An Actor's Life

Youth movement
April 27, 2012, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Just funny | Tags: , ,

In 2001 I was part of a totally devised piece of theatre. The characters, narrative even the staging was decided upon by the company. Costume was pulled together from the casts own wardrobes and second-hand shops. Every mistake and every success was ours and ours alone. It sounds like a fairly standard story for a theatre company taking it’s first steps into the world of performance, except that I was 15 years old and my oldest colleague was only 17. We were the Theatre Royal Bath’s Young People’s Theatre. We met once a week under the guidance of a brave and nurturing leader who allowed us to fully explore what our limits were without censure.

To publicise the show we took to the streets of the city, my good friend Pete & I decided to choreograph a fight that would sprawl through the centre if Bath. We were encouraged in our efforts. Pete & I spent two hours fighting, he armed with a large walking stick, me with chopsticks. I repeatedly flung myself onto the becobbled streets, whilst Pete swung wildly at my head. It was fabulous fun and undeniably dangerous. Would we be allowed to do that now? I happen to know not.

I am now in the position of course leader for the Natural Theatre’s Youth Theatre and we specialise in improvised street theatre. There is no way we could ever dream if letting two young people design a fight (with weapons) and let them take to the streets. Even when working in the relatively controlled environment of a stage fight choreographers must be used. Which is right and proper, my life would’ve dramatically altered had one of Pete’s lungs removed an eye. But they didn’t and it remains one of the most thrilling performance experiences of my acting career. I don’t want to sound too much like disgruntled of Tunbridge Wells but maybe our never-ending quest for ultimate safety for our children is robbing them of some of the richness of life.

It should be noted that the show itself was self-indulgent, highly sexual, very silly and pretty crude. Exactly what you’d expect to find inside the minds of a group of teenagers.



Shakespeare goes global
April 26, 2012, 2:34 pm
Filed under: Just funny | Tags: , , , , ,

We are in the midst of an incredible undertaking: The World Shakespeare Festival. It is an epic festival spanning different venues, aiming to pull together companies and artists from all over the globe and share their visions of Shakespeare’s work.

There are 37 productions from 37 countries, many in different languages (including Maori). Some are straight re-tellings, others are responses to the texts. Its these that irk me slightly.

My company New Old Friends were recently approached by the Theatre Royal Bath to create a tangentially Shakespearean show. We came up with Silly Songs of Shakespeare, a Fascinating Aida style show of songs inspired by various aspects if The Bard. But we would be uncomfortable claiming it as Shakespeare, his influence is all over the show, his name is in the title but it’s definitely not his show.

I guess that is my question, if a play is inspired by the themes of one of old Billy’s pieces should we credit the old Stratfordian? Or is this just us justifying the massive reverence we show him by claiming new artistic endeavour under his name? If a play deals with jealousy and scheming and the playwright has seen/heard/read Othello is she obliged to credit WS?

For all that I can’t help but feel that any artistic response is simply trying to piggy back on the fame of the former, if it produces great new work that drives our medium forward then I am wholeheartedly behind it.

Born ready
May 12, 2011, 5:53 pm
Filed under: Just funny

I was born ready. But I suppse most babies were; reddy, reddy/brown maybe.

Mr B’s
May 11, 2011, 7:58 am
Filed under: Just funny

There is a book shop in Bath’s fair city. But to call it merely a book shop bismirches its good name. It is an emporium of reading delights and it is called Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. Reading delights in this instance meaning great books rather than delicious confections from the urban connurbation just West of London. I adore the store, so it is with great excitement that I’m preparing for my Bilbliotherapy Spa Session this morning.

What is a Bibliotherapy Spa Session I hear you cry? (If you’re thinkin “I didn’t cry anything.” I apologise but the vast majority did and this is a democratic blog) a Bibliotherapy Spa Session consists of me going into Mr B’s being installed in a comfy chair by a fire, waited on with hot drinks and cakes and having a long chat about all things literature and which books I like and don’t like. At the end of the conversation my Mr B book monkey will dash off and collect a pile of books to the value of whatever Spa Session price my Nan has bought me.


For my joke today. Now I can’t remember if I’ve used this one before but the nature of it means its not important.

I like to introduce new words into my comedy so spend a lot of time with the dictionary. I was doing just that when I came across the word battology, it means to pointlessly repeat oneself.

I like to introduce new words into my comedy so spend a lot of time with the dictionary. I was doing just that when I came across the word battology, it means to pointlessly repeat oneself.

I like to introduce new words into my comedy so spend a lot of time with the dictionary. I was doing just that when I came across the word battology, it means to pointlessly repeat oneself.

Ah you get it.

Oh and Gee
May 10, 2011, 8:13 am
Filed under: Career Arc, Just funny | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Good morning blogosphere, and you too Twittersphere. The lady wife and I met some delightful photographers yesterday to chat about our impending nuptials (the eagle eyed among you may have noticed I called her the lady wife and then spoke of upcoming nuptials, I’m not a bigamist just eager) the happy snappers were lovely. But they are really cheap, like 25% cheaper than anyone else AND they do more. Rather than being cause for celebration it has worried us. Why so cheap? We wonder are they too young? Have the rushed into this? Do they really understand the importance of a marriage? Can they handle this? Is she pregnant?

The writing is going well, although my confidence took a knock when the other half of New Old Friends read the script and the first thing she said was “There are lots of good gags, but I don’t get the story.” Bugger. But one of those gags for you now:

Oh and Gee

You mean OMG

Do I?

Yeah, its an acronym of Oh My God.

Oh, I thought it was a retro-slang amalgam of Oh, as in oh golly, and Gee as in gee whiz.

Jokey joke!

Writing Comedy
May 6, 2011, 9:05 am
Filed under: Career Arc, Just funny

Writing comedy is hard, I don’t mean the word smart-arse. That’s relatively simple, although I have seen posters with things like “hilarious comady” emblazoned upon them so there we go. Maybe that show dealt with the laugh-a-minute scenario of being comatose. Who knows.

No, I’m talking about sitting down at my lap-top and writing a 90 minute play with plenty of laughs in. Its called The Happy Couple and I’ve set myself the challenge of writing a story about two people in love without all the usual cliches of infidelity, break-ups, beatings, death etc. A lovely and noble aim, problem is conflict is the soul of both drama and comedy. Which leaves me with whimsy, surrealism and word play. So far my favourite effort is a bizzare episode involving a radio, sheeps milk and the punch line “In space no-one can hear ewes cream!”

As I said writing comedy is hard.

The Happy Couple is on at The Rondo theatre in Bath June 22nd tickets are a mere £5 available from 01225 463362.

Polling day
May 5, 2011, 8:17 am
Filed under: Just funny

Today is polling day, which I rather think should’ve been May 1st. It could’ve been May-Poling and polling day. I’m not particularly sold on the concept of AV but I’ll be voting yes simply because I’ve been reliably informed that the Tories stand to lose most by doing so.

I’ve grown up in a staunch lefty house and always had an ingrained dislike of the Conservatives without honestly feeling it in my bones, my political awareness started with 1997 and my mum literally becoming a champagne socialist after the victory. As we all know New Labour acted like total pricks and I kept hearing that they were behaving like Tories, so I couldn’t really work up the anger at these supposedly priviledged elitest fucksticks. So thank you Mr Cameron you’ve gifted me a lovely little reserve of (abiding I’m sure) hatred for you, your party and your total disregard for those less fortunate with money. New Labour may have acted like pricks but you sir have taken my disgust to all knew and far too vulgar lows. At least I feel like I fit in at lefty-gatherings now.

In other news I wrote a joke the other day:

I was approached on the street by someone trying to get me to invest in pharmeceutical giant Glaxo-Smith-Klein, and I almost did. But then I thought “Don’t give them any money, they’ll just spend it on drugs!”