… with Globe Education. There was a small celebration taking place at 5 that afternoon in honour of Robert Dodsley, bookseller, writer, and Dr Johnson's publisher (amongst many other things), the 300th anniversary of whose birth had occurred with hardly anyone knowing about it. I must admit to not having noticed it myself. And it was the desire to rectify such ignorance that lay behind the invitation from Patrick Spottiswoode, the director of the Education department, to join him and a few friends for a glass or two of wine after I had finished my meeting with Tim Carroll. It was a delightful idea, for Dodsley was indeed a remarkable man – but that is another story – and we all learned a great deal, as we shared knowledge-fragments about him.
I left the theatre, several hours later, feeling that I could have played Juliet myself without any difficulty whatsoever, if only directors could see my potential. Globe Education parties are a bit like that. And I recalled three of the conversations I had had since 4 o'clock that afternoon.
Conversation 1 took place at 4.15 as I was passing the top of the stairs leading down to the Globe foyer. I bumped into one of the Practitioners – one of the team of professional actors who take part in Globe Education's outreach and on-site programmes for teachers, students, pupils, and others. ‘What are you doing here?’ he asked. I told him about the OP idea. There was a silence. Original pronunciation? ‘But how do you know?’ I gave him a potted version of the next few pages. As it was the first time I had been put on the spot like that, it was not entirely coherent, and it took ten minutes.
Conversation 2 took place at around 4.40 as I was meandering around the Globe bookshop, always a pleasant place to spend a spare quarter of an hour – and I mean, spend. I was in the process of paying for Peter Hall's new book when I realized I was standing next to someone who, out of context, I couldn't immediately place – but it turned out she had helped to steward my Sam Wanamaker talk a few months before.