In the bath

Sunday 14 Feb 10

I'm in the bath reading the news from my computer, and wondering about why it has become okay to just spout figures and statements that have no basis in fact and yet, if you keep saying them enough, people will take them as gospel (which is ironic as the gospels are only 'according' to someone, so aren't exactly foolproof). In the last US election it was laughable but also terrifying how many blatant lies were flung around, lies that luckily were questioned by a sizeable portion of the population, but lies that only made the factions that they were aimed at all the more sure and unshakeable in their loyalty to them. And that's where the probelm lies. Who, until the next election, is going to make an effort to try and persuade these people that they are being fed propaganda to make them more angry and less informed? A lie upon a lie and a prejudce upon a prejudice makes for a pretty dense tapestry of ignorance and hate.

Today Joe Biden lashed back at Dick Cheney saying 'Dick Cheney's a fine fellow, but he is not entitled to rewrite history without it being challenged, on NBC's Meet the Press. 'I don't know where he has been. Where was he the last four years of the last administration?' Good for you, Joe. I know it will be exhausting, but I think we all have a duty to challenge every insidious lie and false accuation that comes out of anyone's lips, not just our politicians but everyone, more than ever. With the internet and the forest fire of new technology we have access to so much information, but also so much false information and so many lies. People should back up what they say with facts, and don't let them make you feel bad about asking them to do so.  The truth is important.

And talking of truth, it's time for Ask Alan!!!

I'm Victoria from Canada, and I'm going to be in a production of Titus as Saturninus, so I was curious if you had any advice for an aspiring actress? Well Victoria, first of all, congratulations. Saturninus is a great role. He is very irrational, which is hard for an actor in terms of logic of a character's story but then again, most people at times in their lives are fairly irrational. There is one speech when he decides to marry Tamora that changes the whole course of the play and his life within a few lines. I just felt he was llike a little spolied boy, who acted on a whim and felt always that the world was against him.  Often I think of characters in terms of how a child would play them. I don't know what that says about me, but I think it is useful in terms of getting to the nub of things. Kids, when they playact, are devastatingly truthful. (Truth again! It's the theme of the day!)

Sally writes: in one of your older post, Jan 2nd to be specific, you mentioned you were going to go see 'A Single Man'.  You mentioned, "The movie seemed to me a crowning celebration to a great year then. Now as I go to watch it, it feels like a reminder that things haven't changed." After watching the film, what do you think? I really enjoyed the film.  I thought Colin Firth, especially, was amazing. I guess I feel that thngs haven't changed as much as they should have in terms of a gay man being able to be open about his sexuality and who he loves.  I know there are still many, many people who feel they have to hide those parts of their lives from their work colleagues and friends and family, despite the progress that has been made, and that's a terrible state of affairs.  I really liked the way the film reminded me of people's perceptions of gayness and same-sex love.  I think I have a very charmed life in that I am the person I want to be, and say the things I want, and it's good sometimes to be reminded of not only how rare my experience is, but how much farther we have to go and how much harder we all have to work.

Two similar questions: Alan, you inspire me! Im trying to be an actress, and having fun gaining experience, and am currently auditioning for drama schools over the next couple of years (until I get in! ha!), are there any tips that you'd recommend, or any particular thing about myself I should be working on or showing off?
The thing about me is that I left drama school 25 years ago!!  So I am a little out of touch with not only actual schools but also what is required and any tips that might help.  From my own point of view, I would recommend just being yourself and remembering that acting isn't just about losing yourself in a character, it's also about letting some of your own person come through too.  I would also recommend not showing off in any way. But, I might be completely wrong. Sorry.  But you're sort of asking a plumber about the best kind of shower head and the plumber hasn't worked in showers for a quarter of a century!! I am sure the world of showers has changed a bit! Good luck, though.  And may I recommend my alma mater, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. I am working with RSAMD on their American foundation and I think it is a very exciting school!
Hi i am moving to new york  next year , i have been dancing and singing on stage since i was 2 years old  I just turned 19  and was wondering how hard it is to get a good agent  there. I want to be prepared . BROADWAY is my dream. eloise  Again, Eloise, I have had the same agent for eons, and when I chnaged last it was because my main agent went to a different agency and so I followed her.  So I'm not very au fait with different agents or how to get them. I would though recommend getting someone that you feel you connect with and can talk to.  It's a very personal relationship and it should be with someone you like, and who you feel gets you.

Claire asks: What was that Maori-like make-up, briefly shown at the beginning of the "BBC America - Talking Movies" video? I did my homework but the imdb (etc.) yielded nothing obvious.  That's from a campaign I did for a charity called Keep A Child Alive which was called I am African. It was a great campaign and keep A Child Alive does amazing work. Check it out. Also to see the color picture of me go to the Look At Alan section, above.


Finally I am sorry to tell you that we have been havng a lot of fraud problems at and so we've been advised to take down the site. So, in the meantime, if you or anyone you know wants to get some Cumming products, just order via Ask Alan and someone will get back to you with details.

One last thing! Sometimes I don't answer questions if they are similar or the same to one I have answered on the blog recently.  So I would reccomend going back through the archive a bit to other Ask Alan posts before you send me a question. Thanks!

Love from Alan x