TO YOU, THE ARTIST...

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A FOOLS BLOG

I have spent the last 3 1/2 months back in Stratford On Avon with the RSC rehearsing and opening Greg Doran’s groundbreaking production of The Tempest. I have been blogging on the RSC website, Whispers From The Wings and am sharing them as posts on To You The Artist.

peak

PEAK PRACTICE

Here’s one for you. Take a moment to think about how you feel after an embarrassingly bad audition/rehearsal/take.
I’m sure it won’t be long before your imaginings set off a series of physical sensations. Tight breath, sweating palms, tense neck, gut wrenching cringe. We’ve all been there, grim isn’t it?!

imitation

IMITATION

When shooting a series recently, the director approached me and asked me to bring the shared laugh down at the end of a joke my character was telling.
I realised as I processed the note, that he was absolutely right, my laugh was in no way honestly connected to the joke I was telling. It was an imitation of a laugh that I had done over a joke someone told at lunch time.

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EXCUSES

I have come to a conclusion.  Most of the reasons we use to justify a lack of progress in our life or art are excuses.
They sound good and feel good but are fairly flimsy upon closer inspection.
bowling

BOWLING BEAUTY

Firstly, my sincerest apologies for the enormous break in posts. I have been unbelievably busy doing a play and opening a second drama school. The good news is there’s lots to talk about!
I took my daughter bowling last week. I tried to impress her with my skills (not the greatest but not the worst).  I strode back to the seating area from my last roll, having flattened the pins in two go’s. As I did so, I glanced left and my smug grin dropped like a ton of bricks.
hunger

HUNGRY

Its 7.30 in the morning and I am sitting in my brothers kitchen looking out onto the orchard garden in his beautiful 300 year old Cotswold  cottage with a steaming cup of tea pondering the future.
This place is so beautiful it makes you feel slightly ill.
My brother is a very hard working lawyer and this country idyll is one of the fruits of his labour.
At 37 years old, I catch myself wondering if I am in the right job. I have chosen a career that is unlikely to serve up such profit. Should I call it a day and, while I still have some wit about me, train to do something with structure, a salary….a desk?!
That way I would have some idea of whats coming in before it goes out. I would be able to assure my wife that she can have that particular holiday at that particular time. Treats reserved for those who chose the steady path.
Then I remember the call from my agent yesterday about an audition, and with it the familiar feeling that has been my close friend for over 20 years. Its called hunger.
You see, when you are doing the thing you were made for,  the hunger will remain. Regardless of disappointment, exhaustion, cynicism and doubt..hunger will remain.
I say that we need to stay hungry,  stay driven. Keep throwing logs on the fire because,  honestly, only the hungry get to eat.
Cottages,  clothing,  holidays and ‘security ‘ will wave and blow kisses at you, beckoning you to drop anchor and reject your artistic drive. You will begin to see your former desires as childish, unrealistic and pointless but don’t be fooled. The path to artistic achievement is strewn with the bodies of people who settled for less and gave in to the sirens of security, and there they rest, sated but unfulfilled.
St.Iraneus said “The glory of God is a man fully alive”.
If something brings you life and harms no one in the process, you have found the thing you were made for. Stay hungry and chase it with all your heart.
To you, the artist.
vandalsim

MAKE OR BREAK

I have a theory.
Every one of us is imbued with a capacity to create.
A quantity of creative energy and that unique human quality….. the ability to choose.
gold-panning

Panning for gold

Brahms once remarked that the mark of an artist is how much he throws away.

nike

JUST DO IT

Nike got something right.
Just do it.
Having watched the final performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream from our graduating second years at a tiny Manchester fringe venue, I was struck by the sense of community that is created when you take a passionate group of artists, willing friends and family and tell a story. Magic happens.
3rd character

The Third Character

I’m just listening to a producer proudly taking us round a set that features in a series we’re filming. As ever I’m blown away by the expense and detail they have gone to.