Arthur is alive - Chapter 2

„I was an angry young man says Oliver and stops in front of the huge poster that shows various images of him as „Arthur“. Hmmm.

I look in the same direction – yes, now that he mentions it, I see it.

It is a strange contrast to the mildly smiling man next to me. This angry intensity, that's at the same time so extraordinarily vivid, he seems to miss this now a little bit. "The lion sleeps", I think. And it is almost a sad thought.

I make a hapless comment - something carelessly mentioned, and suddenly it flares up – „You don't do that...“ he says with a dark timbre. Oh wow! This came like a bolt out of the blue. And I can’t help it, I like it. So the spark is still there.



Meanwhile the Q & A continues. Oliver still considers “King Arthur” a good production. “We three all played very honest” – and he answers our questions with great honesty and admits that he never had watched the series. Now he had seen a few episodes together with his 6-year-old son Luke – who now looks at him in a somewhat different way.

Family is important. For him and for his brother, but perhaps in different ways. He protects his privacy, and I ask myself, why is it necessary for him to emphazise this particularly? Isn’t it self-evident that the private is, well, private? But then the many stories that circulate about the stars come to my mind. Oliver was raised in an actors household, and he already stood in the limelight himself, when he was only 21, a star. What kind of life must this be, that always has to keep a distance to protect ones privacy?

By now Oliver has gotten acquainted with his part as the most sought after male in the room. The tables are set in u-shape, and Oliver, Benedict and Monica who came all the way from California have their seats at the table of honour on the narrow side of the ‘u’. We all are now definitely more relaxed and the questions and answers tackle more subjects but only „Arthur“.

„My brother also directs“, says Benedict, „and what I like most about him doing it, is that he gets the people on stage to talk. They really TALK with each other, instead of just delivering their lines.” Whenever someone expresses admiration for Oliver, you can see that he finds that ever so slightly embarrassing. His face is suddenly motionless and he waits for the moment to pass by quickly. 

Apart from that a lot is going on in this face. Which can best be seen when the quiz begins. It has 40 questions about Arthur, with many examples of the dialogue. And once Oliver reads them it would be a pity just to look on your questionnaire - apart from the fact, that I don’t know most of the answers. Some lines were taken from the original script, and watching Oliver delivering them is a special sight. His face moves, he lifts a brow and it's easy to imagine him thinking:: “What? I have said that once?”

But at the same time suddenly it is like Arthur is sitting here with us. A gesture, a glance and for a split second the image of the young actor overlaps the face of the man of today. By now it is dark and the artificial light, the interplay of light and shadows add to this effect.

Finally also our dinner arrives. All are hungry and I have the surreal feeling  of being here and at the same time somewhere else. The arrangement of the tables is so ancient, like Arthur and his knights were seated, and we all could have been part of that. As I look over to Oliver’s table, it is getting almost eerie – whom do I see there? Is this Arthur? An older Arthur surrounded by his people? Oh, I make a discovery - it is the way he eats! Holy cow – well, you don't act something like that, don't you? – it is exactly like in the series :-)

And what would Oliver Tobias make out of such a role? Arthur now, as an older man - I consider this idea exciting but only if he plays the part. He has the power and this enigma you would need for that. And if he would really be interested in playing it – well, he is a great actor! His acting range is impressive, but still his characters appear like he had created them all effortlessly, and that there would be lot more in them worth to be discovered.

Frighteningly, he is also an avid writer. As a conclusion of the evening he has a special surprise for us. He takes seat on a wooden bench with a high back, a table with candles standing next to him. In his hands he holds a bunch of sheets of a manuscript. These are parts of his autobiography which he is currently writing. Oliver reads us the chapter about the chaotic filming of the movie “The Stud“ with Joan Collins. He manages to hit exactly the right tone for a story which could have easily drifted into voyeurism and vulgarity (the movie contains many explicit sex scenes). But here it is told in a way that is highly amusing but honest and he isn't sparing himself in the process..

Stunned by this final highlight of the day, the many impressions and the romantic candle light, which seem to sparkle brighter by the moment, it becomes obvious to me that there is only one more insight to be won tonight – the one that it time for bed finally...

End of Chapter 2

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photo: Copyright Monica Friedlander

pictures: background + left picture: by rg
picture below: by Monica Friedlander
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last update 18.12.2010 +++ created by rg / 5.11.2010


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