Playing Blackadder

From last Thursday until yesterday, I had the honour of playing Edmund Blackadder in a stage adaptation of Blackadder II with a cast of extremely talented and hard-working actors. The play was a massive amount of fun and the response from the audience was wonderful every single night. In many ways, it's a shame that we only did four shows and, in this respect, I'm relishing taking my art to the next level and becoming professional.

Taking on a role like Blackadder, however, was described to me as being either extremely brave or extremely foolish, between which I don't personally think there's much difference and both are to be celebrated in their own ways. Playing Blackadder is not like playing Hamlet. Both are iconic for different reasons but the second has been played famously by lots of different people. If asked who your favourite Hamlet is, you might say Richard Burton, Kenneth Branagh, or David Tennant. At least one person just said Mel Gibson.

But if you ask who your favourite Blackadder is, well, that's kind of a silly question, isn't it? I have to admit, when the project was suggested to me and I accepted the role, it crossed my mind that this could end up being a spectacular failure. But it wasn't, and for the 90 minutes we were on that stage, the original sitcom didn't exist. This was theatre and it was treated as such. The material was ingrained in the minds of a few of our audience members but to see it with a fresh pair of eyes was worth the foolish bravado and I'm glad I was that fool.

I'm hoping to put some clips from the play on this website soon and I'll let you know when I do. I'm still looking for a casting agent, probably in Paris or London, so if you think I'm up to it, please send them my way. As I said, I'll try and get those clips up as soon as I can.

My PhD

This year, if all goes well, I will defend my PhD thesis on the 6th September. As a writer and performer, it may seem unusual that I should have written a doctoral thesis on finance, but it speaks more to my approach to life than anything else.

When I started, I had no intention of doing a PhD and least of all in finance. I suppose, had I been serious, I would have chosen mathematics or philosophy. However, through a series of coincidences, I was told that, were I to apply for the PhD, I would get it and, frankly, I saw no harm in the proposition.

What ended up happening was that I wound up studying psychology and neuroscience, which now features heavily in my final thesis. I learned about something called a utility function, which converts explicit value into implicit value. For example, imagine $10. The implicit value between $0 and $10 is substantially more than that between $1,000,000 and $1,000,010, even though the explicit value is the same. A utility function incorporates this effect.

But from there you start to learn all the other ways in which people consistently misvalue things and suddenly, the connection between money and psychology becomes overwhelmingly fascinating. Is it possible to construct an equation that puts the correct price on things and if not, why not? The law of one price is a central underpinning of the current structure of the global economy but, in general, it doesn't really work.

Now that my PhD is nearing its end and I'm working on becoming a professional writer/performer, I hope I get the opportunity to share my work with everyone and engage people on the subject. Most of the people I see explaining economics on television today are professional journalists who are put in front of a camera. If I get the chance, I would like to be one of the few people who are directly engaged in explaining economics and finance to everyone. I think this is really important.

Please contact me if you'd like to find out more.

My new website

Hi,

This year I want to really push myself as a creator and, to make it official, I've launched a new website where I can show off the interviews I've done for TV, any films I make, and pretty much anything else that comes out of my head.

In Clips you can find short videos of my acting which I hope to update with some amateur stuff soon and perhaps more professional stuff later on.

In Writing you can find a full, totally edited and tested, one-act play available for you to download for free. The one crucial piece of feedback I got for it was that it needed a second act, hence the unusual way it's labelled, however, I do encourage you to download it, read it, and perform it should you feel the desire. If you like it and wish to give me some coin to help me along, you can do that with the Support button at the bottom of each page.

I'll be gradually filling this website up with more and more stuff. Please keep coming back for video clips, scripts, and blog posts.

Best, Chris.