Little to say for myself

Sunday, May 11, 2003


I'm not a happy chappy.

I resolved 3 years ago, when I returned to the UK and got a job back at my old desk, that my first priority would be to set up home with my children - to see them safely to adulthood. OK, that bit's well in hand (apart from procrastinating on the building work and decorating needed to turn this place into a home for three). So far so good.

However, my second priority was to follow my passion for acting, and to try not to let my "proper" job get in its way. My dream is that, once the boys are off and away, I can start a new life as a struggling actor. Sadly, I'm not doing so well on that front. I've just turned down a role in a really interesting production. In the middle of June (at the end of the two-week period called [for reasons known only to the university] May Week), there will be four performances of "Life is a Dream", the best-known work of 17th century Spanish playwright Calderon. It will take place in Emmanuel Fellows' Garden, under the famous 200 year-old Oriental Plane tree, and will be a lavish production including Flamenco and traditional Indian dance, as well as Japanese-style sword fighting and many other cultural spectacles. The cast is drawn mainly from under- and post-grad students, but I was in line to play the role of the more elderly Clotaldo, with my friend Matt playing the lead.

The problem is that on Thursday, a couple of days before rehearsals were due to start, I was given a new assignment at work. It will mean longer hours and several unpredictable trips to Toulouse (the first one tomorrow), and will last until - you've guessed it - the middle of June. There's just no way I can do that job, look after two boys on alternate weeks, and rehearse three or four times a week. Bugger bugger bugger.

Now if this were a bad Hollywood movie, I'd probably be played by someone like Robin Williams who, after agonising over his life choices and single-handedly nursing his sick sons back from death's door (Hollywood embellishment - not fact) would turn his back on the dry, safe salaried job and throw himself into the unpredictably magical world of drama to eventual international acclaim.

Sadly this isn't Hollywood. It's not even Cricklewood. So I had to pull out of the play.

Incidentally, if you're in Cambridge between June 18 and 22, I'd advise you go along and see it. I'll be there - if only to see what, in an ideal world, I would have been doing. A word of advice though: don't go on the Saturday, as there's no performance. Apparently, in the corner of the Fellows' garden is a 17th century purpose-built swimming pool (the world's oldest), and that Saturday is the traditional nude bathing day. What a bizarre place Cambridge is....

posted by Plig | 23:25 |

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