Updated: Jan 4, 2019
So this Marmitian time of year can be a tricky one for many, not least those of the acting persuasion. You may be having the time of your life in pantoland, merrily twirling your sequins for the beams of joy in the eyes of delighted 4 year-olds, or, scraping off marks in the cheap paint of your shared dressing room as the three shows a day gradually make you want to eat your own face paint. However, there be another group who say you should be counting your blessings to be employed at all! December can be a month of reflection, or a time of guzzling sugary fizz and heavy pastry in an vague attempt to block it out, postpone that stoney reality, and the cherry on the top know as the tax return.
Not having the voice of angel myself I have found that generally my penchant for the 'gritty shit' of the acting market is seldom required in December. So having just managed to shift my December's black dog off the mantel, I thought I would share my tips for avoiding the Humbug:
*Get the tax return done ASAP. My rule is to aim completion before Crimbo eve, and always before Jan 1st, so I am not facing the New Year with a guilt wrapped bundle of life admin I can't flog on ebay.
*Lone ranger. If you require more than yourself to get your creative juices flowing, try a little solo pleasure pursuit (lower those eyebrows). For example, I currently don't have a cast, crew, writer or director on hand, prepared to knock off Jesus's birthday and make a film, play, tv show, radio drama or other box ticking actor activity. But I do have a bag of paints under my bed and some old canvases at the back of my wardrobe. Making things is making things, and creativity begets creativity I have found. Plus I got to splosh some paint around for no other reason that my personal enjoyment. And without the need for an Arts Council application. However, if the idea of the paints leave you cold (turkey) I have also got my creative release this month in the kitchen, rearranging my room, doing some of those big DIY jobs and starting this blog. N.B. Please don't confuse the above points, a tax return should not be a creative exercise... use the real numbers.
*Get your ceremony on. Channel your inner Shaman and write lists of everything you want to release from this year, then burn it. Candle to bonfire, the scale is yours (depends on the size of the list too). Then write a list of all you want to invite in to your life and bury it somewhere fertile, I'd think more flower bed than dead pot plant. As Londoner sans garden I have been found, mini Poundland trowel in hand, digging small holes in parks. Truth.
*Help someone else. Lots of options for this, from putting the double everything Christmas pudding in a foodbank box in your Sainsbury's local, to calling a mate who has had a tough year or volunteering at a charity. Google is your friend.
*Time for me time! One benefit to the endless party clashes and what-not is that people generally care less when you don't arrive (there may be exceptions), assuming you had your arm twisted by your Dad and had to go to your Aunts extra special family pre Christmas carol concert. Also it is likely that your flatmates, partner and possibly kids are all out bigging it up too. So have a three hour bath, meditate, cookathon, jigsaw puzzle or anything else that you normally push to the bottom of the want-to-do list.
*You may not be working but others are! Gone are the days of the world stopping for a week, so this means where ever you have to be, you can get away within 24 hours, the tubes start at 7.30am boxing day, (I realise this is not appealing to some and not applicable to those in remote hamlets only reached by a tractor on the 3rd of the month, sorry). I have also been very pleased to see that yoga studios are open Christmas eve and from the 27th! Ye ha for not everything being about a white fat man in a red suit.
*Fuck it! Get on a plane, swim in a warm sea, sipping vegan pina coladas and posting selfies to annoy the hell out of the rest of us. IF I am not playing Scrooge in the Nash's all female production of A Christmas Carol next year, take me with you and we can pretend we didn't notice the cost of the flights.