Monday, February 15, 2010

I'm a Camera

"What in heaven's name is the old plonker on about now?" I hear the subversive mutterings from the cheap seats. "I'm a Camera, indeed!"

This wee posting concerns Mrs The Millbrooker looking after me in our hideously crowded capital city and meeting up with one of the leading lights of the I'm a Camera theatre project. And with one of our original Blogstars, The Wizzers of Soz, who made the trip all the way from Soz just to have lunch and a chat with her mater and me.

As so oft before, the day began upon the railroad (what on Earth I'm going to do when I no longer get free travel after leaving the railway's employ, I don't know). Actually, the day began with the usual sort of morning routine, roughly common throughout the developed world: stretch, moan about getting old and creaky, shower, cup of tea, bite of breakfast, avoid eye contact with anyone until first few morsels have passed lips... It was Churchill who said "My wife and I tried to breakfast together, but we had to stop or our marriage would have been wrecked." Mrs The Millbrooker and I can, and do, breakfast together, but it's the exception rather than the rule; apart from anything else, I like a massive traditional first meal of the day and she prefers a delicate bite of fresh fruit unaccompanied by other forms of sustenance.

But, I digress.

The Wizzers of Soz hopped aboard our train at Reading and after we'd all survived the crush of Paddington underground (I really would find that hard, if not impossible, without Mrs The Millbrooker's help), we emerged at Fulham Broadway and dived straight into a nearby TGI Friday's on Wizzers' insistence. She likes TGI Friday's. This is she, hiding behind my glass of cranberry juice.One slap-up lunch later and my minders took me to The Dance Attic Studios to meet up with Janey Clarke (she of, amongst other things, "I'm a Camera" fame) for my first coaching session. This is yours truly and Janey just before heading off upstairs to do thespian things in a rehearsal room.I won't go into minute detail about the 90 minutes that I spent in Janey's company. Suffice to say she took me way outside of my theatrical comfort zone, challenged me to try all sorts of new acting techniques, shoved a camera in my face to produce an intimate close-up portrait of my (very inadequate) portrayals of a good-cop-bad-cop scenario, got me to improvise my way into and out of a scene; I left feeling both drained and highly elated.

I learnt more about acting in that 90 minutes than I've learnt in the last 20 years. I'm a good amateur; I've got miles to travel before I'm employable in the professional ranks (my words, not Janey's - she never uttered a discouraging word), but I'm strapping on the walking boots and exercising the hitch-hiking thumb muscles. I'll give it a damned good try.

My team of minders awaited my descent from the eaves of the Dance Attic in the ground floor cafe... ...and one cup of coffee later we reversed the London-bound rail journey to Bath and made our way, using the world's oldest mode of transport , back to Milly and Trickers' place for a very welcome cuppa before heading out for yet another slap-up feed. I think I might avoid the scales for a week or two.

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