Mark The Poet – The Podcast: Episode #29

My Poem “Run Jesse, run!”

It is the hallmark of a great film,
a great television show,
a great play, a great writer,
a great cast, a great production staff,
a great actor portraying
a great and complex protagonist,
who by the great gift of their craft
is able to make us –
the viewer, the audience –
care for them, accept them,
and become emotional invested and involved
in the story and in the journey
of the characters that we follow
from the second that we first see them
all the way to the last moments
of the last chapter and finale
that will ultimately – hopefully –
deliver a satisfying conclusion
that makes the journey that you
have taken with these familiar
characters worth all the time,
all the energy, and all the thought
that you committed to them
over the hours, the days,
the months, perhaps even the years
that it has taken to reach the end credits.

It can sometimes be hard to find
an ending that ticks all the boxes,
that answers all the questions,
that wraps up all the dangling threads
that remain to be addressed
and given a reason for why
they were not connected to the
greater narrative that underpins
everything that is a part
of the ultimate story being told…
in any given story it is always
out of the hands of the writer
and the author which part of an ongoing
story people will respond to and why –
sometimes it is the simplest
and the smallest of plot points
that resonate the most
and which over time become
what people remember the most,
as if what they saw shined like gold.

It is always a test for an audience
when an author creates
a character and they put them
through things that push them to their limits
and they change them in ways
that are hard to watch,
and it can sometimes be hard for people
to continue to empathize with
a certain character when they
start to behave in morally
questionable ways of being…
quite frequently, in some of the best
stories ever told, an audience gets
to watch the evolution of
a protagonist into an antagonist,
the hunter into the hunted,
the wronged into the redeemed –
and vice versa –
and the once imprisoned against
their will make their getaway
and run for the hills and away
from all that they are leaving behind –
like the character of Jesse Pinkman
driving like a bat out of hell
in his black and red ‘El Camino’
away from his past and towards
a future that not even he knows.

“The average person looking at someone doing evil or wrong wants the person to get away with it. I think it’s the most amazing instinct. The audience can’t bear the suspense of the person being discovered. “Hurry up! Quick! You’re going to be caught!” – Alfred Hitchcock

My Poem ‘Dramarama’

At school I wasn’t a born actor,
however I didn’t mind a bit of drama;
in drama class, I was always shy to take part at first –
however when I did have to act and play
a quickly improvised part
it didn’t take me long
to make the part I was playing my own,
have fun, and revel in the exposure of the stage I was on –
and thinking back I think I actually liked
creating a character, talking in a different accent,
because it always gave the creative side of me
a much-needed burst.

I can still remember my drama classes now,
and my drama teacher Mr. Brooks;
I can still remember Mr. Brooks telling me
how “natural” I was as an actor,
and if I wanted he could potentially
get me an audition somewhere –
I remember him telling me that:
“you have something a lot of great actors have,
something that is natural,
which can’t be learned from reading a book.”

In another life, right now, who knows,
I could be an actor, a performer, a film-star,
a television personality, perhaps a soap opera regular?
If I had not picked art as the subject
in my final years at school that I wanted to focus on,
who knows which path my life might have taken,
and who I would be?
In another life, I could be on stage somewhere
performing Shakespeare, in a film,
acting opposite my favourite acting hero,
or even living in America,
on the verge of having my own Walk of Fame gold star?
If I had been bitten hard by the acting bug,
I wonder if my life would have been
radically different than it is now?
I wonder if I would have ever written
any sort of poem, or a single line of poetry?

Choices, especially life-changing choices,
don’t always appear as they are, as they seem,
when we are faced with them;
whether to go in one way or another
is a choice that you sometimes just have to make
in the moment and hope that everything turns out for the best.
Every performer, or actor,
at the beginning of their performance life
gets stage-fright – and some still do
before every time they walk out on a stage,
and meet their audience –
and that to me is always an indication, at least in part,
that whoever they are and whatever they are doing
means something to them;
and finding your way and your confidence
to be comfortable in moments of exposure,
in one way or another, for most people,
especially actors, is the big test.

Life, theatre, connection, caring, drama,
creativity, motivation, the feeling of butterflies in your stomach,
can seem scary at first, but after a while you love it,
you want it, you need it, you thrive on it;
and what comes after: the response, the applause,
the smiles, the joy, and if you are lucky the love and respect
that you are lavished with, for putting yourself out there
for other people to see and critique;
because, to me, no matter what kind of actor you are,
and in which form your acting takes place,
you are making art for somebody,
and it is the same if you are any kind of performer;
and, as William Shakespeare himself said:
“All the world’s a stage…”;
and as long as there is life,
there will always be drama.