At the very end of our book, "DOUBLE OR NOTHING", I tell of a note that Peter had scribbled during the night three weeks before he died, and he gave it to me next morning. It said "I hope she knows how much I love her and cherish her, my beautiful, talented, generous bubuleh viebeleh, my angel....dein Mann, Pinye." I put it away in a drawer, and after he died, I had it framed and hung it over my bed.
Two and a half years after Peter died, I moved to the flat where I now live (and hope to stay in for the rest of my life). I had arranged for the Removal Men to pack and unpack. I have many paintings, and when everything had been unpacked, including the paintings, nowhere could I find the framed note from Peter, which meant so much to me. I was distraught.
Soon afterwards I went to Israel to stay with my dear friends, like my surrogate children, Oded and Chava Teomi. Before leaving, I decided to hide my jewellery, somewhere safe. Oded has amazing powers of ESP, so on arrival I asked him to concentrate and tell me where I might find the precious message. Which he did. "All I can see is roses...roses. Does that mean anything to you?" I racked my brain. I adore roses, and moved my rose-bed from the previous house and planted them outside this block of flats....but the message couldn't be there. My Grandmother was a talented artist, and had painted roses onto china back in the 19th century, which was framed---but it was in my aunt's flat--no way could the message be there.
Just before I left to come home, I asked Oded to try again. Which he did. "I am afraid it may have been thrown away, all packed up in newspaper...such a small frame among all the other pictures. But I can still see roses". When I got home, I could not, for the life of me. remember where I had hidden my jewellery! In the search in a cupboard, I noticed that the top shelf, piled high with old scripts, was untidy, so I climbed up some steps to tidy it. And there, between two scripts, I felt something hard, pulled it out, and it was the framed message. What joy! And the script directly underneath was called HEARTS AND FLOWERS! That loving message still hangs over my bed, and always will.
In November 1995 I went on a Jewish Heritage trip, organised by Nitza and Robin Spiro, to Morocco. It was a fascinating, enriching and most enjoyable experience. Nitza organised a celebration for the last night of the trip, in Marrackech, and asked me to take part. I assured her that, though I had done Cabaret when I was young, I had nothing I could do on my own. But she kept urging me. I remembered that when Peter and I had gone round the world in 1980, doing our 2-actor perfomance of our play MOMMA GOLDA, based on the life of Golda Meir, one evening after the performance in Haifa they asked us to come back onstage, and we told stories of many things that had happened to us on our tour round the world. The stories were so appreciated, we told them many times afterwards so, although it was 15 years later and Peter had died, I took a chance and told those stories in Marrakech. I wrote in my Diary..."I was both gratified and overwhelmed by the thanks and praise I received afterwards...".
When I got home, I received 3 phone calls from people in the group, asking me to speak to their Charity. How lucky. From that beginning, I created a talk about my life and was recommended from one place to another.
In 1998 I planned to visit my dear friend Mrinalini in Ahmedabad in India. They had just built a new, open-air theatre in their complex, which they call Natarani, and Mrinalini's daughter, Mallika, asked me to perform there. Me: "I don't know what I could do. I only have a speech about my life, and I cannot think for one moment that the story of a Leeds Jewish actress working in the Western theatre would be of any interest to an Indian audience." Mallika: "We'd love it!" I was very reluctant, but I wanted to please these dear friends. Then I got a bright idea. As well as talking about my life, I needed to change it from a talk into a performance, so I would add songs and sketches from shows I have appeared in. I phoned Mallika: "Could you find a piano, and a pianist who could play my sort of songs?" Mallika: "No such thing in Ahmedabad". I must tell you that the population of Ahmedabad is bigger than London. But Indian music and musical intruments are totally different from those that I am used to working with.
Then I had another bright idea! If pop groups and singers can sing to a recorded accompaniment, why can't I? My wonderful pianist, Jason Carr, knew of a recording engineer with a studio in his house. Jason was on the ground floor playing a grand piano, I was singing the songs on the top floor, both of us wearing earphones. The engineer deleted my voice, and I had a CD with just Jason's accompaniment. So one warm night, in Ahmedabad, I performed for the first time my one-woman show, THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT, giving a nod to the man in the sound booth at the back of the theatre when to start the music. It worked! It worked so well that when a critic from the newspaper came to my dressing-room to meet me afterwards, he looked around the wings and said: "Where is the piano??"
I have now performed it 85 times, sometimes with the CD, sometimes in theatres with a live pianist, all over Britain, in the U.S., even in a famous Theatre Club on Broadway. The most exciting was 3 weeks at the New End theatre in January 2008, and I was so thrilled with the reviews I have put them in the REVIEWS section of the Website. I said at the beginning how lucky it was that the performance evolved when it did, because parts in theatre productions get fewer and fewer when you get older, and this has kept me up there and performing well into my eighties!!