Gerard Logan Interview
For Dulwich OnView Gerard Logan recalls his month-long stint at the 2011 Edinburgh Festival and takes in the highlights, winning "Best Solo Show of the 2011 Edinburgh Festival";, and lowlights, his coach journey to Edinburgh, as well as his thoughts of Shakespeare, being away from his wife, our 21st century legal system, his director and taking The Rape of Lucrece on tour to Dulwich.
I travelled to Edinburgh by coach, I was wrecked from an all-night coach journey from London. All I will say is, if you’ve got time to spare and don't have to worry too much about the time you take to reach the destination of your choice, then....get a plane, train or boat. Don’t go by coach. Being away from my wife is hell and I’ll always hate it, but it was for adventures like these that I became an actor. For me there is no greater luxury afforded one at the festival, than the incomparable opportunity it offers one to delight in the talent and beauty of brilliant artists.
After my first performance of at the festival my brilliant director, Gareth Armstrong, said it was the best I'd done it which pleased me. No audience member or critic is as terrifying as that man! His is always the opinion by which I judge whether I've done the piece as much justice as I can during any given performance.
I find it astonishing how, in 1594, a 29/30 year old man could have an appreciation of the dreadfulness of the crime of rape, and how it transgresses even the most basic decencies we owe each other not just as humans, but as animals which, to say the least of it, the 21st Century legal system still does not have.
And if anyone reading this doubts that to be the truth, I would point out that the prison-term-tariff for rape is much less than the one for armed robbery. This, of course, is not to dignify armed robbery or suggest it to be anything other than an extremely serious crime. It does though, I feel, demonstrate the level of misapprehension and under-appreciation there is as regards the heinousness of the crime of rape. This narrative poem is a work of painful brilliance.
I suffer badly (and unfortunately it seems to be getting worse with age) from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. People do not have an understanding of this condition, and can even think of it as something positive ("Yes, I have OCD - everything has to be absolutely perfect and that's what makes me the success I am today"). THIS IS RUBBISH. OCD has, at times, driven me to absolute despair, and anyone who has the illness has also, for what it's worth to them, my sympathy. No word of a lie, it is hell on earth. Whilst I can only do my best, I demand that today's best is greater than yesterday's.
To use a musical metaphor, I am playing Mozart - but I am not, nor ever will be, a Stradivarius. I just have to hone what I have and be satisfied with that or I will end up driving myself insane. If I was going to be honest, the best thing about doing a solo show (and I am no great flag-waver for solo shows - I love working with other actors), is that I am always on call for myself and can call me to rehearsal / reflection whenever I like. Mine is the only temperament I have to negotiate, and if I start whingeing about what hard work the job is, I can tell me to stop bitching and just get on with it.
I plan on doing lots of other work in all the media but I really think I want to do "Rape of Lucrece" until the day I die. Each performance shows me how hopelessly far away I am from the possibility of ever getting it completely right. It's like Everest. You can crack the North Face but the permutations of how one can reach the summit are pretty endless. You'll never conquer them all.
"It's an honour to bring "Lucrece" to the Michael Croft Theatre. Michael Croft was a very great man and interviewed me for the National Youth Theatre in the early 80's. His contribution to the nurturing of new talent is beyond evaluation, and for me to go back to where it all started at Alleyn's School is thrilling.
Dulwich itself also has great theatrical pedigree, of course, since Edward Alleyn, the founder of "Alleyn's", was a great actor in Elizabethan theatre, a friend of both Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe and played the title roles in "Faustus", "Tamburlaine" and "The Jew of Malta". In "Shakespeare in Love", he plays the original Mercutio in "Romeo and Juliet"!
On a personal level, I always feel a great sense of responsibility when speaking Shakespeare's words, but when, as with Dulwich and other places such as Stratford-on-Avon and London, the venue at which one is playing is so steeped in high-end theatrical culture, that sense of responsibility is enormously heightened.
I am looking forward to it hugely.