People are very nice.
Now what follows is a post about theatre but read on regardless because I think it is probably applicable to anyone with a dream.
Last night I spent the evening at an artists talk with Tim Crouch. I have always been a big fan of Tim and his work, and he had so many amazing things that were wise, inspiring and relatable. But the number one thing he taught me was that people in all walks of life are nice.
As an emerging artist (and I am gradually becoming more comfortable with calling myself that) it is easy to feel lost. You can look at all these huge theatres and their fancy pants programmes and feel like giving up there and then. Recently for me this feeling has been ebbing away ever since I joined up with the amazing LEAP, but still when I am faced with a hand shake from somebody I put up there in the realm of being a ‘real artist’ I feel myself begin to pale in comparison.
But last night I was reassured.
Tim Crouch told us that when he first wrote My Arm he was performing it in peoples living rooms, unsure of his own work as a writer and still working professionally as a writer. At the time he was working on a production of one of Caryl Churchill’s plays, who happened to be, and still is, the writer he admired most. In his production pack, on his list of contacts, there in black and white was Churchill’s number. Late one night he rings this number and leaves a voicemail, asking the woman who he admires most in this industry to read this script he isn’t all that sure of.
She says yes, reads it, loves it,k and the rest as they say, is history.
After Tim finishes his amazing talk on his career so far he invites us all across the road to the pub. Now there I am stood, the awkward being that I am, not really knowing anyone else in the room and unsure when the last tram is (not to mention the whole, meant to be on a diet and writing a new show thing) and telling myself no one really wants you to go along to the pub. And maybe they didn’t, but the other part of me was thinking, you told yourself you were going to seize any opportunity thrown at you and think of Hamlet, there is no real Hamlet, there is no real artist, just a person stood on stage telling you that that is what they intend to be.
So off to the pub I went, and one glass of wine later, my awkwardness (to some extent, after all awkwardness is the essence of my very being) has subsided, and all these lovely talented artistic and successful people are chatting away and including me in conversation. Asking what it is that I do, when my next show is, and that I should drop them an email to tell them more. And Tim Crouch buys everyone a round of drinks.
That is when the revelation hits, that contrary to popular belief, people are nice. They want to hear about what you are doing, they are interested in your opinion and that if you ask for help, they will be more than happy to give it to you. Just like Caryl Churchill did for Tim Crouch.
Even if you don’t work in the arts and have no idea who Crouch or Churchill is, I think it is worth remembering that people are nice, and that those people you admire, respect and put on a pedestal also started out just like you did, a person, looking up at other people.
And of course it always pays to be nice, no matter what level you’re at x