Friday, 13 January 2012

Beginners, please...

I had a meeting today in town - not exactly an audition, more a discussion about a possible project - and the text under consideration is "Still Life" by Noel Coward. And it's sort of polite to read it before you go, I find. Now, I have three Coward collections and several single plays, but with tedious inevitability I find I don't have this one.
Since, though, I live in a village with a very active amdram group (apparently - I mean I don't go or anything, darling...) I call a friend who recommends another friend who may have it. So I shoot round and ring his bell and the door opens.
It's an OMG moment. There stands Mr Lance Bassett, which is a name you won't know. If you grew up here, though, he's a legend. He's the Man Who Got To Unzip Mrs Wilcock's Dress Onstage when we were at school. And watching him do that (in "Plaza Suite" if memory serves) had a profound effect on my fifteen-year-old self. It was electric. It was all we talked about for the rest of the week, and on the Friday I had my careers interview and confidently said "Mr Ross, I'm not interested in  being a solicitor. I want to be an actor".

On such shaky, hormonally imbalanced platforms as these, careers are forged. And Mr Bassett? You know, even now he looks a teensy bit pleased with himself.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


Did that last post seemed odd? I'm always left with some oddball photos at the end of a tour, things which have caught my eye which, in the cold light of a month's furlough, don't seem quite so compelling as they were.  Anyway, if you visit often - welcome back after the break; and if you're reading this for the first time, then errr....welcome!
I've been writing this blog on and off since Spring 2008, when I was on the second leg of London Classic Theatre's "Abigail's Party", and now - as then - I'm in the position of knowing what I'm going to be doing professionally for the first part of the year. This is not a common state of affairs though - mostly the New Year arrives with the prospect of unemployment tagging along behind like a ugly friend.
The job - as you may have guessed from the last post - is "Equus" for London Classic. I'm playing Frank Strang and we open in the Everyman Palace Theatre in Cork on 6th February - a little over 4 weeks from now - and we'll be touring until early July. Which, as my missus will tell you, is a feckin' long time.
I never thought I'd be a touring actor, but that's pretty much how it's turned out. In fact my first year out, I made so many short films that I was sure I'd do loads of screen work, but in this dodge you tend to meet some key people who hugely influence the way your career progresses. People like Vicky Ireland and Michael Cabot.
But more of them later. I've gotta go look at some horses.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

All Over The Shop

I don't know whether this is common, but whenever I'm involved with a project my surroundings seem to go all relevant on me. By which I mean I see coincidence everywhere. Like, I went for an audition for "The Importance of Being Earnest" once years ago, and on the way I saw a billboard for a property company called Merriman - which was the part I was up for. An obvious signal that the part was in the bag. Absolute cobblers, of course, but there was a spooky sychronicity about it.
Since I've been doing "Equus", though (from which I'm on a break until early February) the world seems full of horse-related coincidence. Here's an example of what I mean:
Oldham's centre of equine fashion
Now perhaps it's only because I'm doing "Equus" that I even noticed this shop. Possibly. I mean, I noticed a boutique in Brighton called "Doggy Fashion" once, but that was because of the double entendre rather than because I was doing "101 Dalmations". Anyway, it's not an isolated occurrence. Look at this gentleman's outfitters in ummmm, Lincoln, I think:
Bizarre. But not as bizarre as them leaving a mannequin in the street all day.