It was comforting to learn that in the middle of the run of Othello, the great Olivier gave a performance one night so dazzlingly brilliant that the entire cast applauded him during the curtain call – a very rare occurrence. Olivier went back to his dressing room in a towering rage. The leading players assembled outside his dressing room door. One of them knocked and said, "What's the matter Larry – don't you know you were fantastic tonight?"
"I know," said Olivier in a voice of desperation, "Of course I know, but I don't know why."
I used to pride myself on being a quick study. People in the profession envied me for my incredible capacity to memorise not just my own part but the entire play quickly. That, alas, is no longer the case. I can remember little of some of the plays and films that I took part in during the sixties, not simply because they were barely memorable, but because my memory is not nearly as sharp as it used to be. I wish it were only a diplomatic loss of memory so that I can obliterate all the unpleasantness of past life and cut out the real world at will.