Tuesday, 15 March 2005

Requiem for a Dream

Growing up my aspirations diverged from "learning the ways of the force" and time traveling to video game author and Grammy-winning performances. Yet the desire to act and perform overarched everything.

In 1983 I was selected to audition (along with other hopefuls from around the South West region) for a place at a prestigious acting school. Due to very poor planning, on the part of my school, the day turned into an unmitigated disaster and the schedule went askew. Our audition piece, performed at Exeter's Northcott Theatre, would have been savaged by Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul! I had prepared a solo set reciting HG Wells' The War of the Worlds and instead was instructed to mimic a tree. A conciliatory weekend placement was offered to selected students who showed promise - one of whom had the propensity to burst into tears when they'd forgotten their lines. I felt slighted, but nothing that a new Star Wars Return of the Jedi action figure couldn't fix! Biker Scout, I salute you.

During High School, under the aegis of Mr Burton (no relation of Richard or Tim), my passion for drama class flourished. Regrettably, he decided to change schools and his successor drove out any sense of enjoyment and I dropped out. A few years later my Dad would meet Mr Burton, in Torbay, who had assumed that I had continued with acting. And learnt that this was not the case.

In 1990 whilst at College I formed a Pop/R&B band - Def Track - as part of a Media Studies project concerning the music industry. During the coach ride to and from London's V&A (I was also studying A-Level Fine Art) I co-wrote "Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover". We recorded the song, promo video and prepared marketing materials (using MacDraw) ourselves. At the suggestion of our Media Studies tutor I wrote further songs for a possible EP (for submission to local radio stations). However, during the summer my work was stolen or mislaid and there was no backup other than a skeletal arrangement stored on an Amiga A500.

I acted in a University studio project (1993) and was required to show a complete lack of interest in the main protagonist. This wasn't too difficult a leap as I found the person, in question, unpalateable at best. It was noted that my performance was very effective and made ingenious use of a newspaper (a metaphor for the barriers in our relationship)!

My claim to fame is as a background extra on BBC Radio Four's The Gemini Apes (1998). However, acting has not lost any of its allure and one day I'm hoping for a reprise.