I have a horrible feeling that the most memorable thing, for some people, about the 1990 production of The Crucible in the Olivier at the National Theatre, is that the Proctor's farmhouse set kept breaking down. I'm not sure that they got the chimney raised properly on the night I went but it is more memorable to me for a couple of other reasons.
Firstly, I'd studied the play for O-Level and there's always something special about the books and plays that you study at school. Secondly, I sort of met Arthur Miller.
The actual production doesn't live strongly in my memory. I think I enjoyed it but I can't remember too much smouldering passion between Tom Wilkinson's John Proctor and Clare Holman's Abigail Williams.
As I was leaving the theatre I passed Arthur Miller standing outside the Mezzanine Restaurant. I thought it was too good an opportunity to miss and asked for his autograph. Any remnants of bravado melted into embarrassment as he took out his pen and prepared to sign, so I opened my programme on a random clear-looking page
I haven't asked for anyone else's autograph since that evening but, then again, I've got a British Gas advert signed by Arthur Miller so I don't need to.
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