Back to 2015
Workshop presentation of the hit play about the last decade of the life of comic legend Lucille Ball at Arts Theatre on 20/10/2015.
A play made with love.
When you go to the theatre and hear the writer talking with love and excitement about the woman who inspired his work and to whom it’s dedicated, before the show, you understand you’re going to see something he was deeply involved with and see the play with his eyes.
I never been to a workshop before, I didn’t know what to expect. Taking a seat, I found a sheet with some explanations about the event, actors and creatives.
Then the first actor came out with a script in his hands and started to read lines from it. And yet his performance immediately got me, it was passionate and engaging. The cast was made of just two performers, Christopher Tester and Sandra Dickinson, who came out after a while. I found very nice to notice their different styles. The young man was wearing smart white shirt and black trousers and got the playtext collected tidily inside a binder; the redhead woman was in purple tracksuit with a big L embroidered in red, a scarf and big pair of glasses, and kept just sheets stapled together. I imagine they were like that for real during the years of their friendship! She got great memories for a young admirer who was hanging on her every word and tried to guess who made what between people she knew. They also loved to play Backgammon together, sitting at a table at her home.
If I got it right, Lee Tannen was 34 and Lucille Ball 67 when they met each other for the first time, it’s amazing thinking that they started a relationship that lasted until her death and still lasts, I believe. It’s a kind of friendship that can happen only between a gay man and a straight woman.
The way Tester was looking at Sandra Dickinson was touching. And then he declared his love for her at one point. That was wonderful!
While Lucille Ball was portrayed like a cheerful witty woman with a frank laugh, who reflected on life and getting older in Hollywood. I remember her only for a TV series that was aired on TV ages ago, it’s a pity I wasn’t able to see more works with her. For sure I didn’t imagine how she was in real life.
The story, running down the years, showed these two people enjoying time together, passing through quarrels and reconciliations and technological changes. The audience laughed a lot. But I bet several got tears in their eyes, at the end!
It’s the second time I watch a project that sees the collaboration between the director Claudio Macor and the producer Andrea Leoncini and I’m liking what they’re doing. I really guess I Loved Lucy will become a long run play, because it’s a very sweet, amusing story written with the heart, as I told before! But only with those two fabulous performers! Fingers crossed for us all!
You shouldn’t miss it in case this happens!
(flyer and sheet courtesy of Andrea Leoncini)
Here the cast & creatives list with Twitter accounts:
Sandra Dickinson @sandickinsas as Lucille Ball
Christopher Tester @CGTester as Lee Tannen (it was even his birthday! He told so on Twitter later, looked like a great day for him!)
Director: Claudio Macor @
Writer: Lee Tannen @leelee1110 based on his memoirs
Producer: Andrea Leoncini
Set and Costume Designer: Gregor Donnelly @gregdonnelly (private account)
@ArtsTheatreLDN, a small, but beautiful venue