Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I've read and understood this play on so many different levels in three days. I've also read it, and not understood it.

Our journey has well and truly begun. Today was a unique. A day with no biscuits, plenty of sitting and script reading, re-reading and re-reading again. Coffee, water and a lot of laughs. Trying to work out who these two men are. Or are they still just 18.

Tara was upstairs. It was strange talking about her character,this women,knowing that she was sat above us.

Tomorrow is another layer. She enters. The energy changes. What on earth will happen...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day Before

We're all looking forward to tomorrow now. We had a new young lady join the cast last week, we take pleasure in introducing Tara Carozza to the Yaller fold.

I respect anyone who has the inner strength to stand on the stage, but Tara welcome to you. The Old Red burns with nervous energy. If we get this right I truly believe it'll be incredibly special. Guys watch out...this gal is good!

Julia, I already feel comfortable before we even start. I'm looking forward to finding out who this guy is, stretching myself and beating myself up with your care and attention.

Excited anticipation, ready to go and feeling wealthy this evening. All good things to feel before a production begins to take it's first steps.

David, Kira, Tom, Malcolm and Am's...I'm ready with the exact feeling I left "Back of the Throat" with. Cheers, the fact that I can recognise this feeling is down to you guys.

The rest of you, and you know who you are...Richard, Damien, Gabriela (our new designer) Helen at the Old Red and Mr Belber, I thank you in advance for getting back in the boat with us.

Kevin my old learnt them lines yet....

Here we go....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Inherited Thinking!

I've always prided myself on the fact that I try not to inherit thinking. I mean I allow myself to be passed knowledge from various people, my Mum and Dad to name a couple of the most important, but I rarely take someones ideas on a subject and accept them as my own.

Always asking questions...that slight whirring sound that on occasion gives you a headache. All this until recently.

I stopped. I finally took a look at a situation and thought I'm not even going to question it. The situation itself took place at a story telling night.

My good friend Christopher Lochery had put on his first in London at our old home The Old Red Lion. And I was going to tell a story at it. A personal story, one that I'd not told in a public place before. Personal in that it was to do with my involvement with a young lady. Tragic in it's infancy yet now more of a historic comedy.

I arrived at The Old Red and was instantly swept towards my old friends Shep and Lork at the bar. It had dawned on me that soon I would be telling an audience of a classic male mistakethat I made in the attempt to read a women. This short burst ending in quite a prolific journey.

Would they judge me? How do I come across in the story? Do I make her sound bad? Will it be funny? Will I shake nervously like a man who has just realised his greatest mistake? Will they be sympathetic? Shit...will the women in the audience pity me or think I'm a sad bastard?Will the blokes think i'm usless. Am I dressed ok? How many pints have I had? Christ what does that word mean, and why has it just popped into my head?

Ahhh....this used to be me! But not anymore. On this evening surrounded by complete strangers I didn't care. Whilst a lot of people around me were stressing out about the length of their words, and the punchlines with punctuation thrown in for some sort of comedy stand up effect my brain stopped working.

I just simply told the story as I remembered it. I didn't inherit any of the pretense performers get before public speaking, non of the desire to succeed and not fail. No particular desire to make people feel a certain way. Honesty.

I'd finished. People clapped. I walked of for another half time pint! I'm glad I had that experience and had managed to shake my usual inherited thinking from... myself. Damn it! I've been inheriting thinking all along. My own. Time to change that I think. Life truly is on the clock!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I carry you around!

It's been a while!!

Um...port! Lot's of port! I'm not in the RAF, I don't pass to the left and I'd rather sit in silence than talk bull shit!

Having said that the blog is an excellent venture for me. I like questions. I don't necessarily need answers. So what comes out of my mouth is almost certainly all my bull shit as I so eloquently put it.

What's the key word here?

We put on a play in which I learned more about myself and my own knowledge than I think I've ever been allowed. Don't get me wrong, we are allowed to do what we want to do most of the time, in fact as amazing as we are, one of the things that I feel defines us as a special species is that when we close our eyes we are free. We are allowed to do what we want!!

We fill (and are filled) by knowledge. Our self learning. The voice in our head unstopping in it's relentless strive for comfort. Close those eyes and everything is just that little bit easier. Now open them!!

When I looked at the script for "Back of the Throat" ( put in front of me by Kevin) I saw an excellent read. I went into rehearsal with preconceived ideas. My tiny head filled to the rafters with personal thought, actors thoughts, company thoughts, food thoughts, what bus am I going to catch thoughts...etc!!

After a week I was a different man. This is because I was surrounded by people that give and are giving of time! I'm talking about a group of people that put their self knowledge to one side. They put their comfort to one side to allow me to venture. My thoughts were going all over the place and I felt completely comfortable.

What I found with this company was so much more than just a production. As an actor there are things I would change, my knowledge as an actor leads me down many different paths. In deed I'd like to see a more methodical Carl, I'd like to change the tie, what he eats and what transport he takes. My feeling is that I could have done. It was more than just a production because I, comfort aside was allowed to find it. The voice in my head ceased or changed. It was saying different things. In short I'd put everything in. I was given back!

Thank you for your respect and friendship! From Kira (birthday girl) cookies! The Kanje Port and punctuation. (That's your book title mate!) Am's your trust, Super Malc your leadership and David...most of all a book of knowledge who kept his pages turning i thank you for making it so!

What's the key word? Almost! I'm alive. I'm not there yet where ever there may be! I've just answered one of my own questions haven't I!! I told you it was bull shit!

Here's to you Neville, for today my thoughts stay with Martin and family! But it's great to know that I've chosen so!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Thank you!

The day the bombs went of I had swapped a shift at work (a restaurant in South Kensington) with a flat mate. This meant that I avoided the carnage and was left at home like so many to watch and let the confusion descend into the deep routed suspicion of the 21st century.

The initial power serge was supplanted in such away that you always knew that something else was going on. Phones went silent, the news readers were talking with bafflement and not their usual direct paper shuffling voice of the world.

It had begun.

A week later I was sat on a bus at Victoria, in a ten minute frenzy the police had stormed the bus. Sixty + people had rushed to get off in lightening quick time as the words "Bomb on the bus!" were thrown around with frightening truth and expertise. There was no bomb. There was no threat. There was a poor young Arab boy in floods of tears being escorted from the bus like the red transport were some prison cage for animals. We a crowd of 59 + irrationally frightened commuters realised there and then what July 7th had set in motion.

It was a very sad day.

We've produced the play "In my Name" by Steven Hevey which is enjoying a great transfer into the West End at Trafalgar Studio 2 from the sell out run at The Old Red Lion.

With clear and present danger rife in London at present life is very uncertain. This has been brought to our companies door recently as Ray Panthaki (who plays Royal) in the play is the boy friend of Brooke Kinsella whose brother was stabbed last weekend. We at Yaller Skunk would just like to offer our love and support to the Kinsella family. Ray is an incredibly strong person and we'd like to thank him for his commitment to us through this terrible time. Our thoughts are with you.

We'd also like to dedicate this weeks performances to those people who lost there lives in the bomb attack on July 7th 2007. In peace we trust!

Thank you to everyone for your work with this production. And may we all feel free and content in every walk of life!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The changing mantra!

"Everyone has their own personal catch phrase, or a lyric or something that inspires them. Whether they doodle it on their text books in school, or use it in every day conversation, these phrases may have the ability to inspire and encourage us to be more confident or believe in ourselves." (Shores LTD)

Known as the mantra, this is a very useful tool for the actor. I've recently carried out some workshops using this to personify a characters personality. Also i've begun to look for mantras in different scenes. (A scenes personality.)

As we intend to go back into The Old Red Lion in Sept-Oct 2008 with the hit American play "Back of the Throat" my thoughts turn to the producing of this script into a quality play to follow in the success of "In my Name" (About to open at Trafalgar Studios.) Happy I am to say that I can simply look at this one with an actors eyes.

Myself and Kevin are pleasantly enjoying company life at the moment. We have a nice mixture of work coming our way and it has been a delight watching the development of the In my Name company.

Sitting (as I have) on the periphery and wearing the producers hat to keep the sun out of my eyes has been an incredible journey of discovery.

I've watched as a DSM on the play "Bad Blood" and i've enjoyed making decisions about good and bad theatre acting in many different workshops both as a participant and leader. All in preparation for "the next time."

So now it befalls that i am to tread the boards again. And so the work begins.

This is what it's all about. We just keep plugging forwards. Taking on different roles, knocking on many different doors and presenting ourselves and the company as honestly as possible.

"Back of the Throat" is a hard hitting look at the post 9/11 America. Two FBI agents begin a harmless interrogation with a Muslim suspect. The play moves effortlessly from inquisitive and smile faced intrusion, to paranoid suspicion.

As the work begins to bring the character to life the mantra is a tool that i'm finding very useful. Finding a phrase or sound for Carl is going to be a tricky job. He is mixed up in a lot of confusion and it is possible I think that his mantra is changeable. How many of us have sat on the tube when it grinds to a halt and we are left for 30 minutes wandering who everyone else is on the train? The train then starts up again and we are left feeling guilty for our suspicion as we realise that it was brought on by irrational fear. Why should anyone else suffer at the hands of our own confusion.

With "be vigilant" signs popping up every where as eye candy for the suspicious world that we now live in I realise what terrorism has managed to do to our weird and wonderful world. My heart sinks. This was never about a body count. Mass destruction is just icing. They've struck at the very heart and mind link of human nature.

"Why put on these hard hitting plays" someone asked me two days ago. we strive for contentment there is some cathartic level of discovery in researching this topic. A topic that if i'm honest i'm scared of. How do we get over our fears?? We meet them head on. I'm going to meet this internal, irrational and permanently looming fear and i'm going to smile in it's face. And this is an actors dream.

Yes the play deals with relationships, character interaction and all the visceral and visual components that befalls great and interesting acting. But more importantly it deals with things we can't see. For Carl to work i'll need to sort out what's going on inside his head before anything else happens. That's what we signed up for.

Cheers for the mantra! Mine is singing today. xx


“…[a] brilliant and sinewy new play.” —The New Yorker.

“BACK OF THE THROAT could be the post-9/11 play we’ve been waiting for: the sum of all our domestic fears, played for uneasy laughs and piercing dread.” —NY Newsday.

“BACK OF THE THROAT plays like a section of the U.S. Patriot Act as dramatized by David Mamet and Franz Kafka.” —American Theatre Magazine.

“…chillingly plausible vision…captures the Strangelovian logic of feds as well as the more subtle paranoia that afflicts us all.” —Seattle Weekly.

“Wickedly funny…surely to be remembered as a valuable contribution to the post-9/11 canon of plays.” —New City (Chicago).

“BACK OF THE THROAT is a must see for anyone who loves good theatre…” — Chicago Magazine.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Nothing sinister going on!

I'm writing today as I've begun research into a longstanding idea I've had about writing/devising a play based on identity in Peterborough.

I want it known from the outset that I appreciate delicacy. I don't believe in telling stories that are best left untold. Whether that is because they are potentially hurtful to individuals or whether somethings are best left to myth or legend and left for a people who are quiet in their council. In short I realise that somethings are deeply routed in a personal feeling and should be left that way.

In researching the idea for this story "In the eyes of the beholder" (a story set to look at change through the eyes of a local resident) I am only at this stage assessing it's potential.

The local press have agreed to write an article about this story as the idea surrounds a local triumph. A man known as Nobby.

My knowledge of him began as a young boy. My parents won't be pleased to hear me use this phrase but I would just 'hang around' cathedral square on a Saturday and watch as this gentleman with a tramps exterior would slowly walk around gathering cigarette ends. Even then I would offer him some of my own cigarettes. ( again I hear my parents grown) Well I barely knew what to do with them.

How could a man so calm and yet so alone seem so content.

I later realized that this man had a home. And that he was accepted by his neighbors. A simple enough concept. Yet for any young male growing up a concept still to be learnt.

"He lives in a bus shelter! But how!"

As the years past and I blundered my way through adolescent soul searching I would often think of Nobby down in his home. I'd heard stories about how he came to be in his situation. Even then I remember a massive sense of 'let him be.'

I agreed.

I would on occasion cycle past him on my way down to Dusty Bowl at Ferry Meadows. I began to speak to him asking him if he was OK. Not knowing why, but feeling compelled to.

After a while I began to read news papers. I stumbled onto an article that suggested he was a keen golfer and I decided I'd drop of some golf balls at his shelter. I'd begun to take him to my heart. But still I always knew there was a limit as to how far I should impose my curiosity on this man.

He was happy after all. "What if he isn't though!" I'd ask myself.

Some fifteen years later and I'm still a young boy filled with the same curiosity. I've made some choices and for the most part am happy with those choices and their outcomes.

Progress is being made in one such area of my life, and I find myself back at 15. Sitting next to a circular flower pot wandering where our friend has gone. The people in the town center seem different. I don't recognize any of them. In some cases I don't recognize their language. They are interesting and welcome but still something is lost.

Should I create this one up? Will people be interested? Is it best left to a childhood memory? Maybe! Only a few people can answer that question.

One of which is Mr Michael Ross.