Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Off Tour

The vexing thing about a touring blog is that you don't tend to write much when you're at home - it feels a touch meretricious, I suppose. And there's the niggling voice of Noel Coward, who famously asserted that you were only an actor when actually acting - he didn't favour us with what you were supposed to be the rest of the time, but as a raconteur, playwright, diarist, librettist, composer and all round Renaissance man that probably didn't bother him much.
For mortals like me, the end of a job - even one as unexpected as Beauty Queen - heralds the powerful suspicion that one will never act again. Hitherto an irrational fear, but one with teeth nonetheless.
Vexing, too, is the matter of How To Actually Get Another Job. I wonder how much of a formula others have for this - mine is casual at best, slapdash sometimes and seat-of-the-pants at worst. You wonder how often people need to be reminded you exist, too. Every six months? More? I mean, I forget where my specs are after twenty minutes or so, but I'm not a great benchmarker for memory.
My agent, of course, is beavering away in the background, but one of the negatives of being on tour is that I have been largely unavailable during our partnership. And as I have observed before, I am not as high-temperature as some of his other clients.
And so it goes on. Sending out CV's and 10x8's to local companies, checking the Equity website, bugging ex-employers with a cheery email every now and then. And wondering if there really is a critical shortage of plumbers and electricians...


My bit of Oxfordshire has finally succumbed to the weather, and we have a sprinkling of snow on the ground. This is in contrast to most other places, which seem to have a mini ice-age - Facebook is littered with stories of 6-mile journeys taking 6 hours and the like.
Touring is an odd experience for many reasons, but the changing seasons is one of the oddest because it's the backdrop for a largely unchanging universe, i.e. the show. Looking back at my Midnight photos there's everything from floods to punting.
Snow, though, being rare, is more memorable. Touring Abs Party in Northern Ireland in Spring 2008, we were caught in a proper blizzard driving back from Enniskillen, and passed stranded and abandoned cars all the way. It's the only time I remember the car being silent - I imagine because we were all praying. In Hamburg earlier this year, the weather changed enormously and quickly over three months, and inevitably it meant that jumpers too thin for severe winter conditions were far too thick once the sun came out the following day.

The coldest I've ever been, though, was picking my way across a snow-filled courtyard in sandals for some Roman farce in King's Cross. Either those Romans were a seriously hardy breed or they wore thermals, because the wind-chill protection offered by a toga is zero.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Small World

I mentioned tangled webs a while ago. I've been sorting out my study (and the Dineen Archive - the sort of thing you can get down to when you're not in gainful employ) and I came up with the following Odd Coincidences:
  1. Paul Fields (emergency replacement for Michael Magnet in Wolverhampton Rep 2008) was in a graduate show I saw at the Jermyn St Theatre in 2002. The actor I was actually there to see came originally from...Wolverhampton.

  2. Janette Owen (Midnight DSM in 2005) was ASM on "Life's a Monkey" in 2002 - a show I workshopped and was offered a part in, but had to turn down because I was visiting Australia during the rehearsal period. This would have been my West End debut three years earlier than - oddly enough - Midnight.

  3. In June 2008 Abigail's Party began it's final week at Basingstoke's Haymarket Theatre, exactly 29 years after I opened Every Good Boy Deserves Favour there with Oxford Playhouse Company in June 1979 . It was the first venue on the EGBDF tour.

More spook stories as I find them.

Chalk it Up!

Ever since "Chop" wrapped (and post-production finished, and the premiere happened, which I'm shocked to realise I didn't post about) I've been cast in their next short. In fact, I was asked to do it on the night of the press showing by Barrie, who wrote the script.

The "Beauty Queen" situation knackered the original shoot schedule, and it's been rescheduled for January, which is what I thought he was calling about yesterday. But it seems he's been even busier than me - he's got probable serious funding for his feature about women's rugby, likely shoot next summer. And guess what? Small cameo for me if it can be managed. Love his chops.