It’s Terry’s birthday today and to celebrate it he’s written a rather personal and painful blog post. When he was a teenager he had a small role in a televised BBC production of Macbeth. His post today recounts how he felt when he saw one of the director’s notes suggesting that Terry’s performance needed work.
I’ve never seen this performance myself so I can’t judge whether this was fair criticism from an industry professional or the half arsed scribbling of a jaded individual who was bored with producing drama destined for the artistic graveyard which is GCSE Bitesize.
However I have seen Terry act a fair amount. We met through the UEA Drama Society and hooked up after Terry persuaded me to audition for the production of Royal Hunt of the Sun, in which he already had a part. The majority of the cast was in place when they had some drop outs. And so they did another round of auditions to get the requisite number of players, during which I and a couple of others were accepted into the cast.
They had been workshopping bits of the play for nearly a month, but without the roles having been cast. So they were a close knit group. They knew the material, they knew each other but they didn’t yet know who would be the star and who would be 4th spear carrier from the left, so there were no egos at play. It was an inspired approach which would contribute to the success of one of the most awesome productions I would ever get to be in.
I was terrified. I was new to the play, new to everyone else, and at this point still in my 1st term of university so pretty new to all that as well. But I needn’t have worried. They were the loveliest most welcoming group you could imagine. And boy could they act! Drama was one of my great passions at school, and I felt that I wasn’t bad as an actress myself. Not fabulous, but I enjoyed inhabiting another character, exploring vocal and physical ways of expression, and as had been most important at school, I learned lines fast and could be relied upon to show up to rehearsal on time. But some of these guys ran rings round me. They had such presence, such commitment to what they were portraying. Chief amongst them – a tall, skinny, long-haired chap called Terry.
When we had first met at a DramaSoc mixer event in my first few weeks at uni I was actually seeing someone else. That relationship was ill-fated from the start, but meant that I was not looking for a boyfriend the first time Terry and I set eyes on each other. By the time I got into the Royal Hunt cast that previous relationship had fizzled out, but I was then going through a spiky phase thinking relationships were dumb and I was going to stay single for a while. So as Terry and I got to know each other during rehersals I wasn’t hoping it would turn into something more. I was just happy I had made a new friend and got to see him regularly as rehearsals went on. This would have been around early December 2000.
I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend. I wasn’t looking to fall in love and love happily ever after. I wasn’t even thinking about men that way. But Terry was just so admirable, and I think a large portion of that was due to his acting ability. His command of speech and poise on stage was beyond anything I had seen up close before. He breathed the character from his very bones, utterly convincing and defying anyone to look at anyone or anything else.
We hung out a bit after rehearsals and it didn’t take me long to realise that here was someone I could relate to. He was intelligent, kind, funny and he seemed to like me too. By the end of January 2001 Terry and I had become a couple, and have been together ever since. But as anyone who knows me is aware – I don’t belive in soul mates or fate or destiny. Relationships fail or succeed on a number of different factors including blind luck. If Terry hadn’t been such an awesome actor, I might not have been attracted to him right at the start, when the biochemicals of the brain so capriciously latch on to a particular characteristic. So nearly 12 years later and counting I am very happy that he was.