Drury Lane Theatre
you just can’t pull yourself away from good theater…
Drury Lane, Theatre Royal, is the oldest theatre in London (save the
rebuilt Globe), having been built in 1663.
Its walls have a long history full of intrigue, romance and murder.
The most famous ghost to inhabit the audience is the Man in Gray,
so named for his long gray coat accompanying his tricorn hat, powdered wig
and sword. His dress has been
identified as common to the 18th century.
He’s more apt to shush patrons rather than scare them, he comes
to watch the play from the balcony where he slowly walks from one end to
the other only to disappear into the wall.
Who said ghosts only appear at night, his favorite haunting time
seems to be between 9am and 6pm, time enough for the tour groups to get a
good peek… He is often seen
at rehearsals and his presence is considered very lucky.
Of course, these are the people that want you to break a leg before
any performance too so I think they’re just looking for something to
Charles II, who gave the theater it’s Royal Charter, also likes to pop
in now and again with his retinue. His
love of the theater also extended to a young actress/orange seller, Nell
Gwynn, who got her start at Drury Lane.
She went on to become one of the most popular and infamous figures
of that century, as both a comedian and Charles’s mistress.
Perhaps Chuck is wandering backstage to find his lost lover?
He probably didn’t find her at the performance of Oklahoma
but it did help Curly hit the high note in his solo…”OOOOOOOOOOOOOOklahoma!”
young things are often “helped” along in their performances by the
unseen hands of Joe Grimaldi, a popular comic and singer who was often
seen at Drury Lane (before his death, duh).
He apparently guides them around the stage and gives actresses a
little pat on the back after a good job.
Not a bad gig for a dirty old man.
wicked walked through the theater about 200 years ago and left a rotting
corpse behind. Around 100
years ago, workmen broke through a wall containing the skeleton of a man
complete with a knife poking out of his ribcage.
Now call me crazy but I’m thinking he didn’t do this on
accident, at least not the bricking himself up bit.
The remaining bits and pieces were gathered up and buried in a
nearby churchyard. Perhaps
this would’ve been the same churchyard that reburied the coffins left
exposed in the Drury Lane graveyard in the 1830s.
It’s hard to imagine a more peaceful scene, you, the birds and
someone’s foot poking out of the ground…