the company.” Brave guys!!
    M.E. recently posted..Love this tune!!

    Comment by M.E. — March 25, 2011 @ 2:15 am

  4. Thank God he warned you first. And you did so well! Can’t imagine how I would have handled something like that with my boyo, probably would have started laughing hysterically because I knew he knew he was mooning everyone,including his parents. Then the moon mooned you at close range on the way home. What a great night!

    But then, you know how I am about things like that.

    Tell that boy I miss him and am proud of him, and to keep having fun.

    Comment by lawyer sis — March 26, 2011 @ 12:45 am

  5. Your son should visit for the next annual train mooning in Orange County! : )
    Twenty Four At Heart recently posted..All Worn Out and No Time to Sleep

    Comment by Twenty Four At Heart — March 26, 2011 @ 5:09 am

  6. A priceless posting! And how brave of him to invite you when nudity was involved.
    The Poet Laura-eate recently posted..Bye bye baby

    Comment by The Poet Laura-eate — March 30, 2011 @ 10:51 pm

  7. It is a little stressful when the offspring expose themselves on stage. Mine do it in a musical way. Although with Darling daughter’s short skirts there is quite a lot of exposure off stage too.
    I hope your son finds a good agent to show him to best advantage…
    rosie recently posted..April Resolutions

    Comment by rosie — April 11, 2011 @ 11:46 am

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