Or How I learned to NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS and became an actor again.
It’s been a while since I written a real “bloggy” blog, but it’s been a busy year and I got some stuff I gotta say. So strap in kids.
YOU CAN’T ARREST ME, I’M A ROCK’N’ROLL STAR!
I’ve always believed that theatre is rock and roll. No. Theatre CAN be rock’n’roll, when it wants to be.
Independent theatre fucking excites me man. Creating something new and gritty and fresh and then daring to take it out and sharing it with the world, that takes some guts. To take a risk by putting yourself out there as an artist is fucking scary. I think that’s why I’ve fallen so deeply in the Fringe culture these last ten years (TEN years!?! TEN!?! Fuck, I’m old…)
I’ve seen countless big budget, full scale theatre productions with giant sets, big projection screens and a thousand unnecessary lighting effects that haven’t excited, interested or captivated me half as much as a powerful, no-budget one man show, told with nothing but basic lighting and enough set and props that would fit in a suitcase…it’s all about the stories… If there no story to engage people, it doesn’t matter how you dress it up, I’m probably not interested…with the exception of Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark which I saw on Broadway, that was the biggest billion dollar piece of shit I’ve ever seen and I would watch it again in a second. Goddamn it was beyond awful.
It’s not about money (not that I have a problem with money, if you have some you want to give me I’m all for it), for me, it’s more about creating something new from what you have to work with. I’ve always been about creating new exciting work, it’s the grounds on which Weeping Spoon was created and what I feel has kept us growing stronger as company each year. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with doing Romeo & Juliet or Death Of Salesman for the millionth time, the idea just doesn’t excited me. Creating something new and magical on a shoestring budget, that’s exciting, that’s fringe and that’s fucking PUNK man. I guess it’s that DIY punk attitude towards theatre that gets me going.
Which brings me to The Sex Pistols.
NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS…
A few months ago I auditioned for the role of Sex Pistols front man Johnny Rotten in a play called Vicious Circles. How could I pass up the chance to play of the most iconic figures in the history of music?
As an actor who typically get casts as the “nerdy guy” or “awkward guy” comedy roles, this has been a fucking ride man.
And don’t get me wrong, I have no PROBLEMS with the roles I’ve played, I’m happy to play to my strengths, heck, I’ve built a “career” on awkward and geeky, there’s rarely a Zack Adams review that doesn’t feature at least one of the following; nerdy, geek chic, lanky, skinny or “Ziggy Stardust meets Woody Allen”( I quite liked that last one). Heck without this I may not have been given to chance to play Brad Fucking Majors in The Rocky Horror Show last year, an experience I will treasure forever. But to be given the chance to show that I am capable of more has been an opportunity I’ve been seeking for a while and so utterly pleased that I found. Because not one review in the last month has mentioned any of the adjectives from that list and it feels fucking awesome. FUCKING AWESOME.
I owe a lot to my director Stéfan Cédilot, who took a chance on me in this production. Even in Montreal, I’m mostly known for comedic work, but he gave me a chance to show I can get dirty, punk and downright ROTTEN on stage! This process has been a fucking whirlwind, but such a pleasure to get to work with such a professional, and fucking dedicated cast, who love these roles, honoured these roles and BECAME these roles. The amount of research and development that went into this show was phenomenal. And it’s a high pressure gig, Sid, Nancy, Malcolm where all real people (shit, my “character” Johnny Lydon is still well and truly alive) and a lot of people care about these people and how they belong in the mythos of Punk History. It would be a disservice to take this show lightly and none of us wanted to do it half-arsed.
Our writer, Ben re-worked his script from last year (adding in The Pistol’s manager Malcolm McLaren) and fleshing out the interactions and story and did a bloody killer job. Ben and Stef know and love the Pistols, so that was further incentive to make sure we did it right. They’d know if we were making shit up and wouldn’t shy about calling us on it.
This was a meaty role, we had to actually WORK to make this show happen and it felt bloody good. Hours of research, voice coaching and watching hours of old footage, studying mannerisms, posture and stage moves, I can think of far worse ways to spend your evenings…
Pat, you “method” motherfucker, I fucking loved you as Sid man, you were Sid, I respect you for how hard you threw yourself headfirst into that role and you fucking owned it. Charles all your hard work toward bringing the “Vicious Circles” Malcolm to life paid off tenfold, on stage I often felt like smacking you in the face so you must’ve been doing something right, you devious bastard. Kathleen; when I say that you were the most annoying, whiney whore of a character I’ve ever performed with, I mean in the best and nicest possible way. I loved you in that role as much as Johnny hated Nancy. A lot.
DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT BUT I KNOW HOW TO GET IT
Punk was about being who you wanted to be and doing what you wanted to do. That what this show has been for me both on stage and off. It’s given me a real hard kick in the bollocks in the direction of what I want to be doing as an artist and onstage it’s been fucking anarchy. I have a thousand bruises, my hair may never recover from the amount of strange products I used to style and colour it and I don’t envy whoever has to clean the stage floor at Mainline or any of the costumes, but goddamn if it wasn’t a shit-tonne of fun.
The reviews have been delightfully stellar, the houses (much like those of the actual Pistols) for the most part have been varied in size, but always awesome and receptive. The future big plans made over many beverages are big, people. Grand plans ahead. We’re not done trying to sell the swindle yet darlings.
Punk’s not dead. Punk’s just been hanging out at Mainline Theatre. God save the Queen indeed.
“EVERY GET THE FEELING YOU’VE BEEN CHEATED? GOODNIGHT” –Johnny Rotten
Photos by Louis Longpre