I’m glad I didn’t bother putting mousse in my hair last Friday. I hate the feel of it, but use it when it’s important to me that my hair looks good. Fortunately it looked ok on its own for me to meet the Corrie stars at Althouse Auditorium at UWO. No one noticed my hair.
I’ve never been at a meet and greet so didn’t know what to expect. I’d read a description of the Winnipeg show so knew that an autograph line was part of it. The ‘VIP’ meet & greet tickets were $96 and included the $10 brochure; general admission tickets were $50.
You came first to Charles Lawson, then Nicholas Cochrane (McDonalds), then across the stage to Julia Haworth and Stephen Arnold (Peacocks). I was nervous, as everyone seemed, and Charles Lawson appeared as gruff as Big Jim can be. People said hello, poked their programmes under his nose and went on. By the time we got to the Peacocks, everyone had loosened up and spent more time at their table. There was less reluctance to ask for a photo with the stars, more chatting.
Part of that was a function of realizing by the number of people in line and the passage of time that this was the entirety of the meet and greet. There wouldn’t be another chance to talk to them. Part, I think, was a function of the different personalities of actors and characters. We only know their characters, and neither Claire nor Ashley Peacock are intimidating. So we are less likely to be nervous around Julia Howarth and Stephen Arnold. And both of them were gracious, smiled and laughed – genuinely – a lot. Jim McDonald is kind of intimidating and Charles Lawson, the first you came to, was business-like about what he was doing. Where’s your programme, what’s your name, there you go. Nicholas Cochrane is not intimidating, either the actor or character. But he’s probably less known to many in the audience, having been off the show for the longest. What do you say to him – “cómo se va”?
I would have placed them with Julia first because she immediately puts you at ease. She had a little wifely thing going with Stephen. She signed my programme, then flipped to Stephen’s page, pushed it across to him and said, “this is to Dorothy.” I heard others chuckling about her keeping him organized.
Another reason for putting Charles Lawson further along the line is that he was the big draw for many. People near me in line were so excited about meeting Big Jim. A woman from Northern Ireland, was so nervous that she forgot to get a picture with him and she’d promised her brother in Belfast that she would. So she and her husband returned to the stage so that she could get the photo. More nerve than I had! I really wanted a photograph, but I was in the lineup by myself and the opportunity didn’t occur to ask someone else to use my camera. Having a stagehand there to help people like me would have been nice and not that hard to organize.
I thought that there would be some non-autograph time. Maybe they’d sit and chat with the assembled smaller group that paid $46 extra to meet them. Maybe after the autograph line had ended for each actor, they’d circulate among the audience sitting dutifully in their seats. But as the line ended, each actor departed behind the curtain.
The actual show was “awesome” (Julia’s favourite new word from Canada). Great stories told by them all in the first half, and audience questions answered thoughtfully and intelligently in the second half. But my husband was surprised when I said that if I went to something like this again, I wouldn’t pay the extra for the meet and greet. Autographs alone aren’t worth that much to me.