#Supertwitterfacebookyoutubexpialidocious

Published October 4, 2012 by restingactress


‘There was a time when standards were high, when their voices where good,

And the theatres inviting

There was a time when we didn’t whine

And the world was a song

And the West End was exciting

There was a time

Then it all went wrong’

 

Having woken up to Stuart Piper’s article
#Supertwitterfacebookyoutubexpialidocious as featured on ‘The Stage’ website, I
felt compelled to respond with my feelings on this.

Now I know poor Stuart will be getting a backlash from emotional Actors out
there who are getting very frustrated with the way things are going in the business.
However, in his (and any agent’s defence), the main objective is that dirty old
word ‘money’. So morals and emotions don’t seem to come into it and so, for that
reason alone, you can see why social media and having many followers counts for
much more than ability – and why should it matter if the commission is rolling in?

But, for now, the moral response from the emotional actress is that quite
frankly I’m frustrated and deeply saddened by this article.

When I entered this business, there was so much talent out there to
inspire me. I used to buy my cheap little restricted view seat and sit there, on
my own, soaking in the standard of performance. I remember being blown away and so
my passion could only grow from there.

I saw breath-taking performances from the likes of ‘Steve Balsamo’, ‘Hal Fowler’,
‘Joanna Ampil’ and ‘Zubin Varla’ to name but a few. And that is when I said to myself, ‘this is what I want to be and this is as good as I want to become – and I will.

I then proceeded to train and work extremely hard to reach that certain level I
believed was crucial in order to secure a job.  It’s heart-breaking to say but I needn’t have bothered; I could have been mediocre and still stood the same chance as I do now; because ability seems to be falling further and further down the list of priorities. If I could have foreseen how it would all pan out, I would have taken another routefor sure.

The cycle has changed and due to a combination of many different factors, we are
now left in a very sorry state of affairs.

Reality TV, social networking, manufactured celebrities to name but a few are the reasons why WE, the actors feel at an alltime low and why STUART and his agent buddies are
rubbing their hands together thanking Facebook and Twitter for such a great tool
in order to sell their successful, yet sometimes untalented clients, (you know its
true so don’t shake your head Stuart).

If what Stuart is saying in his article is true of producers and casting
directors seeking their performers via the number of ‘followers’ they have, then
‘Spotlight’ watch out, you will be out of business very soon. We may even reach
the day where a CV, headshot and audition aren’t necessary anymore.

Instead of the usual audition speak we will get this;

Panel: ‘Hello, how many followers
do you have?’

Actor: Umm, well, 278 but I’m working really hard on my re-tweets and more
people are FF-ing me by the week so I’m sure I’ll get more . . . .’

Panel: ‘I’m sorry but it’s a no for today; we went for the other choice who
just beat you with 300 followers’.

Oh it’s so sad, there is only one thing to do, which is laugh!

Although, I wholeheartedly disagree with this way of working, I would be a
hypocrite not to say how much Twitter has helped me express my views anonymously
without fear of getting a backlash. I have ultimate freedom to say what I think
(and what everybody else thinks), and that has helped me enormously to realise that
I’m not going barking mad and that a lot of people agree with me and share my
truthful thoughts.

So thank you Twitter; however, if I ever want to make something of myself, I
better get a move on and catch up with Tulisa (her followers that is, obviously
not her talent).

#FF@restingactress

RA x

I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore…..

Published September 1, 2012 by restingactress

 

Morning Twesps,

It’s the first day of a new month and summer is over for another year. Yes it was here, it was wetter than the last three Marius’s and showed it’s face for less time than Imagine This but like an Andrew Lloyd Webber sequel, we’ll remember it for all the wrong reasons.

As we head towards a new season, hurtle towards a new year (I know!) and leave the Olympic season behind us the West End is changing more rapidly than the Conservative Government’s Legislation.

Today sees the final performances of Chicago at The Garrick Theatre after a run of 15 sassy years and leaves The Merry Murderesses parading the UK on tour, I’d avoid Ipswich I were you girls, we’ve all seen London Road. The Wizard of Oz shuts up shop this weekend seemingly confirming Lord Webber’s fears that the Olympics would be the death of it. Personally I think that show could learn a lot from the Olympics, namely ‘Pace’ ‘Commitment’ and Usaine Bolt’s showmanship but that’s another story (Never mind, anyway…).

A legendary show closing in October after 24 years at the Phoenix Theatre is of course, Blood Brothers. Some say it’s closing due to the papier-mâché set finally collapsing, others say that Mickey and Eddie have finally gone into retirement and the recasting process is just to expensive for skinflint Bill Kenwright. Is it maybe that there’s only room for one Brother in our lives and as Colleen Nolan was the only sister not to play Mrs. J she has taken residency at the Big Brother House which is now catching up on the Willy Russell musical now in it’s 12th year on screen.

It does seem that the big screen is influencing the stage more and more nowadays. I remember when Movies Were Movies but his Autumn we get set to welcome The Bodyguard to the Adelphi, Tim Rice’s musical adaptation of the film From Here to Eternity has been in workshops and the Johnny Depp film Finding Neverland hits the Leicester Curve Theatre later this month hoping for a West End run at some point. Joining Matilda on stage  will be Charlie and the Chocolate Factory set for The London Palladium but it’s finally ‘ogre’ for our fairytale creatures at Shrek as their line of tone deaf celebrities run dry and Sam Wheat can finally rest in peace at The Piccadilly as Ghost fails to draw in the crowds in the West End or on Broadway. All I can say is that thankfully someone with a drop of sense decided to reach for the gun and shoot Bridget Jones (The Musical) between the eyes before it even made it to the stage. With music by Lilly Allen and Bridget played by Sheridan Smith it all sounded a little forced and as confused. The thought of watching a cockney Sheridan attempting to imitate an American imitating a posh Brit…I think I would’ve jumped on the circle line and never gotten off!

The ‘film’ shows are tiresome but at least they are sporting new and original scores but the jukebox musicals are still going strong ensuring that Joe Public will know what they’re seeing before they’ve even stepped into the foyer.

Viva Forever the musical based on a reality TV show based on the Spice Girls music (I’m tired just thinking about it) will hopefully be more enthralling than their recent appearance at the Olympic ceremony. From the looks of Victoria Beckham, she was picking up the tabs for those black cabs and hers was driving her straight home afterwards.

Priscilla Queen of the Dessert revs up the camp bus once more to make a UK Tour, 9 to 5 hits the road in October and Dirty Dancing continues to sellout around the regions as the sales of pink feather bowers go through the roof. Mamma Mia moves to it’s smaller Greek island at the Novello, Dreamboats and Petticoats finally followed it’s audience and fell asleep making it two West End closures for Mr. Kenwright this year. My overdraft weeps for you Bill.

Rock of Ages rocks on like an iPod stuck on shuffle and We Will Rock You continues to keep Freddie Mercury turning in his grave and Brian May in work with personal appearances at the Dominion (whether they want him to or not it seems!). 20th Century Boy hits The Belgrade Theatre hoping for a West End run soon which, if it happens, would surely give us all an Ozzy Osbourne style overdose leaving us calling out “Rogers and Hammerstein, why did you ever leave us!?”.

All I can say is, the world of theatre is changing fast but thank God (or fuck him depending on your dedication to the show!) for The Mormons!! The Book of Mormon crashes in from NY spreading the slightly deranged love from March 2013 at the Prince of Wales Theatre.  Loserville, the musical penned by Elliot Davis and James Bourne seems interesting, music from these two great songwriters is appealing and it looks fresh and fun. I look forward o seeing it at the Garrick from October.

As I look forward to the last quarter of 2012 I can only hope for three things;

1/ Somebody somewhere gives me a job in Panto. (I’d make a great beanstalk!)

2/ Someone replies to my letter demanding Amanda Holden be banned form ever hosting as much as a dinner party let alone a TV show EVER again!

And

3/ A rich producer somewhere remembers that shows that have already been written and have stood the test of time are enjoyable to watch as well.

Call me old fashioned but Oklahoma has sex, murder, love, revenge and a cracking dream ballet scene, someone produce it and give me something to go and watch with my Grandma!! Just don’t hire Jedward to rewrite the score!!

Lots of Love (babes),

RA x

Do You Like Me?

Published August 11, 2012 by restingactress

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Having just recently watched the ‘Search for a Jesus’ programme, it got me thinking about a few things that I have been meaning to get off my chest for a while but I’ve been extremely busy resting.

 

A few of which are,

 

 ‘How many blow jobs did Amanda Holden have to give to get that gig?’

 

‘Do the panel honestly not know the meaning of ‘triple threat’?’

 

‘And why did we have to wait so bloody long to hear Gethsemene?’

 

Apart from asking the obvious questions, tweeting, ranting and shouting at the TV (whilst throwing parts of my dinner at ALW’s face, oh and Grindrod’s (he still didn’t notice me), it made me think about ‘likability’.

 

Now ‘likability’ is a very strange thing to get your head around, you can’t touch it or see it. You can only feel it. Your instincts take over as a human being and you instantly make the judgement of whether you ‘like’ someone or not.

Of course, this feeling can be spurred on by somebody’s actions or behaviour but very often, it’s a feeling you get and that’s that!

 

When you choose to go on a TV programme, you put yourself in line not only to be judged on your talent (or lack of *cough Jon Moses*). (Oh dear, I’m suddenly turning into Dawn French) but you give the world free reign to make judgements on your personality. Ouch!

 

The reason, this subject has made an impact on me is because I found Nathan’s walk as Jesus in particular extremely fascinating.

Let me remind you of his journey how I saw it;

 

A longhaired Jesus/Justin Lee Collins lookalike walks into the audition (not that any of us actually know what Jesus looked like but apparently according to Jason Donovan ‘Jesus was focused’ so we know that much. Thanks Jase!) .

Nathan appears confident, assertive and has a dream. He knows what he can deliver and shows no signs of fear or nerves.

 

As the episodes evolve, other characters like Jonathan Ansell who publically humiliated himself by acting slightly deranged over shadowed him.

Very eggy, very embarrassing and debating the true meaning of ‘Orange Trees from Miss Saigon’ with Donna, the acting coach led him to leave camp Jesus on a boat back to The Charing Cross Theatre.    

 

However as we saw more of the programme, we also saw more of Nathan. A few of his comments maybe seemed a little bit cocky/confident, which I guess, wasn’t the best way to start. Unfortunately, if you give the producers a little bit of ammunition to paint their own portrayal of you (for good viewing of course), they will take it and they did.

Having known all this in hindsight, perhaps Nathan would have been asking the same question as the Virgin Mary did ‘Could We Start Again Please?’

However, as the TV programme continued to portray Nathan as the villain, he was singing the crap out of every song he was given. Every note perfectly in tune and lets not forget the range please. Yes, range. When you look up the word range in the dictionary, it should say meaning: Jesus Christ Superstar AKA Nathan!

Unfortunately, as Nathan’s notes were getting higher and better, the panel’s comments were getting nastier and more personal.

He was attacked by ALW for being on Twitter too much; Dawn said he would make a better Judas (don’t forget to cough as you say that, it’s the only gag you have left babe).

By this point, I’m sure we all wanted the best candidate for the role of Jesus and I couldn’t have cared less what the Jesuses got up to in their spare time but unfortunately this is where the magic word ‘likability’ comes into it.

 

As I watched more and more of this programme, it made me wonder how much ‘likeability’ matters in this business of ours we call show.

When I think of a particular scenario involving this business, I often attempt to compare the same scenario in other fields of work.

 

For example,

 

Would you need to ‘like’ the doctor who is about to operate on you or would you quite simply want him to bring you back to good health?

 

Would you need to ‘like’ your plumber or would you just want him to unblock your goddamn toilet?

 

So why are we so intent in our industry to pick out the ‘nice’ one as oppose to the most talented one?

 

Don’t get me wrong, nobody wants to work with a total prick but the priority at all times should be the talent should it not?

 

What upset me the most about watching Nathan’s comments wasn’t because I felt sorry for him (he’s gonna be just fine and anyone with a brain cell would be crazy not to snap that bad boy up), but because it reminded me yet again of how you can get penalised instead of being rewarded in this industry if you are ‘too good’ ‘too polished’ ‘you oversing’ ‘too many vocal gymnastics’ ‘bla bla bla’.

All this is seen as negative and what worries me the most is that the panel were much more comfortable with a lower standard singing voice as long as it’s performed by ‘the nice one’.

 

I then wondered if this applied to closed auditions too?

My agent once told me that my feedback after an audition was ‘great voice, wrong persona’.

Well, what the hell was I supposed to do after that? Get a personality transplant?

No way!

Of course for about 5 minutes it hurt my feelings and made me question what I could have done wrong within my personality to get that kind of feedback.

It made me re-live the audition in my head. Let me set the scene for you.

 

(RA walks into the room) RA: (chirpy) Hello! How are you?

                                            Panel: (Monotone) what are you singing today?

                                            RA:  I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts (example song)

(RA sings song . . . Very well, I might add)   

                                                 Panel: Thank you for coming in.

                                            RA: (very politely) Thanks very much, have a great day!   

 

Now, in that very short space of time, I was judged and apparently even with a great voice had the ‘wrong persona’.

 

So I guess in answer to my question, it DOES happen on AND off screen.

In that panel’s opinion, I did NOT have the ‘likeability’ factor BUT as an artist you have to do what YOU do and hope that ONE DAY someone ‘likes’ it . . .

 

 

RA x

Jesus Christ! Superstar? No.

Published May 9, 2012 by restingactress
‘Don’t cha wish your Mary could sing in key?’
I don’t know how to sing this,
What to do, how to Wing this,
I am screwed, yes really screwed,
When they offered me the massive fee,
I knew I had to go, ‘think of the dough’.
I don’t know how to take this,
I can’t see why they picked me,
I’m the one who’s always sang,
a clicked Top E at Royal Variety,
The Phantoms thought I rocked,
The world just mocked 😦
Should I turn it down, I can’t sing, just shout,
Should I do the splits, or show my tits,
I never thought I’d resort to MT,
What’s to become of me?
Don’t you think it’s rather random,
I should suddenly be in theatre,
I’m the one who’s always been,
So hip, so pop,
I was on top,
but now 8 shows a week,
it’s looking bleak.
Should I call it a day,
Are people going to pay
to come and hear me sing
alongside Tim Minchin?
I never thought I’d belt a C,
I wish they’d change the key!
Yet, if the critics love me,
I could play Elphie in Wicked,
Sir Andrew Lloyd
Would get annoyed!
I’d have to make it up to him,
If you know what I mean 😉
I’ll keep him keen!
This is my dream, Cat’s got the cream . . .
Meow!

Hitting the Bottle

Published April 8, 2012 by restingactress

SOME VITTEL INFORMATION

Sometimes when waiting outside the audition room sirening like a possessed mentalist, the nerves kick in, you’re heart beats fast, fear takes over and a series of thoughts swim through your head.

 

‘The girl in the audition before me is singing my fucking song’

‘I’m still not over my cold, will I be able to belt that F or shall I switch songs?’

‘Ah, there is one of the ‘Nancy’s’ from ‘I’d Do Anything’ on the audition list, what’s the point of auditioning now?’ (Politics alert!)

When you feel so helpless and insecure, there is only one thing left to do . . . Take a swig out of your 2-litre bottle of water.

Now, we all know that an actor/singer’s trademark is to carry a massive bottle of water at all times! This is very important!

Outside an audition room, your bottle is all you have as your security blanket and you hold it in your hands for dear life as if it were the latest Chanel clutch bag.

Got a tickle? Feel a bit dry? Meet your new best friend, ‘Evian’.

So, the runner is walking towards you and you know you are next in. You pass the bitch that stole your song. ‘Good luck babe’ she says to me as I walk past her. ‘Thanks’ I say (having mental images of punching her in the face).

I’m soon approaching the door to the audition.

Music in one hand: check

Water in the other: check

The runner says ‘This is RA’ to the panel that are sipping on their Starbucks and nibbling on Hob Nobs. Smug much?

‘Hello’ I say, briskly walking to the piano to avoid that hideous awkward audition small talk bullshit.

So music is on the piano stand. But wait, where is my water?

Ah, cool, it’s on the floor, I’m fine, I’m safe, it’s ok. Not that there is ever a chance in a 52 second audition to take a swig from it but like a click tracked top E, it’s good to know it’s there 😉

I stand in the middle of the room and sing, waiting to be judged and rated, usually by casting directors who originally trained as accountants or zookeepers . . . (soul destroying).

I finish my song; thank God that’s over!

I grab my music from the pianist, thank everybody on the panel so much for seeing me and run out of the door like the Hoff in Baywatch.

Throat feels dry, breath is short, all I need now before I leave ‘Pineapple Dance Studios’ is a swig of my Evian to balance me out and bring me back to normality.

I look down at my hands. . .

Bollocks! I’ve left my water in the audition!

Happy drinking!

RA x

On My Phone….

Published April 3, 2012 by restingactress

Resting Actress looks up to the stars and sings….

On my phone, pretending it’s an i-phone.

No i-phone, my blackberry feels so boring.

Without aps, my phone is not an iphone

And when I lose my way I can’t get home with a sat nav.

It’s a pain, my contract lasts for two years,

To upgrade, I have to wait a lifetime.

In the darkness, its screen would light my doorway,

And Angry Birds, it entertains forever and forever.

 And I know, it’s only on my phone,

That I can’t tweet or browse or play songs from itunes,

And although, I say that I don’t mind

Still I say, “I’ll upgrade one day….”

My i-phone, with a leather cover,

My Blackberry’s gone, the ball has now stopped working.

Without it, my phone calls aren’t much clearer,

The screen it glares, so much software,

It never stops updating!!!!

My iphone,

The battery life keeps draining,

Everyday, it only lasts till lunchtime.

Without it, my texts would all be spelt right,

i-cloud, updates, Wi-Fi, ical, I only want a PHONE!!!!

I love it.

I loved it.

But on my other phone.

The Triple Threat Myth

Published February 25, 2012 by restingactress

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Ok, so I’ve always believed that the ‘Show Biz’ Industry goes around in a big circle, evolving and changing according to what’s current and popular.

We all know that now is the time for ‘Reality TV’ and so the ultimate key for success on a big scale is TV exposure (she says currently shaking her head and tutting whilst eating a custard cream).

However, if you are just a trained actor without this exposure, what are your best chances of securing work?

Answer: You have to be a ‘Triple Threat’.

If you are successful at being a useful ‘can do everything’ performer, then you’ll at least secure ‘Ensemble’, and if your lucky enough manage to cover someone like Kimberly Walsh or Amanda Holden in their latest starring role (so upsetting, it makes me want to cry).

But, I have mixed views on being a ‘Triple Threat’ performer.

The pros are that it encourages performers to work hard on every discipline to make sure they nail every round of their audition, which ultimately gives them a much better chance of securing work.

The fashion at the moment is hiring ‘Triple Threat Performers’ therefore, it’s important to be what the creative team want at this moment in time.

However all this is well and good if you really are delivering ‘Triple Threat’ standards. Surely being a ‘Triple Threat’ means you should potentially be able to walk in to a ‘Singing’ audition like ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and nail that cadenza at the end of ‘Think of Me’ plus audition for someone like ‘Stephen Mear’ in something like ‘Shoes’ and hold your own in that and then pop along to your ‘Jerusalem’ audition and blow them away with your amazing acting skills. Boom!

If you can do that, then bloody brilliant! To me, that qualifies as ‘Triple Threat’ material but if you can’t, the options that may be more realistic are;

  1. You are exceptional at 1 or 2 out of the 3 and you just have to live with not being amazing at the 3rd discipline (that’s life kiddo).
  2. You are sufficiently good at all 3 disciplines but don’t amaze in any one of them.

The phrase ‘Jack of all Trades, Master of None’ comes into my head.

If you try and excel in too many things, do you end up being an all round mediocre performer? Is it perhaps, the easier way out for creative team’s to save time and money and get a 3 in one performer who can do everything sufficiently well rather than hire 2 performers who can perform their strongest discipline exceptionally well?

It’s just like washing your hair. You could buy your shampoo & conditioner in one, which is cheaper, easier, and lighter to carry in your bag already full of all the other crap you’ve just bought in Boots, or you can buy your shampoo AND conditioner separately which is so much more hassle, but how much softer is your hair girls? You know what I’m saying (she says tossing her hair about like she’s just stepped out of a salon).

Anyway, I completely understand the logic of hiring somebody who is as useful to a company as possible from a business point of view and of course it’s all part of your training when you choose to do ‘Musical Theatre’ that you have to train equally on all three disciplines, but do you think this way of casting performers lowers the general standard of what we see on a West End stage?

Only in our crazy business, would we be expected to be able to do everything.

It made me think about other trades like being a ‘doctor’ for example. Would you expect the doctor who performed heart surgery on you to also operate on your broken leg? Would you expect the plumber who fixed your leaking toilet to then re-wire your house? Yet we ask our actors to act, sing, and dance, juggling fire, walking on a tight rope whilst belting out ‘Defying Gravity’ (oops, The Witch of the West just died).

I then ask myself, ‘dotriple threats really exist?’ The answer is yes but they are like rare diamonds found only very occasionally, in my opinion.

I feel the phrase ‘Triple Threat’ is thrown around like a wet kipper and should only be used if you can act as well as ‘Meryl’ (they wrote that song from ‘Fame’ for a reason); out sing the likes of ‘Steve Balsamo’ (Jesus Christ! His voice! His hair! He’s so dreamy) and dance the socks off ‘Drew McOnie’ (step-kick turn- turn- hitch kick –layout – splits then chaine like a bitch! Ta daaaa).

So I guess I’ll see you all at Mark Battershall’s class at ‘Pineapple’ babes followed by Meisner Technique at ‘The Actors Centre’ darling and I may see you at Mary Hammonds house for some vocal coaching (if your voice is up to scratch, she doesn’t teach tone deaf-ers).

 

Toodles!

 

RA x