Corporate acting

A very lovely woman was having her sixtieth birthday party this evening and she had booked out The Balcony Room at The Swan, the restaurant arm of The Globe. I often come into play in such situations. There is an ancient ruling that the corporate actors can’t perform in Elizabethan costume. It is to do with certain people in certain departments who don’t want the “corporate” actors to be associated with the ones on the main stage. I showed up with Ffion. We were both in sexy smart clothes.

Minnie and Maz were on the mainstage tonight as Bottom and Titania. Apart from having agents with a little bit more reach I would argue that there isn’t much to choose between them and Ffion with whom I was working. But yeah, that’s been the deal for years. I usually just show up in a suit and I have to make it clear I’m not one of the “proper” actors because heaven forbid.

My job isn’t to be made of magic fairy dust. It is to entertain the VIP diners. It is, of course, a slightly different aspect of the acting skillset to that which is being displayed on the mainstage. But the wedge is driven. Minnie once introduced me to an artistic director at the space, and then said that I do the corporate stuff. I watched the man’s smile curdle. I know one human being who has worked all three departments. Rigid fucker and one of my closest friends. He keeps it quiet though. Here I am writing about it.

“It’s not work if you aren’t drenched in sweat,” I had been told a few hours earlier when I made up part of a three man team taking the heaviest printer you can imagine down a long flight of stairs. The three of us found ourselves living in each others puddles. It was my last day helping this endless office move.

Building and deconstructing furniture, lugging heavy boxes. Organising things, connecting things and disconnecting them. I’ve been so involved in the office break I’ve barely remembered anything else. Two days of stoppage coming up. Then back to the grind for too long. In many ways, this evening was a break into happy work.

The wonderful client wanted us to mingle with the guests beforehand so it was more of a surprise when we showed up and did some acting. That meant we kinda had to have champagne just to fit in. So we did, and we mingled. Then we did our thing, customised for the client, charming assured work with Shakespearean text. Like the guy that hits the thing with a hammer and then says “yes it looked easy, I’ve taken twenty years to learn where to hit it,” Ffion and I are deft at this work now and we aren’t bothered by the confidence issues you get at the start of your career.

Seaside now. Yeah I guess if the machine won’t give me the work that will be seen by many, I have to be the machine. I know enough now to make large scale. I’ve got the contacts. Maybe it’s time to McBurney it. Something to think about.

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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