Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Rolf : Hip at the Hippodrome.

From the first day I could talk and walk, I can remember having a love for Rolf Harris. The man who would often enough entertain me and millions of others over the years with his many television appearances throughout the eighties, right through to the present day. This was the man who inspired many, myself included. Inspired me through his art and more than anything his personality. Rolf's "art" can be taken and viewed in many forms, from both elitist and popular angles. He can be the Rolf Harris the "Artist" where he can be recognised through his paintings and caricatures, and on the flip side he can also be Rolf the "Entertainer", the man who can sing a great tune comically, upbeat and serious. But in between all of this holds something unique. Rolf the Gentleman. A man who holds great gratitude for his hundreds and thousands of fans. This became more and more evident as he thanked the packed out audience of his "one off" show at The Bristol Hippodrome on Saturday 18th May of this year. As he walked onto the stage to a standing ovation and once the applause eventually faded, he said "Thank you for your support, I'll always wear it." Amidst the current allegations made against him.

Both mine and my fiancees emotions stirred as Rolf entered the stage, This was the third time I had seen Rolf do a live show. The first time nineteen years ago at The York Barbican, the second at an open air event in South Shields about eight years ago and then to find on my birthday, back in March this year, that my fiancee had bought us both tickets to see my one of few childhood heroes was just emotional. I didn't even know anything about the one off gig at the Hippodrome, so you can just imagine my excitement at the sheer thought of seeing the man himself, for a third time.

At the venue, Rolf Harris never failed to entertain. A man with great energy, gusto and passion at the amazing age of eighty three, is a lot to top for any performer and at any age. Rolf performed many of his classics. "Two Little Boys", "Sun Arise", two versions of "Tie me Kangaroo down sport" and one of my all time faves "The Court of King Cararticus" To which on many occasions, the audience would join in. Rolf showed a talent that never ages, and even if his talent did age, it could only be compared to that of a fine Australian red, that matures over a long time and beholds both magic and endless quality.

After several anecdotes that centred throughout his career, one of which was of his friendship with The Beatles record producer, George Martin. Rolf stirred amazement from his audience, when he donned his painting overalls and paint brush and painted "Ayers Rock", all from pure memory. This linked Rolf to sing another one of my fave Rolf tracks, "Raining on the Rock".

Needless to say though, after a stand out two hours and thirty minutes including twenty minute interval, Rolf proved that he was made of stern and strong stuff.  His add libbing was brilliant, and the banta he had with the audience was second to none.

One amazing quote that that will always stay with me from the show, is this one, which was sent as part of a letter of support to Rolf  "It's not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain."

And dance he did.

rolf harris photo: Rolf Harris in Vancouver IMGP0243.jpg

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Just a tad Fawlty.

My second play for the Newport Playgoers was a stage version of the much loved sitcom from the 1970's, " Fawlty Towers". We, as a company put on stage three of the twelve televised episodes. "Hotel Inspectors" , "Communication Problems" and "The Germans" I was originally asked to be one of the Hotel Inspectors, as well as one of The Germans. So I had the task of actually speaking in German, and making it as convincing as possible. Without a voice coach I think I did very well, and after watching and listening to "The Germans" episode many times over, I eventually got it all pretty accurate.

 I was then asked to play Terry the Chef in "Communication Problems". Wearing the most attractive Chefs attire immaginable.
However with three very different parts in the bag for three different staged episodes. Two other parts were thrown in there two. A Taxi Driver, and that of a Hotel Guest. So in all, five very different roles.

To have five very differant roles, was quite a task to undertake, regardless of how big the characters are, or how long they are on stage for. So in order to have a contrast between each of them, I, as an actor would have to look at differant characteristics, mannerisms and of course accents. All this goes without saying. However to help me with this I resorted to a technique that helped me with other elements of the characters I was portraying. I forget now what the name of the technique was,as my studies were years ago and my notes from that time are safely boxed up. However, I digress, this technique I studied, help an actor build the characters foundations, and how the character looked externally. Whether the character was direct in his movement, or not, whether he was hunched / arched  or straight in structure / form and also whether he was heavy or light on his feet. These are the strong elements of a character that make the actor stand out to an audience, they also highlight the emotions of the character and the characters persona.. And if you take time to people watch (ahem, not stalking, as some people would call it, That would be just wrong. ), you can actually see all this in every passer by. It really is an amzing actors tool to use, and very effective.

The set for "Fawlty Towers" was quite possibly one of the best sets I have ever worked on, on stage. The set designers and director worked with great attention to detail.So much in fact that it was almost a replica of the set used on Television. The lead actors were a pleasure to work with and with the help of a debut director, made carbon copies of the characters that we are familiar with on TV.
"Fawlty Towers" I believed to be a production that helped me re-develop as an actor. Made me focus on other elements of characters. How a character is formed, and how they can contrast from each other.

All in all a remarkable journey.


Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Titfield Experience.

Well as some may or may not be aware, back in June 2011, I returned to the stage after a two your break from the boards and my love of acting, and after many a distraction, I knew that once I auditioned at The Dolman Theatre in Newport, Wales, It would only be a matter of time, before I would be walking the boards again, but at this great theatre, here in Newport.

In retrospect though, it is funny how things work out. I was actually at the Dolman, one saturday morning in April to audition for a play that was going to be part of the Dolmans new season of plays. Anyway, while i was at the audition, this was when I was asked to be in Titfield Thunderbolt, which had just started its rehearsal process a few weeks earlier. I was told that I would be part of the film extras which would be on stage throughout in the background. I had no idea of what the play was about, and I had no idea, what I would be doing really. But looking back, I'm pleased that I took part. What a play to break my start at such a great theatre, a play with such a great cast, director, and crew. I believe  that its with thanks to them, that has made me get to where I am creatively now. And for that I am truly grateful!

Titfield Thunderbolt was performed in a very different way to how I had imagined. Originally The Titfield Thunderbolt was a film, an Ealing Comedy from the 1950's. The way that the play was directed, was in the style of the audience actually watching the film being filmed. With lots of hurried, but in my opinion,  proffessionally done scene changes and costume changes, to which I had a few.

My character which changed from scene to scene, was that of a villager mostly and of a drunkard in one particular scene. The scenes were either set in pubs or that of the train station and though I was part of  the ensamble and that my part was non-speaking, I still made the most of the part that was given to me, and to have the chance to work with such a great cast was truly amazing.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Time Passes... In the blink of an eye.

An old friend once said to me whilst in a moment of talking about my past circumstances, that "Life is what you make it",and it is only when I look back to the last year, I see that there is a lot of truth in my friends statement. I think it would be wise to say that life in the last twelve months has been very good to me and I'm proud to even say that all of this wouldn't have been possible without the support of close family and friends.

I haven't really given the time to this blogging malarky, since I started "All the worlds a stage...", and to the subject of my own creativity, that is totally inexcusable. However as I am acting as my own jury, (ahem, for creative purposes only, if I may add? ) it would be safe to say that its been a hell of a year creatively. However, this still doesn't excuse me, as to why I haven't pulled out all the stops in order to put pen to paper, or in this case, fingers to key board.

So now, as I sit, under a creative light, (or what some people simply call a 40 watt bulb) I have managed to muster together the last two paragraphs, which I hope will, in time, contribute to giving reason to the lack of  actors blogging!!!

Well its been six months since my last written effort, and well in short and since then, I have been busy being part of at least three plays at the Dolman Theatre, here in Newport, as well as currently rehearsing the fifth play I will be appearing in, in April. All will be discussed in due course, I promise. :)

As well as the above, I also changed my job back in October of last year. Something that will hopefully, allow me to be a little more creative and be that just bit more healthy! To top off the last few moths or so, I have also found myself a lovely lady, my own "Princess".

So to much influence by my brother and promise to my lovely lass, I have now done a blog, as promised and for those that have supported me in all I have been doing over the last lot of months, I thank you all.

Which brings me back to where I started.

"Life is what you make it".

No matter if people ask you to do something, or advise you. At the end of the day, you will only do what you want to do, and looking back over the last year, I am over joyed at myself for what I have done and what I have achieved personally. The only thing now is to share it with the ones I love and have close at heart. So, yes indeed, "Life is what you make it". Just make sure you don't let time pass you by, afterall it's up to you to make things happen.

Until next time...

P x

Friday, 5 August 2011

Home From Home: Nostalgia. Part One

As I'm edging towards the end of a relatively, both interesting & eye opening (to say the least) two weeks holiday from the dredges of work, (I know, that last part sounded dramatic) I thought it was only right to share with you some of the places that I returned to on my travels.

This also gave me the conclusion, that places of your past, don't change, but then its not just the places, but in retrospect, the people in those places don't change either. (this by no means is aimed at anyone in particular... Or is it???)

One place that stands out and played a vital part in my childhood, is West Witton near Leyburn in North Yorkshire. A place I have only skimmed past in recent years, so in truth in its actual entirety returned to last saturday for the first time in Twenty One Years. Yes I may have visited for personal reasons, five months back, but to actually get out of the car and walk in the traces of your old footsteps from twenty one years ago, is another thing. I was fourteen then, a teenager, unaware of what I would be doing throughout the next twenty one years to come.

To the left is a place very close to my heart. what used to be the village shop, owned by my late grand father, back in the late 70's & early 80's. Memories!!!

What also is surprising, is how compact this small village is, in comparison to when I was a small boy living there when I was just 3,4,5 & 6 years old. Things, were so much different then, back through the eyes of a child. My grand father would walk from his cottage daily, to open up shop, and to me the distance would seem like miles, but now as an adult, is literally a stones throw away.

Above, the apparently cosy Fox & Hounds, which is right next to what was my grand dads cottage. As much as I love an occasional beer now, I have never ever been inside this pub. Remarkable really!!!

Lets play catch up...

Well hello there, readers, observers, and followers. (Okay, I may have only two followers on here, but two is better than none) Anyway, I digress...

It's been a while since I have published a blog entry, needless to say since the Royal Wedding (my last blog entry) and in short a lot has happened since then...

The last three months have been indeed a journey of creative discovery. I recently as mentioned in an earlier blog, joined The Dolman Theatre here in Newport. Where I auditioned my socks off to get parts in their next season of plays. And While doing so, I managed to bag myself a a part as a Film Extra in Newport Playgoers last show,  "The Titfield Thunderbolt". This was my first show for NPG. Here I got to rediscover my passion for the theatre and also got to know a lot of great people in the process.

I also auditioned for a part in the Ray Cooney comedy "Out of Order", and bagged myself the part of the hotel manager, rehearsals start in October. A great role which will hopefully establish myself at The Dolman. Fingers crossed. "Out of Order" goes out in January, 2012.

Since then I have currently been rehearsing for "Fawlty Towers", NPG's first play for the next season which goes out next month. Here I can dabble in a little versatility in the terms of characterisation. I'm playing three roles. A hotel inspector in "The Hotel Inspectors", A German, in "The Germans" and Terry in "Communication Problems".

Needless to say, as well as working to help provide bread and butter for what I would say is in part pursuit of pursuing my dream and achieving it, I am indeed a pretty busy guy. However other things have been in the offing, and I may to decide to divulge in due course.

In the mean time, summer is here, so enjoy!!!

P x

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Inspired by love, Inspired by romance, Inspired by a Prince & his Princess.

As an actor, who at the moment is currently waiting to hear the out come of recent auditions, aside handling the consistent amount of hurdles that life puts in your way, you tend to lose sight of other things that make you who you are in life. Other things that have you lose track of what inspires you in the first place. What ignites your creativity, what inspires the words that form a line in a poem, and what inspires you to put a certain amount of emotion into the portrayal of a certain role. Here I am talking about life experiences. We all can lose our way from who we really are because of the different things that we experience in life, but at the end of the day (and I hate that saying) it depends how we handle it.

It's been over a year since I became single and that I have gathered dust on the shelf of singledom, and despite trailing a dating site and going on as many dates as Henry VIII had wives, I found that the more I was doing this the more I was writing myself off romantically. Don't get me wrong, I met some weird and wonderful ladies, more the weird than the wonderful, but at the end of it all, I think I lost who I was, and what I wanted in life as well as a successful career, a loving family, and a handful of great friends. I had in fact written myself off romantically, and in all honesty thought that it had died along with the last relationship I had.

But then, the morning of  the 29th April 2011, changed things, it made me think, it made me feel, and it of course made me a little sentimental, and realise what the other thing I was missing was and want out of life . Love and romance. Who would have thought that the marriage of the future King of England would have made me realise that what I really want, and have always wanted but with the right person, was still there, deep down inside of me.

From the second I saw the live coverage of Prince William & Kate Middleton's wedding, I was pulled in to what some people would call a fairytale, but it wasn't, it was real. This was the first Royal Wedding of its kind for 25 years. But this time I was watching a Royal Wedding through the eyes of an adult. Twenty Five years ago, I was ten, and without a care in the world, and oh how things have changed Ha!. Back then it would have had the fairytale quality of the previous two Royal Weddings I experienced through black Joe 90 style specs in the 1980's. But nothing like the sense of real love that I was witnessing right now. Between a man and a woman, the Prince William and the now Princess Kate.

I was watching our future Queen of England being driven to Westminster Abbey, I saw her beauty glow as she stepped out of the car and walked down the aisle with her father at her side and her sister as Chief Bridesmaid trailing behind her.

I saw how Prince William's eyes met Kate's behind the bridal Vail, I saw how they both smiled with each other and how he leaned in and told her how beautiful she looked. And Kate did.

Kate Middleton looked perfection. It wasn't until in retrospect, looking at more coverage, of the exchanging of vows, and how the carriage took them off to the palace, which led to the famous kiss on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, that it hit me. Here we have a couple who are without doubt genuinely and deeply in love with each other. I have never really seen love like this before. Let alone have I lived it or breathed it. And it is from this I wish William & Kate every happiness, as Husband & Wife, Prince & Princess and future King & Queen.

And then it hit me again. Here I am, a guy in his mid thirties, who has never really been lucky in love but still wants it, still wants to give it, and wants to live and experience this with his Princess, whoever she maybe. And I am under 100% believability that I will meet her, but hey, that's me, the dreamer.

I'm just hoping that one day my dream becomes reality.

P x