Ed Parnell's Cunning Plan

I been here and there with receding hair…

No more excuses. It’s time to protect yo

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Written by edparnell

April 18, 2017 at 12:03 am

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Mcphereson Easter

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Well, another easter has been and gone and let me tell you in acting circles there is no greater time than Easter. Apart from Christmas. And Autumn. And summertime spectaculars. And Winter Wonderland engagements. But apart from all that – and halloween – apart from all that Easter is the number one time to get together with acting brethren and – and Pancake day – relate stories of your exploits in the world of Thespis. And Michaelmas.

To me, Easter holds a special place. For it was Easter when my Nanny, Bess, took me to the theatre for the first time. I was four and, as most four year olds are, very excitable. I remember the smell of the West End, the lights, the action. Oh, the heady days of childhood wonder. It was here I first used a public lavatory.

Nanny Bess has taken me to London because my parents apparently had something to sort out. To this day I do not know what it was but I do know Nanny Bess left our house shortly upon our return.

London was a magnificent place in those days, full of promise and tweed. Before we went to the theatre, we went to see Oxford Street. If there is somewhere which seeped what London was in those days, it was Oxford Street, and I drenched myself in the colourful characters. There was the bus drivers, angry and impatient. The angry taxi drivers shouting as we crossed the roads. The builders always ready with a comment about Nanny Bess which young ears should really never hear and the restrained tutting of ladies as they went by. I was pleased to see Nanny Bess was welcomed to the capital with a picture on the front of the Standard, although I cannot remember what the headline was, I do recall her shyly hurrying away.

The theatre we attended was the Shaftsbury, a place where subsequently I have attempted to work many times. The welcoming foyer and doorman have long since gone, but if you close your eyes you can still hear the sounds of merry theatres goers within. And sometimes you can almost still smell the doorman.

We bought peanuts (you were allowed to buy peanuts in those days) and sat in the Gods, watching the action. It was an Ibsen play ‘Olaf Liljekrans’. As you can imagine, watching a 19th century in the original Norwegian didn’t long entrance the youthful me, and it wasn’t long before I was attempting to flood the stage with ill-aimed peanuts. This lead, I am somewhat ashamed to say to the first and last time I have been forcibly ejected from a Theatre (if you don’t include Mother Goose in Southend in 2006. I still say I should have got that part. Damn you, Jacobi!). But the bug was definitely there. For acting, not for being ejected. Although God knows some people have made a big name for themselves being thrown out of entertainment venues of all types. But not me. I like to be in there, on stage, all eyes on me, and if possible, being supposed to be there.

The bug was in me and I immediately pestered my parents to send me to stage school. I wanted to act, to give pleasure. My Father said I gave pleasure whenever I entered another room, so it was obviously something I was destined to do. I was enrolled in Bernie Dintes’ Dramatic Academy. One of the advantages of this form of education was that it was self-supporting. We, the students, made saucepans for fourteen hours a day and then would put on a show in what remained of the day (as long as we kept the noise down). Musicals, drama, comedies, they flowed through us in those heady shows like the sauces which were put in the pans we were making. We didn’t pay enough attention in the smelting process and thus the school closed down.


Posted By Ed to Mcphereson on 4/17/2017 09:09:00 am

Written by edparnell

April 17, 2017 at 5:09 pm

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Mcphereson Another post

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Written by edparnell

April 17, 2017 at 5:09 pm

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I Tried Being Vegan for 4 weeks and… •

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Written by edparnell

April 10, 2017 at 10:00 am

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Mcphereson Christmas at Chez Tarq

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Written by edparnell

December 18, 2016 at 11:20 am

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Mcphereson Walking (but not in Memphis)

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Written by edparnell

December 9, 2016 at 1:01 pm

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Mcphereson Summer comes to a close

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I do love the lull in the Summer months which allow one to get centered for the long slog of performances one has to give during the darker months. It also gives one a chance to catch up on the social circuit, with gatherings and get-togethers we thesps whisper in hushed tones the latest in gossip and maybe share the odd precious tip or trick.

There is nothing as rewarding as sharing a little device or inflection which would, in all probability make the difference between an award and a show which is ‘going on tour from the West End’.

Let me assure you, tips and tricks are no different in our trade than they are in say, plumbing or TV repair or being an astronaut. In fact the latter is particularly apposite as forget your line as an astronaut and you simply drift off into the endless eternity of space to run out of air. Forget your line in Shepton Mallet Grand Theatre and it’s much the same, only with the appearance of old vegetables flying stage-ward at the curtain call, something that would I am sure raise eyebrows at NASA.

While I am on the subject, I have noticed a trade in the foyer of many theatres I have worked in, namely an old fruit and veg stall positioned in the vestibule. I have mentioned this to several of my peers and absolutely none of them have seen the same thing. But there, in the foyer of the Cheadle Avalon, is small table selling a selection of what I can only describe as off-veg. Now I am not one to boast, but I have been informed that this is peculiar to me, that a small following of admirers have developed a cottage industry. To think, that perhaps I have inspired a generation of entrepreneurs and innovators to spot this business opportunity is as humbling as it is flattering.

More proof, if indeed proof were needed, that acting is, in fact, the most inspirational job in the world.


Posted By Ed to Mcphereson on 9/11/2016 09:40:00 am

Written by edparnell

September 11, 2016 at 5:40 pm

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