Week 37 | Artist 37: Created to Create 2016 | Patrick Bailey, Actor
Patrick was most recently seen at the Jungle Theater, Minneapolis in the rolling world premiere of Phillip Dawkins' Le Switch. Also at the Jungle, he's been in a trio of Conor McPherson plays - The Night Alive, The Seafarer and Shining City. He has had a long association with Frank Theatre, Minneapolis (Palace of the End, The New Electric Ballroom, Cabaret, and most recently Love and Information) and he'll be in their upcoming The Good Person of Szechwan this autumn. Patrick's work in the UK includes a recently aired BBC Radio drama, Hollywood Ending, and Blood Wedding at the Courtyard Theatre. He's also worked for the RSC, the NT, and regionally with the Crucible, Sheffield and the Library Theatre, Manchester. Patrick was named (Twin Cities) City Pages Best Actor for 2010, and he trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He grabs every opportunity that he can to work with some of the amazing Michael Chekhov teachers that are around, including Graham Dixon, Ulrich Meyer-Horsch, Suzana Nikolic and Gretchen Egolf, with whom he is collaborating on a devised work-in-progress, How We Need it to Be.
Where you were born?
I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. We moved to London when I was 6, and then in 1994, when I was 31, I moved to the USA. I currently divide my time between Minneapolis, St. Paul, and London.
Where do you work at present?
I’ve been working both in the US and the UK for the past three years. I’m in London at the moment, but I’m about to start rehearsal in Minneapolis on a production of Brecht’s THE GOOD PERSON OF SZECHWAN for Frank Theatre. I’m also engaged in making a piece of work with Gretchen Egolf and Sarah Purcell called HOW WE NEED IT TO BE.
What fuels your desire to act?
A profound belief in the power of theatre, mainly. Well, that’s my ‘ideal’ answer…but, also, to be honest, I’ve a (perhaps pathological) desire to be the conduit for a character - to embody that character onstage or in front of a camera. I’ve had that desire since I was a kid. Perhaps it’s showing off or fulfilling a need for attention. I used to think it was a character flaw - but now I’m happy to not know where my desire to act comes from, or why it’s there. I remember being in a theatre as a child and being fascinated by the life of the actors, onstage and off, and wanting to be a part of that. It’s a drive that I can’t fully explain, and that I don’t completely understand - and I’m happy with that.
The best thing about being an artist is…
I get to practice being an artist. Meaning, if I’m lucky and I’m working, then I get to reflect and engage with life in a myriad ways. I get to make myself available for this character or role, and for this story or play, and then for that one. If it’s for an audition, then I may get a couple of days with a script in preparation, and to ‘dance’ with it for perhaps a very short time - then maybe I get a callback, and the relationship continues a little - then maybe I get hired, and it’s going to be full-on for three months or longer. Even if it’s just a one line breakdown for a commercial, it’s still a world that I get to travel to. Within a given week, I may ‘visit’ Regency England, the world of a mobile phone salesman, and the life of a 1940's gangster in Chicago. My job asks me to engage my body and my imagination, and there’s nothing like it - like practicing an extraordinary martial art.
When I am looking for inspiration I…
Get up on my feet - I do something with my body. I’m a latecomer to the approach of Michael Chekhov and sitting and thinking doesn’t do it for me anymore - I have to get into my body, and engage physically with the space and the air around me, and wake my senses up. I walk. Usually 5 to 6 miles a day. Best. Exercise. Ever. I tell myself that what I need, the inspiration or idea that I’m looking for is already there, and I just need to be open to receiving it. This is how the Chekhov approach works for me. I’ll have a few reads of a new script - nothing too strenuous, then let it go, or see what those first ‘tickles’ (as one of my teachers, the wonderful Graham Dixon, says) might be, and then I know that something has started, and we’re off.
The biggest challenge in working with myself is…
Basically equal to the biggest challenges I have in doing anything in life: Keeping ego out of it (or maybe transforming ego into something else - something more heartfelt and generous), dealing with anxiety and ‘freezing up’, keeping things in proportion and connected. Laziness and neurosis. Being kind.
In 2016, SUPER SPACE is serving as a vehicle to facilitate Created to Create Project. What CREATED TO CREATE INTRODUCING ONE ARTIST PER WEEK, FOR 52 WEEKS IN 2016. When Beginning, January, 1st, 2016 Who ACTORS, ARTISTS, THEATRE MAKERS, FILM MAKERS, DESIGNERS, TEACHING ARTISTS, STUDENTS all chosen because they spend a part each day creating. Artists will be chosen in no particular order. Goal Introduce artists from different parts of the world. People who use different mediums and whose practice is at a different skill level. A thing they all have in common is unique sense of style and self-expression.