THE THEATRE ...


CONTENTS


Early Days

I can trace my abiding love of theatre, paradoxically, to the cinema - and to the efforts of my older cousin Stuart to 'civilise' a younger relative. He took me to see a matinee of Laurence Olivier's film Henry V when I was ten years old. I emerged, blinking in the light of a London summer on Oxford Street, with Olivier's tremendous bombast ringing in my ears. Shortly after, I wrote my first play, not a word of which do I now remember, though I am sure it included someone yelling:.

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!"

At school, I took to acting with relish, giving my Bottom in a first year (US Grade 5) class production of the Mechanicals' Play in A Midsummer Night's Dream and auditioning for school productions. My first speaking role in a public performance? The Carpenter in Julius Caesar:

ACT 1 SCENE 1

Important Roman
You, sir - what trade are you?

Me (Carpenter)
Why sir, a carpenter.

That was it - one line, along with some fine rhubarbing in crowd scenes and some determined spear-carrying. But, despite skin-rippingly itching fibreglass armour, I was hooked. Each school year that followed, I climbed the ladder of ambition. Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, Pizarro in Royal Hunt of the Sun and Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. Exam revision was squeezed between rehearsals. I was hooked.


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All material © Copyright 1995-2012 Ivor Benjamin unless otherwise specified. Last updated February 2012.