The New Recruits - Plays and Players May 1974

With / about Michael Kitchen

The New Recruits - Plays and Players May 1974

Postby Lynnedean » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:05 am

The New Recruits - article from Plays and Players magazine May 1974 (Vol 21: No.8: Issue 248)

    Michael Kitchen won the Emile Littler Award at RADA for an 'outstanding talent and aptitude for the professional theatre' - and also because he owed the bursary £40, an amount conveniently covered by the £50 prize. Since leaving RADA in 1969, he has quickly established a high reputation both on television and in the theatre as an actor of unique, instinctive resourcefulness and volcanic potential. He joins the National to play one part only, Moritz in Spring Awakening, one of the greatest plays ever written about adolescence. It is a difficult part for an actor of 25 years, although Kitchen, after one week of rehearsal, was finding problems not with Moritz's age, but with the youthful mentality of the part: "He's a very young head. I mean he only just learns how kids are born and he goes and shoots himself. It's so sad. Just a year ago I wouldn't have had much trouble with that sort of age, having done it so many times. But over the past year I've played much older parts and generally feel much older; I might not look it, I might not sound it, I just do."

    In the past year he has appeared at the Royal Court in Howard Brenton's Magnificence and on television in two BBC Plays For Today (Hell's Angels by Hugo Charteris and The Reporters by Arthur Hopcraft) and as Branwell Bronte in a Yorkshire TV series. A trademark of the typical Kitchen part is a boyish vulnerability which allows him to be bullied and abused, a process which may provoke a response of either tyrranical, headlong rage or grieved, lip-biting petulance. In Magnificence he played a trendy left-winger who is eventually embroiled in a fearsome encounter with the more politically passionate central character; a few years ago, in Barry Reckord's Skyvers (at the Theatre Upstairs and later, the Round House) he played a schoolboy whose instincts for standing apart from the rest of the gang qualified him for the brutal assaults of both masters and schoolmates. Now, in Spring Awakening, he plays an outsider driven to suicide by the facts of life as manifested in a repressive society, facts too extraordinary to be managed by Moritz's restless imagination.

    Has Kitchen himself ever experienced the loner's condition? "In my first two years at grammar school I suffered that sort of thing. I don't know why, except that is was because I was very cocky, which may have seemed unpleasant. That sorted itself out. But I can remember exactly how I felt, so there's not much problem in recreating that." The cockiness has probably been replaced by the sense of calm self-assurance he exudes when talking about the pattern of his career. There is no question whatever of having joined the National in order to wallow in company spirit or waste time studying the greats while lurking in the background. "I was always determined to be careful about how I went into either the National or the RSC, if ever they were to ask me. Because of the story that everybody knows - you know, that people get lost in them, never come out alive, and so on. The fact that I am doing just this one part in this one play is pretty much on the terms I'd have wanted. I'm convinced that if I spent a year or less in any company, anywhere, playing minor roles, that wouldn't help me at all. I speak from no experience of ever having done this, but from the experiences of having seen what's happened to other people, both in their acting and in their personalities. I've never watched other people's acting to any great extent; I've never understood that argument of going on as a spear-carrier in order to watch Gielgud, or whatever. Of course you'd pick up a few things, but that wouldn't take a year."

    Fortune has been kind in allowing the luxury of this attitude, as Kitchen is quick to point out. "I've never really had any great choice in what I've done. Things I would have chosen to do have just turned up exactly in the right order. I've been told to expect a really naff patch in a few years time, around the 30 mark, which I've got to expect anyway; it can't possibly go on as easily and as cushily as it has so far."
"Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long." ~ Ogden Nash
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Re: The New Recruits - Plays and Players May 1974

Postby jewell » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:14 pm

Nice.

Thanks Lynne!

J
"When they ask why, I'll go: well, it's the least, no, honestly, it's the very bloody least I could do!

"And not just decked him. No! Fried the devious, dirty bastard to a crisp in the luxury of his over-waxed car!"
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Re: The New Recruits - Plays and Players May 1974

Postby nipluckett » Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:07 pm

Wouldn't it be wonderful for him to do an in depth interview now. I've always thought an hour with Charlie Rose here in the U.S. would be perfect.
Thanks , Lynne, for these "new" words from Mr. K. :thumbsup:
As always,
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Re: The New Recruits - Plays and Players May 1974

Postby amiga » Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:20 pm

nipluckett wrote:Wouldn't it be wonderful for him to do an in depth interview now. I've always thought an hour with Charlie Rose here in the U.S. would be perfect.
Thanks , Lynne, for these "new" words from Mr. K. :thumbsup:


Agree. Charlie Rose would be great with him. Low key, not in your face. Think he would feel safe with him.

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Re: The New Recruits - Plays and Players May 1974

Postby Englishfan » Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:31 pm

I would LOVE for Mr. Kitchen to reflect on this article now.

What are the chances? Never mind. I think I know. :toetap: But I remain hopeful that someday we'll hear from him in a similarly sincere fashion as this article. Hopeful. :whistling: Remaining hopeful......Always be hopeful.......hope......

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Re: The New Recruits - Plays and Players May 1974

Postby starlight » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:02 pm

Lynnedean wrote:The New Recruits - article from Plays and Players magazine May 1974 (Vol 21: No.8: Issue 248)

    There is no question whatever of having joined the National in order to wallow in company spirit or waste time studying the greats while lurking in the background.

    "... I've never watched other people's acting to any great extent; I've never understood that argument of going on as a spear-carrier in order to watch Gielgud, or whatever. Of course you'd pick up a few things, but that wouldn't take a year."

    "... it can't possibly go on as easily and as cushily as it has so far."


:pleased: Sees things his own way, doesn't he?
:cool: Grounded, certainly.
:geek: Fast learner, by all accounts.
:waiting: Don't fence me in, National Theatre.
:lol: Hold your own spear, Gielgud.
:wink: MK: the antidote to luvviedom.
Do I need to remind you...how much you can trust me?
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Re: The New Recruits - Plays and Players May 1974

Postby amiga » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:15 pm

I always found that statement rather arrogant, which he has admitted to being when he was young. Still think he has a bit of that, at the risk of being stoned by all. Many good actors have said they've learned from others, and at that age he had no idea what he could have learned. Not that he's lacking in acting skills, just thought it was a little early on to make that determination.

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Re: The New Recruits - Plays and Players May 1974

Postby kitchentease » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:06 am

Life has a way of helping us grow up, doesn't it? Not even our MK was born perfect. :smile:
But, what does the brain matter....compared to the heart?
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Re: The New Recruits - Plays and Players May 1974

Postby Jillybean » Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:29 pm

kitchentease wrote:...Not even our MK was born perfect. :smile:


I don't understand....... oh wait........ nope........ :noidea:

:wink:

Great piece though Lynne :thumbsup:

To me, he didn't come across as cocky necessarily, just observant of the experiences of others.
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Re: The New Recruits - Plays and Players May 1974

Postby starlight » Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:54 pm

Jillybean wrote:To me, he didn't come across as cocky necessarily, just observant of the experiences of others.

Now you can understand the wariness of giving interviews. One is definitely judged, and can be misconstrued. The honesty's commendable, whichever way you choose to take it.
Do I need to remind you...how much you can trust me?
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Re: The New Recruits - Plays and Players May 1974

Postby mohairMK » Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:53 am

starlight wrote:Now you can understand the wariness of giving interviews. One is definitely judged, and can be misconstrued. The honesty's commendable, whichever way you choose to take it.


This is very true. Better to keep 'em wondering right Mr. K?!

In this interview (brilliant by the way, Lesley...thanks), MK seems wise beyond his years. Cocky, perhaps a bit, but isn't that almost a necessity to carry off some of the things an actor has to? He may have been seemingly too young to make some of these determinations, but time has proven him correct. And I don't think he ever hit the "really naff patch in a few years time, around the 30 mark" he mentioned...at 30 or at any other age! About it not going "on as easily and as cushily as it has so far", his career may not have been cushy, but it has always been productive (good for US!).

As far as MK being perfect, no one's that, but he's about as close as they come!!! Yeah, MICHAEL!! :encore:

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