I'm exhausted today after a very long day at the office yesterday that dragged on until seven thirty. Yes, you heard it right... the office. I'm in an actors cooperative agency, and, on the whole, it is very cooperative. I still however manage to find the experience slightly stressful. I want to do my job and get the other actors as much work as possible but I'm aware that I'm really not a genius in an office. It's also a bit strange for me because I have rejoined them after about an eight year absence. I'm now seen as something of an experienced member which I'm not, and much has changed in the agency. I'm constantly asked for sage advice and have to admit that I really haven't a clue. Of course in my mind I'm a cigar chewing big shot agent, but in reality I type at around two words a minute and can never find the stapler.
I can't lie, I find office work a chore To get through the day I drink copious amounts of strong coffee which makes matters worst. I may perk up temporarily but it plays havoc with my over active prostate. Oh did I tell you that I have an over active prostate. It's part of a number of minor health problems that have cropped up in the last few years. There's the weird skin rash that needs industrial strength prescription dandruff shampoo to get rid of. Then there's the back pain, the shoulder pain and not to mention the knee twinges. And let's not forget the weird mold on my big toe, the teeth falling out, the rheumatism, oh and the occasional hemorrhoids. I accept this, it's all part of my age, in fact I like to think of all of these niggling ailments as family. I still think I'm pretty fit and when I was young I was told that my skinny physique was ideal for marathon running. These days I think I could have a good shot at running 22 miles as long as there were a few portaloos along the way.
Anyway it always goes mad in the office in the afternoon and my attempts to schmooze casting agents whilst, at the same time, tracking missing invoices are made more stressful by frequent trips to the lavatory. It all strated about ten years ago when I was working at The Stephen Joseph Theatre. Alan Ayckbourn asked me if I had any ideas for a one man show. I had a vague idea of a sort of pompus Classical music conductor who's orchestra quit so he had to do a concert alone. Not taking the request seriously I scribbled the idea down, using my worst handwriting on the back of a shopping list and handed it to Mr Ayckbourn's PA. I was shocked when I got the go ahead the next day. To this day I don't know whether or not they wanted The Conductor or my shopping list but let's assume it was indeed the former. I wrote a rough draft, booked some rehearsal space and set to it. I'd never done anything like this in my life before, and as I sat alone in a windowless room, staring at the walls with no idea of what to do next frequent trips to the toilet seemed like a sensible creative process. Maybe, at that point in my life I actually trained my bladder to be the feeble wimp that it is today.
A few months back I was getting up and going about four times a night and when it started to keep Grisel awake as well as myself I decided that something had to be done. My doctor advised that this problem was normal, and he told me, "No alcohol after eight in the evening". I was worried that the actor in me immediately thought, "Oh that's OK, I can drink in the afternoon instead", but luckily this hasn't been the case. Why? Well there is one more ailment I can add to the list, hangovers from hell. Yes anything more than two glasses, turns me into the living dead for some days after. I confess that still I can't resist the temptation to party occasionally. In fact the last time was Saturday and I think I' still recovering. Oh well there's always more coffee, that doesn't give you a three day hangover. I'm drinking a particularly good fair trade Kenyan blend at the moment. Oh s**t, excuse me... must go to to the toilet.
Oh by the way I'm still looking for acting work if anyone needs anyone, but don't bother me, talk to my agent, www.vagabondsmanagement.com
Mike Raffone is the co founder of the production company howhow along with his fiancé Grisel Tarifa. They hope to open a new performance club The Royal National Theatre of Fools in Peckham in the winter. It will be dedicated to the clown, the absurd and the eccentric. Mike is also busy writing his latest one man show without the aid of a toilet. It's called Clowns, Coulrophobia and Me. Go to www.howhow.co.uk for more info.