On The Streets of Harlem from The Kensington Olympia
At 4pm mid rehearsals in The Hammersmith Lyric theatre in West London the director John McGrath stopped proceedings. The lighting technician, the Assistant Director, the set designer, the video technician, the sound designer the assistant producer and myself the actor walked to the packed green room to watch and listen to the new president of The United States of America.
We finished rehearsals at 10pm and I’ve checked in at The Hilton Olympia, on Kensington High Street, around the corner, from where i write. Home is an hour and forty minutes away on the other side of London much as I would prefer to be home. The journalist who is there was interviewed on BBC News 24 with Baroness Lola Young minutes before Obama spoke. She was seen only over the world. Earlier on in the week she was reviewed by The Washington Post for the American publication of her book. She is amazing.
I can undermine myself in a critical way. And possibly (no definitely) in that process I can undermine others too. Earlier on this week I met Jude kelly the artistic director and visionary of The Southbank Centre. I was amongst The Southbank centres artists in residence. Jude talked about art and opportunity. I'm paraphrasing when I say that in talking about an artist taking his responsibility for the opportunity he is given she compares how a person may respond to the words "I love you". Should he run away and hide. Should he panic. Should he try his best to prove in some way that it isn't true, that it can't be true.
I entered the hotel room tonight and turned on the television. The news was live and in Harlem, the streets are filled with jubilance. A young black man looks into the camera. He could have been asked the question “Do you believe that Barack Obama can fulfil all of these peoples dreams”? But what he said was “I have a dream and a dream is a vision and if we work at our vision, it comes true.”. If there was one line that encapsulates the artist it is from that black man on the streets of Harlem tonight. I needed to hear it.