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All at Sea with Dames

Tom Glover Crosses the Actor/Writer Line in Lights, Camera, Walkies

By • Scotland
The process of rehearsal is supposed to be one of discovery, although after 8 weeks of on-off rehearsals the discoveries I’ve made are less about character or text but more about the finer details of life, and the world of the actor.

My first discovery has been how dry Bonio biscuits are and how consuming six over the course of a tech run can leave you seriously dehydrated. On the plus side, I also discovered that they don’t taste too bad or carry many calories, perhaps in fact I have discovered a new fad diet? Of course it’s too early to tell if they’ll give me the promised glossy coat and healthy gums and I’m not entirely sure my digestive system will be such a fan...

A somewhat startling discovery was how much I can sweat. Prior to rehearsals it was pretty much a gym-only condition but now, boy can I sweat! Dressed in my real wool tank top and nylon slacks I have been gushing forth like a faulty urinal, even my sandals and matching beige socks are failing to cool me down. The only plus side of this is, not being a ‘huggy’ person, it certainly puts off post-show huggers when you come out looking like you’ve just completed the 400m men’s freestyle - in fact if I do the show in a swimming cap and Speedos then problem solved!

Another discovery has been that my play, ostensibly about the rival dog trainers on a Hollywood movie, is actually about clashing pedagogical methodologies in modern education - although thankfully, I am the only one to have discovered this.

Another discovery has been that as an actor/writer, the actor takes precedence and I often ignore the writer’s wishes in my new ego-driven role. Over years I have sat in rehearsals as writer watching actors say my lines with a few inadvertent ‘tweaks’; usually a quick reminder about how long you have toiled over each and every word avoids such reckless improvisation. However as an actor myself I discovered the art of the ‘gist’, which is deeply inaccurate, misses all the subtlety and throws the other actors as you don’t give them their cues - I like to think it helps to give them a more spontaneous performance, although I’m not entirely sure they’d agree.

Crossing the line from writer to actor/writer has also taught me that in the theatre instant intimacy is de rigueur. I learnt this while watching two actors calmly talking about the director’s note “linger more in her vaginal area” as casually as if they’d been asked to wait for a bus. I’ve known people years and I still wouldn’t feel comfortable lingering anywhere within the vicinity - but that’s my issue I guess.

So many discoveries so far and I know there’s going to be many more over the course of the run. So if you fancy swanning about outside a theatre sounding intelligent by saying loudly "Ostensibly about dog training but actually a searing indictment of the education system...." then pop along.

Lights, Camera, Walkies Gilded Balloon Billiard Room 14:00 (60 mins) 3-29 August (not 10, 17, 18).


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