On Thursday, we departed at 6:14 a.m,, two hours before the sun came up, with the tentative joy of those who try to keep a rein on their hope of success. We were determined we would do whatever it took to get tickets to one of the two performances that day, and we anxiously awaited our chance. While fidgeting incessantly for the three hours on the train, we came up with our game plan. We had snacks to sustain us through the wait, directions to our destination, money on hand, and we were ready to go. When we finally made it Donmar however, it was only to discover that we had paid over £50 to get there on the one day they were not selling tickets for the performances at the door. They were shooting their live shows, so only pre-purchased tickets were valid. We were so mad! It said nothing on the website about not being able to buy tickets or wait for returns, so we had a decision to make. We could wait out the night in London, and try to get tickets to the show the following evening, or we could admit defeat and go home. Being that we were never ones to give up easily, we decided we had put in too much time and effort to throw in the towel, so we found someplace with wifi and began our hotel search. There was a little sketchy B&B a few blocks down that met our requirements, so we headed over and committed to trying again the next day.
Being that we now had a whole day to do as we pleased, we headed to the local Pizza Hut and waited for them to open. Then, after enjoying some pretty fantastic food, we headed to our room, double checked for bed bugs, and then continued on our spontaneous exploration of the city. We ended up visiting the British Museum, and being as tired as I was, we were able to thoroughly enjoy ourselves by making some slightly inappropriate and sarcastic observations of the exhibits that were there. Topics included, why don’t people carve their visages in stone anymore for their caskets? And why do people think it’s ok to displace ancient remains and the things buried with them? And how did the Greeks make so many pots that remain unbroken? I break all my stuff! And also, how much it must have sucked for people who carved images and words into stone to make mistakes? That’s your life’s work. There may have also been some jokes about virgins, but we won’t go there again. It was a really fun time!
After the museum, we really felt the need to take in some more culture, so we went to Primark haha. In all actuality though, we hadn’t planned on spending the next few possible nights in London, so we picked up some necessities and continued on our way. That evening we spent some time at M&M world, Chinatown, and Piccadilly Circus before turning in for an early night and an early morning.
We made it to the theatre on Friday by 8 a.m. and then the true waiting began. Donmar does not open until 10, so we enjoyed the rain and cold for two hours before the line even began to move. Some people had been camped since midnight and just about everyone was ready to fight for their tickets. While we waited, a girl joined us in line who had already seen the play numerous times and that sort of set us on edge, but nothing could deter us from getting those tickets. I was sure every person in front of us getting tickets was going to be the last person to get tickets, and every time we crossed any sort of threshold, I was sure they were going to deliver the bad news. However, we continued to inch forward, and other than a short awkward moment were I was forced to shove my butt in a picture of Tom Hiddleston’s face to make room for tech guys, it was a pretty enjoyable experience. Alas though, when we were but six people away from the front of the line, the announcement was made that the tickets were gone. Undeterred, we quickly made our way to the return ticket line to settle in for another nine hours of waiting.
We were close enough to the front of the line that we were confident we would end up with seats, even more so as the weaker fans started to wander away and we made it to the second spot in line. Just about everyone else there with us was surprisingly also American study abroad students, and we made some good friends with the people closest to us. We had Miranda renew our room for us, since the performance would last past the times our train ran, and sent Jasmine out for more pizza, and then the real waiting began. By the time it reached 12:30, I had purchased and started reading Coriolanus in full to prepare for the performance, and by about 2:00 we had all given up on being entertained and reveled in our boredom. Miranda watched a movie, Jasmine played games on her iphone, and we all listened to music with increasing disinterest. There was some good conversation, but it turns out that long before you reach the nine hour mark you run out of things to talk about. We were saved at 5:00 though, by one of the most miraculous experience of my life. TOM HIDDLESTON WALKED BY US!! The girl in front of us noticed him first and once we realized he was there, we had a minor freak out! Miranda said “Hi there!,” I awkwardly blurted out an excited “Hi!,’ he made brief eye contact with me, I fell in love, and Jasmine let out a short little scream, and then he said a quick hello and it was all over. It was amazing! Plus it gave us a good hour and a half of things to talk about, during which I decided that I wished I had touched Tom Hiddleston and his body guard had broken my arm, because it would be the best story ever. Ah! It was such an exciting moment for all of us. J Then on top of all of that, at about 6:30, Jasmine caught sight of Mark Gatiss inside the theatre! We creeped on him through the window and waved like crazy people. And when he saw us, he waved back!! With enthusiasm! It was the best, most sweetest thing ever! He had on a rainbow-ish scarf and a jacket with a fur-lined hood. It was glorious! I will never forget seeing those two men! Those two brief encounters made the long wait worth it!
About a half hour later though, all our dreams came true and we got out tickets!! The show was more amazing than I have words to describe! The entire cast was phenomenal! Everyone was so talented and Tom Hiddleston sort of showered on stage! The theatre was tiny and intimate, and the cast walked literally right next to us on several occasions! Mark Gatiss did his tummy patting and all was right with the world! I wish I could better explain to you how good I thought this show was, but I can’t. Everyone from bearded Game of Thrones guy to Dwane (aka Third Citizen aka one of the many loves of my life) and Scottish guy made me so happy! They even got Dean Thomas from Harry Potter! It was by far one of the best days of my life, and I wish I could have shared it with everyone I know! I just about peed with excitement!
We went back to our room after the show and left early Saturday morning still raving about all we had seen. If anyone ever has the opportunity for anything like this in their lives, I hope they go for it! Best day ever!
I am more than a little behind on my posts. Procrastination reared its ugly head and I have many other great adventures that are unrecorded as of yet. We took big trips in November and December on our own, and there were a lot of smaller group trips that I will fill you in on soon. I just had to get the fact that I met Tom Hiddleston and Mark Gatiss out into the universe, before I forgot all the wonderful details J