In the weeks since performing and creating Unbroken Line Line, there has been a shift in my perception of my place in this… industry. In October I agreed to be part of the re-tour of a play I had done in 2011 for a company I love working for. Back then it was a no-brainer: turning down a fun job with people that I liked? No way. Not that since then my perception of this job or the company or people involved has changed neither. No.
Since creating my own work I do feel more of a cog in a wheel rather than a creator of my own artwork as an actor. I couldn’t say that I have truly owned any of the characters I have created as an actor. Perhaps that has always kept me back as an actor, as someone who stands out. On tv, I do an okay job but nothing has really stood out apart from the Maltesers indents.
Since returning to the rehearsal room for the production my interest has been for the more planning side – I’m looking to book a tour of my play so I’ve been picking up tips from the director as to how to manage that, what the expectation is and what to expect. It’s been an apprenticeship listening to her. Knowing that part of it has got to be largely funded by the Arts Council is daunting as I don’t know if I’ll get another tranche of funds for the same project, though they do know that it does have another life after Ovalhouse and it will be a development if I pull off the live music aspect of it.
But returning to the rehearsal floor in someone else’s project has made me think about how much my jobs have been given to me, not because of talent (I know I can deliver the work) , but because I’m good to get along with and I’m a team player. Listening to directors talk about the casting process and picking up their opinions on actors and I know and get along with actually has made me more calm about acting and auditioning. Yes, you may wow them at the audition but you’re an actor, it’s your job to deliver. What they really want to know is: “Can I work with/put up with your attitude/be in the same room as you for the next 6 weeks?”.
I know this because I’d quietly auditioned the people who were working with me for Unbroken Line. Kath Burlinsonhttp://www.authenticartist.co.uk was a given, she was my first choice of director/midwife and Puja was a necessity because of her particular skill and knowledge but I wouldn’t have worked with either of them if we didn’t get on.
When Puja announced that the wouldn’t be available for some of the rehearsal process I knew I had to get in another choreographer to ensure that what we were doing was getting there. Someone who did theatre and choreography as an second nature. I would have gone with only having Kath as director but I didn’t have the luxury of time to create and discover that movement organically which would have been the ideal. Also solo pieces are pretty intense on the floor, I felt I needed someone to take that pressure off. Perhaps it was a little bit of self preservation on my part. Perhaps the next time I’ll give myself more time on the floor and dare myself the challenge on how far I can go with just myself and the director. Perhaps.
I met Mina Aidoohttp://www.minaaidoo.com during my months at The Tate doing These associations and we got on. Seeing her video of works I knew I just had to have some of that in the piece. (whether it was was apparent or not). She had other skills and I wanted her to meet Kath.
After the tricky morning of seeing how everyone fits in, the floor was a great playing space and Kath and I would work on the story in the mornings and afternoons while Mina would come in halfway through and give us pointers as to what I could be doing physically. She’s a good drill-sergeant but also now, a good friend and collaborator. Hopefully there will be other projects to work on in the future for us. All of us.
The only person who I had my doubts about was Caroline because she wasn’t qualified in whst I asked her that I do. That doubt diminished on her second day when she took responsibility for purchasing and making note of what was needed for meetings etc. Once she took charge of the next company meeting I knew we were in capable hands. I had forgotten she ran 2 shows at the Finborough including a full-cast operatic work. Capable, efficient and damn good at it. She was good at taking tasks off my already full hands so I’m most grateful for that! Also her training as a dancer meant that she could transfer those skills onto the operating of the show (no, she wasn’t pirouetting in the SM box). But she was able to edit the music down and time the things that I was doing onstage as if she were doing it herself. Perfect.
It’s great to feel that everything fell into place more perfectly than if they had been planned for months. That was luck and synchronicity, something was telling me to do this show. I had made everything possible almost by willing it and working at it from the initial meetings with Rebecca and Rachel, the wefund taking place, the Arts Council funding, the right people.
Now as I’m halfway through touring the acting job I’m about to start meetings with producers and theatre venues for the next leg of my adventure.