I never used to be that sure about actors. They were always too smart-arsed, too loud, too preening. They were usually good-looking too, which irritated me in the male of the species. Of course I went out with a couple of the other denomination, because you just couldn't help, if you were a young male apprentice playwright, falling for the smart-arse preening actresses. They were just so damn good-looking.
Now I'm a somewhat older apprentice, I've had to revise my opinion.
Actors are great.
They do a very strange job, and many of the ones I've worked with are so good at it, so dedicated and amiable and thoughtful, it makes me stand in amazement. Because most of the time, to borrow an American construction, they're working two or three jobs to support themselves between plays or bits of telly or film. And then when you ring them up (via their agent if you've not worked with them before), or accost them at a show, and say,
"I thought you were really good in that thing and I was wondering if you'd take a part in a reading I've got coming up", and they say tell me more, and you do, and then you say, feeling bad about it, "We can only pay expenses", they'll answer, more often than not, "Thanks for asking - I'll be there."
And you know and they know it's not the pinnacle, but they have this optimism in them, a willingness to come to the aid of the party. They like to work, and they like to see what you're up to.
So thanks to the actors Andrew Fallaize, Fiona Victory, Samantha Robinson, Rob Storr, Tim Morand, Tony Turner, Melissa Collier, Michael Brophy, Hayley Jane Standing, and to Cordelia, who was such a late recruit I didn't get to know her surname. Thanks to them, The May Queen came roaring to life on Sunday afternoon at Southwark. The play is up and running, I can see clearly what work needs doing, and that it's most of it in good shape.
There was a good turn-out too, which I know helped the cast, so thank you if you came.