Anorak News | Pipe Down

Pipe Down

by | 8th, February 2005

‘ACTORS learning their craft are expected to pretend to be many things.

Or you can use dummy actors…

They can be a tree, a mouse or a squirrel fighting a mouse as it scuttles about a tree. They can pretend to have sex, to kill and even to die.

And now adding to the masterclass is the course in pretending to smoke. And it is necessary, because, as the Guardian reports, plans are afoot to ban smoking from our theatres.

Such a ban would mean that anyone playing Algernon Moncrieff in the Importance of Being Earnest, for instance, will have to mime smoking as he rows over ownership of a silver cigarette case.

Granted, the case could be exchanged for a vial in which vitamin pills could be placed, and Algi would be seen popping a health-boosting lump of Vitamin C as he enjoys a heated exchange.

But surely something of the dramatic moment has been lost.

However, before Mrs Robinson marks the breaking in of The Graduate in her bed with a shot of wheatgrass and a stick of sugar-free gum, we note that a campaign has been launched.

In response to the legislation being proposed by Westminster and Liverpool city councils to ban smoking from practically everywhere, theatre owners are fighting back.

”We have a problem with this,” says Richard Pulford, chief executive of the Society of London Theatres.

”Our members obviously put on plays, and plays sometimes require the characters to smoke…

”In general terms, there are characters for whom smoking is so closely associated with them that taking it away would detract from them totally.

”Sherlock Holmes, for example, or almost any Noel Coward character.”

But Mike Storey, the Liberal Democrat leader of Liverpool city council, says this complaint is part of conspiracy to stir up resistance to the ban on smoking in pubs, clubs and public venues.

”There are ways around this when we talk about actors smoking,” says he. ”They could use dummy cigarettes for example.”

After all, city councils have long employed dummies instead of councillors…’

Posted: 8th, February 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink