Mr Simon Nader and I go back quite a few years now. I first met him on a touring production of Othello where he stabbed me every single night. This wasn't because I was being particularly annoying, it was in the script, though I will accept the possibility it was both. There was that look of glee in his eye as he did it. There is much that could and often is said about this first production together. Unfortunately for you, dear reader, Simon and I have been dining out on the story of the Othello tour for years, and frankly it's the kind of story that deserves payment in cash or drinks, so I'm not going to give it away for free on the internet. Sorry. Come and see one of the shows and ask me all about it. After buying tickets.
Needless to say, (or possibly not) we both came out of the run rather like old battle scarred warriors with a bond forged in the freezing cold tour dates of East Anglia in winter. Or something similarly insulting to actual soldiers on proper battlefields. That did verge on gush. Will move on.
Unfortunately for Simon the story doesn't end there, as he was soon being whisked up by the Milk Bottle machine and coerced into joining the cast of Teaching Gods and other stories as performed at the Tabard Theatre in another cold winter of early 2009. He hasn't looked forward since. Whenever he goes off to film work in something that brings respect and money, like The Borgias, he knows that the call will come and he'll be obliged to do another show with me. Yes, you've guessed it, I've got the photographs.
Simon returns to this show to perform 'his' monologue, Keynote Speaker. It is his in the same way as Bink! is the almost property of Cat LaCohie (or Catherine Eccles as we still like to call her in Milk Bottle) - these are monologues that I wrote either for them or gave to them before I had a go - they are monologues that I have never learnt. That seems to be the rule - whoever learns my monologues first gets a de facto stake in their future performance. They have first dibs.
Unfortunately, again, for Simon, I've made a few rewrites to Keynote Speaker. It was never a monologue I perfected, it needed tweaking. And there's nothing harder than relearning a tweaked version of a monologue you've already learnt. But if I had to relearn the whole of Ghost Storyteller then Simon can relearn Keynote. Tit for tat ladies and gentlemen. But seriously, this does mean the show is better and that is all that matters.
Last week was a momentous week in rehearsals for The Fantasy Terrorist Variations in that both members of the cast were in rehearsal - AT THE SAME TIME. It meant that rehearsals for the third play of the show The Project After could now begin in earnest. And boy was I happy to see this little play get up and run around. It's a lovely little piece, funny and serious, funny about being serious and only 35% likely to cause the deaths of myself or any member of the cast. Because it really doesn't insult Islam. It really doesn't - as we debated at length. See earlier blog.
Tomorrow we move into the final phase of rehearsals - the books are coming down, the words are flowing, we're starting to get it right first time, rather than doing it a bit right, stopping, doing it again a bit better and then again and this time right, and building a show. For which you should all buy tickets. Not to do my Ghost Storyteller show down (I'm not, it's a show I'm very pleased with, buy tickets for yourself and all your friends) but The Fantasy Terrorist League is a show that needs to be seen. It makes you think, it pushes the audience down uncomfortable paths, it is gripping and slightly dangerous.
And it has Mr Simon Nader in it. And he's rather good.
Which is as far as I'm allowed to go in terms of praise under the Non-Proliferation of Luvvy Gush Treaty of 1987. Not enough people have signed up to this treaty and too many people die of embarrassment in atrocities all round the world (remember Paltrow) so please, don't be a wanker. Don't gush. Think of the children.
Simon Nader is a core member of Milk Bottle having played Teiresias in Blind Spots, Treplev in The Alternative Seagull and several solo pieces including Keynote Speaker. He trained at London’s Academy Drama School. Previous stage work includes: Billy Blister, Billy Blister’s Circus (Watford Palace Theatre); George, Of Mice and Men (National tour); Colin/Policeman, Maggie’s End (Shaw Theatre); and most recently Qudz at the National Theatre Studio venue The Yard. Feature Film work includes The Dead Inside as Wayne Andrews and Guildenstern in Fodor's Hamlet (2006). Radio includes BBC Radio 4’s The Chess Girls, whilst recent TV appearances include a recurring role in The Borgias and follow up to multi-award winning series Pillars of the Earth: World Without End.