18 October 2011

The Importance of Being Algernon

I think there may be something seriously wrong with me.

The reasons for this are manifold, but most prominent among them at the moment is that, despite having spent the last three weeks complaining bitterly about how being in a show has been taking over my life, and how desperately I need a rest, I’ve gone and auditioned for another one, rehearsals for which start this Wednesday.

Mind you, you could hardly blame me for grabbing this one by the throat when it came along; Darwin Theatre Company are putting on Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. I’ve wanted the chance to act in this play since the first time I saw it, which admittedly was the recent movie version starring Colin Firth and Rupert Everrett, which varies noticeably from the original text in a few minor ways.

Interestingly, everyone I’ve spoken to about this has told me I should audition for it. In the words of a few members of the Princess Ida cast, I’d be Jack Worthing down to the ground. A group of well meaning yet fierce-faced sopranos made a great show of telling me how much they were looking forward to me trying out for Jack. And, as is ever my wont in the face of so many well intentioned women telling me what to do, I knew there was only one course of action available to me.

I tried out for Algernon.

For one thing, Algernon Moncrieff has been on my bucket list of characters to play since I drew up said bucket list, which was really only quite recently after a discussion on Facebook with Kirribilli Kim about what characters we would put on a bucket list if we had a bucket list. The point is... there is a bucket list, and Algernon is on it.

For another thing, I don’t really know why people would associate me with Jack more than Algy. I suppose the confusingly reality-based idea that I’m a mild mannered bank manager by trade might lead to romantic speculation about what I get up to when I visit my estate in the country. To tell the truth, the idea of a double life does intrigue me sometimes. But this has more to do with imagining what it be like to be superhero than it does with impersonating my recalcitrant and entirely fictional younger brother.

But surely if I’m any character from Earnest, it’s got to be the cynical, mischievous cheeky not-a-gentleman who spends most of his time producing lines that don’t really makes sense and getting away with it because no-one really knows what he’s on about anyway. Hell, I’ve got five years worth of blog entries to support the claim that Oscar Wilde based the character of Alernon on my life. Or at least my blog. He really was a man well ahead of his time, old Oscar. And since in my last three shows I've played a sexually confused construction worker, a turn of the last century French aristocrat and a war mongering medieval king, I think the chance to play a cheeky single know-it-all is something to be celebrated, not avoided.

Finally, the best reason to suggest that Algernon’s place on my bucket list is well justified is that he’s no longer on it. He’s just been crossed off because I’ve got a message from the director to say I’ve got the part. HELL YEAH! Rehearsals start this week on Wednesday and run for the next six weeks. Oh good grief.

So suck on that, soprano face! That’s right! See if that doesn’t make you look even more like you’ve swallowed something extremely sour than usual.

Make of that what you will… and please don’t hurt me.




Garry with 2 Rs
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