Saturday, September 03, 2005

Crazy Tour of Doom

I should have done this years ago, but now is as good a time as any. There was a blog in this space written in rage. It concerned a number of people. A young theatre director, who has since gone on to surpass himself in professionalism and dedication. I said some things about him that I should not have said, but in the spirit of purity I chose to keep these things up. "They're in the past," I thought. I recently worked with a lovely young actor called Tom who was giving his time for free to help an old collaborator of mine direct some young actors in Huis Clos. He and I were in the same boat, apart from the fact that I got to go on stage while he just had to make us look pretty.

This blog post in it's original form, of all the things I have ever written, has done me more damage than anything else, ever, in almost 10 years of work. I find it amazing that something written in anger and then signed can do such damage. Four years ago, a producer I had only just met professionally was warned about me on the strength of it. "I'm told he's a snake in the grass" said one older actor who knew the director of the project about which I was blogging. Thankfully the producer trusted me and passed the information on to me - saying "What happened?". I was gobsmacked that there was a campaign on, but chose to keep the blog up. Allegedly the same man later commented that he didn't see what all the fuss was about.

What was the post about? It was about a young director, a young company, and a disastrous tour. I was employed to replace an actor who I dare not name. If you want to know why I won't name him I refer you to the comments posted below, and to the distance in time between them, and the time of night they were posted. Occasionally, evidently, he gets off his tits and googles himself. Then he raves on and on to this blog. Hopefully this edit will remove that problem too. The man is not particularly well. And mildly intimidating, but that's by design so not a concern. In retrospect, I was cruel. And I told the young director as much by email when he found the blog - also removing his name from it and generally softening it up. But it galls me to edit the past. The past is the past, surely? Not so for some though. And refer to the PJ comments below if you don't believe it to be so.

Since this blog I have NEVER directly blogged about work, or people I am working with. I learnt my lesson. Sure I'll blog about subjects and ideas that come up in the course of work, or the show in general, but never again have I named names. Which makes it difficult to maintain the blog as when I am not on holiday I tend to be working. I may rectify that as well - I just underestimated the ability of people to get drunk and google themselves, but to be honest I normally just love my work and the people I am working with. I imagine I won't rage blog again - and if I do, I'll take a leaf from Wordsworth. He may have been an old prig, but "emotion recollected in tranquility" is a good starting point for writing, like the man said. I went for the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings." And stopped there.

Why am I removing it at long last?

My friend Hanna Berrigan recently directed Huis Clos. I had just got back from Thailand having finished some filming which I am not blogging for reasons which will become apparent, beyond in the vaguest terms, and partly because i have signed an NDA. But it was fun, working with a director I have admired all my life, a male actor I never dared to believe I'd be in a shot with, and an actress I fell in love with the first time I saw her on film. A small part, but in a film the subject matter of which I really deeply connect with and think is massively important. So I was feeling pretty flush and when she asked me to play a tiny part for her, I said of course as my assisting at The Finborough didn't start right away. I know Hanna as a director well enough to understand that even in a tiny part she will push me out of my comfort zone and I'll learn something. And the time commitment was low and flexible so I could work it around my money jobs. On the gig was a young actor called Tom - he was clearly very professional, personable and able, and had agreed to operate the show for his friends, who were self-producing. I very quickly warmed to him, and it didn't take long to realise that we both knew the man who produced the crazy tour of doom. And in discussion with him, I came to realise that he has learnt from the mistakes that made me so angry in the first place. Tom had been employed by him as an actor, and came to respect and love him as a worker and enabler in this industry. He has made it a priority to pay his actors as well as possible, rather than sinking the extra cash from gaining audience into production. This is a huge relief to me, as I saw a man capable of going one of two ways. And he went the right way. He seems a good practitioner, and - based on my conversations with Tom - someone I would recommend. Now. Not then. But now.

Words are more powerful than I thought. I would never have taken this post down if I had not constantly been snagged back to it. I hate revising the past. Such is life. If you read this, mister AW, I would like to tell you that I am seriously proud of what you have achieved since last we met, and wish you the best of luck in the future. From what I understand you are well loved, and run a good company. You need to know that there was never any animosity between us, and if this blog came as a surprise when it first was published it is because it was a rage blog. I got home and could not pay my electricity bill, owing to money I had expected from you not coming forth. It is the equivalent of the drunken evening where your best friend punches you. Sadly it has constantly - and I suspect indelibly - affected any friendship we had. You were my friend on tour. I enjoyed travelling with you, and sought your company on the long journeys. I wrote this blog once, many years ago. Then I forgot about it. Completely. The only reminders I have had have been comments made, your email some years ago when I removed your name, and the idiotic ramblings of a complete stranger. Now it is prevalent in my mind again, since a man I like and respect and have done since the very start of my career has referred to it negatively. And I am fed up of taking flak for something I wrote in anger once many many years ago. So it's gone. I hope I never do this again. It feels like revisionism. We must be honest to who we are as much as to who we were, or how can we pretend to be artists? Pfft


Anonymous said...

Shakespeare and the Pope smoked dope, old chap, before you pretty little wolves in sheeps clothing ( the pretty ones of the young generation "Oh Satan, most beautiful of angels") came along with your stage school fake radical (just mouthy)retrogressive neo conservative agenda. The pretty ones: Kaitlin and James, it turned out were the nasty ones. Kate shopped me for smoking dope ("when lovely woman stoops to folly")and James was the guy who got the scab, was he. I was always curious to know what a replacement for me would be like (it happened before). Now I know. They are pricks!
Before you complain about my lunacy, I suggest you read the Disability Discrimation Act.
I am amazed you recalled the date as the July bombing (my memory is not indeed so good)and I think you were incredibly perceptive (or just more youthfully arrogant)on your comments on Feste. i hope he learns because you were absolutely right: for example he insisted on helping me with my lines when I was just beginning to 'enter' the role (I knew the flippin' lines, but he just couldn't get it till one performance I just punched them out at him, so he couldn't put me off.He was very difficult to get away from. Her smothered you rather than convince you in a conversation).However I ;earned to see him as the character and frankly I don't think he should take anything we have said too personally, or he will think you are a very cheeky little cunt( and I would agree with him on that).I tried to act with everyone and tried to get on with all and everyone. I held nothing against anyone, but I take exception to your lauding of Ward. He was a fine actor and I suppose that is all that counts, but he really was an objectionable bully.I told him what I thought and he swore at me. I had a real laugh in my next production when they told me he had done a runner leaving a suicide note because he couldn't hack it. I'm still laughing now at the twat- because he really was a domineering boor. My stage review arrive the day after my scab had arrived. It said I was owed the most applause. For the record, I take what the Stage has to say about ensemble acting with a pinch of salt, but I was vindicated. Then I found out everyone else had lost out too (From Horwood)so overall I think it turned out OK for me. I was actually sacked because I was planning an improvisation with the local police. Obviously our honoured Director (I was taught to have more respect than you and wouldn't even consider acting on my own as you seemed to suggest) couldn't see this. I later studied with an Ugly Betty type at East 15 who was at his College and knew him. "He was really gay" she said, as if it were significant.I must say I didn't notice, I was looking at our young footballer James. Very funny what you said about Alan. These people are tolerable, aren't they, until they begin to have some power over your lives and its bad news.I think you are a little poncy, by the sound of it, but you are witty. Fancy a fuck? Oh well, never mind.

I don't get you point about feeling cheapened by having to strike a set. How would you like to carry water ten miles in the morning before you can was? That's it, you feel a twat now, don't you? What did Stan Lavski say about everyone being important? Oh well, it sounds all very comfortable and Edwardian (class ridden, in other words).
I was revenged on the whole pack of them, Alex. Now, do you want some?

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

for those of the uneducated middle class a scab is someone who crosses a picket line.

O.T.'s mark 1 Malvolio awakens from his slumber and says:
" 1 Billion people of the British Commonwealth can be lifted out of poverty".
Support World Mad Day!!

Anonymous said...

She shopped me for smokin dope and i never touch the stuff and Ward said i was breakin his heart.
OK so I did, but I never pissed twenty quid a month up the wall like them twats.

Anonymous said...

not a month ( I was thinking about the average world daily wage)A DAY!!

Al said...

I haven't revisited this post since I wrote it. It makes me realise how much we change over time. It was only a couple of years ago and already I read it and it reads like it was written by a stranger.

Yet I can remember why I was inspired to be cruel. I'm just glad that I didn't know Keith's surname. It wouldn't have been fair to name check him. In the end it was a job that helped me to learn that not all "paid" acting work is legitimate, and often can do more harm than good.

Anonymous said...

I must say...

"I was always curious to know what a replacement for me would be like (it happened before)"

...Kinda says it all.

Anonymous said...

"Oh I can't remember why I was inspired to be cruel"

You can't remember because you weren't inspired, you were cruel.
i say again, you look a cute chap, do you like the rough, or the smooth (or is it perhaps a bit of both).
I only ask because in a review of compulsory psychciatric medication i was asked do i think it did me good, or i could say maybe if i wished.

thinking, feeling willing!

and abillion live on less than a dollar a day in this common wealth. fred the shred is quoted 100,000 times more than that.

is he in love, do you think?

"I kinda think that says it all"

Yeah, FUCK all.

Notwithstanding many happy memories and "I would do it all again, but set down this..."


Again, again.

Lear this time.

Anonymous said...

ward said his heart was broken and had so much to drink that he forgot that that's what they are for.

do you come neeeeear me now!!!!

Anonymous said...

I said:"ill educated".
Yes you're quite right, your Grace, no body is indispensibule.... I'm sorry ( hic..! )

Anonymous said... pj