Okay so this one is in connection to something written on my Aspirations post.
3- Become a successful actress.
Short Answer; My Grandma and My Dream.
My Grandma, was herself, when she was younger, a stage actress in Liverpool and Wirral Theatres, she got rave reviews and not only could she act but she could also sing and dance. She applied to RADA (Royal Academy for Dancing and the Arts) in London, and was awarded a scholarship, unfortunately due to commencement of World War II she was unable to take up her position at RADA as she had to join the Army, her biggest regret she always says was not taking the scholarship.
Now, what does my Grandma not taking her scholarship have to do with me? Well, quite a lot. You see growing up I was always told “academia is the ONLY way to succeed in life”, my Grandad (Grandma’s husband) was not only a Lecturer at St.Andrews University for a time, but he also got a scholarship to study at St.Andrews University, back in the days when that was the only way to get to University, he also helped create the Scottish Exam Board (sorry!) and inspected schools not only in the UK but Malaysia and also the USA, that’s going off topic. Anyway, when you are constantly told that I you have to be academic then you believe that is the case. I, however, was not very good at academic work, sure I could do coursework, but put me in an exam, instant blank.
Being an only child I always spent most of my time alone, so frequently created little plays or reenacted ones I’d seen either on stage or on tv, almost word for word, and nearly always I’d do this behind my closed bedroom door or whilst I was in the bath or shower. During Primary School and Secondary until I moved schools I was a member of an acting club, Stage Crew. If I’m being honest, even now, at 28, I still do this. I have written down short scripts, but they never get finished or I lose thought, I’m sliding again but give me chance!
Anyway, whenever I went to stay with my Grandparents, which was fairly regularly my Grandma and I would always improvise little things. She would teach me how to stand correctly, with poise and grace, like a proper actress should. She taught me how to enunciate all my words, so I spoke “Queens English”, she always told me “you must speak clearly, enunciating your words so the people at the back of the theatre can hear you as clearly as those at the front”. She tried to teach me to sing, still can’t do that one!
Whilst my Grandma was in the Army she was Sergeant of PT (Physical Training), because of her acting and dancing, therefore she was extremely good at throwing her voice. It was this Sergeant that would appear in our little improvs. She would resume her role as Sergeant and I would assume the role of a Army Cadet, she would stand at one end of their house and throw her voice to the bedroom I stayed in. I can hear it very clearly now, it sounded like she was right next to me, even though she wasn’t. “CADET! Your quarters better be spick and span when I get there!” She would boom, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I’d go about sorting things as well as I could, and upon her entering the room I’d stand the way a Army Cadet did. We did this improv a fair bit, it was one of my favourites.
Another we did together was small pieces from Dickens books, or Shakespeare, she would find a short segment and between the two of us we would read through it and then put the book down and recite, in turns, what we had read. I always loved doing this with her, its one of the reasons I understood Shakespeare when I did it at school. It was through not just my “secret” acting but also my pieces with my Grandma I decided that my dream was to become an actress. Upon telling my Grandma this her response was “you be whatever you want to be petlamb, and if that is an actress, go for it”.
In one of my Drama classes at school, I think it must have been first year of secondary we had to memorise some lines and create a persona for a character. I don’t remember the lines or even the character but I do remember the teachers words, “you have a natural talent, use it.” I always tried, whenever I could, do use my natural ability at being able to create something out of nothing. Whilst doing Stage Crew we did many productions, some I liked more than others, but I suspect that is like all actors, they prefer some to others. I also got to learn a bit about behind the scenes of Stage and Production Work, as interesting as it was, it was nothing to the feel of performing. You couldn’t always see the audience because of the lights, but you knew they were there. I felt so much joy, such a thrill, the other actors all felt the same things otherwise they wouldn’t be there. The applause at the end, how pleased I always felt, I felt like I was floating on air.
I’m navigating away from things again, but getting back to my point. I was never great at Academia, but I was good at acting. Being told by family that you can act, and are “a little drama queen”, is one thing. To be told by a Drama Teacher or by someone at a Drama Club you have “Natural Talent” is another. I always like to believe the acting gene came from my Grandma, she’s 96 now, and up until a few years ago, she still did act, albeit, hiding her emotions. I hide my emotions too, many people do, its a form of acting, a line from a Phantom of the Opera song, “Masquerade, hide your face so the world will never find you”, exactly what my Grandma did, what I do/did, what so many people do.
I looked into getting into acting years ago, but when I saw what it took, I did a runner. Now, years later, I am actually doing to try, seriously and do this. I am looking at acting classes that are during the day in Liverpool. I am going to get some head-shots done and join an Acting/Extras Agency, I’ve done basic research into some of these, but I need to delve further. I know what I plan to do can take years, some even say decades, but I literally have nothing to lose now and so much to gain. Not just for my Grandma, who is such an inspiration to me, but to me, to achieve my dream, to get that floating on air feeling, do get that joy and thrill. The chance to do something that Naturally comes to me, that I enjoy doing, that I enjoy watching, to be able to do that, that is something I can’t let slide any longer.
So, there you have it, the background to why my Number Three on my aspirations list is to be a successful actress.