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Friday, 16 November 2012

First night adventurers

Wednesday, November 16th., London.

I dressed, and went off to entertain Major and Mrs. Whittall at the Yacht Club. It is a fact that between 8.15 and 10.15 or 10.20 I never once remembered that the first performance of "Mr. Prohack" was going on at the Court Theatre.

The Whittalls left about 10.35. I smoked a cigarette after a cigar, and then drove down to the theatre. The curtain had just fallen. It kept going up again while I was in the wings or near the wings. Much satisfaction in the wings, on the staircases, and in the dressing rooms.

Charles Laughton very pleased with himself, as he had the right to be, seeing he had had a great triumph.

Born, July 1, 1899, and from working class roots - his parents managed a Scarborough hotel -  Laughton served in the First World War, where he was gassed, and then went into the family business after that, not entering Drama School until 1925. He had his first professional work the following year and as soon as 1927 would make a name for himself during a year which saw him appear in seven new West End productions, the last of which, Mr. Prohack, would bring Laughton fame and begin his complicated relationship with Elsa Lanchester, his wife from 1929 until his death in 1962.

Everybody who 'came round' professed the greatest enjoyment of the play. I almost believed in a success. Especially as, going into the theatre, I saw Komisarjevsky outside in the dark entry.

Theodore Komisarjevsky (1882 - 1954) was a Russian theatrical director and designer. He began his career in Moscow, but had his greatest influence in London. He was noted for groundbreaking productions of plays by Chekhov and Shakespeare.

I said: "Is it all right?" He said: "Oh yes, it's all right." Dorothy said she had not played very well, but she was not depressed.
She said: "You and I are great adventurers."

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