Camera-shy


Next week I’m going to get in a film-studio and make a 5-minute film encapsulating Lady in Bed, the theatre show. This is to be an advert/ promotional tool, to show producers, tour-bookers, potential audiences and curious ex-boyfriends and will be posted here if it all comes good. I’m working with Suzanne Cohen, who I only just met last week after posting an ad online for film-makers. I got a big response, and wasn’t at all sure how to sift them, but Suzanne had a couple of little movies on YouTube which I liked, and she sounded really sane when I talked to her, so she’s on board and I hope I don’t drive her nuts with my actressy ways. Unlike Nicole Kidman or Julia Roberts, I won’t have a raft of make-up artists, dressers, lighting designers and cringing acolytes standing by to make me look and feel amazing. Nope, it’ll be just me and a powder compact, and as I want a lot of close-ups to get the emotional impact and the jokes across, it’ll all be very unforgiving, and I’ll have to suspend vanity (or rush over to the Cut ‘n’ Thrust beauty salon on the Cally Road for a quick stab of Botox). Damn it! What am I saying? This filming isn’t about glamour! It’s to communicate my stories. And doing that is going to be hard what with me playing all the characters an’ all. It may be possible to physicalise adequately the men, children and creatures that I play for a live-theatre situation, but will these characters read when on film, without any wigs or prosthetics ? Jeez, I’m not Kathryn Hunter (a top actress currently playing a (male) monkey on the London stage, and boy, does she look the part in the photos…)

Digression on acting challenges: tomorrow night I have to play Johnny Rotten in a theatre show I’ve directed with the Hub drama group in Hackney. I’ve got the snarl and some safety pins, and I’m pretty sure I can hold the mic stand like he did, but my lip-synching to God Save the Queen needs work, and I definitely don’t have his scrappy spiky hair or his whiny nasal speaking voice down. Sigh. Oh well,  for one night only…

So now I’m writing my little script for the film, and trying to get across lovely gem-like moments from the show without giving away all the best bits (cos I hate those movie-trailers in which you just know you’ve seen everything you really need to see of the long-form version: all the best jokes,  the most thrilling car-chase, the climax, the denouement and the male and female leads naked). This is a special (ie super-difficult) skill that’s taxing me somewhat which is why I’m writing about the darned thing now rather than actually writing it. If filming me hopping about, talking as 15 characters, and looking wrinkly doesn’t work out, I’ll just sit behind a desk like Spalding Gray (revering you in the afterlife there, master monologist) and tell potted versions of the Lady in Bed tales, and if that doesn’t make you want to produce/book/see the show, I’ll come round to your place and give you a Chinese burn until you do.

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