They were in rapture. A standing ovation in front of me. Flowers were brought to the stage and cheers rang through the auditorium. I had arrived at my final destination. To the place where my heart belonged and my own self accepted. They opened the door with their applause and begged me to step through with their love and gratitude. Welcome, they sang, to acting.
See, this is the kind of shit I can easily get away with now that I am a professional actor. OK, I'm not a professional actor in the dictionary definition. If your idea of a professional actor is someone who is a theatrical performer specialising in the art of acting as a paid career then good luck to you, mate, that's all I can say. You're very wrong because I know EXACTLY what it's like being an actor now. An actor is someone who spends the whole day terrified of doing what they're supposed to be doing and then as soon as they've finished doing what they're supposed to be doing get pissed off their faces. That is what the likes of Dame Judi Dench, Ian Mckellen and I must face all the time. It is terrifying and if you're thinking of becoming an actor then please, for fuck's sake, wise up. Why on Earth would anyone put themselves through that torture?
Sara Pascoe and Aisling Bea were very good at pretending not to be shitting themselves before we performed our 12 minute play but Gordon Southern and I were a bit more honest. We were scared. Proper brown scared. Sara was all "I just find learning lines easy" and Aisling was coming off with shit like "Yeah, we'll have a line run through. In a minute. You know, later" and acted like what they were about to do wasn't at all arse-bleedingly frightening.
Luckily, we didn't need to learn lines (Sara learned hers simply to be a fucking crawly bum-lick) and were able to read from the scripts on stage. Even so, you still need to know what it is that you're saying so you need to learn it a bit. I think I did learn it. I think I did but because I had a script in my hand I kept looking at it. That was a head fuck in itself. Knowing the lines, looking at the lines just in case, then getting confident that you know the lines so when you finally look at the script again you realise that you've lost your place and you have a big wee. There really should be some sort of training for acting.
The play was One Each Way by Dave Florez and it seemed to go down very well. I hadn't a clue what I was doing really, especially when it came to the serious bit where my character realises his life has gone to shit and he hates the woman he lives with. I mean, you really need an actor for that sort of thing. But I did a serious face, pretended that Aisling Bea had called Peter Davison a twat and somehow it came out OK (I think). To be honest, the audience were amazingly supportive so I knew that even if I fucked my part up they would still enjoy the rest of it. Luckily, there was a scene were I had to try to open a jar but, as I'm pathetic, couldn't. It was played for laughs and I even got to improvise a little bit by slightly tapping the jar's lid on a stool before going back to struggle with it. This made Sara corpse. I doubt that she will ever be allowed on a theatre's stage ever again.
And then it was over. All day in fear and then, 12 minutes later, it was over. I really wish that I could have convinced myself that I knew the lines well enough and that I was doing my best, then maybe I could have enjoyed it more. But that is how we mere player of plays are. Stupid cunts.
Half an hour later I was making moves on getting drunk, something I did with much more confidence and ease than I did with my dramatic acting. The great thing was that the bar was full of people I knew and it was a lovely way of having a big social Christmas drink up.
It was a fantastic night. Thanks to Phil, Maggie and Dave. I was terrified, nauseous and I'd do it again any time. Brilliant.