Saturday, 13 July 2013

Happy thoughts to the matinee actor

The world is a different place since last week.  We are all happy.  Happy for Andy Murray as he lifted the coveted Wimbledon trophy (I was happily on a 10 year drama school reunion that day, bloggy thoughts coming soon!) happy that baby Will n' Kate is nearly here and beyond happy that the sun is out.  People are smiling and wearing flowery/floaty stuff!

As I type I am sat in my garden surrounded by our gorgeous roses and sweet peas and I couldn't be happier.  But this time last year I would have been sliding into a pair of grey jeans and sweating my way through a matinee performance of Avenue Q.  So in this short blog post I ask you to spare a thought for the working actors (it won't take long because apparently only 8% of us are working) who are missing this gorgeous Saturday afternoon for the love of their art and an equity contract.

Think of the poverty stricken factory worker in Les Mis who is wearing 5 layers of clothes made of wool.  Think of those Oompa Loompas wearing fat suits and jumping into the splits.  Imagine the sweat produced by a Geordie mining jacket and boots designed for the cold of the North-East in Billy Elliot?  You might think hang on, those Mamma Mia! lot should be OK, they just wear bikinis and wet suits- yes they do, but the think layer of fake tan acts as a great insulator, creating rivers of brown sweat that no deodorising stick can prevent!

I'll leave you with a couple of my heat wave induced anecdotes, I am happy to re-live them as I lie in "resting-actor bikini-clad bliss!"

The heat war of 2004 saw me Mamma Mia-ing in laced-up leather  trousers and a long blonde hair piece. For those of you who don't know the show there is a section where the girl ensemble stand frozen (oh the sweaty irony!) in a tableau as Sophie sings 'The Name of the Game'. Prior to that, the girls have performed a 10 minute dance section otherwise known as 'aerobics in heels'.  On one particular hot performance I stood panting in my tableau only for stars to gather behind my eyelids - the heat-induced faint caused the little blonde leather-clad shadow to nose dive to the floor like a tree accompanied by the words "Timbeeeeeerrrrrr!". Classy.

In Les Mis any temperature above freezing feels like a heat wave because you wear so many woollen clothes.  One summer day we had a power cut and the plastic white fans that we relied on for fake air in our dungeon dressing room failed to spin.  The show went ahead as all was fine front of house which left a cast stumbling around in the dark and my dear friend collapsing from heat in the corridor gasping "I can't go on!". Who said actors were dramatic?!

So as you lick your ice lolly just think of these sweaty folk still giving 100% to entertain this nation enjoying a heatwave.  Although they are not saving lives and are lucky to be in that 8% who are working I still send them a sweaty salute.  From my garden!

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