Thursday, 30 July 2009

We Were Born To Boogie (Part 1)

This blog is a bit impromptu, spontaneous... I just really feel like telling you about today. I normally plan blogs in advance, but somehow I think I will lose that buzz if I wait until tomorrow to start this. You know when you have days that are just so perfect? Well today was practically that. As you may have gathered from the earlier blogs I have completely fallen in love with the show Billy Elliot... Its like a drug, once you see it, your addicted and you just crave more. Great... now I sound like a junkie or something! Anyway back to Billy Elliot, if i didn't have enough reasons to love this show already, I have found 1oo more today.

The day started rather early as myself and a friend Charlotte were queuing to get day tickets at Billy Elliot. We had planned to do a double - two shows in one day. Obsessed? Maybe a little, though I prefer to see it as passionate, it just sounds better that way. Theres something about this show that appeals to all of the senses, you feel the love, the hate, the joy, the anger, you laugh, you cry... it truly hits on the full spectrum of feelings with such depth you can't help but be touched by the story... that is unless you have no sole... so it's probably a no go for Simon Cowell, but for anybody else the show is something you will fall in love with.

So in queue for the day tickets we meet an American gentleman called Dennis. I have always liked Americans. They are much more sociable than us Brits on the whole, and they just come across as a lot more likable. Dennis is just that. This guy is hugely passionate about the show and has seen it in total approximately 30 times both in London and Broadway. He was a delight to talk to both about the show and indeed other walks of life. He takes in everything you say which is nice and whats more he and I have very similar thoughts on many elements of the show. I will be seeing Dennis again on Saturday. I am really looking forward to it, and will definitely be staying in touch with him on his return to America.

Now theres Charlotte... shes lovely! She has seen Billy Elliot a few more times than me and is equally as passionate. As it happens me and her share the same favorite Billy which is a great starting point. We were able to talk about the show most of the day, which is really nice as many of our friends are nowhere near as interested as we are about the production. This too would be my first time of meeting her. I can't say I was too nervous. There is something calming about her personality which makes her a great person to chat to whether its online or in person. I am really looking forward to seeing more shows with her be it Billy Elliot or indeed any other West End show.

So on to the first show. Well playing Billy was Fox Jackson-Keen. Fox is simply awesome. For those of you who have just started reading my blogs let me tell you a little about why Fox is so special to me. I have for a long time been bouncing the idea about that I should get back into drama, but I lacked that push that i needed to get the ball rolling again. Whilst I enjoyed practically every show I had seen up until this point none had the effect on me that Billy Elliot would. Back in February I saw the show for the first time, where Fox appeared alongside Lewis Cope who played the role of Michael. I was really enjoying the show much like I do today, but it was Fox's "Electricity" routine which wowed me. Words cannot explain how i felt, I was completely moved, it was that push i needed. So from that day forth I set about changing things, and as you may have read in the previous blogs I have already got the ball rolling. So yeah, I owe this all to Fox... A fourteen year old kid... no a fourteen year old inspiration. I'm not afraid one bit to admit that he has inspired me more than any other individual, infact I am quite proud of this fact, so what if he is a kid? It changes nothing in my eyes, he is still a legend! I just hope one day I get to meet him and thank him for all this.

So was Fox as good as that first time I saw him perform? This is a question that doesn't even need asking. This was the third time that I have seen him in the role of Billy, and every time he has won over the audience better than any other Billy at any of the other shows which I have been to. He is a delight to watch and has an on stage charisma and personality that is second to none. I am not normally one for saying something is perfect, because normally there is room for improvement, but in my eyes I can't see anything which Fox's performances lack. Maybe he is not quite as emotional as Tom Holland in "The Letter", but that doesn't really detract from the show at all. I think it is just part of the personality that Fox gives Billy... its just different to Tom's rather than being better or worse.

Playing Michael tonight was the delightful Connor Doyle, who I had now seen four times in a row, you'd think I would be tired of seeing him right? Not at all he reminds me of Lewis who I saw that very first time so much, he is completely the right person for the role of Michael. Flamboyant, outrageous and completely hilarious, I will never tire of seeing Connor perform. He has a bright future ahead of him in show business, mark my words!

I don't normally comment on the role of Debbie very much, its a part in the story that whilst is essential I have never warmed to. One of the new additions Francesca was playing this role tonight. I didn't rate her the first time that I saw her, but I think tonight saw a definite improvement. I still think she needs to work on the voice a little bit... but who cares about that? Because she makes up with it through her acting, in particular her facial expressions. I think she does this better than any other Debbie in the show. Its an important part of acting, as facial expressions speak a thousand words, and help to build whatever emotion is needed in that scene. She really does have the ability to capture the moment.

So in all how did the show compare to others. Well there were a lot of understudies on which gave the performance a different feel at times, sometimes for the better and sometimes for worse. I do like to see understudies, however I think there may have been a few too many on today in my opinion. But in the grand scheme of things did this matter? Hell no!!! As expected Fox completely stole the show. I sometimes wonder if I am bias, but then all you have to do is ask around, and everyone agrees.... Fox is simply awesome! As ever after a Fox performance I leave even more determined than I was before to follow my dream.

What a show.... what a day... but there is still so much more to tell!!! I will do another blog "We Were Born To Boogie (Part 2)" in the morning. I hope you continue reading, and leaving comments. The love and support you have shown so far has been great.... keep the comments coming and for the love of god keep reading the blogs!!!

G xxx

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Then Came The People (Part 2)

On the whole if I am passionate about something I am very assertive to that cause. Like at the theatre, if Gareth wants chocolate ice cream, he gets chocolate ice cream... there simply is no compromise. On the other hand If I don't really care too much for something it is incredibly hard to motivate me. As you would have gathered by now I am very passionate about theatre and drama and hence I am determined to get what I want out of it, at all costs. I met somebody very much like this, with a passion for drama and theatre, and possibly even chocolate ice cream. I must find this last fact out for you and report back to you all some time. Her name is Janet and I met her at the acting classes which I am in the process of telling you all about.

Janet is a very loud character, you sure as hell know when she is around... but thats a good thing as she is a huge motivator and has been an immense amount of support to me in the short time that I have known her. I don't think I really started speaking to her until the second or third week, as it took me a little while to come out of my shell. I am nowhere near as self confident as she is, thats for sure! The fact that we both have simular aims and aspirations in life meant that we understood what each other wanted out of drama, this helped a lot ecspecially after class when we were discussing things thatwe had learned and been doing that day. So in a sense I guess we kinda pace one another, as we both try and achieve what we aim for in life. Its like a rivalry... but a very friendly one and we are always there to pick one another up and help when we need it.

I think what made us click most was our go and get attitude. The sad fact of life is unless you are very lucky opportunities don't land on your doorstep like that pint of milk in the morning when you wake up. You have to fight to achieve things in life, and continually push yourself. Thats what we both do, and as well as pushing ourselves we push one another. Throughout the course we often had time to reflect and discuss one an others performances which would allow us to better ourselves at what we did, or at least we could laugh and joke about how crap we were at certian tasks!

Yesterday I was on the phone to Janet and she told me about a course she was going to do over the summer, and asked if I would be interested in doing it with her. The thought of doing anything which had the words "intensive" and "summer" in the title seemed a bad idea. After all its the time of year for relaxation, having fun and doing all those things you really shouldn't. The course was in musical theatre. I love drama but singing really isn't something I enjoy all that much. Of the three disciplines, it is clearly my weakest, so it goes without saying that I found this most off putting. I mean really... who wants to hear me sing? Its dreadful i promise you! The more we talked about the course the more it sounded a challenge, but at the same time I was starting to like the sound of this challenge! Janet's power of persuasion were really working well! My standards must be slipping as getting me to do anything I am initially against requires that person to bribe me with chocolate, or on the other hand just get me extremley drunk, then I agree to anything... yes ANYTHING!

I have a feeling that whilst me and Janet won't be doing everything together we will be working alongside each other for a long time to come. We also see a fair amount of one another outside of class. Again its that go get attitude... we don't ponder for weeks over doing something, we simply get on with doing it. I convinced her to go see three of my favorite shows. Avenue Q, Billy Elliot and Jersey Boys. I say convinced... it didn't really take much work on my part as she was keen to see all of the shows. All three shows were great, Janet loved them which was a huge relief as nothing is worse than when you recomend a show to someone and that person doesn't really enjoy it having seen it on your rave review.

Thats made me realise, I haven't told you about Jersey Boys yet. Its a rags to riches tale, telling the true story of the rise to fame of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Hailing from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey, the story sails through the bands lives of crime, mafia links and their turbulant ride to international stardom. The stage show is so well done, with a storyline that encapsulates you from start to end and music that is more contagious than swine flu, its simply outstanding! When i first went to see Jersey Boys I didn't realise how many of the bands hits I actually knew. I wasn't convinced that I would like the show all that much but went out that afternoon loving it. Since then I have been a further three times, one of these times being with Janet. She too loved the show, but like me is very open minded when it comes to theatre so it is somewhat expected!

Jersey Boys is definitely a show you should see in the West End, even if you have some reservations give it a shot, i'm sure you won't regret it. Ryan Molly is a fantastic Frankie Valli and you can see why he has won awards for this role. His voice is spot on and in my opinion better than his Broadway counterparts. The cast are simply fantastic, the theatre is one of the best in London and the show has been written and performed in a way that you cant help but fall in love with it and want to see it again aand again and again!

So thats a bit about Janet and indeed the Jersey Boys, stay tuned for more blog updates later in the week. Please please please leave comments, I have had a lot of positive feedback so far so keep it coming because I really do appreciate it!

G xxx

Sunday, 26 July 2009

The First Class

So as you will have recalled from a couple of blogs ago, in true Gareth style I was running late for my first drama class. Well its good to make a dramatic entrance right? All of a sudden it was like being the new boy back at school again, I walked into a room full of strangers. I stood their and cast my eye around the circle of diverse individuals. I was rather scared, it was like going on a roller coaster for the first time or being scared of the dark as a little kid. I realised that I was one of the youngest in the room, which in a sense I took a lot of comfort in.

The class were just playing a few games... games??? I thought I was here to learn more about drama!!! What I came to learn in due course was that there is so much more than just getting up on stage. The warm up routines, and simply being relaxed is so important even before you set foot on a stage. They also really help bring people together, and brought so many laughs to the sessions over the duration of the course.

The first real task of the evening was simply based upon communication. This I guess is particularly important when you are around a new bunch of people. In theory it shouldn't have been a problem for me as I can chat for England. We were asked to pair up and tell this other person about our worst day ever. I am not a hugely open person whilst at the same time I am more than happy to chat away about normal things (says the person who is writing a blog for anyone and everyone in the entire world to read). I started by telling a story to a guy called David, hes a really laid back guy, and a great person to work with.

We would then go on to tell a different person, the story we had just been told. So in a sense we are all now telling somebody else's story, which allowed us to modify it slightly and tell it in a way that we felt comfortable doing so. Its much easier talking about somebody elses worst day ever, as its no longer personal, which allows you to really get engrossed and put more passion into the way you are telling it, rather that the specific facts involved with the story. The task then progressed with the class being split into groups where we could tell a story to the others, the group would then decide which one they liked best and act it out in three short scenes. Ours was about a dead dog... If James from the class ever gets to read this, I just want to credit him with his outstanding performance as a dead dog, seriously no other person I know could fill his boots in this roll... or should I say fill his paws?

The first positive sign for me that I had made the right decision in pursuing drama again was when the group I was with told me that the way i presented my story was very well done. Its really reassuring to get a positive push so early on. When you get told what a great job you have done it truly does feel satisfying. Thats why if i feel an actor or actress is particularly good and I see them at stage door or have a chance to pass a message onto them, I always do. As no matter how many times you get a positive remark, it always feels great and inspires you to continue trying so hard at what you do. Or at least it does with me. Other people's support in life has always been a catalyst for me.

I left that evening feeling rather positive. Despite the crappy day I had on the run up to the class, it all seemed so distant now, like it was something that had happened last week or something. I felt refreshed and revived, something that doesn't often happen at 9:30 at night. I know that this is all sounding rather cheesy now but I really did start to feel that new lease of life coming from within. The group I was around were fantastic, and already we were starting to gel so well.

Was this all just beginners luck or the start of something great? Well I know that answer but you will all have to wait i'm afraid. My god this is a better cliff hanger than you get on Eastenders! Then again Eastenders is rather crap...

Thanks for reading, as ever leave comments, I love reading your thoughts and feelings on the blogs.

G xxx

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Make Mine A Double

No I haven't become an alcoholic, nor am i ordering a giant cheesburger! I simply went to see Billy Elliot... twice. Having written about how it inspired me a lot, I felt it was time I went back to see the show. One thing I like about Billy Elliot is that the show is moulded and shaped by the actors you get on the night playing the part of Billy or Michael. I am very keen to see all of the Billy's, however theres still one (Tanner Pflueger) I haven't seen despite seeing the show seven times now.

The first of my two most recent trips was for the Saturday matinee show. Playing Billy for this show was Ollie Gardner. Ollie is the latest Billy to join the cast, having been with the show around 6 weeks now. I quite like Ollie, he brings an air of mischief to the role, and is definitely a very talented actor with a great singing voice. His "Electricity" routine however was more remnant of a gymnastics display rather than a dance with a huge combination of flips. Don't get me wrong it was very energetic, well timed and perfectly executed, it just lacked that pizazz that I have seen in other shows. I don't want that to sound negative as its not at all, because overall Ollie's performance was so unbelievably strong, and I feel given time this lad will raise his game and become the best Billy in the show. he definitely has the potential to do this.

Playing Michael was Connor Doyle. I had seen him play the role once before now. He is such a worthy replacement for Lewis Cope. I don't think anyone will be as good as Lewis, but Connor sure comes close. He has that natural flamboyance needed to play Michael and his tap routine in "Expressing Yourself" is faultless!

Whenever I go to see Billy Elliot I always love it, every last minute of the show. Though when I went to see it on Monday night, I can safely say it was the best of the seven times I have been. Everything about the show was perfect. The atmosphere was electric, the performers were faultless and the ice cream was that little bit more chocolatey than normal. I don't think chocolatey is a word... but I like it... the word that is. Well I like the ice cream too but its no Ben and Jerrys I must admit. I love Phish Food, what a flavour for ice cream! Feel free to share yours in the comment box at the end of this, who knows a whole debate on ice cream flavours could erupt over the use of the word chocolatey! Either way the setting was perfect, before the show had even started I had a good feeling about this evening, and something told me I was in for a great time.

I think the first positive sign for me was the fact that Fox Jackson-Keen was billed to play Billy at tonights show. Fox is by far my favorite Billy, and even if trying to remain neutral I would say that he is the best of the five boys who play the role. Alongside him playing Michael once again was Connor Doyle. The chemistry between the two boys was immense, and their performances were faultless from the very beginning right through to the final curtain call, it was utterly fantastic. Tonight also saw an understudy playing the part of George (The boxing teacher). I have always liked the guy who normally plays the role, but this other guy was amazing. Its really interesting to see how different actors perceive and portray a characters personality so very differently, and in doing this the actor has the ability to almost alter the feel of the show without having to change the script. Theres a lot of science behind playing a character and the more i think about it the more it fascinates me.

But back on topic. I was really pleased to be seeing Fox play Billy again, as if you remember from my blog "The Inspiration", it was his performance that really made me think about my ambitions in theatre. Though all this aside he is just a pleasure to watch, hes a great actor and fills the role with so much passion and emotion. Needless to say the audience went crazy for his "Electricity" routine which is predominantly a hip-hop/ street dance rooted excersise with each move pulled off with adrenalin pumping precision and timing. The great thing about the routine for "Electricity" is it gives each Billy the chance to freestyle playing up to their abilities, so each time you see a different Billy you see a different dance. Fox, and indeed the entire cast fully deserved the standing ovation they received, the standard of the show is so high it has me wanting to go back and see it again already... and who knows I may finally get to see Tanner play Billy!

Sandwiched between these two shows on Saturday night I went to see Wicked. Although I have seen the show once before I have never quite understood what all the rage is about it. Sure the actors have great voices, but it is all very cheesy and fails to encapsulate me. I must admit I do like the music, but I can't honestly see what the show has going for it other than this. If anyone would like to enlighten me on this little closing thought please leave a comment!!!

Anyhow if you haven't seen Billy Elliot yet, do make an effort to see it. If you have seen it already, go see it again! And for heavens sake leave me comments, it makes my day!

Anyway thats me done for another day or so check back soon.

G xxx

Sunday, 19 July 2009

First Day At School... How Wonderful!!! (Or Not)

So its the day of my first drama class. The evening before, I made sure I had everything that I would need, and even double checked for piece of mind. Everything was going great... the only problem was things were running a little too smoothly. So its ridiculous o'clock and I'm up ready for work. Its a pretty much bog standard textbook start to the day, or it would have been had I not have fallen back asleep. So I haven't even had breakfast and already the day is going terribly... I'm late for work which didn't really impress my boss! But things would get better... Right? Well sometimes you have days you wished you never got out of bed, today day would turn out to be just like this.

I had aimed to get the 5:17 train from Guildford to London which would have given me plenty of time to get to Swiss Cottage in time for my course. This would have relied on me getting away from work dead on time. Typically at 5PM I am stuck with this customer who just wouldn't shut the hell up and leave. I really cannot stand customers who loiter in store after we have closed. They have from 7:30 in the morning until 5 in the evening to come get the goods, so I really do not have the patience for customers outside of this time. All be it had they have come first thing in the morning I wouldn't have been there as I had overslept, but thats besides the point!

So its about five past 5. I am making a mad dash for the station, I get my ticket and storm down the subway running through whoever may be in my way. I wasn't in the mood for niceties and common courtesy. As i get to the train the guard has just shut the doors... i've missed the train. In theory this didn't matter as the 5:32 would still have got me to my course on time if all was to run well, but looking at how my day had shaped up, this really wasn't going to happen...

I don't know why I was staying positive, generally when you have a shit day things go from bad to worse. The 5:32 train rolls in and leaves dead on time... we are cruising towards London, and in the Wimbledon area I decide to go to the loo and get changed. I go to button up my jeans but realise the pair that i picked was missing the button... i know this is somewhat trivial, but this now meant that I would have to do the class in my work uniform, which would hardly make the impression that I wanted. By this point i'm pissed off. However the worse was still to come. Just outside of Clapham Junction we roll to a stop. The guard makes an announcement that there was a signaling problem however we would be underway shortly. The journey from this point typically takes around 8 minutes. Tonight it would take over an hour. So its just after 7:15, I have 15 minutes to get to my class on time. This just wouldn't happen. I charge to the Jubilee line platform and get on the first train. By this point its just before 7:25. From here it was all pretty much a normal journey, but walking into that class of strangers, in my work uniform 15 minutes late was not the start I wanted at all. Was it an omen that following this dream of mine was a bad idea? Or would things get better? I'll tell you that another day...

G xxx

Thursday, 16 July 2009

The Journey Begins

Its my fifth blog and I haven't even started to talk about the training i have received! I mean thats what this whole series of blogs is ultimately about! Talk about beating around the bush!!! Though this said I feel that the other blogs which I have previously written will have helped paint the bigger picture. Its best tell the full story at times like these rather than just hit on odd extracts from selected points of the journey. However I must say this approach of only hitting on small extracts of a story rather than reading it in full got me through my GCSE english papers just fine. I scored good grades and never read one of the books from start to end in all my time in senior school. What a result!

Anyway as you may recall from an earlier blog I was always pretty good at drama in school and I loved being involved the lessons, which wasn't the case for most other subjects I studied. I wasn't thick at school, infact I was rather smart. I just didn't enjoy school very much. I was confident however that some of this ability and enthusiasm I showed in lesson would come back to me quite quickly in my latest drama pursuits. It never seems to take me long to remember how to do things again, its just like riding a bike... That saying for me has always had two meanings. Firstly once you have learned to ride a bike, its a skill you never really lose. But just like riding a bike, hit a bump, you can crash and sometimes you hit the ground quite hard. I really feared doing just this, and still have this worry in the back of my head at all times.

I really wanted to test the water and discover if this was indeed the path I wanted to take in life, after all this idea of crashing that I just talked of wasn't something I really wanted to experience. As a result I didn't want to throw myself in at the deep end, rather start at the bottom and build from this. I opted to take a short course in the evenings which offered acting lessons for beginners. I knew going in at the most basic level wouldn't necessarily test me as much as other courses could have, however it would re-establish some of the foundations that were laid down back at school. I didn't want to risk complacency of any form, and brushing up on old skills is never a bad thing to do really is it?

I think the biggest challenge I would face would be working with new people. When I was at school I was frequently working with the same people, week in and week out. We all know how friendship circles work at school, you always aim to work with your mates. Or at very least if you can't work with your friends you do whatever it takes NOT to be grouped with the class nerd. There's always one in every class! In mine there was this guy called Tom. He could have passed a quantum physics degree aged seven, but socially he was retarded as they get. He is the kind of guy who will be a virgin aged 40, and gets more pleasure out of his Star Trek monthly magazine than he ever will out of internet porn, that is of course if he has discovered the real meaning of the internet yet. (For those who do not believe me I suggest you speak to Trekkie Monster on Avenue Q, he will verify that the internet is for porn!)

Once signed up to the classes I would have passed that point of no return. On the debit card payment screen it must have taken me a good two or three minutes of staring at the submit button before actually pressing it. I did have those voices in my head telling me that this was all a crazy idea. There are still days now where I doubt my judgement to pursue acting, but sense always prevails and thats why i'm still chasing the dream.

So there we have it, I had signed up to my first taster of becoming an actor. I had climbed the first rung of the ladder. I have somehow strung out a whole blog which in short could have simply said "I decided to sign up for drama classes", which frankly is the long and short of everything I have written. Instead I made you read all of this. Lifes a bitch aint it?

The weeks ahead in these drama classes were somewhat entertaining... but you know what? You can wait for another blog until I tell you all about these!

I'm sorry this isn't the most exciting blog, but it is quite an important link to blogs that are forthcoming. So keep those comments coming in, I do like to read them all :)

G xxx

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Then Came The People (Part 1)

So, there are a lot of people who shape who we are. I am not just talking about parents, that would just be stating the obvious. They shape who you are from birth, in my case giving me too much food and making my shape somewhat plump... No, the people I am talking about are those who have guided you to do something which has inevitably moulded you somehow. Their actions don't have to be huge movements, as sometimes the smallest decision can make a big impact on who you are and who you will become. This is exactly what happened to me.

The first person I am going to talk about is a guy called Ollie. When I met him I knew I liked the theatre, I always had done. The thing is I never really followed through this passion by going to see things on stage as much as I should have. Ollie is an avid fan of Avenue Q. Avid is no overstatement, he has probably seen this show more times than any other individual in the world. Just a few months ago he had seen Avenue Q 70 times. By now I am sure this figure has dramatically increased. His passion for this show allowed him to introduce it to me. I was a bit unsure of what to expect as its not every day you come across a theatre show that uses puppets alongside human characters, well that is of course if you exclude bob the builder's live stage show. But lets face it, thats never going to make it into the West End, let alone last in excess of three years in the public eye. I am sorry to break this bad news to all the Bob The Builder fans out there.... but its true... I'm sorry.

So Avenue Q... What can I say? You really need to see this show. It is described on posters as "pant wettingly funny". At this stage I would like to say it is generally advisable not to wet yourself in the theatre, as it tends to smell a bit... which frankly isn't very nice, nor comfortable for you seeing as your in that same seat for in excess of two hours. Anyway where was I? You sure as hell come close to wetting yourself with laughter, its hilarious! The writers of this show have taken a look at real life situations with a comical twist. The use of puppets has allowed the show to cross the accepted borders of political correctness, and venture into uncharted territory. Afterall cute lovable puppets can get away with saying a lot more about racism, sexuality and internet porn than human characters can... its one of the benefits that comes with being made of felt and fur. Either way its a light hearted, brutally honest if not a tad brash and crude take on real life packed out with humour from start to end with songs you cant help but sing along to. You really need to make an effort to see Avenue Q, there simply is nothing else like it in the West End.

Anyhow back to Ollie. I think at the very least it is best to say we had a very strained friendship. However him dragging me along to Avenue Q that first time marked a new chapter in my life. I had never been to a London theatre, rather in the past having chosen to see things at regional theatres. I had always viewed the West End as being somewhat over expensive, and didn't quite understand why people would shell out so much money just to see a show. That first show made me realise there was a lot more to West End shows than met the eye. An entirely different atmosphere, not to mention a full on better show. It was fantastic.

So this guy whom these days rarely speaks to me only did something small... which was getting me to go along to his favorite show. But the overall result of this was huge, and inevitably has changed who I am. Socially I am a very different person, opting to spend a lot more time at the theatre these days, I just feel so relaxed and at home there. Though that aside its amazing looking at how these little people in your life, who at first sight may seem insignificant can sometimes mould you more than those who you see every day.

In a sense its unfortunate that myself and Ollie are no longer in touch. We used to clash a lot, and the arguments were not good for either of us. After the last argument I decided to take a step back. I don't dislike the guy, but I don't want either of us to go through the bad times the six months of knowing one another bought us. Rather I would like to look at the good times and see the positives that he bought to me. It was a turbulent friendship, but Ollie definitely helped inspire me and my drive towards pursuing my dream. So whether or not I ever speak to him again, there will always be a place for him in my heart and mind. (This is proof i can be a softie at times!)

So there we have it, the first of many influential people I will be talking about in these blogs. I hope you are all still enjoying the reads, please leave comments and feedback. Its nice to know what you think! I'm sorry theres no mention of pink tutus today, maybe tomorrow eh?

G xxx

Monday, 13 July 2009

The Next Step

So having re-found my love of drama and an inspiration to get off my arse and do something about it, I needed to plan the best route forward. Before I started any formal training I wanted to appreciate the theatre a bit more by going to as many shows as possible. The theory behind this was that I would be able to take in a lot more, both in terms of the show itself and all the techniques used, be it in the acting, the script or the effects used to fabricate the show. This would be a real learning curve... ok I admit it part of me just wanted to go because I love theatre...

I think its really important to see some contrasting shows and to think outside of the box. Look back at my last blog... seriously if i didn't go to Billy Elliot with my friend, I would probably not have ever gone to that show at all. So sometimes you just have to take a gamble and hope that it pays off. I did much the same with War Horse at the New London Theatre in Covent Garden. I wasn't sure what to expect... well its simply fantastic. The great thing about War Horse is how the scenery and props have been used, it really does utilise them to the shows benefit. Demonstrating the highest possible levels of creativity tied in with an emotionally charged and immensely powerful story line there was not a dry eye in the house. I am not ashamed to admit I had a tear in my eye at the end of the show.

Its amazing how interesting theatre can get when you start looking at things a lot deeper, trying to understand why the writer or the actor has done things a certain way. Seeing how two different actors playing the same character can give that role an entire new personality without the need to change the script. This and more really fascinated me, and the deeper I read into things the more fascinating it all became as i discovered new elements of the show which many would over look. It really gave theatre shows aa new dimension.

So why would i do this? Maybe I have an overactive brain that is not content with accepting a show is staged purely for my enjoyment, but lets face it thats unlikley seeing as i only have one active brain cell, and thats on strike most days. So why? The truth is that to become good at any trade including acting you have to be able to do more than just the basics, you need to be able to deliver the full package. For example its all well and good a plumber being able to fix a leaky pipe, but a master of that art would fix the leaky pipe and stop any recurrence because he understands the bigger picture and all the contributing elements that come into play in this field of expertise. This is the approach i decided to take. If I could understand things better then maybe putting this theory into practice would be easier. If along the way I could learn to fix leaky pipes it would just have been a bonus.

So that was the next chapter of my personal development accomplished... well not strictly accomplished, because in my mind this theory is something that I need to continue every time i see a show. Never close your mind to the infinite possibilities that are set out before you, as with every show, even if I have seen it before I learn something new, and all the time I am learning I am achieving. That sounded so cheesy, but whats wrong with that?.. lets face it Jim Carey based his career on being cheesy... and look at the fame it bought him!

So there you have learned about me, my inspiration and now my mindset... I will tell you a bit more tomorrow.

Keep them comments coming, i'm a comment whore I love them!

G xxx

Sunday, 12 July 2009

The Inspiration

I truthfully don't remember what originally inspired me to get into drama when I was at school. Maybe it was the fact that it was a lesson where I could piss around but at the same time get good grades. I tried this same approach in maths... epic fail... but lets not go there. Either way I always loved drama but as mentioned in yesterday's blog, I kinda threw away my chances to follow this up after my GCSE's.

So anyway what inspired me to get back into drama? Surprisingly it was the West End production of Billy Elliot. It was a friend's favorite show and I agreed to go see it with him. When i went into the theatre I was adamant I would hate it... 2 and a half hours later I was in love with the show!!! I think unless you have seen the film, which at this point I hadn't you can get a lot of misconceptions about this show. Its a lot more than some kid who wants to dance. Its packed with emotion from laughter to tears, its purely and simply genius. The music is fantastic, the actors were immense and the dancing was awesome... yes i even enjoyed the dancing!

But what was it specifically that made me want to get into drama again? The tutu's of course!!! Nah just kidding. At the showing of Billy Elliot which I was at Fox Jackson-Keen was playing the role of Billy with Michael being played by Lewis Cope. When I saw these two kids perform it reminded me of what it was like to be a kid doing drama, and planted the seed of thought... what if i was more assertive and pushed myself at drama? What if i was more motivated and continued the subject i was good at? Hindsight is a wonderful thing... but you can''t change the past. You can however mould your future. Thats what i decided to do.

So seeing these two kids perform at a show which appealed to so many different emotions was something I hadn't experienced in theatre before, it was a real eye opener to me. It made me realise that now was the time to act, now was the time to get off my arse and do something with my life! So there you have it, some people claim to have their lives changed by god... mine was changed by Billy Elliot...

Since then I have seen Tom Holland and Brad Wilson play the part of Billy. They both give the character a whole personality. Whilst Fox will always be my favorite Billy, Tom however manages to convey so much emotion, particually in the song "The Letter", its just so unbelieveably powerful, you can't help but be drawn into it. Since seeing Lewis play Michael however I have since felt that this character is very much the unsung hero. After seeing Lewis twice I stumbled across a guy by the name of George Maycock and a little later on Dean Charles-Chapman. Much like the role of Billy each of these guys bring a whole new personality to the role. George was particually good, he is deffinatly very different to Lewis, bringing a hugley flamboyant upbeat streak to the role of Michael. I look forward to seeing George and Lewis again soon! Either way the point I am making is that irrigardless of who plays whatever role, they all in their own way have inspired me with their strengths within that character.

So that show I thought I would never like has inspired me to push myself as an individual and very much like the story line of Billy Elliot... be myself and follow my dream. I think on a serious note we all need to do this. I look around and see so many people who could have achieved so much... and there they are behind a checkout at Tesco... its hardly the high life is it? So if your reading this and want to make a change for the better... do it, it doesn't matter what other people say or think... just do it... do it for yourself. Or at very least go and see Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre and see for yourself what a great show it is.

As for me... maybe you will get to see me in a pink tutu sometime... but until then keep reading and leave me comments. Its nice for me to read what you guys say... all be it theres only been one comment so far but it was a nice one :)

Over and out...

G xxx

Saturday, 11 July 2009

An Introduction

The thing about blogging is you spend forever typing trying to make yourself sound cool, in the hope that somebody somewhere will show some vague interest in you and what you do. The harsh reality is that nobody is likely to read this but me... and maybe my mum, she is rather supportive, though is more likely to point out every spelling and grammatical error i have made, rather than take note of what I have said... so sorry about that mum!

Anyway i will keep this introduction short. I'm Gareth and I love theatre. I study drama. So here is my blog kinda covering my progress and the long long and very ambitious goal of reaching the big stage somewhere in the West End... That said, any stage would be nice really. I also spend a lot of time at the theatre so expect the occasional review thrown up for good measure.

Ambition is a crazy thing. We are taught as kids to shoot for the stars and follow our dreams, then we grow up. As adults we realise that life is about making ends meet and paying that ever increasing stack of bills, not living that dream you had when you were ten years old. But what if you could have both? Live the dream whilst managing to keep a roof above your head... thats what i hope to do... no not hope... thats what I WILL do.

So where does this story start? I always loved drama but never really saw a future for myself in it. I dunno why, I guess at the time of my GCSE's i never realised that there was a chance of turning this fun and vibrant drama lesson into a future. Or maybe it was the fact that like most teenage boys everything that didn't involve some x-rated website seemed like effort and therefore was a bad idea. Either way I lacked the motivation and drive I should have had. Looking back i realise this was a mistake, and now I am looking to turn all this around, only now I have to do things the hard way.

This leads me onto why i decided to blog things... I thought it may make an interesting read... then again... it will probably bore everyone senseless... i mean is anybody still reading this first entry? No? Didn't think so... ah well... Well thats me done. If you have made it this far, well done! Check back soon for a new entry :)

G xxx