Byline: Alan Bates
from For Ian Charleson: A Tribute
Constable & Co, Ltd, London: 1990
ISBN 0 09 470250 0
"I MET IAN when we were both in Simon Gray's
"Otherwise Engaged." It was a particularly happy company.
Ian played a surly lodger who took everything for granted and
was very bolshy to the landlord. He was marvellous in the part
and was immediately accepted by everyone. Though he was the youngest
in the cast-still in his early twenties-and it was his first
time in the West End, he wasn't overawed. Nor did he play at
being the gauche young man. It was simply that, without being
arrogant, he was quite fearless and had a natural ease with everybody.
Coral Browne: "I can hear Coral now saying, "So
you got stuck with the address, did you, darling, good luck;
and don't think I won't be listening." To sum up the life
and spirit of Coral Browne in a short address is pretty impossible..."
Alan wrote this memory
of fellow actor Harry Andrews for a book called "Memories,"
published to benefit the Alzheimer's Disease Society. "We
meet only a few people like this in our lives, and we do not
always realise until too late just how significant they have
Tribute for Rosemary
Martin: "I worked with her on two plays by David
Storey [above: Bates and Martin in Storey's "Stages,"
1992] and three by Simon Gray. Every moment on stage with her
was not only a pleasure, but a realisation of everything one
had ever imagined acting with a colleague to be..."
Pinter: A Celebration (ISBN 0-571-20661-1): "MY AGENT told me that
I'd been offered a play at the Arts Theatre which he couldn't
make head nor tail of and the pay was £6 per week. He said
I'd had a better offer from BBC Television: 'So there's nothing
to discuss, is there?' I said I didn't understand the play either
but that I'd had an instinctive reaction to its poetry and humanity
and I would definitely be doing it. My agent attended the first
night and was first round at my dressing room door. To his great
credit he said, 'Never listen to me again.' The play was, of
course, The Caretaker.
"Harold's work as a writer
has been acclaimed over and over again, quite rightly, but it
is about his work as a director that I feel I can say something.
In OLIVIER AT WORK,
compiled by the Royal National Theatre with the help of Richard
Olivier and Joan Plowright, Alan Bates offers this reminiscence:
"During the filming of 'Three Sisters' (which
he was directing) we'd shot a scene I was in, and Olivier said
it was marvellous - go and see the rushes with Joan [Plowright].
I did, and didn't like it, and Joan told him I wasn't happy with
the scene. He was rather displeased, and said, 'Well there isn't
time to reshoot it.' It was quite a chilling moment, and I was
very sorry I'd mentioned it - qustioned his judgement. Anyway,
I forgot about it, and days later - five minutes before the studio
closed - he said very loudly and sharply, 'Oh, we have five minutes,
and we're going to do Alan's re-take.' So I pulled myself together
and did it. Next day he said, 'What did you think?' and I said
I thought it was much better. 'Oh fine,' he said.
"I love the story because
he had to stay in charge of the situation - he'd had his judgement
qestioned, and he'd had the generosity to give me the time to
do it again, on his own terms."