Community NOW

I’ve just tuned out of a zoom meeting. Is this the new normal? I’ve got stuff I need to write. Aka this. But this cannot last much longer, surely?

This evening we were lucky enough to be featured on BBC Front Row with The Tempest. We only have one more day of shows scheduled. Inevitably it sold out immediately following the beeb spot. That is a wonderful celebration of the BBC, who while we are in reduced circumstances have turned the lens onto those of us who are making things despite the constraints. We only got about 4 minutes of exposure after lots of stuff about Elgar. But the four minutes we got were golden.

It’s nice to have been spotlit doing something “regional”. We need more respect and a louder voice in the regions, both for Big Telly out of Port Stewart, and Creation out of Oxford and many many more companies.

A man who calls himself a casting director and photographer took my expensive headshot once on my agent’s reccomendation, and immediately questioned and dismissed my credits with Sprite out of Ripley, through Liam who is now producing at Clwyd. He saw the parts I’d played and asked with a degree of smugness: “Is Sprite your company then?” expecting the answer YES.

“No. I had to audition.” I replied. But immediately I had seen through this photographer who was masquerading as a casting director as he used his limited worldview to dismiss my credits.

Halfway through the session, while I was shaving, by sheer happy coincidence I was phoned up and asked to do a bit of work for Scene and Heard. He earwigged the conversation, and uttered the immortal words “Scene and Heard? But they only use GOOD actors…” He had heard of them, you see. Limited worldview.

He suddenly started to care. He tried to make up for the fact he hadn’t given a toss for the whole of the first half of the shoot. By that stage he’d already fucked my faith in him though. I saw him for what he was and couldn’t be bothered with him and his posturing.

The second half of the shoot was considerably better than the first. He wasn’t talking to me like I was some idiot. So instead it was lots of shots of someone with “screw you, you arrogant bastard” in the eyes. I knew he had no real idea of an actor’s brain and based on what I’d seen, I disrespected him utterly.

They are lots of photos of me looking at this blocked fool with badly drawn lines of how competence works and received ideas about who is allowed to make art. I had no respect for him whatsoever by the end of the shoot because I could find no ground for it. Nevertheless he’ll do very well. This is not a meritocracy, dammit.

We all have to limit our circle I guess. We can’t think everybody is wonderful, as then we are seen to have no discernment.

He had chosen to actively dismiss the idea of me as an artist based on his assessment of my CV via his limited prism. And yet he had the hubris to make that obvious and then try to take calling card photos.

I, similarly, chose to dismiss him because of his value driven insincere behaviour. “If you’re not happy I offer a service where I can do another session.” Ha. No. Voucher for someone else and yes.

It’s hard if you’ve hit some luck to remember that good work done outside of London is still good work even if writeypeople are usually too lazy to go see it. That jumped up fucker evidently hit enough luck that he’s doing Spotlight meetings during lockdown as if his opinion matters. Actors are signing up hoping it’ll bring work rather than just stroke his ego and I fucking hope that the version of him I saw isn’t the only one. Maybe he’s great for people he likes. Although I don’t think he has a strong enough character.

Four minutes BBC for us is better than no minutes BBC, and of course four minutes sold us out. We cap at 100 so we can be sure people will feel included. It doesn’t take long to sell us out. Even though we are not based in London.

Everything is in flux at the moment.

Creation, who made this possible, also made possible The Odyssey in a co-pro with The Factory almost a decade ago. The Odyssey still stands as a truly unquestionably LIVE show, often sabotaged by fear and desire for control but always fighting in the right direction. My scientist brother revealed the other day how it was my nephew’s first ever bit of theatre and he loved it.

Right now we are making live theatre in lockdown. That’s all we are doing. Obedience photo-bloke could easily dismiss this credit too. Nobody is special.

But thank fuck somebody is making community as best as possible in this weird time.

I’m tuning into my witches. I’m tired of the sound of my own head. I don’t even know if this makes sense. I’m not going to check. We have another Tempest coming.

Meanwhile I put another Chandelier up, this time in my living room… Lucky bastard, me.






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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