As a stage performer and recently a mentor I am always keeping an eye and an ear or two out for new talented performers. One of the places you can be sure that new talent crops up is the Edinburgh Fringe. But as I have not been there for an age and a bit, I was lucky to be in the audience of a play that had its airing in Leipzig at the English Theatre Leipzig. Amongst the cast of Cleansed, that got great accolades there and here, was Raymond Wilson as Robin.. During the Q & A here in Leipzig I also discovered he had an avid interest in telling stories. But rather than me spin a yarn, let’s hear from the fresh blood himself.
ST: It always intrigues me, and I am sure our readers, just why people take to the stage, there can be a great diversity to the driving force to adorn the actors garb. What inspired you to take to the stage?
RW: It’s something I’ve been doing since I was pretty young, so I think my inspiration to act comes from being able to just “play make-believe” in a way that lets me express and experience emotions, roles and situations that I wouldn’t usually be able to do in every-day life (in what other field could you say you’ve been a drug-addict, a priest, a king or even a lion throughout your time doing it?). So I’m inspired by the possibilities of what I can pretend to be next and how whatever this can be explored. A bit of self-therapy might be involved too – the buzz of being able to go all out and just release some pent-up anger/sadness/joy/love, and the possibility to make people feel those emotions in a way that they might find hits-home with them or makes them think is something I find constantly brilliant.
To learn that craft of capturing the story and portray emotions is no easy job. And we can all learn from others who have trod the boardwalks or been in the limelight. Who are your contemporaries and inspirations?
Like most people I grew up on film and TV rather than theatre so my inspirations are from those mediums. Ricky Gervais and Leonardo Dicaprio are my main influences and fellow Glaswegian James McAvoy too – all totally different guys but all with an amazing work ethic, back-catalogue of work and are philanthropists to boot. Saying this though, they are just three stand-outs in what would be a list of my big influences: Zach Braff, Ryan Gosling, Robert DeNiro, Kevin Spacey, Andrew Scott…! Just about every person I work with or see on stage inspires me or teaches me in some way though, you can learn something off of every other actor (whether it’s because they’re good or bad) if you’re open to doing so..
We also, I guess, have to be open to praise and criticism as well. Others certianly see us in a certain way as performers, but how would you describe your style in 5 words?
Energetic. Physical. Humourous. Sympathetic. Relatable.
That is a nice combo that gives us some great insight and you need that kind of energy to pull off good, rounded performances. What has been your greatest challenge to date?
Most likely the Edinburgh Festival Fringe that I did for the first time in August this year! I performed both Cleansed & Phaedra’s Love every day with Fear No Colours theatre and doing 50 shows within the space of a month can take it out of you! So the greatest challenge was keeping motivation up as a company – helping each other stay energised, helping each other keep the show fresh, helping each other not kill anyone…! Both plays were by Sarah Kane too, so quite intense, physically and emotionally exhausting pieces, not to mention that I had to eat a whole box of chocolates every day on stage within the space of about 2 minutes (which probably sounds pretty decent to some people actually).
That sounds like the director really pushed you to the limits and as I witnessed you were able to take that on admirably. The play has come to an end and I am sure you all knocked them for six with your performances. So, what are your next steps as a writer, performer?
For theatre I’d like to keep working on pieces of writing I have in the pipeline, even if that means I don’t feel they should be put on stage. In the end I’d like to finish what I’ve started. As an actor the plan is to get more experience on screen. With lots of stage experience under my belt recently I’m feeling rusty on camera, so I want learn more skills for film and TV…a period of reading up on things and testing myself on a wee video-camera is in order! You always need to be developing!