Growing up, my family rarely told stories. It wasn’t considered polite. I think I was 25 before I knew how my mother and father met. And that was only because I asked my mother about it point blank. Perhaps this explains why I’m interested in storytelling. And in all the ways I might do that: as an actor, playwright, theatre teacher, and, of late, as a screenwriter and film director. Maybe I’m making up for lost time.
I struggle with manifestos, but here goes:
I’m the artist running against the zeitgeist, the norm. I’m the one falling down, getting up, starting over; the capsized-your-life-burnt-your-bridges kind of starting over. I’m the one trying again. I’ve a knack for it: it’s a strange kind of talent, but then I’ve always been a bit weird, niche; an outsider trapped in an insider’s body. I make “fantastic mistakes” (to quote Neil Gaiman). I love being consumed with a passion that has become my life. I appreciate what a luxury it is to do what you love and to get paid for it. I aspire to stay small. Sometimes I talk to myself in an English accent. I prefer dogs to people, hats to visors. I love characters that try rather than succeed. I create stories, plays, films about such characters-fantastic mistake makers, outsiders struggling to find a place in a world that feels strange to them.
So I suppose you could argue that my central artistic idea is autobiography. Perhaps. I’ll leave you now with a quote from Jeanette Winterson: “There’s no such thing as autobiography. There’s only art and lies.”