Monday, July 15, 2024
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The Jabbing Actor: A Reformed character


TCW Defending Freedom has heard once again from Britain’s leading crisis thespian, the ‘Jabbing Actor’ Erasmus Demosthenes Hepplewhite. He describes a role which has left him with a modicum of regret.

LARRY Olivier said to me shortly before he died: ‘My dear boy, I have reached the conclusion that to be an actor is to be a sculptor who carves in snow’. His statement would no doubt confound the layperson who by definition is not imbued with artistic sensibilities. However, it is the duty of us devotees of Thespis to fashion the minds of the ignorant with seduction, disguise and artifice. 

I tell you this because of my role in a recent piece of outdoor theatre. It was a role that I accepted with reservations.

Those who know me are aware of my impeccable manners, sense of propriety and respect for the democratic process. However, when the wolf is at the door one is sometimes required to sculpt a character with whom one would not naturally become associated.

It was, therefore, with some reluctance that I found myself wandering the mean streets of Clacton, sporting a large light-blue rosette, reciting lines provided for me by a nameless individual who I believe works for a television company. I hesitate to repeat what I was asked to relate in my trademark boom; suffice to say the beastly phrases referred unflatteringly to the Prime Minister, Jewish people and those seeking refuge in this country from war-torn France.

It came as little surprise that I soon found myself headlined on a television news programme. A sombre reporter used the footage to decry a particular political party of which I know little.

I admit that it was not my finest hour but as dear, dear Dame Judi said when she came to RADA to present the David Tennant Prize for the Best Portrayal of Misogyny, ‘My dear boy, we actors must occasionally be friends to shame. Be a treasure and search out a pink gin and a satsuma’. 

You will be pleased to hear that Erasmus Demosthenes Hepplewhite has cast to one side his memory of this recent performance and the considerable sum he earned is to be invested in his one-man show at the coming Edinburgh Fringe titled ‘A recitation of Palestinian Folklore tales from the sixteenth century’. 

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John Ellwood
John Ellwood
John is the father of four beautiful girls. He is, thankfully, not knowingly related to Tobias Ellwood. ‘My Dear Friends . . . ’ a compilation of many of John’s contributions to TCW Defending Freedom is available in paperback and on Kindle.

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