My life is nuts. I always think I’m about to get it under control and then it gets away from me again. I should give up I know. That’s the trouble with being default OCD. You feel that somehow you ought to be able to control everything, but of course you can’t.
Take travel. This year I have flown round the world one and a half times since May, once completely around the world in forty days, and when I got home in October I thought ‘that’s it for a while. I’m going to kick back, slip off my capezio’s, loosen my girdle, hang up my bra and just relax.’ But oh no. First I had to go to Mexico to visit the Mexico City production of Spamalot, and when I got back from there my lovely mother in law passed away and we had to go to Chicago for her wake and funeral. I miss her, but as we keep telling ourselves she was 93, and she had had enough. The really annoying thing about death is you can’t talk to them anymore. And just for the record, I’m against it. I’m not against it for everyone; for some people I am absolutely in favour of death and the sooner the better, but for people I know and love, no.
So my ma in law, dear Algea was my second mother in law. My first was Madge Ryan, a fine Australian actress, and I still miss her too. But Algea was my ma in law for thirty four years and she always made it very clear that she thought I was a good thing. Not many people have done that for me so I always loved her. Plus she made me laugh. Always.
A lovely Italian lady, born in Chicago, Algea Falcone was married to my Russian father in law Alex for over sixty years. He passed away last December, so here we all are again, at a Chicago funeral home “viewing the body.” For an English boy this is something of a shock. Death was hardly mentioned in public when I grew up , though it was wartime and prevalent all around us, but “viewing the remains” was certainly not part of it. In Chicago it is a tradition, and people come by and bring sandwiches and snacks and socialize. The grandkids come too, though they are slightly pissed it’s Thanksgiving week and they don’t get to miss any school. It’s all kinda healthy I think. In our case, since one of my two brothers in law is a cop, there is a large police turn out. They really know how to support each other that fraternity, and the next day there is a huge twenty car procession from the Funeral Home via the Kosevich family home to the cemetery, and the cops stop all the traffic. I think she would have been surprised by all the fuss. I keep reassuring Tania that not to lose either parent until you are over sixty is fairly remarkable. What do you mean “over sixty” she says. And it’s hollow comfort anyway. An orphan is an orphan whatever age, and to lose your parents means one thing and one thing only: you are next. Not much comfort there.
Am I allowed to be funny? Will you think I am cruel and heartless if I tell you a story? It’s Tania’s gag anyway. We’re looking at Algea’s tiny figure lying in her casket, all dressed up and she is wearing a bright yellow designer jacket that Tania gave her for Christmas a few years ago. When she got it this is what she said “Oh whenever am I going to wear that?”
That’s funny isn’t it? Of course it was still in her closet and they had to remove the label but hey….
So we got back from that sad occasion on Thanksgiving Day and I thought ‘that is definitely enough travel, I’m in at least till Christmas.’ I should have known better. Ambassador Theater Group had plans for me. Would I like to fly to London and help promote the new tour of Spamalot? Would I hell. But wiser heads than mine prevailed so here I am in the American Airlines Bankruptcy Lounge waiting for the flight to Heathrow. I have to spend a week in London being interviewed, attempting to think of something fresh and new to say that will encourage the citizens of Brighton to lay down their twelve shillings and go and have a laugh at The Theatre Royal where it will play for five weeks as an alternative Panto. Then it heads back up North on the road where it is booked for the following venues:
Brighton – The Theatre Royal (15th December 2011 – 14th January 2012)
Liverpool – The Empire Theatre (16th January 2012 – 21st January 2012)
Oxford – The New Theatre (23rd January 2012 – 28th January 2012)
Grimsby – The Auditorium (30th January 2012 – 4th February 2012)
Woking – The New Victoria Theatre (6th February 2012 – 11th February 2012)
Torquay – The Princess Theatre (13th February 2012 – 18th February 2012)
York – The Grand Opera House (20th February 2012 – 25th February 2012)
Stoke-on-Trent – The Regent Theatre/Britannia Suite (27th February 2012 – 3rd March 2012)
Glasgow – The King’s Theatre (12th March 2012 – 17th March 2012)
Edinburgh – The Playhouse (19th March 2012 – 24th March 2012)
Birmingham – The New Alexandra Theatre (26th March 2012 – 31st March 2012)
Richmond upon Thames – The Richmond Theatre (2nd April 2012 – 7th April 2012)
Aylesbury – The Aylesbury Waterside Theatre (9th April 2012 – 14th April 2012)
Sunderland – The Empire Theatre (16th April 2012 – 21st April 2012)
Bromley – The Churchill Theatre (30 April 2012 – 5 May 2012)
So if you live in the UK and have twelve shillings and a groat’s worth of time and want a good laugh, break out the Cortina and head to the theatre. Maybe then I can stay home for a little longer.
December 5, 2011