Christchurch City Libraries won a free ticket to this event from the British Council – we gifted it to this anonymous poster – here are their thoughts
The queue formed early, headed by ladies of ‘a certain age’ (myself amongst them), most bemoaning the lack of allocated seating. However, it was enjoyable sharing one’s anticipation with a stranger who soon became a friend, or at least someone very pleasant to sit with and chat to. The young Chinese usher asked “Is he famous?” – she sat in on the session and had a better idea by the end of it.
The lower level of the ASB Theatre was quickly filled with the circle taking the overspill of the audience. My companion and her husband chose the middle of the 4th row, so we had an excellent view.
Radar: “It all began in Swaziland…” Richard: “It sounds like an obituary!”
But the self-confessed ‘Swaziboy’ (we now have the key to his passwords, luggage tags, email and psyche), from a background that sounded like “equatorial Ealing” according to Radar, entertained the audience for the next hour. In the course of a conversation that covered the actor’s career, but not linearly, he made us laugh till the tears came, read from his book “The Wah-wah diaries”, with acting, and also gave us much to ponder on – how for an actor life is lived between low self-esteem and a big ego – wanting to be noticed, but feeling like a fraud, constantly going through auditions where “the humiliation never stops” .
The questions posed by the audience elicited some kind and thoughtful remarks, while Richard himself was shocked and surprised to take a question from Mr Shirley from Swaziland, who knew his parents and remembered the School production of “Equus”, as well as hearing from the man who had been in Intelligence and who hailed from Manzini – not too far from Richard’s town, Mbabane – and from a woman whose family circumstances in Zimbabwe were similar to Richard’s own. The world is a small enough place, but one hopes that ghosts don’t haunt the poor man in Sydney.
Radar impressed Richard by not having notes, but his ‘winging it’ allowed to audience to feel part of a conversation, rather than an interview or performance. The well-worn anecdotes, with which we have become very familiar over the past weeks’ media interviews, were told differently or just touched on, rather than dwelt on.
As we left, I heard someone ask “and who is Te Radar? Is he famous?”
Thanks to Christchurch City Libraries and the British Council for an experience I am so pleased not to have missed. Now I have to buy the book.