October 13th, 2010
I stand by my ass kicking statement. I think it’s true. Roland, Sideshow’s first ever British Intern, is a wiry fellow. And tall to boot. Beat that!
I asked Roland to write for the Sideshow Blerg as his fierce and awesome introduction to the extended Sideshow family. That would be you, the extended Sideshow family. How beautiful is that? Let’s do lunch.
Without further adieu, I present to you:
The Man Behind the Artsy Black and White Photo
An Englishman Abroad
Hi. I’m Roland. It has been more than three weeks now since arriving in the United States of America, and all experience so far has seemed somewhat bizarre and intriguing to me, a blur of sounds, smells and images, including vast quantities of advertising, food flavours wafting through every street and sports that simply don’t make sense. After being here quite a while already, it’s still the number of abbreviations I’m struggling to come to terms with: CTA, ATT, NBC, CBS; not the ITV, BBC and STD I’ve always been used to!
For seven years, I’ve been at a Catholic boarding school in the UK run by monks in the middle of nowhere, and even before I left I felt the need for a drastic change of lifestyle. And what greater change, I thought, than a visit to the U.S. of A? There had been born in me a desire, a wish for something different to that to which I had grown accustomed. But my desire had no shape, no structure, and I did not know at first how to pursue my goal of reaching America. It was only during my convalescence in hospital (after my swimming instructor broke my arm in two places to improve my breast-stroke) that I began to consider the prospect of travel abroad more seriously and began looking around for possibilities. I first heard about this Sideshow Theatre Company thing from an uncle of a founding father of the company, Walt McGough, who passed on my details and, more importantly, my credentials (an artist’s impression of me doing a headstand on Waterloo Bridge) to the rightly honoured Karie Miller; from that moment, the rest is history.
I’ve been asked a number of difficult and thought-provoking questions since I’ve been here, ranging from, “Who the hell are you?” and “Why don’t you just leave our country alone?” to, “Where did you get your hair dyed that colour?” and “Are you Ron Weasley?”; people ask what I miss most about home, to which I would answer that I miss red post boxes, cobbled side streets, Match of the Day, and the sea off the coast of South Wales; people have asked what I’m most looking forward to experiencing in Chicago, to which I invariably answer, “I don’t know, I’m finding out as I go along”; but I suppose the one question I find hardest to answer is, “What have you liked most about America so far?” I suppose my answer would encompass a great many things, such as the burgers at Bad Apple, Jim Beam bourbon, the great variety of trees in the street, and the rabbits that I habitually chase through my local neighbourhood until 4 in the morning. But I believe it has been the open welcome of the people I’ve met, and the friendliness of the people in the street, and most of the bus drivers (though certainly not all of them), that has affected me most since I’ve been here. There seems sometimes to be a culture of homeliness in Chicago that is very warming to see and be a part of, and I’m glad that I’m here so long to enjoy it.
There you have it, chaps! (GET IT? I said CHAPS!). There’s just a bit of information on Roland, the British Intern. Now, for his face.
If you check out Strangerland, Sideshow’s devised work-in-progress as part of the DCA Incubator series on October 25th at 7:30pm, you might catch a flash of lush red hair out of the corner of your eye. Then you too can ask if he’s a Weasley. I’m sure he’ll just love that.
Until next time.