Sunday, 30 November 2008

Zero is Over: Tom is Dead, Long Live Tom

Last night was the last night of Zero.

A three month adventure is now over, audiences have been moved/angered/inspired, wonderful friends have been made and at last, this grand journey comes to an end.

For now, I don't feel too glum, although just before the show yesterday I was hit with an immense wave of sadness at it all being over. It's not about being out of work again, because as an actor that is quite simply the way of life, it's about the people, the story, telling a story that was about something, something that profoundly matters.

I'll miss it terribly.

To my fellow actors: brothers and sisters one and all, my love, respect and admiration and a genuine hope our paths cross again.

To Chris O'Connell: writer and inspiration; if you ever need anyone to give mind, heart, body and soul to your words again, then make sure you look me up.

And to Tom: you're a nob but I love you brother death.

Isn't it...

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Thespis

Thespis was the first actor.

The first person to step forward from the chorus and to speak as a lone voice, the solo voice, while the chorus looked on.

One from none.

What madness drove the man to remove himself from the safety of the crowd and to speak without their protection? Rather than the voice of the people; the voice of the individual, making a clear and present argument without the cover of the masses.

Soon the protagonist was joined by the deuteragonist and the tritagonist and even the antagonist. Individual voices, seperate from the chorus, making the case for humanity, for and against.

This is the great tradition that all actors in the present day stem from, that we owe our livelihood to, that we should aim to fufill every moment we are on that stage.

To be the voice that dared step out from the crowd, to stand up and be heard, to make the life or death case for the truth.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Horror of Sarah Palin Plowing Through a Door is Keeping me Awake at Night

Like I said, I'm tired anyway but the spectre of the political MILF is stopping me from getting a good nights sleep.

The very thought of her running for President in 2012 makes sick touch my teeth, to quote the witch:
"I'm like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is. Even if it's cracked up a little bit, maybe I'll plow right on through that and maybe prematurely plow through it, but don't let me miss an open door. And if there is an open door in '12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door."
Is that woman out of her mind? I'm sure god does have a message for her, in fact I feel him speaking through me...FUCK OFF YOU FOUL HARPY!

And to add to the terror, the lunatic then carries out an interview in front of turkeys being slaughtered:



You really couldn't make this shit up.

And remember bully boy Bush, disregarding the rest of world as he rode roughshod over everyone?

Well not now, no one one even shakes the little lame fuck duck President's hand:



Justice may take a while but boy, when she strikes, she strikes good...

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Tired Anyway

Tough week.

Not only been doing Zero every night but also been working with Eva-Jane during the day in various Primary Schools across London doing anti-bullying workshops with kids aged between 4 and 10.

In retrospect, working all day with little people and all night in a show that is emotionally and physically demanding, was not a good idea. However, this week brought further good reviews to add to our excellent one from The Times, with Lyn Gardner (a notoriously hard to please theatre critic) giving us 3 stars and perhaps a compliment I am most proud of:

"If you are looking for political theatre, this is the real thing."

I can live without one person's opinion but it certainly helps sell tickets.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

"People Know They do This...But What They do"

As I lay on the stage at the end of Zero, dead, having been shot in the head, I always listen to the words that Stephen Hudson (the actor playing Alex) says.

But last night one of the lines he spoke really hit me, perhaps for the first time and it makes the title of this particular blog post:

"People know they do this...but what they do"

The character is referring to the acts of torture carried out by the various governments in the play and I can't help but reflect that this is the state of terrible complicite that we all exist in, both in the UK, US and various other nations around the world that utilise torture.

We know what goes on, we are not naive but we, in a sense, give it our approval because we think that it is required, some how, as a tool to defend us or that the people being tortured are in some way deserving of it.

And yet, in reality, we only have the faintest grasp of what it means to torture, what acts are carried out in our name and the full implications of these acts; on our humanity, our reason and our historical standing.

And I hope, through Zero, people watching the play will take some time, no matter how small, to make a reflection of their own on what has been done in our name.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Zero in London Town

Been so busy taking the piss out of Austria and W, I've not blogged on Zero being in London town.

Someone who has blogged on it and loved it, was Clarissa over at I Love The Smoke, so grateful for her support and kind words, go read them if you've time, she's certainly bought into the spirit of the play.

Someone who didn't buy into it, was a certain Mr. Dominic Martin. He reviewed the show on behalf The Stage, the review is okay and Damian gets a lovely mention which is well deserved for a grand performance but anyone who uses "sheer intensity" as a pejorative and thinks that the first scene of our play is used to establish character and plot when it's intention is the opposite, is clearly drunk. Or mad. Or both.

The Times however, has at least understood the play in their review here, which is a fair summation I think, if not a bit stingy with the stars and includes the great phrase (with regards to my character Tom): "ten times bereaved by the terrorist attacks" and it also mentions my good performance.

YAY!

More reviews should be out next week and as much as I hate giving one person's opinion too much weight, they can really make life easier in London town when you're trying to sell tickets.

We're also receiving support and audience members from various agencies and charities that work with the victims of torture, Redress is just one of those agencies and it certainly helps but average reviews into perspective.

On a lighter note, Tim turned me on to the lovely video below, which I'll leave you with...


Friday, 14 November 2008

Farewell Bush! Goodbye to the Uber-Asshat (a Photo Montage)

Bush dancing with an African, who says honky ain't got rhythm?

Bush doing a shit on a stage in front of the military to show how much he cares about all the dead soldiers

Small human feels the touch of evil and weeps at the idea that this man could ever be a two-term President

Bush with a tin of beans named after him because it shared his foreign policy skills and ability to lead the world's most powerful nation

After shitting on the stage, Bush rubs his man-boobs against a soldier's man-boobs in order to show maximum respect to all the dead and injured. Rumours Bush had been back on the sauce strongly denied

Bush and a drill which he later used on one of those darn terrorists that want to kill freedom, so Bush killed him before he could take out freedom

Bush once again showing how down he is with the kids by fist-bumping a child, when told this gesture was one used by terrorists the President had the boy in the photo tortured and shot for giving him 'terrorist AIDS'

Bush looking suspiciously at a creature he believes to be a terrorist, the furry bastard was later tortured and killed for giving Little League Baseball 'terrorist AIDS'

Bush being sucked-off by a turkey which was with him and not against him

Bush, always one for the ladies, oils up one of the Gitmo interrogators before she sexual humiliates a Muslim

High on beers and cough medicine, Bush hits on the Queen of the 51st state of America, all he got was a feel of her tit but he said it "felt like the tit of Jesus Christ"

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Austria is Shit

Very shit in fact.

Not only did it produce Adolf Hitler and Arnold Schwarzenegger, it also has a town called Fucking.

Austrians seem to have mastered the art of locking their daughters in a dungeon and having sex them them, producing inbred, incestuous love-kids.

It also consistently throws up 'charismatic' extreme right-wing, populist politicians and parties that hate foreigners and think that the Nazi's had some good ideas.

And to top it off, Klaus Emmerich (Austria's top political commentator) had this to say when it was clear Barack Obama was going to win the election:
"I do not want the Western world to directed by a black man. And if you say this is a racist remark, I say you are damn right it is...Obama is a highly disturbing development because blacks are not as far advanced in the civilisation process nor in their political progress."
I think we should launch Austria into space, seriously, it's a fucking haven for bigots, sex offenders and right-wing thinking.

Like I said, Austria is shit...

Monday, 10 November 2008

"Along with something to do and someone to love, having hope is one of life's essentials..."



I stole that quote from A C Grayling and an article of his in The Independent about President-elect Barack Obama and the optimism he embodies. And I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, much of what I read in the blogosphere is quite frankly, a pile of horse shit; as right-wing bloggers lose (unlike McCain) without dignity and seem to think that socialism, Sharia law and the end of Israel are all coming at once.

The left-wing side of things is little better, with a whole raft of people who've spent the last 8 years moaning incessantly about things, suddenly having to cheer the fuck up and failing quite badly. It took about 24 hours after Obama's election for the miserable nay-sayers to start laying into the President-elect and guessing how bad it's going to be and to be honest, I'm glad these people are as far away from the political process as possible, I find liberal overreach as unappealing as a conservative one.

One of the many reasons that Obama's phenomenal achievement is worth celebrating, is that it brings an end to one of Ronald Reagan's worst tactics (utilised by the Bush dynasty and McCain): that appeal to the fears of the white Southerner, playing on the working class American to vote against their economical self-interest, by exploiting issues such as abortion, gun control and gay marriage.

What disgusts me most, is that the wealthy and highly intelligent men who ran these campaigns didn't give a shit about those issues but they knew that they could exploit the 10% of the electorate that did. Distract the idiots with morality, fag bashing, godless liberals and wetbacks and watch them lap it up, as those in power laugh all the way to the bank.

I also remain hopeful and positive because I believe Obama will renounce torture, extradition, extra-judicial imprisonment and abduction; the Geneva Convention will once again have value in America. As former President Jimmy Carter articulated:

"My country will never again torture a prisoner. My country will never again attack another country unless our security is directly threatened. My country will respect the rule of law and dignity of every human person as the foundation of our foreign policy."

Amen to that brother.

We live in hope.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

I'll Confess, I Had a Little Cry When Obama Won...

Just like Rev. Jesse Jackson, I wept when it was beyond doubt that Barack Obama has won the election. That a black man would be the most powerful person in the world, that the United States of America, with its recent history of repressing the black community (indeed, the non-white community) and treating them like second-class citizens, had voted an African-American into the White House, had done what no other nation on earth could've done and in that moment I was reminded of what makes America great; of the bewildering contradictions that make that nation what it is.

What a joyful moment this is, for America, for the world, a chance for change, or doing things a different way, a better way, of welcoming America back into the fold, of having a genuine ally again; what a joyful day indeed.

Welcome back America, we have missed you desperately but welcome back brothers and sisters.

On a closing note, I read with amusement that with the truce of trying to get elected over, McCain has at last made his feelings clear on Sarah Palin: "she was even more trouble than a pitbull."

I don't know what fills me with more horror, the idea that she was picked in the first place as a running mate or that some people in the GOP actually back her as a possible candidate for 2012.

Best not to linger on that repulsive human and bask in the glow of a good man being the most powerful man, in the world.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Postcode Wars

This week marks the final week of the Zero tour, before we begin our 3 week residency at the Tristan Bates Theatre in the West End of London.

Tomorrow we're LIVE TONIGHT! SOLD OUT! in Wolverhampton of all places, before heading off to the excellent Citizen's Theatre in Glasgow and 3 shows there.

Today, I spent some time at my old drama school plugging the show to the fresh-faced students there, who are only some 4 weeks into their training and it made me cast my mind back to the fond memories of my time there. I look forward to paying the students another visit next week to give them a talk on making the most of the course and their careers as actors.

This post's title has been brewing in my drafts for some time, I think it all started when I was back in Notts, bringing back memories of daft lads scrapping over poxy bits of council estates like it really mattered: NG3 versus NG2, shithole versus shithole, one massive human rubbish dump fighting another massive human rubbish dump.

How desperate are we? We've got thousands of young people taking chunks out of each other to defend their little shitty patches of Britain, as if they had some kind of value, as if these ghettos deserve being fought for.

But then I remember, to find hope in the hand life has dealt you, you must give value to what is around you, to make it worth something, otherwise what've you got left to live for?

Unless of course, you decide to get out...