That's me in the photo above on the right (no, not my legs on the left). Back when I was wearing somebody else's shoes for a reason. I was playing the role of Laura Warwick in The Unexpected Guest by Agatha Christie. (As an aside, it must be noted that wearing shoes that many other actors have worn before you isn't the most comfortable experience. But one endures. For the sake of one's art, you understand. Plus, there's usually very little option.)
Why am I telling you this?
I was asked a number of interesting questions recently but two stuck out for me because I had compelling answers. Not necessarily compelling to you, but to me, definitely. You see, they were to do with acting and my life as an actor which was my first great love and the reason I think I'm me, and how my first great love turned into my next great love:
So what were the two questions I honed in on, and what were my answers?
You’ve got a background in theatre. How does that affect your writing, if at all?
Me: I believe wholeheartedly that my theatre background makes an enormous difference to my writing. Many times writers are advised to speak their stories out loud, but I never do that. I don’t need to. When I read silently, in my head, I’m in rehearsal mode. I’m wearing their clothes, I’m in their shoes, and I’m playing their part as if I’m in the scene. (I will add here, in this blog post, that there is nothing wrong with speaking your story out loud, with many benefits for doing so, should that help you write your story. I'm all for "each to their own" when it comes to learning.)
Do you become emotionally attached to your characters?
Me: I do get attached, and I think for me, as I said earlier, it’s because I become them. I play their role in the story in my mind. I can do that for the guys too. In fact sometimes, I can feel more in the shoes of the guy than the girl.
I do love learning. When the subject is close to my heart, as writing is, then the learning is like another feather to my wings. Another layer to bolster courage and further endeavour when we feel like we've gone as far as we can.
Don't stop learning. Whatever you're trying to do or achieve, be it tangible or psychological - go for it. If you love it, you'll do it. Although it might hurt. Remind me to tell you about the time I had a boned corset made for me when I was playing the role of Valentine in Georges Feydeau's farce, The Birdwatcher. Honestly, just because they're made to measure doesn't mean they're any less painful than a pair of shoes twenty-five other actors have worn before you.
This is me in that corset, back when.
But that's another story.
The two questions were asked by Write Note Reviews and are part of a longer interview for Stories on Stage: Date Night. An event I'll be attending with romance writers Juanita Kees and Lily Malone on 29th April 2015 at Koorliny Arts Centre in Perth, Western Australia. Click on the link for more information.
All photos, apart from my own collection, from pixabay.com