After an exhausting world tour, and not a little jet-lagged Dame June Bloom, semi-retired Shakespearean scholar and actor extraordinaire, touches down in London this April, ready to give one of her renowned lectures on performing the Bard. Using Shakespeare as her Touchstone Yes! Because... will take you on the rocky road trip of Dame June's life as touring actor, daughter and mother, accompanied by a finely tuned sense of the ridiculous, and a ukulele for good measure for measure...
Dame June is the creation of Australian-born Flloyd Kennedy, a seasoned actor who really has performed all over the world, including London, Brisbane, Glasgow, New York, Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Threshold Festival in Liverpool. Flloyd has two grown-up children and two grandchildren, and has been living in Scotland, on and off, since the 1970s. Training as an actor originally, with a passion for musical theatre and Shakespeare, Flloyd came into comedy and clowning later in life, through meeting Cirque de Soleil and Slava's Snowshow clown Ira Seidenstein (see blog post Clowning Around - click here on the workshop I went on with Ira), who directed the show. Dame June, who likes nothing more than a sonnet and a song, draws on all of that, as well as Flloyd's experience of family life. I am looking forward to seeing Dame June in full bloom next month, and in the meantime had a few questions for Flloyd:
When did you start clowning around, and how did you meet Ira?
Master clown Ira Seidenstein came into my life around 14 years ago, when he arrived in Brisbane to do a PhD on Actor Training and I was a member of the fledgling Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble while also studying at the University of Queensland. They invited Ira to run a workshop and then direct a production of Pericles. I was in my late 50s, thinking my chance at an acting career was well past, and I was astonished to find that he was able to engender such unspeakable joy in me with his clown approach to performance.
I’ve continued to work with Ira ever since then, he is my best friend and my mentor. I had no ambition to be ‘a clown’ as such, just a better actor (we call ourselves actors in Australia, there’s no genderisation of the profession). But over the years I’ve gradually accepted Ira’s insistence that I am, indeed, a clown. And I’ve slowly but surely recognised that I always have been, from a very small child. All that messing about as a kid that got me into trouble, all the various attempts over the years to set up little companies so that I could muck about on stage with some pals, all my ongoing resistance to directors who give line readings, and block – Oh how I detest blocking!