By Aislinn De'Ath

By Aislinn De'Ath
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Monday, 28 May 2012

It's all happened rather quickly...

Reader, in two weeks time, my tour will be over. OVER. DONE. FINITO. I am, quite frankly, terrified. Ok, so it had to come to an end eventually. But given that I've spent more time with this group of people over the last four months than I have with my family, it's going to be a serious adjustment not hanging out with them at every given opportunity. It's been a bit like working with the famous five, only with vodka instead of ginger beer, a minibus instead of bicycles and Little Chef lunches instead of Aunt Fanny's picnics. And there's also the point that I have nothing lined up for after the tour, apart from a film I did last year being shown at the East End Film Festival in London and a few possible auditions. Being self employed is bloody scary sometimes. Being on tour is great, because when you tell people you're an actress and they ask if you're up to anything, you've always got an answer. In mid June, I will only be able to reply with 'Erm, well, I'm working at a call centre, but hopefully something will come up soon...' Time to get back to letter writing and appealing to casting directors I think.

At least when the tour's done I'll have more free time. I've been a social hermit since it started, and I'm despo to see my old uni friends again! And catch up with my drama school mates, who are all doing mad and interesting things! And bake more often...

Maybe I'll take up knitting. Or I'll start working 6 days a week. More money would defo come in useful since I am currently outrageously skint and in need of a holiday (which I haven't had in three years). Or I'll get an acting project in a hot climate with another group of really fun people? Yes please...

To be fair, it's probably about time the tour ended, my poor liver is as shrivelled as pot pourri with all the booze I've been chucking back, and nightly cheese sarnies have made my scales screech in horror. Salad and tofu with a side order of jogging for the month after I finish I reckon. And maybe the odd solero. Because it's summer, and a life without ice cream at summer is no life at all. And maybe the odd glass of pimms...or pitcher....oh dear....

Enjoy your fab lollies Reader!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

How do you fund a thing like theatre?

Reader, a lovely chap who I went to uni with asked me to write a little bit about theatre funding recently. Mainly because he's doing a show and is trying to get people to give him money on a site called wefund so he can get it off it's feet (if you want to help out a very worthy cause and donate a couple of quid to this up and coming company, I'll put all the info you need at the bottom of the page, please do, they are jolly nice). Once I'd gotten over my epic smugness at being asked to write about something rather intellectual and 'proper' (which surely marks me out as the sort of writer who should get paid for what they Not yet? Blast.) I was hit by a sudden and abject fear.

Reader, the truth of it is that I know NOTHING about funding the arts. Bugger all in fact. I am supposed to be making a short film at the end of the year/beginning of the next, and although I know that we'll need money, it's a very vague concept that I assume I'll just magically understand when I need to. Like getting a mortgage. Or having a baby.

The thing is, increasingly for actors in today's industry, if you want to play the big/small but interesting parts, you have to create the stage on which you present yourself. Producers and directors go for named actors from the larger agencies rather than taking a risk on an unknown actor and when the opportunity to do that part that you've been dreaming of finally does come up, what's the likelihood that you'll be able to play with it and make it truly yours? Actors and crossing the line into writing, producing and directing, meaning a wider skill base (and higher levels of sanity) is needed. And as well as accepting more creative control, you also take on the not such fun bits. Like finding locations, paying for things like lighting, cameras and theatres and being the person that's supposed to be a) responsible for everything and everyone and b) the fall guy. Hmmm, a less attractive prospect perhaps. Luckily there are ways of getting help from the public. Increasingly, fewer creatives are relying on producers or commercial partners to fund their projects, but are instead putting it in the hands of the public on websites like wefund. As far as I can tell, you basically create a page for your project, you set a target and people pledge money. So if you make your Target, the money automatically goes to you, if not, no one pays anyone anything. Which seems fair. I may even use it myself one day soon!

Of course, if anyone would just like to donate a couple of grand to me to get it made, that would also be marvellous...

Hope you're enjoying the sun Reader!

Some Stuff on Volpone (The play being sponsered on

With thanks to Matthew Badham

1) why did you decide to use wefund?

This is my first time funding a show with we fund, a few companies I know have used it in the past to take shows to Brighton Fringe or Edinbrough etc, So after seeing the success they had using the site I decided we should try it out.

One of the great things about We Fund is that it gives you a chance to spread the word of a show before it even happens. Usually getting together the money for a show is quite a solitary affair, a lot of sitting at a desk and letter writing; with we fund you set up your own page for all to see, get a bit of hype going (hopefully) before the show is even in rehearsal and even the chance to forge relationships with supporters of the theatre who will continue to follow your company’ future productions.

2) What sources of funding have you used in the past?

In the past I have funded shows thoroughly through corporate sponsorship. It’s a lot of hard work though, consisting on letter writing and phone calls to follow up. It’s a bit of a pestering game.

Of course there is the option of applying for ACE funding, In the future I would like to apply for some form of Arts Council England funding for company development; our plan is to start to run workshops for actors, but the task at hand is to get this show funded and up on its feet. 

3) And what do you hope to achieve from the show? – Kris to answer

The shadow of Shakespeare hangs long over British Theatre. In this year where the UK plays host to the Cultural Olympia to play side by side with the Olympic games you cant help but encounter more and more of his productions; the Globe to Globe project, RSC residencies at the Noel Coward and Roundhouse, Timon of Athens in the Olivier, the Histories on the BBC. Shakespeare is our national poet and it is fantastic that he is being celebrated in the year where Britain is being showcased on a global scale. However our reverence does seem to lead to other playwrights of his era being left in the shade. The case for Ben Jonson is that he is too good to be ignored.
In his time Jonson was the master, Shakespeare his heavyweight challenger. Jonson, a man with links to high society, resident playwright to King James, tackles in his the man on the street; the rogues, brawlers and hookers, Shakespeare more often then not wrote about Kings and those who aspired to be. Ying and yang in style and thought, the audiences at the Globe spoke and Jonson eked out a points victory to stand as the Jacobean’s most important writers. Now looking at his legacy he has left us with three comedies that more than match up to any written by the quill of his rival; The Alchemist, Bartholomew Fair and in my view his ultimate masterpiece- Volpone. The chance to tackle one of the great, underperformed plays in world theatre was an opportunity we couldn’t turn down.
The themes of greed and avarice chime particularly loudly in our present society; desperation to gain more then what we own compels people to acts of desperation and folly. Jonson writes about human foibles and the darkness of human psyche but keeps us on side with a great sense of mischief and rollicking set pieces. The audience is charmed whilst in the company of the louche playboy Volpone and his ever-resourceful parasite Mosca. These are two of the greatest parts in the classical repertory, a joy for the actors to embody and a joy for the audience in encountering them.
By cutting the sub-plot of the Politic Would Be and entourage, the plot of Volpone ricochets along, akin to the great mechanisms of farce, as the leading protagonists juggle the scheming legacy hunters and take disguise to keep their ‘plot’ going right through to its definitive conclusion. By updating the action to a modern day anachronistic world we aim to bring out the bawdy, dark, sexy and hilarious world that Jonson created
Memorable characters, thrilling, funny and dark, Volpone was the obvious choice to complement the Shakespeare heavy summer we are about to witness. We hope audiences will come and witness a play that stands up to the very best work of his friend and rival William Shakespeare.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Fifty shades of flipperty-jibberts...

Ok Reader, so I read the book that's had the literary world in a bit of a flap of late. The book that's being hailed as the new big thing in the world of erotic literature. The one with spanking....

The thing is, Fifty Shades of Grey was a bit of a surprise. A friend's mother gave it to me, describing it simply as 'acceptable porn'. Now, this could have covered a multitude of areas. It could have been about cake or really good food given my love of cooking/eating. It could have been a bit Madame Bovary, all sexy but subtle. It could even have been like one of the Agent P. Short erotica stories. But it wasnt't. Reader, Fifty Shades of Grey is essentially Twilight with less vampires and more S & M dungeons.  A ridiculously good looking millionaire with commitment issues decides that a somewhat ordinary twenty something who interviews him for her uni rag needs to be his submissive (if you don't know what that is, look it up: explaining the ins and outs-Haha-of sado masachism isn't my job dear) and begins pursuing her with all guns blazing.




... still with me? Good. So, she's also a virgin. Not just a virgin, a virgin with pretty much no interest in getting spanked/whipped/having things done to her bum/being clamped in awkward places. And yet still she's like 'ok, let's give this a go!'


So she's saved herself for 21 odd years, just to give it up to the first S&M sex god to turn up, even though she's not that fussed about all that malarkey. Suddenly she starts referring to being f****d. After doing the dirty roughly once. With someone she barely knows. Fair enough. But then why bother saving herself for all those years?

Also, she sort of falls at the first hurdle. He spanks her and she nearly has a fit about how awful it is. Dude. Seriously. What did she imagine might happen? Then whenever he suggests anything new she gets all scared and prissy about it. Surely she knew this sort of thing may be par for the course with a S&M enthusiast? And she's supposed to be intelligent...

The other thing that annoys me a bit is that the novel really panders to a 'chick lit' readership-it's not enough that they have great sex, they also have to be in a relationship and her parents have to like him. Ooh, and he has to be really rich and gorgeous. Right. Realism. The novel (?!?) needs to make up it's mind. Is it erotica? Is it chick lit? Is it literary fiction about sex? At the moment it seems to be a mish mash of all of the above. If you liked Twilight you might enjoy it but to be honest I found all the characters turgid, one dimensional and generally intensely irritating.


Sunday, 6 May 2012

Insert exercise pun here...

Reader, exercise and I do not mix. I did a zumba class yesterday and now my abs are in AGONIES. So much so that I can't go from a laying down position to a sitting position using just my tummy muscles. I have to pull myself up with my arms, all the while going 'ooohhhhhhh ow ow ow ow' and looking like I'm chewing on a lemon. It probably didn't help that I then did a run this morning, but I felt like I had to take advantage of the new treadmill Mum's invested in whilst I'm in London, before the next segment of the tour on Tuesday, which will (as ever) involve eating out. And whilst I love eating out, I've put on just under half a stone since rehearsals for the tour began and I want to get back to my 'I'm so skinny I can wear a bikini' weight. Because it's smug-making. And I can wear the section of my wardrobe that gets ignored most of the time due to it being slim fitting.

But now I'm suffering after ages of not exercising followed by two big old bouts one day after another. My body was made for baking and pillocking around on a stage, not running in trainers or shaking my booty to r&b 'choons'! The Lad currently has severe manflu but I am the one who can't sit up without assistance, so I am getting all of the attention. And pillows. Mwa ha ha. My aim is to do another run early Tuesday morning, before I have to catch my train, so hopefully my body will have repaired itself before then. I'm sure chocolate must be a cure for this sort of thing. Right? If not, I may have to eschew the running for some nice gentle yoga. And hot baths.

In other news, I am off to see SJ tomorrow, and we're returning to Bea's of Bloomsbury, which has now got a diner! We're hopefully going to be doing a mini review (much like our cake reviews, only this one will probably be back in the old format of being blogged rather than vlogged), so keep your eyes peeled. After that am planning to go visit my lovely Irish grandparents, who are then going back to Ireland till the end of May, when they'll be coming to see my show! Huzzah! It's so nice having family in the audience, because you know there'll be friendly faces to come out to at the end. And drinks bought for you after of course!

Alight chaps, The Lad is coughing something dreadful, so I'm going to force some fisherman's friends down his gullet. If I can get myself in a sitting position that is. Ouch.

Friday, 4 May 2012


Reader, as you can probably tell from the title of this entry, I recently saw Avengers Assemble. And it was bloody brilliant. What is there not to love about a superhero movie featuring Mark Ruffalo (BEST HULK EVER!), Robert Downey Jr. (I want to steal him away so he can sit in my room being snarky about everything), Tom Hiddleston as the lovably naughty Loki (you just can't hate him. He's too funny...) and Chris Hemsworth (...dribble...)?

Oh yeah. Scarlett Johansson playing Black Widow. Bleh. Ok, so I know some of you will be going 'you're just jealous' and to an extent, you'd be right. I am extremely jealous. I mean HELLO best superhero movie ever? I'd KILL to do that! But there's also more to it than that. Firstly, why does the only female Avenger have to be-let's face it-not a real super? She is essentially a ninja/spy who's a bit crap at hiding who she is. Plus, there's all the 'oh yeah, she's a girl, she's sexy'. Ok. We get it. Ladies have curvy figures. But how insulting that she once uses the tear ploy (my superpower is pretending to be sad!) and once uses letting people beat her up to get information out of them? And how comes she doesn't get to be funny? Every other character has humour to them. She gets one, really pathetic line about parties. Some could say that's the Russian sense of humour. I say it's poor female character building. One more piece of criticism before I move on: The American accent. Maybe fanboys/girls of the comics can help me out here as Black Widow is a relatively unknown character to me, but she's supposed to be Russian, right? So where's the accent. There's mention of her having her brain messed with, was it a side effect? So yeah, not terribly impressed by that element of the film. Also, I met her once and she's kind of bitchy in real life.

Not all women in the film are irritating though. Gwyneth shone (hurrah! An intelligent female character!) as Pepper Potts and Cobie Smulders was a delight every time she spoke (So much so that I wanted to see her on screen much much pandering there!)

The thing is, I'd really like to see a female super on screen that isn't entirely crap. Let's face it, Wonderwoman as an idea is wonderful but is essentially all about the body, although I'm completely intrigued to see how they'll handle that one (if it's made into a respectable character that at least nods towards her feminist, Amazonian past and doesn't use her feminine wiles constantly, I'll be satisfied). Personally, I want to play SheHulk. Now THERE'S a character I can get my teeth into. Just to say 'SHE HULK SMASH!'  I'd also love to see Zatana hit up the big screen, her comics always seem to hit the perfect balance.

To be honest though, all the feminist stuff didn't distract that much from the utterly brilliant filmwork going on. I loved the interplay between the characters, the one liners were spectacular, it was fabulous for a relatively superficial comic geek like me but also for The Lad, who prays at the temples of Forbidden Planet and Orbital comics every Wednesday to get his fix. I came out with a massive smile on my face, quoting lines and still drooling a bit from Chris Hemsworth. The Lad is convinced that I am, much like Chris Evans, someone sent from the past, because I understood all of the same references that he jumped on, and I needed to pee for the final half hour but didn't leave the screen. For me, that's pretty much a first. Usually I'm not that fussed about missing two seconds of a film, but with this one it would have felt like a real loss.

Now, this was just going to be a blog about the film, but given that today was the elections, I can't go without mentioning how ashamed I am of my generation in terms of voting. There are countries out there where people don't have the chance to vote, or where their voting is completely disregarded. In some, women aren't allowed to vote yet, in others people are killed for their political beliefs. And here we have one of the lowest turn outs for years. I mean seriously?! Are our citizens that disillusioned with democracy? Ok, so we didn't have an Obama standing for Mayor of London this year (I wish). But at least vote to make sure UKIP don't get it. The BNP featured a racist reverend talking about 'fighting the threat of Islam' for goodness sake. At least vote so THAT doesn't get in! And I'm sorry, but you can't complain about the cost of the tube, or congestion charge, or your STREETLIGHTS not working if you don't vote for your local MP. Who do you think is in charge of this stuff? We vote them in. By majority. I know who I voted for, I know if they got in and did a crap job, I'd only have myself to blame. I also know that if a party I didn't vote for got in, I'd at least feel like I'd done all I could by voting for someone I believed in. But the crap I've heard over the past month or so about the elections really beggars belief. Here are a few titbits, overheard from strangers, friends and (oh lord) family,

  • 'I'm voting Boris, cause he's SUCH a joker!' Brilliant, well done. That's just what we want. Guess how much your monthly travelcard is? HAHA!
  • 'I'm not voting, because I don't like any of the parties' Really? None of them? Or just the main three? You do understand that one of them will still get in though right? And it might be the one you hate the most!
  • 'I don't really understand why the BNP have such a bad name. My parents vote for them, and they're not racist' Uhm....what?!
  • 'It's just one vote, it's not like it makes a difference' Funny, that's what everyone else said...
  • 'I'm not really directly affected by these elections' Oh I'm sorry, do you not take public transport? Or drive? Or pay tax? Or rent? Or get benefits of any kind? Or LIVE?
Sorry to be a sarcastic susan Reader, but it really does peeve me the way some people throw their vote out the window. People have died for us to have the vote. Why would you be that blasé about it? And on that note, I'm off to go check the election results...gulp...

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

My coconutty confession...

Reader, I am a terrible person. Why? When I got back from tour the other day, there was a full Tupperware container full of my favourite Irish biscuits, sort of a soft base with coconut covered pink marshmallow layered on top with a strip of neon red jam in the middle (it looks vaguely naughty from certain angles, but I've only just worked that out from trying to describe it without it sounding like a lady's secretive parts). Now the Tupperware is empty. For a while, I tried to convince myself that other people had been eating them too, but I must face the truth. It was me. I ate at least 15 biscuits in two days without really realising. I have a wheaty food baby and am on a strange sugar high and I'm pretty sure I've smeared marshmallow somewhere on my hair that will only be discovered when at the newsagent's tomorrow. This is also not the first time this has happened. By a long shot.

There was also the time I accidentally ate all the Christmas chocolate coins. All four bags. My reasoning was that it was officially after Christmas so I should really be congratulating myself. And before I knew it, all of the coins were buried treasure. And the time I melted down all my Eggs to make into fridge cake, so I could share it round and save myself from the calories. Silly idea, without the foil in the way there was nothing stopping me. The poor, innocent little fridge cake lasted less than a day. The Lad insists he only had three chunks, but surely he must be fibbing...

The thing is, I'm very good at sort of inhaling food. If it was a contest, I'd be an Olympic gold medalist. In fact, if they made it part of the games, I'm pretty sure I'd be able to give Britain a chance of winning this year. It's why I tend not to have nice treat food in the house. Because I don't realise I'm eating it until it's gone. And then I mourn it's absence. When there's only healthy food in the house, I eat very healthily. The other night at The Lad's new flat I had low fat aubergine bake. With no dessert. And no carbs. Ok, so I may have slightly grumbled about it, but I survived and was probably all the better for it. When I have my own place, there are certain foods that will just have to be outlawed. They are the following:

1) Bread-because if drunk enough or hormonal enough, I could eat a whole loaf.

2) Chocolate-obviously

3) Crisps-because I always think-oh, I'll just have half the bag, and then I eat the whole thing and sit in a smug salty pile of chubbiness.

4) Supernoodles-too easy to eat for a lazy lump like me (as in 'Hmmm....I could make a healthy tofu stir fry with all these veg....or I could have supernoodles on toast.....')

5) Chocolate or Honey nut based cerial-because I will treat it as a non-real-food product. In other words, consume it like air.

6) Biscuits-I think as the first paragraph mentions, I can't be trusted not to eat all of them by accident in one sitting

7) Salted nuts-See crisps

8) Dried Pineapple-even if massively healthy version. Have a strange addiction to it and WILL work my way through a family sized bag if left to my own devices.

9) Nutella-we had some in the house once, and then I discovered how good it was on a spoon and it vanished very very quickly

10) Processed cheese and onion pastries-don't judge me!

The fact is, if I have healthy food in the house, I am a very clever cook. I make a mean spicy ratatouille. And my garlic leeks in low fat cream cheese are sensational on top of a jacket potato or just with a bowl of greens. I do things to aubergine that make them taste like something that should be very very bad for you and I know how to make pancakes low fat. But I am a sucker for nasty, sugar filled, salt drenched, abjectly fake food. I think I may have to accept that my addiction to fatty fabulousness is just part of who I am and be proud of it. After all, everything in moderation, right?

Now I just have to work out how to shift the blame about those biscuits...