Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Eddie and the Memphians; or, ::coughcoughcoughthere'satigeroverthere::

So I have to tell you the tale of the Coolest Thing Ever.

Normally, we don't work on Mondays at Playhouse, like most other theatres. But this Monday was load-in day. I didn't mind, I didn't have a lot of notes from my show. Rebecca put together a lunch for me and Kate as a "nice knowing you, goodbye" sort of thing. At about 4:00, I was watching the clock because I got to leave at 4:30. All of us were working on the stage, and I was upstage right with Liz when suddenly she said "Is that Eddie Izzard?"

Not knowing what she was talking about, I looked at her, and saw her staring downstage left. So I followed her eyes and saw a stranger standing at the foot of the stage, talking to my roomie Brian. Once I realized what she was saying, my first thought was "Chyeah, right, why would that be Eddie..." and at about that point I realized it was, in fact, Eddie Izzard. In Playhouse. Right there. So I tried to conceal my excitement and calm my heartbeat as I moved closer to his side of the stage.

It turned out that his first gig in the U.S. was in a theatre in Overton Square, so since he was in town for the first time since then and had some time to kill, he took a cab to Overton Square to see if he could find it (it doesn't exist anymore; it was about where Studio on the Square is now, apparently), and wandered into Playhouse to see if maybe that was it. Brian and I ended up chatting with him for a few minutes, and I got a huge kick out of watching more people come into the room and realize who he was. We told him who we were, what we were doing, etc., and that we'd wanted to come see his show the next night, but we all had to work. He said "Oh, that's a shame. I would've arranged free tickets."

Eventually Brian took him up to talk to management, and I got released. Being naturally excited (but *not* a stalker!), I decided to go out the front door of the theatre rather than the side, on the off chance I'd see him again. And as luck would have it, he was walking out just in front of me. We ended up chatting on the sidewalk, and Jay came up to say he'd decided to get tickets, which put us back on the subject of getting to go (because, of course, I told Jay that he was stupid for getting to go). They said I should try to get out of rehearsal, because after all it *is* my last few days, and when would I get a chance like this again, and it's not like I could do much during the show anyway. And finally Eddie said "Well, if you change your mind, here's my assistant's number. Her name is Rachel. Call her and she'll arrange tickets." And when he went to walk away, he turned around and said "And come round backstage after the show, and we'll have drinks."

This is the point where I finally got to freak out, because I ran over to the new building to tell Rebecca about it. Jackie was over there, and when I told him about it, he went *running* to see if he could catch Eddie. That's when I finally got to gush and squee like the little fangirl I am. And Rebecca, who of course was totally excited as well (and kept saying "Why didn't you call me?!", though of course I had had other things on my mind), was open to arrangements being made so I could go. So after jumping through a few hoops, it was arranged.

Being the proper and classic girl that I am, I went home that afternoon, took a shower, got nice'd up. And then came out of my room and saw that the other people who were going were all wearing tee shirts and jeans. I felt like I should change, but between the time it would take and the effort I'd made, I decided not to. But when we got there, there were plenty of other people dressed up too, so then I didn't feel so out of place. Other than the fact that I started having an eye-allergy-freakout and my right eye was all red and swollen. But it was better enough once the show started for me to not think about it, and was actually-better by the end.

Candice's favorite part was when she went to pick up her tickets and the box office person asked "How did you purchase these tickets?" and she got to say "Oh, Eddie left them for me as his guest." :-P And the seats were really good -- 5th row, close to the center.

Afterwards, we decided to go over to the stage door on the off chance he actually remembered us and we could get him to hang out. We were expecting him to come out to go straight to his bus and have to do a "Hey, remember me?!" sort of thing. But so we were all milling around, just off from the throng of people who were waiting like vultures outside the door. Eventually the door opened, and people got excited for a hot second, but were disappointed when it was just a girl who clearly worked with him, as she was wearing the "Stripped" pass on a lanyard. She was looking around, looking for someone, so finally Jay said "Are you Rachel?"

And she was. And she was looking for us! Not only had he remembered, but he sent his assistant down to gather us and take us up to the dressing room. It was the funniest thing: she ushered us through the people, who yelled things like "I want to be your friend!" and "I'm with them, they just forgot me!" I've never felt so popular. Not that I really ever feel popular, you know, but still. It was cool.

He shook all of our hands when we came in, and as we were rather crowded in the tiny dressing room, I moved further in to get out of the way, and when he stepped back, he stood right by me. We all chatted for quite a little while, and occasionally I would glance across the room to where there was a mirror, and marvel at the reflection of me and Eddie Izzard, barely a foot or two away from each other.

He's a really neat guy. Very friendly, down-to-earth, cool in one of those ways that's clearly just that he's a nice person, not nice-for-a-celebrity. Eventually we were joined by a couple, the girl of whom was clearly 100% off her rocker and possibly on drugs and wanted to talk to him about global warming. It was after that that the mood was broken a little bit, and a few minutes later we were taken back outside so he could do a Q&A in the parking lot.

I'd have to say that was probably about the coolest thing that's ever happened to me. The most interesting and unbelievably random occurrence. An "unbelievable coincidence", if you will; if it had been any other Monday, Playhouse would've been empty, and we never would've even known that he had come in. We would lament in a few days' time, when we realized the concert date had passed, that we hadn't been able to go. We might've imagined going down to Beale that night and running into him at Blues City and sneaking a photo. But as it is, we have a really cool memory of a chance meeting and the rose-colored aftermath.


Carrie J said...

Wow. It sounds really neat. I got your text and wondered how things went.

Laura E. Jordan said...

I forgot part, too!

First, when I got into his dressing room, he said "You made it!", which was just cool because he remembered me.

But the other part was the completion of a thought. I mentioned that I felt overdressed. But when we were leaving his dressing room, he said "You're so dressed up." To which I replied something along the lines of "Well, you go to the theatre, you put on nice clothes, you know?" The defense I'd given the others. But Eddie and his assistant both started on like "YES, absolutely! I love that! I hate that people don't do that anymore!" So I was very pleased at my vindication.

Sonny said...

YEAH!I love him. I'm so glad you will have that memory.Envious but happy for you. Maybe if you run in to him again he'll remember you again. The dressed thing is so true.I tell Meaghan and Ryan that all the time. Dress nice when you go somewhere nice. Plus it makes you feel good.
By the way are you looking forward to the new X-file movie? I am. Everybody at my house is already groaning.
I wish you the best.Hope to see you soon.

Laurie said...

Holy crap! You met Eddie Izzard! Muchos envy.

Thank you for your thoughtful comment on my blog, by the way. It was very much appreciated.

vi said...

that is a wonderful happy accident and a fantastic story and memory ( good thing you got the picture too! for your avitar

i think eddie izzard is brilliant
he's smart and funny and looks better in makeup then most woman do!

ps: by a lotto ticket.....see if your luck keeps going