That was the sound of me hitting the ground at the start of the week.
After a day of pacing the house, waiting to hear back from my audition, I received the call that every actor dreads.
"I'm really sorry Weasel, it's a no this time..."
The Cuckoo had called me ahead of the 'official call' to my agent, out of courtesy to halt the agonising waiting game. It's not easy for anyone to break bad news, let alone a friend and appreciated his kindness very much.
I don't want to dwell too much on the event as it was a confidential matter and as with all castings there is a certain ebb and flow that demand privacy and sensitivity. What I would say, is that the man who pipped me to the post is hugely deserving and someone that I greatly admire - and I hope he knows that.
So, hit taken, things roll.
For people outside of the business, it is difficult for them to understand a world where rejection is a common pastime. For those that do belong to it, it's the norm and very difficult to communicate how one deals with it.
For myself, I've a pretty thick skin. One has to.
Bizarrely, when I received the news, I almost felt liberated. The end of the tour is now approaching; I'm moving back to London to a new house after a 4 month absence and I have NO IDEA what the new year will now hold. As terrifying as it is, it's also incredibly exciting. The possibilities are endless and as likely as it is that I could be unemployed for months on end, I could just as likely land a wild card audition score a two-year contract at the RSC!
What I've learnt from my experience as an actor (puny though it is), is that there is no magic route - no set series of directions to a successful career. It's one of the things that often is the cause of actors throwing in the towel: the unknown being just too vague a lifestyle. For myself - at least at the moment, I'm still young enough and responsibility-free enough to be able to cope with it and - dare I say it - quite like the uncertainty.
It would be a lie to say that I wasn't disappointed to hear that I was unsuccessful at the audition. Personally, I don't understand going up for something unless you wholly believe with all you might that you're going to get the job. If you don't invest heart and soul, what's the point in turning up? It's like the old boxing mantra: If you can't see yourself raising the belt at the end of the bout, then you've lost before you've even begun. It may mean that the knock one takes if failing to achieve is greater, but if it raises ones possibilities, then surely the emotional uppercut is worth taking.
|Spot the hole punch...|
That's just how I feel anyway.
So, blow taken, I got on with things and started packing my possessions in pre-preparation for my move to the big smoke.
I won't be shifting the stuff till the end of the tour, but want it to be ready and waiting for when the time comes around.
Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty obsolete. I relaxed, watched films and catalogued anything that I'd missed off my initial list for things bound to London.
On a very grey and dismal Thursday morning, I left for Worthing. My Dad drove me to the train station and I confided in him that I needed to find the energy from somewhere to do a show that evening, as the foot has been off the gas for a week and a half.
That's the only trouble about gaps in a tour; you lose the momentum. And - what with it being so close till the end of the gig - it feels a bit like a footnote, as opposed to the final gripping chapter. I'm sure I'll be feeling far differently once I jump the first show hurdle, but I'd be a liar if I didn't voice my misgivings.
So I rolled and bounced my way to Worthing - detouring via London - leaving the green of the country for the sparkle of the city. I'm ecstatically happy and excited to be moving back to the Capital. I've had the break from it that I needed, but I'm hungry for it's energy and keen to get comfortable returning home to the same place every evening.
When I finally arrived in Worthing, I managed to typically wind up at the wrong theatre. I'd already been excused for arriving late, as we had planned to meet for a line run just after I'd secured my train tickets.
Everyone was on fine form - what was also great to see, was that everyone seemed genuinely happy to see one another.
The line run sped along nicely and before long it was over.
We did little before the show other than catch up and explore the theatre. The Connaght is a strange, 1920's refurbed cinema that is recent years was converted into a theatre - in fact - later on in the interval of the show, the safety curtain was dropped in and movie trailers were played on a projector; a very unique experience I can tell you.
The show was fine. Good in fact considering it's been a while since we last performed it. It was the same experience that I remember of doing it before after a bit of a break; like being in one of those dreams where you're fighting and it feels like you're under water - punches taking ages to land and the enemy far nimbler.
Just me? Ok.
After the show we very briefly saw Ducky's parents and gave them our love before plodding to the nearby pub. We didn't stay long as everyone seemed pretty knackered from the journey down and turned in earlier than usual for a quiet night in.
On Friday, I spent the day doing admin. I swear touring life sometimes revolves around cafes, booking digs and paying for bloody trains.
It's done with now though which means that in theory I shouldn't have to think about it now for the rest of the gig.
|Random poster in the dressing room|
Feeling hermit-like, I arrived at the theatre early, hoping to see familiar faces. Luckily, Partridge and Ducky were in, which pacified my boredom till the start of the show. We had another decent crowd in which was good. I also topped my pb back-stage shenanigan by scaling a ladder, bending over and dropping my trousers for when Shiv looks out through the dining room door mid-scene. I wish that I could have catalogued all the things that have gone on over the course of the tour; because it's as much about keeping things fresh and fun offstage as it is when you're on.
Just be sure never to mix the two...
After the show we went for a few token drinks in the local Whetherspoon's - Cuckoo completely un amused - and did our best to have a conversation over the din of drum and bass music coming from a speaker directly over my head. We soon got bored of the effort and called it a night.
Saturday was a day of two shows and so - by definition, there wasn't much time for anything sociable. A few of Shiv's friends were in seeing the matinee, whom we went for a quick drink with afterwards which was about the highlight of the afternoon.
|For Chris and Emily|
Midway through the evening show, we found out some brilliant news involving our long absent director, Chris which was probably the highlight of our week:
He's getting married!
To say that I'm happy for him would be an understatement and would just like to take this moment to say my personal congratulations to who is a very close friend. I'm sure that you and Em are going to be even happier together than you are now - and can't wait to sing at your wedding...
I'm thinking, 'Unforgettable'...
The Royal Philharmonic...
They owe me a favour.