Yes, I haven’t posted one of the dregs for a while so here’s another one, another piece of drivel…but one that I enjoyed writing…
Mervyn Livermore was an artist, writer, and sometime actor. He soon ditched writing and painting and became obsessed with acting, much to the despair of his family and friends. ‘You’ll never make a life that way,’ he was told on many occasions.
He became interested in method-acting, the study of parts through undertaking the exact same emotional experiences as the character which he was chosen to play, when he was thirty-seven. He was a late bloomer and was looking for a career change. This form of acting was said to have been pioneered by Lee Strasberg and Constantin Stanislavski, but it appears Mervyn was the first. Initially he found that method acting was not too difficult; it was easy to the research to play Man Standing on Street Corner and Man Yelling in Angry Crowd. Mervyn particularly excelled in his research for the part of Anonymous Man Drinking Ale in the Local Inn.
As he became more proficient in the art of acting, or at least less of an embarrassment to the group of players that was in (The Wandering Remedials), he gained more and more important parts in plays. This group was cutting edge theatre; they refused to any plays except the ones they had written themselves.
Mervyn’s marriage fell apart during his research for the part of Drunken sailor seen carousing in sleazy brothels. His career took another turn for the worse in 1410 when he tried to convince King Henry IV that he should take over for a week to ‘get a feel’ for the job of King so that he could play it better in his forthcoming play. The King threw him in a dungeon next to James I of Scotland and suggested it would be better if he got a feel for what was like to be a king who had been rotting in gaol for the last four years. He relented after a week and told Mervyn to get a real job.
Mervyn then played the part of a starving peasant, but had to pull out because he was suffering from malnutrition in danger of dying. A series of minor roles followed and his career was stagnating to a point that he considered looking for employment in other areas. His career looked up after he was picked to play a drunk who made people laugh and solved crimes. Despite a brief scuffle with some rather nasty members of the underworld, Mervyn pulled this off with distinction. It ended up being his final role.
Later on in the year he gained the part of Gareth the Brave, a Welsh separatist who fought valiantly against King Edward the Second before dying a violent death in a battle with said King. How, he surmised, could the writer expect him to play the dying Gareth, bleeding from numerous wounds and delirious from loss of blood, unless he knew exactly what that felt like? He would not be dissuaded. He joined the army and went to fight the French at Agincourt, where it is thought he gained first hand physical and emotional experience of how it felt to die less than heroically, screaming hysterically while losing his blood and bowels, at the hands of some French cavalry. The acting world did not notice his passing.