The Acting World: Autobiography Play (Part Three)

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On this very day, at this very time, exactly four years ago, I self-starred in the auto-bio play “Ryan’s World.”

If you fancy reading the other parts, you can see the links underneath.^^/

https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/the-acting-world-autobiography-play-part-one/ 

https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/the-acting-world-autobiography-play-part-two/

  1. DECISION

Choosing the right songs and implementing them into the show was tricky. However, Mr P and Mum suggested certain songs for me to use.

For the intro, and the audience coming in and settle their bums to the floor, I opted to use Christina Aguilera’s song “Beautiful.” We all thought that this would be an ideal way to start the performance as that song is about individuality and self-confidence. For good measure I added a picture of me when I was 5 holding a Thomas the Tank Engine train. Whilst I was incredibly embarrassed I wanted to give everyone an idea what I looked like when I was young. That and I think it adds to the realism of the performance.

I was behind the stage of the intro and the first video scene. Nerves started to grow up inside me, but I felt myself getting into the moment of my youth. The first video scene is the doctor diagnosing my condition and explained to my Mum (the character) what to expect of me in the future. It would be highly unlikely that I would ever come out of my own bubble. Listening to this really helped me to get into the moment as it set as a reminder of what I was like when I was young.

  1. SCENES YOUNGER THAN TEN

I walked into the open space and parked myself on the outer edge of the gazebo. I used the gazebo for the purpose of holding up the screen which showed the videos. I was very conscious that I was going to knock the whole thing down so I took great care not to bump into it. Haha.

These few scenes were all about me when I was a toddler. The video showed scenes whilst I held up phrases on the cards to show what I was thinking at that time. I couldn’t explain myself at that time but I was aware what was happening. I held up a cue card that said “I know you’re talking about me, I’m not stupid.” I also held up a few sad faces to show the audience that I was feeling sad in certain moments.

On stage I kept my face and body language neutral to reinforce how I would have been feeling at the time. However, I did feel trickles of tears running down my face. “That’s not supposed to happen,” I thought. That was the first time ever that I genuinely cried during a performance. I cringed every time I heard myself scream or cry out. It felt like a stab in the heart. I wanted to hide my face behind the big cards as I didn’t really want the audience to see tears running down my face. Haha. I spontaneously took a few deep breaths to regain my composure.

I did receive a few laughs when I got kissed with a lipstick in the video and when I showed my sad face for the first time. I think everyone laughed at first probably because they thought the face was drawn in a funny way. I put up a smiling face when the lady at the school residential read me a Thomas story.

I think the audience were very touched by this. I even added the song “Thomas, You’re the Leader.” I felt this was very appropriate as I was trying to tell the audience that Thomas was my saviour in many unhappy moments.

Eventually, I went off stage, gearing myself up to reappear in a certain scene.

  1. SCENES OLDER THAN TEN

On the video it showed the actual footage of me being the mascot for Charlton Athletic when they played Bolton in 2000.

I came onto the stage feeling excited as I gained confidence and started to understand the surroundings outside my bubble.

I spoke only basic words at that time. In hindsight I wonder if I should have spoken in a monotone voice because I used to be expressionless with my words. However, in the live performance I was representing my thoughts. So I figured it would be appropriate to speak with emotion.

The most important scene involves the Football School. I was pretty nervous about this. It was important to get this right. We filmed the parts where all the lads were making fun of me and showed a huge lack of understanding. The coach was no different. I was too meek and polite to not stick up for myself as I didn’t want to “upset” anyone. It went to the point where I started to get changed in front of the other lads, something which I was very uncomfortable with.

On the video I actually did get changed but my back was to the audience so only my back was visible. Haha. That was another big moment as I don’t like getting changed in front of other people. I think if the scene wasn’t so serious the audience would have had a good chuckle at this.

The video was pretty emotional as I kept on making mistakes and kept on being the victim of “being different.” I tried to be strong and be tough but I kept on making mistakes, especially when I missed the penalty and ran the full length of the pitch to score an own goal… My spirit eventually wavered and I broke down in the middle of the pitch, all alone… On cue- Girls Aloud’s cover of “I’ll Stand by You,” plays as the video zooms out and fades.

This was definitely challenging to perform on film. I was caught up in the emotion of that part of my life. The Football scene and hanging out with “normal people” was the main reason why I started to become insecure about being Autistic. Was it ok to be different? I made my feelings known at that very moment how I felt about the world.

“I hate normal people. I hate special needs… and I hate myself.”

And it was at that very moment that I started to become insecure about myself. I had a long string that kept me from the audience. When my confidence grew, I’d pull the string back, allowing the audience nearer. If my confidence was knocked, I would push the string back and push the audience away. The strings were held up by three stools. When I said “I hate special needs…” I started to push the stools back.

However, I managed to compose myself enough not to charge into Mr Ian who was right behind the stool that I was pushing. This was quite reassuring as I’ve never felt this emotional during a performance. It showed me that even though I was in the zone I was still aware of my surroundings. That was quite a proud moment. =)

  1. INDIVIDUALITY

From that moment on I tried to fight for individuality and to be accepted for whom I was and I tried this tactic in different situations. I bought a Thomas DVD at school but my teacher disapproved as she thought that it was “too childish” and so she took it back. Why wasn’t I allowed to express the things I like? Why couldn’t I get the things I like? What was wrong with being myself?

  1. REACHING COLLEGE

I had the option of attending two different colleges. One was my local college and the other was the college that I eventually went to. I was very determined not to go to this certain college as I knew that I would have to start in the Supported Learning Department. I really, really didn’t want that to happen.

I expressed my anger and stubbornness thoughts to the audience. Was it fate that I would never progress? On the video it showed the letter that I would be in the SLD department. It also said in the letter how it would have been “too much for me” to be in the actual Performing Arts course with the “normal” mainstream students.

It turns out that college has treated me very kindly and the SLD department was actually a good stepping stone for me to study and perform with the “normal” mainstream students. I went from expressing my anger on stage feeling to expressing my pride and happiness.

  1. I AM RYAN

On film, I spoke about the overview of my time on the course. I learned that my biggest achievement from this University Course wasn’t the high marks on paper. It was learning how to be myself. In those last couple of months I completely let myself go and allowed everyone to get to know the real me and who I really was.

I’m not Autistic, I’m Ryan who just so happens to have Autism.

Being Ryan was my identity. After this revelation I stopped acting at this point and I was genuinely myself. It was definitely natural as I completely forgot my line at that moment. Haha!

I changed clothes into a more casual outfit, cut the tap and invited the audience into “my space”. This was to signify that I now felt more comfortable with how I was. I personally am not comfortable with physical contact but it’s my way of letting everyone know that I’m opening myself up to them.

At this moment I walked out of the room and the video of me, wearing the same casual outfit, came up. This was the scene where I said my “THANKYOUS” to all my friends, colleagues and tutors for treating me kindly for all these years. I would be too embarrassed to say it to their faces so I coped out and made them watch the video instead. Haha. Ironically, this was actually the very first thing that I and Mr P did, shooting this video of “THANKYOUS.”

In this video I played the soundtrack “The Island Song” and “I Believe I Can Fly.” These songs are very poignant to me as I used to severely dislike music. However, these were the very first songs that I liked and they were the platform for me to open myself up to all kinds of music. Now, whilst I still don’t like noise, I can handle music better and I’m very open-minded about it. Once again, Thomas the Tank Engine helped as The Island Song was actually a soundtrack from Thomas the Tank Engine. Haha.

  1. POST SHOW

I came out and took a bow. I was a little bit overwhelmed by the loud clapping and I literally couldn’t look at any of them in the face. After the bow I ran as fast as I could so that I didn’t have to talk to anyone. I was a little caught up in the moment. Well, that’s a fib. I was VERY caught up in the moment. Haha.

I actually get very embarrassed when I’m the centre of attention or if everyone is looking at me, which is among the reasons why I ran off. If I had spoken to people straightaway I probably would have been too caught up and cried and I really didn’t want that to happen.

After calming down I spoke with my friends one by one and had a good chin-wag with all of them. It was a strange moment as I was talking with them as if I had never performed the piece. It felt natural, very natural. I really did like that feeling and it was at that moment that I realised that all my Uni friends were actually my friends.

By revealing my autism to everyone has turned out to be one of the best moments in my life. I can now say that I have autism without feeling ashamed or insecure.

THANKS FOR READING

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Since this day, four years ago, life has been great and for the first time I felt free of doubt. I have never looked back… and I never will.

Thanks for reading. =)

Namaste.^^/

Ryan

London Trip Part Three: The Final Fantasy Concert

Distant Worlds logo

  1. Fun Fact

Believe it or not I actually had the opportunity to perform at the Royal Albert Hall many years ago. There is this talented group called WatchThisSpace, ages 14-21, and they do a lot experiment with dance movements. They were going to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in 2010 and they held auditions to be part of that group.

A friend at Uni suggested that I should audition since I’m quite dandy with my Ballroom. I declined, for many reasons. Why? That’s for another blog. 😉

  1. Distant Worlds music from Final Fantasy Mini Ramble

This was such a surreal experience.

I had a rough idea of what the Royal Albert Hall would be like, but I never appreciated how big it truly is until I went inside… it’s seriously massive. I actually think it’s bigger than my local arena. I was sitting on the top tier, right near the fire exit. It’s no secret that I get apprehensive in massive crowds, but I felt reassured that I was near the fire exit. If it got too much for me I would just dart off.

Before the start of the performance a kind looking gentleman took to the stage and bowed. The crowd literally erupted in a chorus of cheers. I thought to myself, “He must be important.” But then Mr Conductor, Arnie Roth, announced that that man was actually Nobuo Uematsu. He has composed 90% of the songs from the Final Fantasy games. And, apparently, it’s rare for him to make an appearance but being in the Royal Albert Hall was a must for him. Can’t say that I blame him, it is a beautiful building. =)

  1. Distant Worlds music from Final Fantasy Mini-Review

What I liked especially about this concert was how Mr Conductor rambled briefly about each song and shared with us the facts about his orchestra. This was their 98th tour and 3rd in the Royal Albert Hall. He was a friendly man. He was the sort of dude that commanded respect without even trying. I’d love to have a drink of J2O with him one day. =) I believe the 99th tour will be somewhere in Europe.

I liked the fact as well that the Royal Albert Hall has the second largest organ in Europe… I can see why. The building was tall, but the organ pipes were massive. They were even taller than the top tier seats. The building was big but the organ pipes literally vibrated the entire arena.

They premiered quite a few songs that night. Two of them were based on the Final Fantasy 9 game. I liked all the instrumental music that was played that evening but I think the most significant instrument was the organ. Mr French came on (I didn’t catch his name) and played the guitar. He was good. Then Mrs Kelly came on (I didn’t catch her name) and sang a beautiful ballad for the Final Fantasy 14 online music.

I can’t really say I had any particular standout favourites since they were all as equally as good, but, I did appreciate certain songs that I’m more familiar with. Like the theme songs from Final Fantasy 7 and 9, especially the Rose of May. The Chocobo song at the end was a nice touch. =)

It was good as well that they had a screen. Whilst listening to the music we could watch the video that was being played that went with it. FF6 looks like it’s a humorous game, judging by what I saw. However, I did get confused when that joker clown like character fought against the pretty brunette lady and won. It looked as though the villain beat the hero… I think? I think it’s on that PSP Vita. I still enjoyed watching the screen though. I think it’s good that the orchestra made that available for us, the audience. =)

The most significant moment, without a shadow of a doubt, is Nobuo. I read in the programme that the man himself hoped to perform live on stage at some point. And… he did just that. Apparently, Arnie suggested that idea to Nobuo and he said that he will play the keyboard if Arnie plays the violin. And Mr Conductor played the violin. Hoho.

That was the first ever time that Nobuo Uematsu has performed on stage, and I was there to see it. It truly was a memorable moment. 🙂

*

It was good experience. I did cringe and clench my teeth a lot when the audience clapped, cheered, stood up and erupted. I was able to enjoy the orchestra just about enough since some of the instruments were soothing and they were playing the songs that I liked.

But, I didn’t like the huge noise from the crowd. It made my head swirl and chest feel unpleasant. On two occasions I had to go out to get away from the crowd, and when I thought rationally enough I went back in. I actually missed the start of the second half of the performance. I did feel worse after that. The duration of the performance was nearing three hours and near the end I actually wanted it to finish so I could go back to the hotel.

I did enjoy the orchestra. For some reason there seems to be a difference to listening to the music rather than listening to someone sing. In a way, this was the best way for me to debut a concert. Haha. It was good experience. In truth I would say that my brother appreciated the overall experience a lot more than me. He is a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series. =)

If I were to rate this, I would say…

Two Thumb’s-Up. (My Rating System)

Two Thumbs-Up

  1. Overnight

I went back to the hotel asap with my brother, had a nice long shower and watched Match of the Day in my room. I put on BBC1 before I left for the concert. With assistance from my Brother I managed to work the TV. That way, when I came back I could watch the TV from the get go to be organised. I think that was quite wise on my part, if I do say so myself. =)

*

I cut down on my football time since I tried to get some sleep…

I was tired but my body didn’t really want me to sleep. My body became aware that this wasn’t my room and I wasn’t sleeping on my bed. The cushions were comfy though. Since I couldn’t really sleep I decided to read some manga. I read Monster Musume, D-Frag and See Me After Class. I even listened to the Non Non Biyori soundtrack on my ipod.

I felt very relaxed. This was the only time I could relax on this trip. Being organised in London was certainly exhausting and then I had to try and force myself to sleep. After relaxing, I gradually fell asleep. I didn’t get much sleep though.

I woke up very early. We set contingency plans to ensure that me and my brother get up at 8. I woke up at 7 O’clock. Before getting ready I decided to have a bru. I put on the kettle… I suddenly remembered that the plug didn’t work so I went to press the button to stop when I actually burned my finger. XD It was morning and I had long forgotten that the kettle was not working properly. Haha. Wait, that’s not funny… anyway, I spent five minutes running my burned finger under the cold tap…

*

We got the train, first class, and went home. I thought a couple kept on looking at me and they would often turn away if they caught my eye. I kept on building myself up to smile every single time we catch eye contact, alas… it never happened. Not to worry though.

I came home, and spent literally the entire day just chilling on the couch without saying a word. I didn’t want to talk. I was just extremely pleased that things were back to normal. It took a while for me to sink in the information though…

  1. Overall Experience

It was good. It was most definitely one of my most significant moments. Going and sleeping London felt so far way, yet, it was here and gone. It really is amazing how time flies, especially when you’re having fun. =)

Pre-anxiety always dominates my mind whenever I’m going into the unknown. Sometimes I will deal with my state of mind just fine, other times, it becomes hard to endure. I just have to go with my gut instinct.

London wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was quite the opposite, in fact. I felt constantly safe, a little iffy around the roads, but I was able to retire to my room for peace and quiet from time to time. And because I was constantly busy, I wasn’t as anxious. I distracted myself and times. It felt like I got used to my room quickly, and for a brief moment I thought I was playing the role of Alan Partridge. XD

A friend summed it up perfectly. “Focus on the parts you enjoyed about London, instead of remembering how you felt.” I knew this philosophy but he’s absolutely bob on with his words. =) And it’s the thing of, just because I feel sick, apprehensive, dizzy and so on, it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t take away the positives from this journey. Or anything really that is outside my comfort zone. I went to London to enjoy myself, not to pay attention to my nerves. =) It was a struggle at times but I coped and I was never in danger of losing my mind. Haha.

With that in mind, it actually made me appreciate my own life even more.

I have the luxury of a house, my own room, a space to play games, hang out with people, watch movies, write stories, watch anime, watch Thomas, read manga, and all sorts. I didn’t have that much freedom when I was away but I have the freedom at home. I already knew this, of course, but it still makes me appreciate my life even more, and I will continue to cherish it. =)

*

The biggest question remains… will I do this again?

Well… I’m split. Before this trip I might have said “I will never 100% do this again.” But now I have experienced it… I can safely say that I will not rule out this kind of outing again. On the other hand though, I’m not in a rush to do this again. I mean, I’m in no rush to go to London any time soon. If the concert was to be played in the nearest area then I think there’s a strong possibility that I would go again. It all depends how I feel at that time though. =)

It’s just as I mentioned in the wedding blog many months ago. Just because I did something once, doesn’t mean I would find it easy to do it again. It just means that I’m more capable then I thought myself to be. It’s all about endurance and concentrating on the positives. So far, I’m doing myself proud.^^/

THANKS FOR READING

That’s it for my London blogs. I wonder what’s in store for me next.

Nearly one year ago, 16th November, I opened up a WordPress blog account. I plan to post a blog on that very day to summarise my year of blogging. I hope you will drop by and have a read. =)

See you all for now.

Namaste,^^/

Ryan.

Thomas the Tank Engine TV Anniversary

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Peep, Peep Tidings!

 

Today we are all celebrating. On this very day, 30 years ago, Thomas the Tank Engine first aired on television, produced by the good company of Britt Allcroft. =D

 

HOW THOMAS HELPED ME

Thomas is very precious to me, as he is too many others. One of my earliest childhood memories was Thomas. It was a basic play-set with Thomas and his two coaches, The Fat Controller, Percy, Bertie and a couple of troublesome trucks.

 

I’ve been blogging for almost a year now and I have made many links between my Autism and Thomas. I can’t express enough how instrumental Thomas was in my younger years. He helped me in many ways unimaginable. I was trapped in my own bubble and I never interacted with anyone or uttered a single word. Being young was difficult. The only time I would utter a sound is when the music started to play and I would scream very loudly. I would relieve this horrible tension in my head by banging it against the wall. Haha.

 

Some people started to talk to me through Thomas and made references through Thomas, to gain my attention. I can’t explain why I liked Thomas; I guess I felt that he was real. In cartoons you know it’s animated, but, I knew deep down that Thomas was a model. So, it felt like, I could just go down to the studio and see his model up close. I would be able to touch him. From my point of view, Thomas was an actor but playing the role of himself. Haha.

 

Till this day I still watch the first series of Thomas the Tank Engine, it was only yesterday when I actually watched Thomas Comes to Breakfast.

 

Through the world of Thomas, I started to open up my bubble and, even though it took time, started to open many paths that I would never have thought were possible. I started to share my toys with my brother, since we shared a common interest in Thomas. When I first listened to the songs of Thomas, like the Island Song, I started to listen to other songs. I disliked music at that time, but, I found that music wasn’t so bad because Thomas had music too. I also started to read, because Thomas had books. I like all different versions of Thomas and I especially like the Railway Series by the Rev. W. Awdry

 

Most importantly, it helped me to relax. When I was anxious I was unable to find a cure, so I was in a constant upset state. But, as soon as I learnt the existence of Thomas, I found a source of happiness. It cheered me up every time I was upset or anxious. There have been other attributes to what made me gradually come out of my shell.  However, this blog is dedicated to Thomas so everything else at this moment is irrelevant. =)

 

NOWADAYS

Thomas has now entered into the CGI stage… I can’t really say that I’m happy about this. I’m not questioning its change; it’s just that I prefer the model stage since it is what I’ve grown up with. I still collect the annuals, dvds and blu-rays. =) I started to narrate the classic Thomas stories and send those clips to my Uncle, who enjoys my narration a lot. I’m hoping to sometime in the future to send some of my recordings to hospitals etc as it helped me so much I know it could help lots of other children. =) I also started writing my own short stories about Thomas and his friends, and I’m having a lot of fun with that.

 

Nowadays I can go out and socialise more confidently then I could when I was younger. I went to College, went to University and got a 2:1 degree in performing arts, which I’m very proud of. =) I can even tolerate loud noise and music for a short period of time. Having Autism is not easy, but, I feel that the gateway of me coming out of my bubble is the result of Thomas being on TV. If it weren’t for Thomas who knows how my life would have turned out.

 

I’m not the sentimental kind but I would to take this opportunity to thank Britt Company and everyone involved for bringing Thomas to our screens. It helped me immensely as I’m sure it helped everyone else. Not just thanks for helping, but, for bringing happiness into our lives. I for one am truly grateful. =)

 

THANKS FOR READING

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It’s weird to think that Thomas has been airing for 30 years. It’s always been a dream of mine to get involved with the creative side of Thomas. Mainly writing and narrating. My main dream now is to be an author, but that’s another story! 😉

 

Thanks for reading.^^/

Ryan