Tuesday 19 January 2016

Ten in Ten #1 - Me!

Having submitted the old blog to a little digital ‘spit and polish', with the intention of turning it into my main personal website (together with Shadow Road's site, I think the Internet already knows far more about me than it really needs - or indeed wants - to, without me having to maintain yet another site!), I am going to kick things off by submitting myself to the very same questionnaire that I'm hoping a few of my creative friends may be willing to answer here over the coming months.

I've called it Ten in Ten - the idea being that it asks only ten questions, all of which should be answered in no more than ten minutes.  Thus, I hope I may get a few more takers than I would if I was asking them for the biographical equivalent of War & Peace - and we may all get a little insight into their lives and interests. 

Since I try never to ask others to do anything that I wouldn't be prepared to at least have a go at myself, however, I'm going to get the ball rolling.  Usually, we'd begin with a short biography of the person answering the questions but as you've probably already read all the information about me in the blog header above, I'll spare you that and skip straight to the answers!

The timer on my phone has been set for ten minutes* so here we go... :-)

TEN IN TEN - 10 questions to answer in 10 minutes or less - don’t think, just write!

1. Who inspires you?  People who step in when they see someone else in danger – fearless, selfless people.  All the people – Veterans, soldiers, civilians and counsellors alike – whom I spoke to when researching my play, Dreams From The Pit.  The Invictus Veterans and all our brilliant Paralympians.  Laura Bates – creator of The Everyday Sexism Project – who has given a voice, and a community, to countless previously unheard women from around the world and drawn attention to a problem that many are not even aware still exists. Actors and other creatives – most of the actors whom I have met and worked with have been amazing people, so open, giving and empathetic, while also committed, professional and driven.  My parents.  People who make a difference.  Too many other people to mention!

2. Who/what most annoys you?   Overpaid, over-privileged footballers, pop singers and Hollywood stars – basically, celebrity culture and its celebration of the vain, vacuous and inane.  The modern-day tendency to exalt all the wrong people for the wrong reasons, while ignoring or undervaluing those who make a genuine and positive difference to other people's lives - often at their own expense - really infuriates me.

3. The last three plays or films you saw? Around the World in 80 Days, The Firework Maker’s Daughter and Miss Saigon.

4. The first four books that you think of when asked which ones have stayed with you since reading them?  The Girl in the Box – Ouida Sebastien, Among You – Jake Wood, A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini, The Penguin Book of WWI Poetry.

5. Your five favourite fictional characters?  Ellen Ripley, Jason Bourne, Katniss Everdeen, Pug/Milamber and Paksenarrion Dorthansdottir.

6. A hidden gem you’d recommend (could be a place to visit, a book to read, a play to see, a song to listen to etc)?   The London Wetland Centre in Barnes.  It's pretty incredible to see a nature reserve of that size tucked away in the corner of a huge city like London.

7. What are you most proud of in your professional life so far? Dreams From The Pit.  I can't wait to get the new and improved version back onstage!

8. What is your greatest as yet unfulfilled ambition?  To win an Olivier award and direct a play on the stage of the Olivier Theatre at the National!

9. Your favourite quotation?  Too many to choose between but time’s running out so I’ll go for one of the two that I currently have up on my study wall: ‘Be who you were created to be and you will set the world on fire’ -  St Catherine of Sienna.

10. Your hoped-for epitaph?  Hmm.  ‘She lived, loved, laughed - and left the world a better place than she found it.'
*In the interests of full disclosure, I should make it clear that while I did try and answer the questions in ten minutes, it took me a lot longer than that to put this whole post together, writing and editing the intro, adding links and checking names etc! :-D

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