May 27 2013

Neil Gaiman and the Pirates of Penzance

Published by at 10:31 pm under reviews,sketchbook

(That sounds like a good mashup, doesn’t it? Someone should write that.)

Last Thursday I had the treat of being in Cambridge and seeing this unusual performance of The Pirates of Penzance at the ART. I highly recommend it, though unfortunately it’s only running a few more days.

I got a “promenade” ticket, which involves essentially being on the stage — except it’s not really a stage, it’s a carpeted area with benches, coolers, kiddie pools, and a slightly raised platform, all of which are fair game on which to sit, but which are also used by the performers, so you periodically get shooed off of your seat and have to move around a fair bit. That was pretty cool, and an unexpected bonus to being on the stage was that the lights never really went down, so I was able to sketch much more effectively than at most other plays I’ve seen.

Partway through the show, I noticed that in the audience were none other than Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer! I immediately did a couple of quick sketches of Mr. Gaiman. I’m afraid neither came out very well, perhaps because I was slightly star-struck. After the show, I went up to him and said, “Excuse me, Mr. Gaiman? May I show you this mediocre sketch I did of you?” He graciously smiled and asked if I would like him to “scribble on it,” at which point he took out a fountain pen and (after asking my name) inscribed it as you see below. I then gave him my business card, mentioning that I draw graphic novels and would be posting these sketches here on my blog. That was about as much as I was comfortable intruding on his evening, so I floated off without mentioning any more about my books, our mutual interest in Beowulf, how much I enjoyed his writing and reading of The Graveyard Book, etc, etc…

In short, Neil Gaiman is a class act, Pirates rocks, and it was a great evening. And without further delay, here are the aforementioned sketches.

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Neil Gaiman and the Pirates of Penzance”

  1. BOB BOURQUEon 28 May 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Great sketches of the performance… you’ve captured snippets and brought a smile to my face as I recall that part of the show!!

  2. Lornaon 29 May 2013 at 2:24 pm


  3. Gwyneth Joneson 07 Oct 2014 at 1:14 pm

    I think your Penzance sketches are just brilliant! Neil Gaiman is such a class act, indeed. I would have been gobsmacked! Where to start with him? His generosity & support of school libraries and librarians? His Dr. Who episode!? His awesome books? Ack!

    Sheesh, as gregarious & daring as I am, I always seem to get tongue tied in the presence of rock star authors & educators, etc. I once saw Tim Gunn at a pharmacy in Bethany Beach, DE – big fan of his mentoring style – I just blushed, smiled, waved, & said hello & thanks for his inspiration – then basically scooted away. [facepalms]

    Your approach was perfect! Talented, arty, personal, topical, & you didn’t steamroll his evening. I do hope you Tweeted out the pics to him, tho! YOU are also a brilliantly talented artist & author – maybe a cross pond collaboration?

    ~Gwyneth Anne Bronwynne Jones – The Daring Librarian (.com)

  4. adminon 07 Oct 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Indeed I did tweet it, and he kindly retweeted it, making that probably my most-read tweet! :-)

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