Little to say for myself

Tuesday, April 01, 2003  

A Milestone

I've just completed my first paid acting job.

OK, so it was only a tenner, and it was only a 20 minute two-hander in an intimate little "boite" in the basement of a cafe, but it was a biggie for me. Until now, my acting has been exclusively with Cambridge's foremost experimental drama group in situ: run by good friends Richard, Bella and Pete. I first took Richard's brilliant acting classes in '96/'97 and have enjoyed performing with them in weird and wonderful works based on Dante's Inferno, Bocaccio's Decameron, Shakespeare's Macbeth and other original devised pieces. For a nerdy geek like me it's been a revelation.

This latest job was a real departure for me. It was a last-minute thing, with people I didn't know, and with a conventional script I had to learn. I had to do an accent (my character was a flamboyant Brazilian), but the toughest job was trying to give the impression that he was saying things as he thought of them, and that was the biggest departure for me.

The work I've done with in situ: involved mainly improvised text, where what I said came from the situations my character found himself in - just like in real life. Whilst this may be anathema to most writers (since no-one actually writes anything), it connects so much more directly with the audience. I was really lucky that the piece I've just done was written in a natural, conversational style. Most written work is carefully crafted to convey masses of information, wit, emotion etc. in faultlessly eloquent prose. Characters take turns to speak in complete paragraphs, with beginnings, middles and ends, because that's the way a writer writes. The trouble is nobody actually speaks like that in real life. We pause, stumble, repeat, interrupt, lose our train of thought, fish for words, and generally bumble our way through conversations.

Because of this, I feel thrilled that people actually seemed to enjoy the piece. I've realised one of the biggest hurdles a conventional actor has to get over is the artifice of speaking someone else's words, and by all accounts I managed it.

posted by Plig | 15:58 |

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Forget the sentimental notion that foreign policy is a struggle between virtue and vice, with virtue bound to win.
Forget the utopian notion that a brave new world without power politics will follow the unconditional surrender of wicked nations.
Forget the crusading notion that any nation, however virtuous and powerful, can have the mission to make the world in its own image.
Remember that diplomacy without power is feeble, and power without diplomacy is destructive and blind.
Remember that no nation's power is without limits, and hence that its policies must respect the power and interests of others.
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