During lockdown at the beginning of this year, I rediscovered an almost forgotten silly side, often referred to as ‘Silly Billy’ (undesirably for me growing up). It’s quite ironic to think that during one of the most serious times we have lived through, I became less serious.
Growing up I was the class clown, I loved to entertain people and make people laugh. Whether it was my one man living room shows, home-made mini movies playing characters I invented, or pranking the cold callers who only wanted to help you claim back some PPI, but instead ended up speaking to Bernard (my old man voice), who kept them on the phone whilst having arguments with his wife, Margery (my old woman voice). I have always been Silly Billy.
During this time, I also reconnected with old friends, who know the younger me, the light-hearted me. As severe as the Covid situation was (and still is), the positive to the lockdown for me, was the opportunity to take a breath from the world, everything was paused, I had time without pressure to be busy and to check-in with who I am. It soon clicked that I had been missing the bizarre, uncool, ludicrous, and utterly nonsensical person that I have always been.
When my agency, SD TALENT, announced a project during the national lockdown called #WordsMatter, I thought this to be a great opportunity to keep my mind active and to release some creative energy. It was during this project, which required two contrasting pieces, where my journey to a light-hearted Lockdown began. My first piece was a somewhat sombre read of a personal situation I was going through at the time, so I knew for my contrasting scene it had to be something completely different. I tried to think of ways to have a script with different characters, but with me playing each character and film it as if they were in the same room. The technical side didn’t come out as perfect as I would have hoped, however I still felt it was easy enough for a viewer to understand the narrative.
Once the comedy sketch was filmed, I remember feeling as though a weight fell away from me. The weight being this sober, cool and composed projection that I didn’t realise had sneaked its way into my life more and more, over the past few years. After dropping this weight, I felt free again to do what I used to do, which was to not only make people laugh but also to laugh at myself. With this newfound reconnect in tow, a flood of videos and crazy moments soon followed. The quiz questions for my zoom quizzes with friends, a last-minute Eurovision online party playing the different countries, funny video edits for the family, amongst other things.
So grateful to my agency SD TALENT for running the #WordsMatter project during lockdown, it was more than just an acting project, it was the perfect excuse to help me get back to Silly Billy.