22 July 2016

Interview with Will Bliss

Incase the title or the fact that this is the 6th post in the series didn't already give it away, today's post is another interview - this time with the RSC's Will Bliss (currently starring in Doctor Faustus). 

Em: What inspired you to get into acting?

Will: I think I always wanted to be an artist of some kind...I used to draw as a child and thought I might want to move into fine art or writing or music. But ultimately I think I accidentally fell into acting. I used to have to see a counsellor because I was so shy, and one of the 'treatments' was to attend an amateur dramatics group. But it wasn't until my A-Levels, having an English teacher that gave me a passion for classical theatre, that I really knew I wanted to be an actor.

Em: Does it feel different working at the RSC than anywhere else?

Will: SO DIFFERENT. It's a huge institution. I've never been involved with anything like it; its influence, the quality of theatre here, and the talent of everyone involved in the building, in whatever capacity they work. Stratford upon Avon is also a beautiful town, and at the age of 31 this is my first time living outside London (!) It's been a fantastic experience...

Em: If you were stuck on a desert island with a book, a character from a play and an actor, what/who would they be and why?

Will: 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy. I love his writing and this is an amazing book (and better than the film). In tribute to the centenary of the battle of the Somme the character I'd like to choose is 'Stanhope' of Journey's End by R. C. Sherriff. (even though it's not set at the battle of the Somme. Shhhh!) It's a brilliantly poignant and moving play. One of my favourites. And finally the actor? It has to be my best friend Otis Waby, who's a writer and director, and who I happened to be in a production with me of Journeys End when we trained at Lamda together.

Em: What is your dream role to play?

Will: Iago. Because I'm evil.

Em: What advice would you give to someone like me who wants to get into acting?

Will: Everyone will have different advice, and none of it should be taken as law. But the most useful advice I've been told is: To work hard. Go to drama school or don't. It was useful for me because I didn't have much experience but some of the best actors I know didn't train. But work hard. Buy a copy of 'Contacts' and email agents, casting departments. Find out who's casting shows you'd like to be in and email them asking to be seen. Also put your own shows on if you can and invite agents to that. I know this is all asking a lot and not everyone is comfortable with it, it's just one route to get there and don't listen if it doesn't feel right, but most importantly... DON'T GIVE UP! Some people find success straight away, but for others it takes yeeeaaaaaaars. I graduated from drama school 9 years ago and this is my first professional theatre job.

Em: What's the weirdest/most unusual role you've ever played?

Will: One of my roles in Faustus is 'good Angel' which is a messenger from God but also because of the way Maria Aberg has interpreted it, a grotesque figment of Faustus' imagination. With gaudy clown makeup and black wings. These other guys give some indication...

Em: Has anything ever gone horribly wrong whilst you were in a show?

Will: I was in a production of Uncle Vanya once and the tea receptacle had had bleach put in it to clean it, but someone forgot to empty and rinse it, meaning that during an actual show where drinking tea was the main theme of the scene (as with most scenes in Chekhov). And after some choking from the first victim, I heard the immortal and very much adlibbed line: "DON'T DRINK FROM THE SAMOVAR!" ...well maybe you had to be there.

Em: What's your favourite quote from Dr Faustus?

Will: "Be silent then, for danger is in words."

Em: As a child, who did you aspire to be like, and do you still aspire to be like them now?

Will: Well...Kurt Cobain. But I heard it didn't go too well for him so I'll probably have to find a new one...

Em: Have you got anything else you'd like to say to my readers?

Will: Live long and prosper 🤘🏻🤘🏼🤘🏽🤘🏾🤘🏿

Huge thanks to Will Bliss for that interview - the first interview I've ever done where someone has used photos and emojis! You can find Will on Twitter at @WillyBlisstwig and find out more about the absolutely astounding Doctor Faustus here.

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