Hailing from West London, Anthony Welsh is a gifted actor and a gentleman. His hard work and perseverance in the industry has begun to see him share credits with the likes of Cuba Gooding Jr, Ricky Gervais and most recently, Timothy Spall in ‘Comes A Bright Day’.
Nigel Ruwende: What do you love most about performing?
Anthony Welsh: One of the things I love most about performing is when the moment we are trying to create or represent, feels absolutely truthful, genuine and spontaneous. I say ‘we’ because it’s nearly always a collaborative effort, whether on stage or screen. Your team can do much to aid or cripple your performance. I love having a good team and I’ve been fortunate enough to have been part of a few.
Secondly, when this truthful feeling we work for translates exactly how we want it to, for our audience. Sometimes it can feel right, but the audience doesn’t necessarily read it the same way. It may be simply because of something technical, such as not standing in your light or not lifting your head enough so your eyes are seen, which can be frustrating. At other times the opposite is possible, where it doesn’t feel right but it still reads truthful, particularly on stage, and this can be a little strange.
You can have an amazing story and tell it badly, or a rubbish story but tell it great … but when you have a great story and a great way of telling it… That’s some magic right there.
I can’t tell you how many times where I’ve felt I’ve had an ‘off’ night, but someone has been there and spoke of the exact moment where I felt ‘off’ and said how brilliant it was. They could just be being polite of course, but it really is beautiful and almost magical when the two are aligned. Feeling and Translation. I’m no expert, I’m always learning, but those are two things I think are key to good storytelling and extremely gratifying for the performer, myself.
You can have an amazing story and tell it badly, or a rubbish story but tell it great. The latter is probably better as its more entertaining to be told, but when you have a great story and a great way of telling it… That’s some magic right there.
NR: No doubt I believe every word and feel your passion, but there are always obstacles – what’s the hardest thing about being an actor?
AW: One of the hardest things about being an actor for me is ‘letting go’. There is so much in this industry we are not in control of, unfortunately. An actor friend of mine once referred to himself as a ‘gun for hire’, which is almost a sad way to look at it but that is the truth. Although I believe there is power in what we do, the fact is we’re not necessarily in control of what side we, the hired gun, shoot for. We can pick and choose from the jobs we are offered, of course, but my point is we’re not ‘creating’ the job.
I may get a call a day, a few days, a week or a couple of weeks before an audition. Until that day of the audition, my head is going in circles with the script, learning lines, understanding more about the character, the tone of the scenes etc. I invest myself into it deeper with each moment. Then the audition arrives, you go in, you do it, you come out and 99.9% of the time have no idea how it really went. I’ve been what I thought was crap and got the job only a few hours later. I’ve been what I thought was great and didn’t hear jack diddly. So now I’ve spent however many days/weeks with this script in my head, prepping etc and after the audition have no idea how it went and what’s more, when I will even find out.
All you can do is go in, smash it … and let it go. Theoretically ideal. Practically impossible.
I auditioned for a job once in I think September of 2008. They had re-call auditions for the actors they liked and I wasn’t called back. In my head, obviously they didn’t think I was right. In March 2009 I got a call saying I’d got the job. You literally have no idea the majority of the time and it may have absolutely nothing to do with what you did, good or bad. It could be one of many reasons… age, height, politics, fingernail length… who knows? The best thing I think, if only for your sanity, is to do it and ‘let go’. Imagine what you’d be like if you held on to every job you were turned down. It’s hard, especially when its something you really want or know you’re completely right for. You invest so much and basically have to expect nothing because we are essentially ‘guns for hire’ and ultimately don’t have control of the decisions that are made. All you can do is go in, smash it, (whatever that is), and let it go. Theoretically ideal. Practically impossible.
Anthony wears: Vintage navy blazer (tailored & customised) by Christian Dior, grey windowpane check waistcoat and trousers, sky blue shirt with contrast spread collar, paisley tie, pocket square & umbrella by Hackett and brown leather double monk strap shoes by John Lobb