Monday, October 25

How We Met: ‘I asked her if we could be friends and she said: I hope we are more than that’ | Life and Style


WWhen 68-year-old Tim landed a role in The Real Long John Silver at the Battersea Arts Theater in the spring of 1989, he didn’t expect it to change his life. “It was a play about a dysfunctional married couple fighting over a costume party,” he says. Viv, who was the music director and choreographer, had also been chosen as his wife. The day she walked into the rehearsal theater was “love at first sight” for him, he says. “She was wearing a light blue skirt with matching blue socks and she had the brightest red hair I had ever seen. My jaw hit the ground. “

Viv, who is in her 50s, was dating someone else and didn’t feel the same instant attraction. “My first impression was that he was a crazy looking guy in rainbow suspenders, a bit like a clown,” he laughs. Tim was convinced that she was out of his league, but decided to strike up a friendship. They worked on four plays, including one in which they played husband and wife. Over the course of the three-week rehearsal period, followed by a series of three-week performances, they grew closer and closer.

Tim and Viv in 1989 in The Real Long John Silver
Tim and Viv in 1989 on The Real Long John Silver. Photograph: Image provided by the reader

“Tim had grown up in South Africa in a family that fought against apartheid,” Viv says. “His upbringing was very different from mine and it was really interesting. I thought it was a mixture of seriousness and fun. “Viv’s relationship did not work out and she soon realized that she had developed feelings for Tim. She asked him to come to eat at the end of the play series, so they could spend more time together. “I told her I hoped we would remain friends and she said ‘I hope we are more than friends,'” says Tim. They started dating, taking regular trips on his motorcycle. “She bought me this fantastic fringed leather jacket,” Viv recalls. “That definitely won me over. I didn’t want to get out without protective clothing.”

Besides riding their bikes, they loved going to the theater and working on shared projects. “When we met, we decided we wanted to continue our creative work,” says Viv. “It’s not always the easiest option, but we support each other. When you meet someone who shares your perspective on life, you know it feels good. “

In January 1990, Viv went to Italy to work for a few months, while Tim went on a tour of the north of England. They would call each other as often as they could. He found a flat in North London and invited her to live with him when he returned. “I wasn’t sure because I thought it might be too early. Then I saw the apartment and it was beautiful, so I said yes, ”he jokes. They moved in together and got engaged in the fall.

Due to the nature of their work, they spent a lot of time apart and wanted to cement the relationship. In 1991 they held a costume wedding in a circus tent. “It broke the ice for our guests. I was the sheriff of Nottingham and Viv was a harlequin, ”says Tim. Three years later they moved to New Barnet, where their children were born in 1994 and 1999. Although most of the acting auditions happen in London, they made the decision to move to Devon in 2006. “It turns out that the creative community is really understanding and inclusive. down here, ”says Tim. She now does CBT therapy for the NHS alongside her creative work and Viv has moved her career further into music. “I was always a musician, but I spent locked up recording a new album. It has been a challenge, but I have had a lot of time to compose, ”he says.

She describes her husband as “very authentic” with a big heart. “I admire your honesty and integrity. And it always makes me laugh. “Tim says Viv is the most compassionate person he’s ever met.” When I was younger I was always so mad at injustice. She has taught me so much. I am more likely to hear than react now. She is my best friend.”


www.theguardian.com

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