Historical Inspiration: A Night at the Theatre
Happy Weekend, Ballroomies! First, I have some leftover business from my last post, Seducer & the Snoop, in the form of a winner of my giveaway contest. Woot!
BN100, please email me your full name and mailing addy ~ you’ve won a signed copy of My Scandalous Viscount! Huzzah!
NYTB! Aww yeah.
Another huzzah to Beau & Carissa for a fine showing on the NYT, USA Today and Bookscan bestseller lists this week and yes I’m going to crow about it. *g*But enough of all that! Lady B would not approve. (She is off today, in the genteel town of Bath having a spa day – of which I am wholly envious. She’ll be back Monday.)
Today I have some historical inspiration to share with you that came in handy while I was trying to visualize the opening scenes of my novel, which take place at Covent Garden Theatre. By dumb luck actually I happened across the “I Remember Nelson” miniseries on Netflix.
Historical purists, you will be in ecstasies.
Yes, it’s from 1982, but it’s a Masterpiece Theatre production from the BBC; the costumes are drop-dead gorgeous, the historical setting is so real, and the dialogue is excellent, especially the heart-wrenching arguments between the publicly celebrated but privately tormented war-hero Nelson and his wronged wife.
“Emma Hart (maiden name) in a Straw Hat” by George Romney
What plain, dutiful woman can compete with the likes ofthe ravishing and flamboyant Emma Hamilton, after all? It really makes you feel for this poor woman, the cheated-on wife. It’s a very flawed, human angle on the demigod Nelson that you wouldn’t normally think about.
Yes, he saved England by destroying Boney’s navy, but he was also an unrepentenant adulterer who even hints to his distraught wife that maybe they could do an open marriage…? (“Ew.”)
Speaking of flawed, our dear Lord Byron even has a cameo later in the series.
Part 1 opens with the clever device of a festive Pantomime show recapping the major life events of the Hero of the Day ~ and Horatio himself is in attendance, looking like he’s suffering a serious case of PTSD, poor man. This is just all good stuff. But the main reason I wanted to point you toward the miniseries is so you could check out the hustle and bustle of a night at the theatre, particularly the richness of lighting, scenery changes, costuming, voice warmups, and props and actors being hustled about by the director backstage.
Interior of the 2nd Covent Garden Theatre after the fire that destroyed Handel’s organ – not that organ, people, come on!!
Though it’s only a brief portion of Part 1 and hardly consequential to the plot, it is SO entertaining. It makes you feel like you’re really there in 1800 and shows you aspects of Regency life that you’d probably never think about unless you were writing about theatre folk. At least I didn’t think about them, since my opening scenes centered on action happening in the audience, not backstage.
Besides that, the auditorium pictured in the film is nothing so grand as Covent Garden, but nevertheless, it’s jolly good fun, as you can see below.
If you love Regency movies, you should definitely look it up on Netflix and it’s also available on Amazon in DVD or streaming video. I think you’d love it. Somebody put this segment of it up on Youtube, but the sound quality is bad – which is just as well, since the only kind of pirates we like around here are the swashbuckling kind. However, I wanted you to at least get a look at it and see how well worth your time it is. I found it extremely inspiring. Take a peek and make sure to turn up the volume, it’s very quiet ~ and Enjoy!
If they made a stage show based on the events of your life, would it be a tragedy, a comedy, or a farce? What would be the style/model of show you would tell the director to start with? Hmm…I think I might go with Lord of the Rings as the basic model to start for the Tale of Gaelen. Indeed, I have my suspicions that the whole short, jolly, fun-loving but fiesty Foley clan may have some Hobbit blood… What about you??