Friday, 15 January 2010

Opus Day

The Work - as Christopher Wren modestly called St Paul's - is a workshop on Voice which I've been asked to run with a local AmDram group in Wantage; and I have committed about the same time and effort to this enterprise as I did to both my degrees combined.
I ran one of these puppies last year for the Oxfordshire Drama Network - a sort of support group for AmDram companies throughout the county - and that time I tackled it by thinking of a really funky title and then writing something around it. I used to do this a lot for my MA, like "Was Aristophanes' Comedy Just For the Birds?" and so on.
But a whole workshop on one topic? And voice? The most nebulous, subjective, contentious subject of all?
Too late now - I'm off to nail jelly to the wall. Fingers crossed no-one's read Cicely Berry too closely or the game's up...

Thursday, 14 January 2010

A Possible Explanation for the Difficulty I am Experiencing in Writing my Grand Opus

"There is no more sombre obstacle to great art than the pram in the hallway"
Cyril Connolly

Audition, Schmaudition

In the pantheon of auditions, it was somewhere in the middle. No-one said "Wow, you just blew the others AWAY! That's it! I've found my Hamlet!!", but then no-one stopped the audition to call security or Equity.
It was certainly not in the same ball park as the one where I was invited to " yourself physically, like a...well, yourself physically, you know?" or the one where I had to show up in my dressing gown because the CD was incapable of just picturing people in dressing gowns.
Sometimes they're special for other reasons, like schaudenfreude - I did a workshop audition once where I watched someone (infinitely more suitable for the part than I was, too) gradually talk himself out of a job. Extraordinary. And once in a commercial casting, I left the room, realised I'd forgotten my water and re-entered just as someone said "Well, I just LOVED him!".
This was one of the ones when you close the door, put your papers in the bag and chalk it up to experience. This position is becoming ever less tenable the older I get.

Back in the Sticks

Good God, I need to go to a few more auditions.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Down in Town

I've just laid down the script to "A Village Life", a show I'm being seen for tomorrow. I wouldn't normally dream of posting before the event (out of superstition, I suppose) and the puritan in me has guilt about not staying up late to read, re-read and make notes on the script, but I'm not twenty any more. Suffice to say that I've read it plenty, researched the company and the director and I'm probably as right for it as thirty or forty other actors my age - some of whom I'll run into at Spotlight tomorrow, no doubt. Wish me luck.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Next Big Thing

I see that Toby Stephens is playing Henry in The Real Thing next year at the Donmar. Normally the vicissitudes of who-gets-cast-in-what don't bother me too much, but I confess this news fills my head with scorpions - and not cuddly scorpions, either.
You see, Henry is the role in which I first acted - I mean properly acted. There's a line in the play where he talks about something responding " a raised blind" and that's exactly how it felt to do that part. I'd never seriously considered acting as a career before that show; afterwards I knew I'd never be really happy doing anything else. The experience has, I suppose, committed me to a working life of shocking uncertainty and wildly oscillating mood.

This isn't a coherent post. I'm not saying that I could be a serious contender to star in a Stoppard revival at the Donmar, I'm neither egotistical nor deluded enough for that. But being the right age for that part when it's being revived is a watershed moment for me.
That's enough now.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Brum Fun

To Birmingham to see my chum Alex - who's also also Jake's godfather - in "The Gruffalo", which I think he's been touring on and off for about three years. He and I worked together on Midnight in 2005 and found a mutual love of Daily Mail Quizwords and sabotaging stage props - which he would then have to find or repair in time for the show. Only fun for me really, then.

I saw this show before in Milton Keynes, where it somehow managed not to be swamped by the size of the theatre, but at Birmingham Town Hall they're up against it. It's a cavernous and soulless place with no raked seating and poor acoustics. In fact you could put "Miss Saigon" in there and it would still feel tinny. They're a great company, though - here on temporary posting from Australia (cheaper to fly them over than rehearse UK actors) and due to return in early January where, bizarrely, my nephew will see the exact same show with the same actors.
Alex is great as the predators - he's not my casting age or type so I don't mind him being good - and Jake and his friend Sam love it. Although they love flipping their seats up and down more...