Yesterday I was all buoyed up by the thought of new beginnings. But we forget that wrapped up in new beginnings there are endings. This morning I had to go to my old agent. I thought about dressing up smart but decided it would be better if I was a bit scruff, so I came in my work clothes for the set building. She was pleased to see me – big smile – introducing me to all her new staff members, asking if I wanted coffee. I remembered as I sat down how fond I was of her. Then I immediately broke up with her and saw her face harden as she agreed. She’s brilliant, particularly for musical theatre, but it hadn’t been working for either of us. 1 year. 1 meeting. 1 recall. 0 jobs. Still, when you make an end like that you snip off the head of dreams. You kill potential.
Then I had to make an even harder cut. They say the first cut is the deepest but baby I’m not sure. My beautiful old friend who held my hand when I was ten and who has held it again hard this year, ran alongside me, and shown nothing but patience support and love – She’s my manager. In America many actors have an agent AND a manager, but my new agent comes with a team and therefore to keep hold of Iona for work in this country would be a conflict of interest as far as the new move is concerned. And I’m thoroughly excited about this move. I’m bad at breakups though. I have to remind myself of how this all started.
Unbeknownst to me, catalysed by excellent professional friends who seek nothing but the best for me, wheels were turning in the background. The first I heard about it was about three weeks ago when I was forwarded an email chain. I was in Euston Station, underground. I had been recommended, researched, and pronounced “interesting” by this established agent – all without my knowledge. Turns out she’d spoken to my old friend (and one time teacher) who described me as “a young Michael Hordern”. I passed that one to Tristan who immediately slapped his forehead and said “Fuck, yes, why didn’t I think of that?” I’ll take it. He did complicated intelligent people with clarity and truth, and he was a legend.
Then she randomly contacted a director friend of mine who I have a great deal of time for and who’s making waves in the industry. She also spoke well of me – (with the (entirely accurate) proviso that I say “yes” to stuff I probably shouldn’t.) This agent did her research, and the people she spoke to were all lovely. So, in Euston Station, on the Northern Line platform, I got the email chain. It came as a complete shock. Yet a lightning-bolt validation of all the years I’ve spent working hard, being kind, nurturing professional friendships, growing. I was floored. I collapsed into a bench and wept with complicated bitter joy. The trains came and went. I was there for a while. I’ve been clinging to the underside of the slippythrough net for years. Someone just threw me a rope. Fuck I’m blessed by my friendships…
Despite all this poncy emotional actor shit, as soon as I was done with saying farewell to my lovely ex-agent I went to a dusty underground lair and shovelled hideous zombie rubberchip for hours.
Then, sweating muck, I built a tunnel with a carpenter, did a load of stuff with ladders, deconstructed and reconstructed a bar, hit some stuff with hammers, sweated, laughed, sweated more and learnt how to use a circular saw. Now I’m home, feeling conflicted, and running myself a bath to wash away the badness. As Lucy observed, I say “yes” too much. That’s primarily because I hate saying “no.” “No” kills potential. But “yes” kills time.