Now the similarities I find with both my writing and my acting is that you don't really know how you're doing.
It's a complete leap of faith.
My experience is that if you're having your own running commentary on your performance whilst you're doing it, then you're probably doing shit. But when you do get lost in it, it's almost like a form of hypnotic state and you have virtually no ability to recollect how it went. Problem.
To get feedback on my writing I joined a huge online writing community - but very quickly realised it was just a big love-in amongst amateur writers (which I guess I am too, it's just that whole not wanting to follow the herd thing again). So when somebody told you your writing was great, it held no value whatsoever. I left.
A while back, I gave my house-mate some chapters of my latest novel 'Eat Your Heart Out' to read - under strict instructions that we did not discuss it again, and that she only read it if it grabbed her - because that in itself was feedback. I'd forgotten all about this and one night I could hear her giggling up stairs in her bedroom - I just thought she was on the 'phone to someone, or watching something on the telly. And the giggling carried on, sporadically.
Then I got a text, it was from my house-mate upstairs saying. "Just reading your book and the bits about....made me piss myself laughing" - and I realised that the sporadic giggling I'd been hearing for the last hour was at my writing. It was the best feedback I had ever received.
And that's what I love about theatre. You spend an intense period of time, closeted away, creating this thing that at some point you bring out and show the world, and then take whatever coming to you. It's direct feedback, as direct as direct can be. It's sink or swim. If you like living by the sword it's kind of what makes you tick.
So today sees our first showing of 'The Government Inspector' by Gogol. For 5 weeks we've been shut away in a rehearsal room. What makes this one unique is that we've completely recreated the play whilst remaining utterly truthful to the original. For 5 weeks we've been playing, laughing, writing our own script as we went along, owning the creative process and developing grotesque characters.
It's heightened theatre - anyone looking for naturalistic acting will be sorely disappointed. People will either love it or hate it, and the jokes that have had us peeing ourselves laughing will either be shared by our audience, or will result in agonising tumble-weed wafting across the stage. Sink or swim. That's what I live for.
actor, general alright person and tree-climber extraordinaire.