I will never again groan so loudly or so much when I hear the words, "I would like to thank...." during a major award ceremony or telecast of election results.
I don't know that I have ever won any award or election after which I was expected to make a speech, and so I didn't understand how heartfelt the thanks really are for most people who thank everyone. .... until recently.
Two weeks ago, I was named the "Best Actor" in the London One-Act Festival for 2014 for the role, Ivan, in Unforgiven. I had another commitment and wasn't present at the ceremony. If I had been there, here is what I would have wanted to say. I wouldn't have said all this; doing so would have taken far too long. But this is what I'd have wanted to say:
Thank you very much.
I would like to thank Rhonda Allen, who performed opposite me in the play. She was a joy to work with and a joy to rehearse with. She brought important insights to her role, my role, and to the play. She had and showed a depth of understanding that went far beyond mere acting; she convincingly played the person and moved everyone in the audiences.
I would also like to thank our director Diane Haggerty. She took a risk on a very difficult play, turning it into a show that clearly affected everyone involved with it, both on and off stage. She experimented along with us, trying various interpretations, and she convinced me to play the role the way I did. Without her input, my performance and the show as a whole would not have been the success it was.
I also owe a deep debt of gratitude to my wife, Ms Eclectic, for working with me and with us. Ivan was a very hard role for me, and (as with other shows) she put in many long hours helping me in so many ways.
Also I want to thank Kathleen Sykora for her patience and dedication. She was in the play, but she also served as assistant director and general support person. And Aiden Lee, who joined us at the last minute but who added insight and crispness to her role as well as levity backstage.
In addition, some of the people who have directed and worked with me recently deserve mention. Through their feedback they helped me become a better actor: Steve Stockwell (Out of Sight Productions), Jason Rip (Nemesis Theatre), and Paige Miller (Fusion Productions), along with all the actors I have worked with in those and other productions, including so many mystery dinner theatre shows.
Finally, I would like to thank Maridon Duncanson and all the organizers and volunteers for the London One-Act Festival for their time and effort in bringing about this event.
Thanks again to everyone for everything.
Let me emphasize that the role of Ivan was really hard for me; it was likely the most difficult role I have ever played (including Dysart in Equus two years ago). The word usage was just slightly different for me; and the ideas overlapped within each set of sentences, interrupting the flow of thoughts constantly. Also there was a lot of drama, requiring me to scale back the emotions at times so as not to overdo them.
Apparently, the adjudicator who made the awards said that she had read all the plays and knew from the script how challenging the role of Ivan would be. Also apparently, she talked about how I met the challenge. I couldn't have done that without the help from everyone else. Believe me, I now understand how sincere most of those long, thanking speeches are.
Here I am, holding the "Loafie" [cf LOAF: London One-Act Festival]:
As I said, thanks again to everyone for everything.