ART (PART I)

I have so many friends who are artists, creatives and thinkers. I have so many people in my life who inspire me and make me think, ‘MAN OH MAN, I need to make like them, put pen to paper and better my creative self’, which is vital when you’re living a creative life as a side hustle.

So, I thought, rather than keep these talented folk all to myself, why not share the fruits of my friendships with you fine people?

Starting with this here poem.

Yesterday, a friend of mine sent me the link to her new Tumblr page. She’s an actress who I once interviewed as part of my ‘Job Centre’ campaign. She’s beautiful, inspirational and – trust me – once you press play on this film, you won’t be able to stop watching until the very end.

Welcome to Lotte Rice. Welcome to Spooning Chips.

Let me know what you think.

THE FORBIDDEN – A REVIEW

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I’m lucky in that I have lots of creative friends. I’m lucky in that I live in London and get to see them perform in creative spaces. But most importantly, I am lucky in that I have friends with very real talent who are a pleasure to watch.

Last night served as the perfect reminder of this.

Catherine, my oldest and dearest friend, was in a play called The Forbidden at The Canvas Cafe just off Brick Lane. The venue was a dreamboat made from delicious wines, intimate spaces and beautiful people. The piece itself topped all that.

Fiercely dark yet vastly comical, it left me worried that I was feeling nostalgic. Was I that evil as a teenager? Might I have been so easily swayed? Manipulative? Manipulated? With references to gossip in Science class at school, Abs from Five and a very real focus on every teenager’s obsession with sex and virginity, this piece absolutely left me wanting more. I don’t want to say too much because I think it’s best to enjoy it without any knowledge of the plot – me being the disorganised one of the group hadn’t a clue what it was going to be about and I think I was better off for it – so I won’t ruin it, but I will say go and see it.

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll understand the dread that your teenage years will come back to haunt you one day in the form of a forgotten about disposable camera, dug up from your bedroom drawer. You know that it will expose your poor judgment in spotty, fourteen year old boys and a badly cut fringe.

In The Forbidden however, a disposable camera brings back memories of something a little more sinister than blue mascara and a penchant for Tamagotchis.

Haunting. And the perfect date for Halloween week. Book tickets for Monday here.

THE JOB CENTRE – LOTTE RICE

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Age: 26

Occupation: Actor

Did you always know you wanted to perform? Not really. The seed was planted in my early teens and the dream grew over the years with each new experience. It really picked up in sixth form when I was acting a lot more.

Did you go to drama school? Yep, RADA, shortly after finishing my A Levels.

What was the application process like? I had initially, quite apathetically, applied to university during ‘UCAS Mania’ in our A level year. It seemed like the right thing to do. It’s what everyone else was doing. Problem was, I didn’t really know what I wanted to study. I was interested in many things and my A levels were varied, but the only thing that I knew I wanted to do was act. So, when I randomly met Alan Rickman (long story), he said that if what I wanted to do was act, then I had better get on with it. I then spilt a glass of champagne on his really nice velvet jacket – oops – but went on to apply to loads of drama schools, got shit loads of rejections, kept going and luckily got into RADA. I know lots of people who spent years applying, and honestly – the amount of rejections you get has ABSOLUTELY NO CORRELATION to talent or ultimate success – they are absolutely ballin’ now.

What was your first job out of drama school? ‘The Way Of The World’ by Congreve at Chichester Festival Theatre. I was working with a huge cast, filled with seasoned actors, who had spent large swathes of their careers with the RSC and The National, or on television- a lot of them took me under their wing and showed me the ropes.

How important is it to get an agent? Depends. You can have an agent who does absolutely nothing for you and sometimes it is better to be without so that you be your own full time boss, generate some hype around yourself, and find success alone. Eventually though, if you want to work with the big dogs, you’ll need one. But you can work for yourself in the meantime.

What’s the best way of going about landing one? I personally believe you are wasting your time cold-calling agents. You are one of maaaany people trying to find one, or find a new one. It’s better to spend your time and energy contacting casting directors and directors, getting yourself a job, and then having something to exhibit yourself with. It’s always better to put yourself in a position where they can come to see you in something.

How do you go about finding auditions if you don’t have an agent? There is a website called Casting Call Pro, which many people use. Also, writing directly to casting directors and directors helps.

What’s the most recent play you’ve been in? I was in a Fringe play called ‘Love to Love to Love You’ at the Vaults Festival and Edinburgh Festival- it was a new adaptation of ‘Le Ronde’ by Schnitzler.

Is working on the Fringe fun? It’s very exciting, but not for the feint-hearted as the hours are as dodgy as the pay and you will probably have to hustle your audiences. It’s worth doing if you believe in the work, though. Plus, like all tricky things, it’s ‘character building’.

Do you find that surrounding yourself with actor friends helps? Yes. Especially those who I went to drama school with. It’s not unusual to say that drama school can be quite a traumatic experience, so when I graduated, I did sometimes find it hard hanging out with old friends who had no idea what I had been through. Actors know your struggle! And it can be a struggle. They’re also a lot of fun!

What would be your dream role? There are so many. At the moment I am doing lots of singing and would love to be in a play that involves singing too, although not necessarily a musical. I also love snazzy costumes, so would love to do some classy period dramas on TV. 

Are you working on anything at the moment? Yes, I am currently doing some voice overs, shooting a music video and developing a piece of new writing with a theatre company called PaperCut. We are planning to take it to The Vaults festival, Latitude and Edinburgh. Then, depending on how that goes, onwards and upwards! 

Do you work between acting jobs? YES! There is no shame in this. Even when I’ve had lots of money in the bank from big acting jobs, I’ve had to work, because too much time alone with no structure can play havoc on your headspace. Acting is, fundamentally, the worst industry for any sort of stability or structure. I know that some people are ok with that, but most of us need things to hold onto and keep us going- not only financially, but also mentally.

How do you keep your head up after a rejection? Believe in yourself! And move on. Bounce right back and keep smiling. Beat any disappointment or resentment out of you. It’s poisonous.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would it be? I’d be a doctor!

And finally, what one piece of practical career advice would you give to your younger self? 

Definitely to always believe and have hope. I used to freak out after I finished a job or if I hadn’t had an audition in a while. Keep cool, believe, have hope, keep smiling, be clear about what you want and then take steps towards getting it.

It’s not easy, but it’s simple.

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Oozing with talent and charisma. A very good friend of mine and an unbelievable party companion.

So. Much. Sass.

Any questions for her? Let me know and I’ll pass them on.

The Fancy Dress

There is nothing better than receiving an invitation to a costume party.

You can be whoever you want to be for an entire evening. A superhero, a rockstar, a popstar… even Amy Winehouse if that’s your thing. I wish I could dress up everyday, which is why I just cannot understand why people are so impartial to a little dressing up!

You’d have thought it required more effort than the weekly rigorous trawl through Topshop Oxford Circus on a Saturday afternoon or something, when in actual fact, you can probably find an outfit for a costume party in your very own “I never wear this. Ever. But you never know” cupboard. It’s cheap and promotes recycling. It also allows you to have fun and play around with your identity and when submerged in work, exams, essay deadlines and these tiresome winter months, why not add a little frivolous sparkle into your life?

Due to this strange adoration for fancy dress, I was so excited when mum decided to celebrate her 50th birthday this month with a huge fancy dress party! I opted for Jessica Rabbit. It was a little bit of a ‘She-thinks-She-could-look-like-her-but-She-really-can’t’ costume, but I still loved it nonethless.

The key is for everyone to go for it. When they do, the sights are mind boggling. You get Shrek snogging the face off Princess Leia, Cleopatra dancing to some sort of Grease megamix with Madonna and if you’re lucky you might even get to see Jasmin and Aladdin having a barney in the corner. The photos are cracking too. People start to take on the personality of their characters. Shy party-goers start to pout like Katie Price and your boss always lets out their inner wild child. One family friend dressed up as Gomez Addams and even took it upon himself to break the law for his costume and smoke cigars all night. Inside. Epic.

I’ve always loved fancy dress. When I was 18 I went to a ‘Smash And Grab’ night at Punk in Tottenham Court Road where a fancy dress booth is provided for your own amusement. Instead of heading to the bar, I strode over to the booth and kitted myself out in a leotard, spotty pants and a huge pink bow in my hair. I totally don’t have the thighs for such attire but I have to admit; it felt amazing. It meant that people would approach you because you look hilarious and you can act however you like because, well,  its not really you is it?

All in all, I have to agree with Blanche, “I don’t want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic. I try to give that to people. I do misrepresent things. I don’t tell truths. I tell what ought to be truth.” (Blanche Dubois, A Streetcar Named Desire) and I should urge you to do the same. Go and dress up as someone new. You wouldn’t wear the same shirt or skirt everyday because it would get boring, so why restrict yourself to the same body everyday? You never know, when you finally clamber back into your own skin, life might seem that little bit more exciting knowing that actually, you can literally be who you want to be…