Featured 12 Apr 1973 Print
This has been a very important week in the acting career of 21-year-old Simon
This has been a very important week in the acting career of 21-year-old Simon MacCorkindale. He has been making his first professional appearance - at the Belgrade Theatre in Terence Rattigan's "A Bequest to the Nation." In it he plays a sea captain called Blackwood. And the character is pretty apt, because Simon, the son of an air pilot, has done more travelling in his life than most of us care to think about. "My parents have had three houses in different parts of the country in the past three years, and I don't think we have ever stopped in any place more than three years. "So that makes sure I'm used to travelling that this job necessitates," he said. Simon had been set on the idea of being an actor for a long time. "It started at school when I began to take part in drama group productions. And of course my work suffered as a result. But that didn't worry me, and I began to form my own drama group during the summer holidays. "My parents moved to Belgium and I formed a group at the NATO headquarters there. I was not involved in the services, so I had more time than anybody else, I ended up directing, producing and acting in the plays we did. "When I left school, I went to drama school in London called Studio 68 of Theatre Arts." There he learnt a lot more about acting. They concentrated a lot on voice training and movement, and they did monthly productions, which really sharpened them up. Simon left there in September 1972 but struggled to break into the profession. "In the end I did a TV commercial - but only to get my card. I hate commercials, and think they are immoral. I hate the idea of an actor standing there and pushing a product down the throats of the unsuspecting public. Particularly if the actor doesn't even like the product himself." But before he secured tho role at the Belgrade, Simon went through the period every actor fears - unemployment. "It was a terrible time," he says. "I was irritable and bad-tempered. I took a few part-time jobs, but all the while I was searching desperately for an acting job. "I used to go to the theatre and watch plays, but I am a terrible audience. I can enjoy a very good show, but if I feel the play was not as good as it could have been, I tend to get over-critical. "And all the time, there is this jealousy nagging at the back of your mind. You keep thinking that you could play the part better. "That's the worse thing about this job. The pressures get very intense and it comes out in your character at times." Simon escapes from the pressures of the job in his spare time by reading, a bit of writing, listening to music and playing sport. And, of course, there are the endless rehearsals. They take up a lot of his time during the day. Simon has no trouble learning lines. He says there a two ways in which he approaches the task. "In some plays, the dialogue flows particularly easily. Then you can often pick up the lines by just reading through the play. Others you have to plough your way through, learning it off by heart page by page. He still gets nerves before the performances and worries if he doesn't. "Having nerves gives that added bite to your concentration. The only times I have not had nerves I have given dreadful performances." Simon obviously loves acting, and says that there could never have been any other career for him. But as for encouraging others to go into the theatre..."I would never recommend this life to anyone. But as for me, I know I have made the right choice.
12th April 1973