MY DINNER WITH ANDREI

August 14, 2006.

I spent the day making a list of films for Miguel. I was going to suggest about ten but of course one film leads to another and I wound up with sixty. Tonight a few of us went out for dinner- a chance to get out of our dance clothes and eat something other than deli sandwiches. Andrei Belgrader met us at a coffee shop and we walked a couple of blocks so that the guys could buy cigars before going to the restaurant. Andrei is a prolific director from Transylvania who works a great deal at the American Repertory Theatre, taught film acting at Julliard and who is now living in L.A. working in film and television. I first saw him in the audience for Pericles and he posed an intimidating figure with his bald head, black glasses and black clothes.

He was silent on the way to dinner but we wound up sitting next to each other and I discovered that he has an introverted personality but a wonderful, self-deprecating sense of humor. He is much more down to earth than one might suppose. He got excited when I learned that I had lived in Cambridge and we talked for quite a while about the ART. We were both at the same production of Uncle Vanya and he asked me what I thought of it. I replied, a little hesitantly, that I had walked out. “So did I!” he said, bouncing in his chair. “Wasn’t it awful?” I told him that I could only make it to intermission and he said, “Well, you did better than me. I left before that.”

He ducked in and out of dinner to smoke and his voice was raspy and thick with an accent we already tease him about (with all the requisite vampire jokes). At the end of dinner he gazed at me sadly and said, “I wished you smoked.” I offered my condolences. So glad that he turned out to be a pleasant person and am looking forward to his film seminars for the next two days.

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