The medium that best encapsulates my creative passions is filmmaking – I can write and perform the music and songs; write the screenplays; perform as an actor; and design the visual art and cinematography. I have my own green screen studio with which I intend to make some interesting videos and films next year. Technology is continuously providing new amazing tools to play with, so the future seems very exciting creatively!
The art of any performance is truthfully interacting with the situation that is arising.
If all the world is a stage, then not knowing the future or the fact you are acting, helps create a great performance.
I form tears when I’m moved in any meaningful way; so if I produce them in a performance, I’m not pretending, I’m genuinely feeling what I’m doing.
“Th’ expense of spirit in a waste of shame”
– SONNET 129 BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
Th’ expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murd’rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoyed no sooner but despisèd straight,
Past reason hunted; and, no sooner had
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so,
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.
Dubbing for home languages is really not a good idea. The vocal is half of the performance – take that away and splice in another person’s voice literally mutes and disconnects the actor.
Recorded Sonnet 129 in one take. I didn’t plan how to do it, I just absorbed the words and wanted to see what happened.
The result is interesting, like nothing I have heard before.
The character speaking is not one you should let seduce you.
Watching performers, I appreciate quality but I don’t get particularly excited by even exquisite technical excellence. Looks attract, certainly, but interest is quickly lost if there is nothing real going on beyond the performance. I detach emotionally when there is anything conceited or contrived. What holds me is real lived human experience, with all its perfect imperfections; something genuine that has emerged in the moment and surprised even the performer.
I really don’t like listening to or watching any recent performance of mine, even if I am generally pleased with how it turned out. This is weird because I don’t mind after a while, when there is some distance and I have forgotten about the process involved. I suppose the time delay helps me listen/watch as an audience member rather than identifying so firmly as the performer.
“When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes”
– Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare
When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
A key for translating Shakespeare’s sonnets into a standard song format:
Listened on YouTube to various attempts at turning Shakespeare’s sonnets into songs. I don’t think these straight translations work very well. However Shakespeare is so clever that if you read the lines of his sonnets out of sequence as rhyming couplets (e.g. line 1 then 3 then 2 then 4 etc.) the sonnet usually still works well without losing the meaning. So I picked up a guitar, strummed some rhythms and improvised some vocal melodies to the rejigged lines and it all works great!
It is so important with the poetic flow of Shakespeare that every word means something real to the actor, otherwise the viewer will get lost in the density of content coming at them. Watching performances of Shakespeare, it is so obvious when an actor is merely ploughing through the rhythms in a conventional Shakespearean style, rather than really living the powerful words given to them. Thankfully there are lots of good actors and performances out there – this one I just watched of Sonnet 129 is a good example: https://youtu.be/EEvW5lyWgKQ
Hello and welcome.
Excerpts (in order of appearance):
- Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare.
- Hamlet in Hamlet by William Shakespeare.
- Antony in Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare.
- Iago in Othello by William Shakespeare.
- Mike in West by Steven Berkoff.
It’s been done millions of times, but my instinctive interpretation of Hamlet’s “To Be or Not To Be” soliloquy is a bit different from the many performances I have seen. In fact it may be unhelpful seeing other people’s performances because the blueprints distract from my own relationship with the words.
Every single person has both uniqueness and a shared oneness with everybody else. What is interesting is finding the individuality and playing with it, rather than blandly mimicking other people or current socialised expectations.
“I HATE THE MOOR”
– IAGO IN OTHELLO BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ACT 1, SCENE 3)
Iago is such a terrifying character because he revels in what he is doing. The motivating reasons can be analysed: broken pride; a sense of betrayal; jealousy; ambition; desire for power over others; or even unrequited love turned sour, if you want to read it that way. It’s true that villains often fool themselves into believing their actions are justified or the fault of fate or caused by others; but the main factor with Iago is the huge elephant in the room. Iago knows he is the villain and sadistically enjoys the suffering he causes. His motivation is the full embracing of enmity.
I hate the Moor:
And it is thought abroad, that ‘twixt my sheets
He has done my office: I know not if’t be true;
But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,
Will do as if for surety. He holds me well;
The better shall my purpose work on him.
Cassio’s a proper man: let me see now:
To get his place and to plume up my will
In double knavery—How, how? Let’s see:—
After some time, to abuse Othello’s ear
That he is too familiar with his wife.
He hath a person and a smooth dispose
To be suspected, framed to make women false.
The Moor is of a free and open nature,
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,
And will as tenderly be led by the nose
As asses are.
I have’t. It is engender’d. Hell and night
Must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light.
“FRIENDS, ROMANS, COUNTRYMEN”
– ANTONY IN JULIUS CAESAR BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ACT 3, SCENE 2)
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest–
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men–
Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.
I think I will set-up my own green screen film studio and have some fun making videos. I want to shoot dramatic monologues and music performances — and also maybe some presentations if I’m feeling boring.
Wasn’t Shakespeare amazing. It would be so interesting to find out how his genius developed, what he saw and experienced in his life that helped him write such beauty and comprehend so deeply the human material condition in all its different aspects. I can think of other notable geniuses in history — Mozart in music, Newton in science etc. — but Shakespeare is a sort of mythical other, shrouded in mystery, whose breadth of insight has the greatest impact on me.
I think I’ve found a new thing. Really enjoying putting a podcast together on drama – and am working out how best to film some of the recordings. It will include some of my music as well.
I’m interested in performing great monologues from literature. Seems easy to upload audio as a podcast and filmed versions for a YouTube channel.
Looking for a podcast where I can listen to dramatic performances of literature, but finding mostly dry monotone readings of poetry. Monologues on YouTube seem to be mostly non-realistic anger and angst.
Acting is an exercise in empathy: the actor tries to understand the thought processes and encompass the emotional life of the character.
I first look into the world from the point of view of a human being, then try on some different clothes.
A: Angry humans of the twentieth century came to the brink of self-destruction, inflicting unbelievable suffering in the process. Hating the hatred helps it grow, even though it may change its face.
B: That’s just an empty platitude. If you don’t fight the malevolent, you are complicit by allowing it to continue.
A: You always become the result of the energy that moves you. Not for no reason has it been so often said that you become the thing you hate.
B: I have every right to hate. There should be justice! People sitting on mountain tops don’t have to deal with the realities of this world. If people didn’t fight for what is right, evil would walk over everything, including you and me.
A: You deserve not to be contaminated by this energy. You have a chance to be better, to make a better world.
You should not accept what is wrong.
You can feel what is right and act intensely, but it is your anger that unbalances you.
B: Some people are evil, I have no intention of being kind to them, they deserve everything coming to them.
A: The world will only heal with kindness. If humanity can find its light there can be no darkness.
You can help make that possible, right now.
B: Anything I do will not change the world.
A: Give your love and the world will be relieved. Give your anger and the world will be wounded yet again. That’s how important you are. That’s how important every single person is.
A flow state is when your inner voice has got out of the way and you are free to be one with who you are and what you are doing. It’s easier to get there when lost in the energy of music. I admire good acting that is able to reach the moment just by using imagination and presentness with other performers.
1: Can you help me?
4: Yes of course.
1: I am consumed with feelings for someone who doesn’t have them for me.
I have trouble sleeping and wake up aroused.
I have no choice but to think about her and when I do I am flooded with physical desire for her.
This is “in love” right?
4: You know that sexual desire changes and what you are feeling now may fade away?
1: Yes I know craving isn’t love, but it isn’t as simple as that.
4: What do you think triggered it this time?
1: I don’t know.
4: Pain is attracted to pain because it wants more of it.
1: I’m not sure I agree with that. It’s recognition of something in another, a similar frequency or whatever you want to call it.
I suppose if you see similar expression in another, empathy can create feelings of closeness.
4: Can you express your feelings to her?
1: It’s not possible or helpful to be open with her, she has her own life and I want her to be happy.
4: Examine whether that is really true, or are you being fearful?
1: No, it’s not possible, selfish even.
4: Then this is an opportunity for you to practice love with non-attachment.
1: Doesn’t sound very romantic.
4: Love is giving, complete, the source of everything. Love doesn’t need to crave anything.
This is where peace and serenity reside.
1: Sounds like you’re saying I should not get too close to anyone or need or miss anyone.
It sounds unnatural, uncaring.
4: Love is not conditional on the circumstances in this world. Let your heart break, don’t be afraid, don’t struggle, you will find that nothing is ever lost.
1: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
4: Yes you do.
Be still, radiate love, your true nature beyond the conditioning of your mind.
1: Why is there something instead of nothing?
3: Given an infinite amount of opportunities anything can emerge from the chaos, including our world.
1: But why are there infinite somethings compelled with energy, rather than nothing?
3: There was no beginning, our universe probably burst forth from another universe and so on. It has always been so.
1: But where did the first universe come from?
3: Not everything has an answer yet, but no doubt it will be explained with the advance of scientific knowledge. Even if the goal is not reached, there is no need to include supernatural causes in the equation. Logic requires we deal with verifiable facts, adopting the most efficient explanation.
1: Time does not make sense. The existence of things does not make sense. Can we not postulate the existence of something beyond time and space that created everything? Can we call this God?
3: There is no need to do so. We may not know what the variable x is yet, but we should not start invoking imaginary entities.
1: Something doesn’t feel right.
3: There is no evidence for the existence of a God or Gods, the world is explicable in terms of scientific explanation.
1: The fact is I have always believed in God, it’s not a considered opinion or the product of upbringing, it’s just what has been instinctive to me.
3: Ok well a cognitive scientist may explain this as a natural propensity to religiosity, there by natural selection to give a purpose for the survival of the organism.
1: Is there any meaning?
3: A person may look at the nature of the universe, see the randomness of outcomes, the cruelty and enormous suffering and decide there is no benevolence at work here. They may look at evolution by natural selection and decide there is no plan here. The universe, although magnificent, does not care about us – we must make our own way and make our own meaning in the brief window of opportunity for existence.
1: Suddenly you’re speaking with feeling, maybe your outlook is motivated through sympathy and outrage at the sufferings in the world.
3: It is logic replacing delusion. Myths and fairy stories aren’t needed any more.
1: I admire your beliefs more than belief systems motivated out of fear or desire for self reward. I don’t care what you believe as long as your actions are kind.
3: My conclusions are not beliefs. Religious delusions have been the cause of so much of the worst in humanity.
1: Religions are subject to corruption, yet the spiritual path can be found in the different traditions.
3: A God is not necessary to be spiritual, to behave with morality and to appreciate beauty in Nature.
1: You do have a belief system. You believe the universe ultimately has no purpose and its existence can be completely explained by rules contained within itself; when in fact there is no way of knowing the ultimate causes of things.
You believe the answer to the mystery of existence is that there isn’t one.
3: I am offering the most logical approach to understanding the world.
1: I don’t believe the world would exist without a purpose. I believe in the possibility of a reality beyond this reality, beyond cause and effect, time and space.
In this life I see the purpose as feeling connected with the world, being present and alive, feeling love, creativity, beauty and joy.
The true reality of experience may run far deeper than what our senses show us.
3: I deal with facts and what can be observed, not imagined.
1: Reality is tenuous – it can be anything depending on what our senses show us. Whether what they are showing is objectively real is unknowable. I think you have too much faith in the material surface reality of things, a reality that in itself does not seem complete.