In an earlier version of this month's posting, I mentioned that the 'rumblings' for November couldn't be expanded on at that time and, unfortunately, that's still the case. So, instead, perhaps an opportunity to mention something from last month.
Where to start? 1978 I think it was, Stratford-upon-Avon, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Other Place. Peter McEnery was playing the title role in David Edgar's play: The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs. I was a second year student at Birmingham University, studying Drama & Theatre Arts and David Edgar was Playwright in Residence at the department, although, I lay no claim to having known him at all. The RSC was in a 'golden' period of work and I saw much of what they were doing; indeed, there were strong links between the University and the Company, consequently, the only real 'ambition' I've ever had as an actor, in terms of what I'd like to do professionally, is to be a member of the RSC. Haven't managed it yet!
Anyway..... before seeing it, I had no idea what the play was about or who Albie Sachs was; for all I knew, he could have been a fictional character.
The script of the play carries this synopsis:
It doesn't happen often, but when you see such a play, it confirms just how powerful and potentially life changing the theatre can be. As a student, my understanding of what theatre could do 'shifted' during that performance and caused me to think of things differently from that point onwards, both in theatrical and political terms.
Fast forward to spring 1980, final exams looming and I had the opportunity to do what ever I wanted for my final practical assessment. Having seen the play a couple of times, the choice for me was obvious. I selected three monologues and performed them as a one-man piece lasting for the allotted time of 15 minutes. It went well in performance and I have very vivid memories of the effect it had both on my lecturers who were 'marking' me and the largely student audience who came to it much as I had originally done.
Fast forward even further to October 2011; one of my dearest friends from University, Jenny Lecoat, who is a hugely successful writer, invited me to attend a public interview and talk given by none other than Albie Sachs. Jenny had seen my finals performance and knew of my interest. For the event, his interlocutor was our mutual friend, Simon Fanshawe and as a consequence of Simon's long standing friendship with Albie (which |I knew nothing of), we were able to meet and talk to the great man. It is said that you should never meet your heroes as they are likely to be a disappointment. I certainly was not disappointed when I met Albie Sachs. He spoke with such authority and compassion and honesty; he was also funny and friendly and even signed my battered copy of the play and was intrigued and amused that I'd actually played him and spent time trying to 'get inside his head' in order to do so.
As the evening drew to a close and I thanked him again for signing my play script, he embraced me and wished me well.
Quite a night.
Changing the mood somewhat, here's some artwork which relates to the current Lost Stories releases, beginning, for me, with last month's The Elite and continuing with next month's The Children of Seth:
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