It’s time I came out of the closet.
The Actor’s Closet.
I might have mentioned briefly, and rather cagily in the past about my part time acting studies that I started a few years ago when the boys were really small, at the Giles Foreman Centre for Acting. It is a small independent drama school in Soho, well a drama centre really as they train professional actors too, founded by Giles Foreman who studied and taught at Drama Centre. He also has schools in Paris and Luxembourg. It was recommended to me back when I was too shy to tell people I had always really, really dreamed of acting, by my lovely and very kind friend Nick – who is a great actor and who I trusted not to judge me unkindly or laugh at me – and I wanted to be sure of getting a great quality acting class. And that’s exactly what I got, so I’ll always be grateful to him, first of all for being so warmly enthusiastic and encouraging me to go for it and secondly for giving me good advice.
So, here I am three years later having trekked through some highs of success and some tears of frustration and a couple of crash-n-burns, in the Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced evening classes at GFCA with the brilliant Dylan Brown and then Giles himself, and still not satiated and not put-off and only wanting more seriously to do it, and realising how much I want and need to be trained.
So – amazingly for such an oversharing facebook queen – I have secretly and quietly prepared for audition for the 4-term intensive postgrad MA-equivalent course which I yearned to do (and nearly auditioned for) last year, when Lucian was still just that bit too small and I was just that bit not ready.
I kept going to my evening class, crammed in some Othello on the CLS tour to Mexico in May and prepared Emilia’s monologue, “But I do think it is their husbands’ faults if wives do fall…” from Shakespeare’s Othello and Eva’s ‘Kindertransport’ monologue from Jonathan Lichtenstein’s amazing play Memory (which I am now desperate to see/be in a production of at all costs) where she describes to her childhood friend, now an SS-officer how she put her 5 year old son on the train to safety in England.
I studied, I practiced, I felt good about it, then I felt bad about it, I had some coaching, I cried in the bath a LOT, and then I auditioned on 17th June and Remus waited anxiously to take me for dinner afterwards, expecting me to be an emotional wreck (not that he expected me to fail – well, maybe we both did a bit, after-all it was my first acting audition of any kind, but whichever way he expected me to be exhausted and emotional, which I kind of was). And apart from not noticing myself get on the wrong tube line and exiting, to my surprise at Golders Green instead of Finchley Road, I was as surprised as he was to find I was in pretty good shape, kind of elated, kind of terrified, that I thought it might have gone OK!
But I still considered it a massive long shot. I’m 35, with no previous acting degree and two kids, there are only about 16 places on the course and I knew in my heart I was what Giles might call a Wild Card. So I forgot about it.
And then I got this!
So, I just wanted to warn you all that facebook shares will probably plummet when my decade of immense contribution to Mark Zuckerberg’s empire, with my over-sharing and photo-uploads will most likely come to an end. I am warned I won’t have time. Thank you to a few wonderful people – my friend the fabulous Romanian actress Anamaria Marinca, the inimitable Dylan Brown and the gorgeous Rebecca Wield (who is currently already on the course and will begin her fourth term as I start my first) – for collectively providing all the coaching, tea, biscuits, wine and moral support I could have wished for. I am so grateful. See, it worked!!!
The person I most want to say thank you to is actually my husband Remus. He knows why. I don’t even know how to explain it here. In vague: for how he’s got behind this plan, which must have hit him like a tonne of bricks when I first brought it up; more specifically for the massive unconditional love and support that he poured on me during that Café Rouge converstation where I cried my eyes out about all the presumed judgment I thought would be coming my way from others for this, about all the money my parents and my late Grandad gave me to get me through my violin studies and my crushing sense of guilt about wanting to do something else; for saying to me, “Can I ask you something? Do you feel like a failure?” – “Yeeeees! That’s exactly how I feel!” – and for telling me, “Nothing could be further from the truth,” which I SO needed to hear; for the frequent removal of the kids from my vicinity so I could prepare and for understanding and supporting the fact that, as impractical and ridiculous a plan as this might look from the outside, this is something I really need to do, to be whole and to be me. For all of this I have never felt so loved, and never loved him more.
So, there it is. I am about to be a full-time student once again, both terrified and eager and wondering what kind of “me” I will find waiting in December 2016 when I (hopefully!) graduate. Wish me luck, and see you on the other side.