19 March 2009

natasha . . .

I felt overwhelmingly sad awakening to the news of Natasha Richardson's death.

I'm not entirely sure why I feel so affected by it, but wrote the following to a friend early this morning, and felt like also posting it here . . .

For the last several years, this is the photo that has adorned the website and printed promo material for the lone small theatre I still regularly attend. Whenever I'd hear anything about Natasha or the theatre, I'd always automatically put the two together.

The image is from The Lady from the Sea from 2003, which I didn’t go to see but remember when it was being publicised because it was around the time of my Redgrave fascination/serendipitousness*.

It’s funny, I’ve often thought ‘why do they still use that same old photo after all this time, they should really remove it…’ but of course I’m sure they won’t now. I hope not, anyway.

* Around 6 years ago, I happened upon an entire floor of exhibition space about the Redgrave family at the Theatre Museum in London. A rather quaint homage, really. I wasn't working at the time, and it was free, so I went back a few times, and throughout this time, things about one Redgrave/Richardson or another kept coming up.

I always thought it odd but fascinating that this was a permanent exhibition. The theatre was fabulous, and I used to always take visitors there (no one ever seemed as interested as I), but lost its funding 2-3 years ago and was shut down. Part of the building now forms something useless like a Starbucks. Very depressing.

I always meant to go back and visit the Redgraves before their lives were removed, but never made it. Natasha's tragic fate has now reminded me of that.

Perhaps my unwitting fascination with her is also fuelled by the fact I had to watch The Parent Trap at least, roughly, 25+ times due to a previous job and my mother running a home daycare (where the film was much-loved by the kiddies) during a time when I'd had to move back home.

I've only a vague memory of A Handmaid's Tale; I think it included something untoward, so of course immediately went onto the teenage 'must see' list. I can recall hiring it from the local video shop, my friends and I disappointed to find it wasn't as racy as we'd been expecting!

Thinking about the opening line of the BBC's obituary: 'Natasha Richardson spent much of her life being labelled; first as the daughter of Vanessa Redgrave and then as the wife of Liam Neeson. '

In my younger days, I didn't know any of this, and it wouldn't have mattered anyhow. If I'd needed to label her, it probably would have been something such as 'beautiful English lady'.

What more could one want?