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Alec the Actor

How long have you been into amateur dramatics?
When I was around 13, they set up a youth theatre group at the Watermill Theatre near Newbury. At that age I just assumed that everyone wanted to be an actor, so I joined as soon as I heard. I've been acting on-and-off ever since.
Do you have any formal training?
Apart from a GCSE in drama, no. Everything I know about acting I've learnt from observation, practice and role-playing games.
How do you prepare for a role?
I look at it like I'm creating a character. I read the script and try and build up what sort of character would say those lines in those circumstances. Once the character is honed, then I simply role-play that character and acting becomes almost improvisation.
What roles do you generally play?
Looking back, it seems the majority of my roles have involved strutting about. From greek gods and dead poets to rock stars and psychopaths, I've played a lot of villains, egotists and other characters who demand the audience's attention. How much of this is my interpretation of the roles, and how much is me being typecast, I leave as an exercise for the reader.
What roles do you prefer?
I like playing extreme roles, roles you really have to put some effort into. I like the process of discovery, of gradually learning the best way to deal with the role. This might be the process of figuring out a complex psychology so you can really become the character, or figuring out the most effective physical performance characteristics for the more farcical characters in panto and suchlike.
What actor(s) do you model yourself on?
If I had to pick an actor I was most like, I suppose it would be Gary Oldman - someone who plays a disparate variety of characters and is not afraid to surrender himself to the part, even at the cost of his dignity or even his recognisability. If I was a more attractive man, I might compare myself to Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp, as they are also actors who are not afraid of taking on more extreme roles.
What productions have you been involved in?
I'm glad you asked...

My Acting Portfolio

The Naivety (in house - very loosely based on the nativity)
Cain (and others)
[ Genre: Panto; Company: Blagit; When: December 2007 ]
cain.jpg
An ensemble cast, where everyone played multiple roles. I played Cain - where I was constantly simmering on the edge of explosive rage - and half of a cheesy DJ duo not dissimilar to Smashy and Nicey.
 
Murder on the Orient Express (Adapted from the film of the Agatha Christie novel)
Hercule Poirot
[ Genre: Comedy Whodunnit; Company: Blagit; When: Summer 2007 ]
poirot.jpg
My first lead role, as Poirot no less! I was on stage pretty much the whole play. Lots of glaring at people and being suspicious and superior. More Peter Sellers than David Suchet, but then as with all Blagit productions this was more comedy than drama. Enormous amount of line learning though.
 
Trauma Pet - 1 (Elie Scerri)
The cad and the bounder
[ Genre: Music video; Company: Neo-Vision Productions; When: Spring 2007 ]
debauched with fiona.jpg
A minor role - well, two minor roles in fact. One as "guy waiting at bar for girl" in a black and white sequence, the other as "cad at party" where I have to look debauched and snog a party goer while ripping off her necklace. Not a bad day out all in all. View the video here
 
Pretty Nifty Charabang (in house - loosely based on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)
Boris von Beatalotupon, hunchback henchman to the evil toymaker
[ Genre: Panto; Company: Blagit; When: Christmas 2006 ]
boris.jpg
This part was mostly me bouncing around giggling and looking insane, while a mad scientist character repeatedly beat me with an Anne Summers whip. I loved it. A chance to really let rip and over-act without any restraints. It's generally agreed I stole the show.
 
Stags and Hens (Willy Russel)
Peter Taylor, 80's rock star
[ Genre: Comedy Drama; Company: Blagit; When: Summer 2006 ]
peter taylor.jpg
A role in which I got to kiss the girl, and to actually look sexy instead of freaky. Yay! The part was mostly me strutting about being sly and cocky, and all the things girls love about rock stars, although at one point I did have to get beaten up. Not a huge part, but very much key to the plot. And did I mention I got to kiss the girl?
 
Wonky Willy and the Chocolate Factory (in house - loosely based on the Roald Dahl novel)
Roger the Leatherman
[ Genre: Panto; Company: Blagit; When: Christmas 2005 ]
roger the leather man 1.jpg
High camp. Mostly me strutting about in kinky leather, acting as gay as I could. Think Village People meets Freddy Mercury. I even grew a moustache.
 
Clue (adapted from the Jonathan Lynn film)
Mr Green, vaguely camp extreme coward
[ Genre: Whodunnit Farce; Company: Blagit; When: Summer 2005 ]
green hiding.jpg
A lot of looking timid, looking scared, looking shocked, running about, shrieking like a girl and being physically abused. High farce. Loads of fun.
 
Blood (film) (Gela Jenssen)
God
[ Genre: Drama; When: Autumn 2006 ]
god in soft light.jpg
Quite an easy role this one as there were no lines. I just stood there looking divine and irritated while an acolate acted at me. To make me look that much more mysterious, even my face was covered, so I really didn't have to do a damn thing. A fun day out though, and another god added to my portfolio.
 
Blood (radio play) (Gela Jenssen)
Richard Dewbury, arrogant upper-class psychopath
[ Genre: Drama; When: Spring 2006 ]
Kind of a Hannibal Lector sort of role. I spent all the time being interrogated by police for a murder I may or may not have committed, and taunting my interrogator with sordid details of the (unrelated, possibly) death of his daughter.
 
Dreaming About Rebecca (Gela Jenssen)
Stephen Kingsley, corrupt New Mexico cop
[ Genre: Drama; Company: Arena; When: Spring 2004 ]
A role spent in a chair being abusively interrogated by CIA agents and generally getting riled up a lot. Notable for having the smallest audience I've ever performed to (less than double figures).
 
Dr Faustus (in house - based on the play by Christopher Marlowe)
Mephistopheles, representative of the devil
[ Genre: Panto; Company: 40 Pound Theatre; When: Christmas 2004 ]
mephistopheles.jpg
My first foray into panto was spent strutting about in an immaculate white suit being evil yet cool. Notable for an improvisation sequence in which I had to fend off audience suggestions for how to improve the world. It was also a good excuse to grow a goaty beard. One night I even got wolf-whistled. I was so proud.
 
The Arena (Gela Jenssen)
Quintus Antonius, scheming murderous roman officer
[ Genre: Tragedy; When: Autumn 2004 ]
Bafflingly complex play in which I end up murdering pretty much the entire cast. Lots of smouldering angriness and outbursts of brutal violence. Some lengthy monologues though, which are always fun.
 
Post Modern Love Rant (film) (Roi Ruuskanen)
Guy no.2
[ When: Autumn 2004 ]
I'm in it for about 2 seconds, and I only know it's me because I recognise my chest hair. Almost no acting required at all, but it was a fun day out, and I can now truthfully say I performed a sex scene in a low-budget film by a german director.
 
Troilus and Cressida (William Shakespeare)
Aeneas
[ Genre: Shakespeare; Company: Southampton University Theatre Group; When: Summer 1993 ]
A fairly minor role, but it included quite a fun scene where I strut about being unpleasant and getting the major characters all riled up. Notable for being the first time I considered such details as whether a character should be left or right handed.
 
Fernhill
Dylan Thomas
[ Genre: Comedy Drama; Company: Southampton University Theatre Group; When: Spring 1993 ]
A single-scene part in which I played a slightly sozzled dead welsh poet who gives the lead character an inspirational talking to. Also worthy of note is that for a couple of performances I played an additional role - a timid, hen-pecked house-husband - as an understudy.
 
The Mahabharata (Peter Brook - adapted from the traditional epic poem)
Dhritarashtra, blind king of the Kauravas
[ Genre: Hindu Epic; Company: Cricklade College theatre group; When: Summer 1990 ]
A fairly minor role, but notable for having to pretend I was blind. This was when I learnt that constantly questioning the director does not make one popular.
 
Never Look Back (in house - loosley based on the Orpheus legend)
Zeus, king of the gods
[ Genre: Musical Comedy; Company: Water Rats; When: Spring 1988 ]
A major role, which I know I got by virtue of being the oldest in the cast, but still. I got to strut about being godlike, and order people about. My drama teacher saw it and commented that I commanded the stage well. The first of a long line of ego-driven characters.
 
The Wind Among the Pines (in house)
Father of the hero
[ Genre: Musical Drama; Company: Water Rats; When: Spring 1987 ]
Mostly being stern and paternal. Not bad for a 14 year old. I was only in two or three scenes, but I impressed a local journalist enough to get name-dropped in his review.
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