You have to be careful when you set your heart on something. But that’s no reason not to aim for it. I had my heart set on a professional situation. I had allowed myself to think into a positive outcome. I even shaved my lovely beard. Turns out it was faerie gold, and vanished with the dawning. Through that setback, I got concrete proof that this year has changed me. Because instead of running patterns of despair, I just got really really fucking angry. I wouldn’t have felt like that if I was still failing to attach value to myself. I was angry that someone else didn’t see value in me. And it made me want to do something about it.

Anger is close to passion. I’m angry because I’m passionate. I’ve been practicing my craft for years and working hard to garner opportunities to learn on the job. I’m opening every door I can, but I’m looking for someone who knows the bouncers so I can finally get through without being jumped on. It didn’t work this time. So be it. Back to bang bang bang on the door. I think it might be cracked. It’s hard to tell through all the blood. But wait – where does this door lead to? Another door. And there’s a line of people trying to bang their own hole. We should team up!

It’s so important to remember to be thankful for where you are. Sometimes I forget. A minor setback is nothing more, even if it feels that way when all you want to do is work. I went to see a friend today in an understudy run. He was playing what must be the hardest part to learn in Stoppard – Carr in Travesties.


The play is excellent. It’s a strange verbose piece, as you might expect from Stoppard, full of long diatribes on politics and art and war. It’s about memory and about comparative art and about conflict. It’s dense, but there are random songs breaking it up and plenty of humour. Carr is a huge learn – doubling back on himself in slightly different ways, rehashing scenes with variations, stumbling and fussing constantly. I found the play in the school library as a boy and instantly longed to see how it would work on stage. On the page it’s just word words words. Given life it’s great and much funnier than I expected. The understudies did it with virtually no rehearsal, as understudies have to, and they smashed it. They were on stage with some of the full cast, which shows a great kindness and willingness on their part, and on the part of the theatre staff, who aren’t being paid for it. It was wonderful to be there. Everyone was standing in the stalls at the end, helping make the event memorable for the actors who may only get that one chance to go on. An understudy run is a celebration of all the work that goes unseen. It’s usually a theatre full of friends and family and a few industry, getting a free showing of the play, watching the people who are usually just sitting in the dressing room with their hair done ready in case a light falls on someone.

Afterwards it was a chance to chat to the other people that were there – a bunch of creative geeks just like myself. I managed to stay for more than one soda, which is a development. One old friend was talking of how they’d downsized their house. Another was putting a brave face on having had so few meetings. We’re all in this together. So many actors looking to their next job, and forgetting to notice that the sun is shining and it’s fucking springtime yayyy!

So that’s enough stomping around just because I couldn’t have exactly what I wanted like a spoilt child. I’m still able to be an actor. That’s fucking lucky. I’ve had some great things happen this year and will continue to make luck for myself in the year to come. And if someone asked me to shave my beard and then didn’t follow through in the way I expected, it’s enough that I’m clean shaven now. That’s clearly what the universe wanted. Let’s see what luck clean shaven Al can make.

Right now he’s going to have a bath and a cuddle. Maybe that’s enough for now.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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