Well, honestly, I did not think I would make this post. But I am making it, and you know what, it is writing itself! 😀
JaniaJania wrote about our London trip earlier here but then I did another one in May with Lewisto who had given me a London trip for my birthday back in January. We planned it as a week long immersion in London’s history, culture and food. We also planned to see The Goat and do the stage door for a quick hi to Damian; however, we did not think he would have time for a chat and so there would be no need to blog about this trip.
I WAS WRONG 😀
Some of you may know Gozde whose wonderful fan story we published a few months ago here. We met thanks to Damian on Twitter two years ago, clicked immediately, met in London, and stayed in touch since then. So I let her know that I would be in London and we made plans to meet for drinks. I am now leaving it to her to share the story that made this post possible!
“Damianista was in London a few weeks ago for Damian’s latest play The Goat, or Who’s Sylvia. I was leaving the town next day for my holidays and she only had an hour to have a quick coffee. So we met right before the play at the Haymarket and sat at a bar close to the theatre. Of course our main subject was our beloved Damian like in olden days. While she was updating me about the latest news, all of a sudden, her face lit up, her gestures changed and she got up to greet a very good friend of hers. Her friend smiled back and approached her to talk. This friend was, of course, no one but Damian! They looked like friends for 40 years. (Damianista’s note: “friends for 40 years” is a Turkish saying meaning “buddies.”)
And me: I was a sculpture sitting shyly with a frozen smile. I couldn’t believe he was there just a couple of steps away from me. I was just watching their chat and trying to find the courage to go and say hello and tell him “hey Damian, we have met because of you and cannot thank you enough for being the reason for this great friendship” but I couldn’t. I was glued to my chair! Also it would have been a crime to go between good old friends 😀 While he was leaving, he spared me a big smile and waved! Even this gesture was enough for my heart to come out of my mouth…
Damianista came back smiling ear to ear with shining eyes and trembling hands. We were now sitting across from each other and I was thinking if there existed a thing called “coincidence.”
So… Oh yeah Damianista is just a girl, too… sometimes 😀 And, Gozde, I’d better believe in the power of coincidences! I cannot thank you enough for choosing the time and place for drinks as well as taking the time to share the story!
The funny thing is, a second before Damian appears, I am telling Gozde he was playing golf earlier in the day at BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am in Surrey and a second later he is there in front of me 😀 Damian in fact knew I would come back in May with my husband but did not know when. So I tell him we are seeing The Goat that evening and will come say hi at stage door after the performance. What he says next makes this post possible: He has friends visiting tonight so he will entertain them and then go out to dinner with them. He will certainly say hi but will not have time for a chat tonight. So why not come tomorrow? Well, who would not skip a “hi” tonight for a “chat” tomorrow? And so the ear-to-ear smile! 😀
Stage dooring on an evening you do not see the play is an interesting experience. We arrive a few minutes before the curtain call and find out they have the play on speaker — probably to let the theatre staff know what is going on inside — and hear Martin asking Stevie:
“I am asking you… What did she ever do?”
We hear the applause and fans start to show up at stage door in a few minutes. It is a fun crowd. A few couples, several young women, a very friendly mother (a recurring character in this post whom I will call “mom”) and daughter, a young guy, and us. You decide who is chatty, chattier and chattiest as you go! 😀
Damian usually leaves later than other actors because he has visitors but it is the other way around tonight. He does not make us wait at all. He appears at the door, leaves his bag on the floor and starts taking selfies with people. When someone asks whether the goat in the play was real, he first thinks she is asking if Martin is really having a relationship with the goat but the question is about the goat Stevie drags to the stage being real or not. We learn it is a real goat that died in 1970s and was taxidermied. “Why would they taxidermy a goat?” I want to ask, but I am distracted by a certain Damian Lewis:
“Come on, Bahar! Your man wants to take our photo.”
Damian knows my man well. Krista, whose wonderful fan story we shared here, has recently pointed out in a private message:
“I mean what man can tell Damian ‘she broke up with Kevin Costner for you!'”
YEP, no man but my man! 😀 😀 😀 I am so glad Lewisto was able to tell Damian how much he loved the play and his performance. And he did not stop there and wrote the longer version of his thoughts about The Goat here.
Mental note for self: Do you really need to smile THIS BIG? Learn how to smile politely 😀
The mom, who is a lovely LOVELY lady, tells Damian she saw him die in Homeland but then he came back. Damian kindly asks her whether she was really watching since he came back only as a dream, and I could not help share I have never seen that horrific execution scene. And lo and behold we get into a loop: Damian tells me I have to see it, and I tell him “I will not see it.” He says it is an amazing scene and I say “yes, but I will not see it.” And he says I have to see it. “Look, Damian”, I say, “I know Helen was not able to watch Homeland because of the torture and what not that happened to you in the show.” He nods. “She knows it is a movie but even then she cannot watch it. It is the same with me. I LOVE BRODY and cannot bear to see him die. It is very sad.”
Damian does not give up.
Damian: “It is sad for all of us.”
Me: “It is sad for all of us. But it is sadder for me.”
Lewisto jumps in to help Damian understand. He says he never saw me not finishing my pasta and skipping dessert before the day Brody died. Moreover, he highlights the fact that I certainly cried more than Carrie 😀 Well, I don’t know if Damian is now thinking I am crazier than he originally thought, but for me, Season 3 ends HERE.
Talking about Brody, I ask Damian which Homeland poster he donated to Sohana Research Fund‘s Silent Auction at Silver Butterfly Dinner. Yeah! I bid on the signed Homeland poster (without even seeing what it is exactly!) Damian kindly donated to the auction and won it! Damian cannot believe I won it because he has no idea you can sit in your living room in the US and bid in an auction taking place in London. It turns out he has posters for all three seasons and I can choose! But I choose to let him choose because it is MORE fun this way: I suspect it will be Season 3 — as you can imagine, it is my least favorite of the three, but it seems Damian thinks it is the best poster since it has all three signatures on it! Well, I will report back whenever I get my poster. Which one is YOUR favorite?
UPDATE November 22, 2017: It’s finally arrived. I have no idea if Damian remembers our talk at The Goat stage door but I cannot thank him enough for choosing to give me my favorite season. Brody now lives in my study!
Back to the stage door: The mom jumps in to ask Damian what project he will be doing next and the conversation turns to Billions. And I mention I ran a half-marathon wearing a Billions hat. But, of course, being the sportsman that he is, Damian is interested in the half-marathon itself! When did we run? Last weekend. Where did we run? Brooklyn. Did we run together? Yes. How nice we finished in Coney Island, he took his kids to Lunapark!
It was very nice! In case anyone is interested (or not), this is me, after I finished Brooklyn Half, the largest half-marathon in the US, on Coney Island Beach with my medal — every finisher gets one 😀 It is hard to spot my Billions hat but it is there!
But the mom wants to know what Damian will be doing between The Goat and Billions.
“I am going to have a summer.”
You cannot help smile hearing this, since, in his words, you find a man who is looking forward to his summer. And when you think about it, Damian has not had a real summer since 2011, the year he started filming Homeland. I am sure there were long weekends and all but he was constantly working for the last 6 summers! So we wish him and family a very enjoyable summer with a lot of rest, fun and laughter.
Oh, and the envelope! Well, Damian is used to getting envelopes from me. Not that he has ever asked us to report anything but I love giving him updates about the blog probably because I am a believer in accountability even when it is not required. Besides, I know he always reads my notes. So I summarize what is in the note highlighting our “Fan Stories” project and give him one story as an example. This is Agnes’ story because first, the story is beautiful, second, Agnes planned to go see The Goat but had to cancel due to illness and I so wanted to have her and Damian “meet” in a different way. And, more importantly, Lewisto adds, the story attests to how Damian’s art touches other people’s lives. Well, I will NEVER forget Damian’s reaction. He does not say much more than he is humbled every time he hears something like this but you sometimes do not need words to understand. His eyes tell it all.
Before he leaves, I thank Damian for his time and for telling me to come today so we have a chat. And I could not help tell him about my friend Gozde that we met thanks to him and that she was too starstruck to get out of her chair and say hello!
After Damian leaves, we stay at stage door to say hi to the rest of the cast. It turns out Jason Hughes is not only a brilliant actor, but also left-handed like me! I tell him the two of us, as privileged members of 10% of the world population, are bonded forever 😀
Archie Madekwe knows me the moment I introduce myself since we tweeted back and forth a couple of times. Pay attention to this young man! He is going places and I know I will brag about seeing him in his West End debut in years to come.
And the one and only Sophie Okonedo! JaniaJania and I missed her at stage door in April. It turns out she lives in Sussex so leaves right after the play almost every night to catch her train. I completely understand since I had a 2.5 hour one way commute for 5 years and chose to go back home every night! It makes a huge difference. But, lucky us, she is staying in London that night! She is so down-to-earth and has the sweetest smile ever.
While Lewisto is taking our picture Sophie asks him whether he wants a picture, too. I have since been joking Sophie asked my husband for a picture! And Lewisto, in fact, kicks me out of their picture saying he wants his own personal photo with Sophie 😀 Well, I knew he fell for her in The Crucible on Broadway but I think The Goat sealed the deal!
And, after the picture, believe it or not, Sophie just gets on her bike and disappears in the dark.
This is the BEST stage door experience I have ever had in my life. Lovely cul-de-sac. Beautiful weather. People hanging out and chatting. And BIG thanks go to the Fab Four for bringing The Goat to life on stage, for their time, for their smiles and hugs, and for the priceless autographs. Hmm, one could be slightly more priceless than others 😀