Thursday, 4 October 2012

Blog 115! Farewell Sam Wheat!

Hey Everyone,

Happy Thursday,

Well the time is here, dum dum last blog whilst being a part of Ghost The Musical.

I'm not too sure how I feel about it. I think I'm a little numb to the whole situation. It's a harder show to say goodbye to than anything else I've ever done because of the subject matter - the script symbolises finding strength in saying goodbye, but i reckon saying goodbye to it on Saturday will be emotional. It's also going to be a huge relief for me as a person ('person' meaning someone normal and not just an actor) because I will be able to resemble some sort of normality in my life for a while.

Here's the thing...

I have immersed myself into the life of Sam Wheat for over 10 months since rehearsals, which has been incredible but also requires a huge amount of sacrifice. The demand of this role, physically, mentally and most extremely, vocally, is like nothing I've ever committed to before. I have, for much of the past 10 months been on voice rest outside of the theatre to ensure I can perform this role, which means that you can't talk (obviously) which results in ones social life being very minimal and when you actually meet friends it's rarely in public places that could be too loud, it is not for any substantial amount of time and most of that time is spent catching up on the time you've not been able to see them because of your job. Ha!
The opportunity to drink alcohol is very rare (not that I'm a big drinker) as is attending a party or night out.
There is also the responsibility to keep fit. Luckily I enjoy the gym but it does get tough having to ensure you work out at least 3 times a week to remain "show fit" and also maintain the physicality required to play such an iconic role!

So indeed I'm ready for a break!

I write my blog as an insight into the life of a leading actor and that is why I write honestly about the tough sides of taking on leading roles in this industry.  So many young people (and I don't mean this to sound patronising) have the ambition of playing lead roles and picture it being amazing all the time and all about the showbiz lifestyle, the standing ovation every night and the recognition for being a lead in the west end, and yes, all that stuff is great, but the reality is- it's really very tough and you seriously have to be an extremely committed and disciplined person to sustain it, remembering that when you watch a show, the actors on stage perform that same show 8 times that week, and every week for how ever long a contract may be- usually a year.

As I said, I write this to inspire people and what I have just written is my way of really trying to let people understand that you have to be SO dedicated to your art if you want to do this professionally so think long and hard about it - I personally know that I would not want to do anything else outside of working in this industry professionally but it's not for everyone!
I know of too many people who have recently graduated from drama school after a £40,000 college fee and have now decided to do something else! Be wise, be realistic and be sensible!

So that's the honest, realistic part out of the way, I am now going back to my
positive self which feels a lot more natural. Although it's been hard work, I have loved playing Sam in Ghost. It's such a rewarding role as far as being able to really go on an extreme, dramatic journey every show is concerned.
From the moment I step on the stage in the first scene with my flash light I don't stop until I kiss Siobhan at the end of the bows as we walk off stage hand in hand to the play out music and it's an incredible roller coaster ride between those two points!

Ghost has been written so incredibly well by Bruce Joel Rubin, who happens to be one of the nicest, kindest, most humble and modest gentlemen I have EVER had the privilege of meeting and working with. Having a well written piece makes performing it so much easier. One of the difficult things usually is maintaining the freshness of a role for every new audience that watches it, and thanks to Bruce that has not been a chore at all.

Another key element in making a long contract endurable is to listen properly to your fellow actors. There's a difference between just listening for your turn to speak and actually hearing what others are saying and that may sound silly but when you know what someone is going to say before they've even said it, it's hard to hear it as if it's the first time and respond to it naturally unless you really listen properly. It's an art in itself and I thank my lucky stars that I was paired with my wonderful leading lady Siobhan Dillon for this job. It has been an absolute pleasure acting opposite her and singing these amazing songs with her. We have the most trust in each other that I have ever experienced on stage and our chemistry and comfortable familiarity has meant that portraying the deep love that Sam and Molly feel for one another has just been second nature. She is a truly unique performer and I shall sincerely miss working with her!

I have many favourite memories with this show as I think back on the contract. My agent telling me I got the job, working on the roles in rehearsals, opening night with the remaining original cast, opening night with the current cast and our press night, having many friends and family watching the show and hearing their reaction and response - and generally just loving turning up to work thinking I am so proud to be a part of a show I really, genuinely think is absolutely incredible!

When I saw the show last summer, long before I had even auditioned for it I predicted it would run and run- "for at least five years" is what I said, however now that it is closing, I am just so immensely grateful to have gotten in quickly and that everything worked out timing wise for me to have played this role in London whilst there is still such a hype about it and before it will be here no more! I can't quite believe they have only been able to have two companies! It deserved to run in my opinion!

It has been a wonderful company to be a part of, an amazing group of talented and lovely people who have made this experience so special. There are so many people I will be thanking this week but I must remember this is my blog not an awards acceptance speech......


I want to say a sincere thank you to all of you reading this now and to everyone who has sent in any messages, cards, presents, tweets, pictures or even just come to stage door during my time in the show. The support of my fans and the fans of Ghost is very important to me and I hope you will treasure the memories of this show as much as I will! It's been a very important job in my career path and a very special part of my life! I feel blessed to have given my portrayal of Sam Wheat to so many thousands of people and as I lay him to rest (quite literally) on Saturday night I know I will be shedding tears of sorrow and joy, but most of all pride! This show has ensured that I will indeed BELIEVE for the rest of my days!

Thanks for reading!

In the final words of Sam Wheat "See Ya!"

Forever Believing



PS- On Monday I fly to Shanghai for three weeks where Twitter and Facebook  are banned so I shall be off the radar for the rest of October! So I'll probably blog in early November but my priority when I get back is being able to experience and enjoy a 'normal' life for a while! I'll blog when I feel there's something you might wanna know about ;-)