For the latest in our WISE WORDS interview series - where stars from a whole range of fields share the important life lessons they’ve learned along the way - we’re posing some of the big questions to ALFRED ENOCH.
Proving his versatility, however, Alfred’s taken a break from his TV duties to take part in ‘King Lear’, a critically-acclaimed theatrical production also starring Don Warrington that shows Shakespeare’s great tragedy can just as fittingly be played by black actors.
With this production has been filmed and is now available to view online, Alfred speaks to HuffPostUK about what he’s learned so far...
What do you do to switch off from the world?
I’m not very social media connected. I spend most of my time being quite switched off, which I love, but even the minor amount of technology I have to do, answering my emails or something, takes my energy away. It’s always taking me out of whatever I’m doing.
I have a record player. I was inspired to get one by my first roommate, and after a day’s work, I go home and put a record on, sit back.
In the UK, I walk. I go strolling around London. I try to do things slowly.
How do you deal with negativity?
I’m not sure I’m very good at that. I rely on people close to me, to help me get over it. Which normally involves excessively chatting about it.
When and where are you happiest?
Working. Theatre, particularly, being on stage. Not that I like it more than TV, but the release of being on stage is very exciting to me. There comes a point when you go on and it’s beyond any rehearsal or correction, you just have to commit. When you’re in the wings, and you have to go on, it can be very freeing, but you have to trust that you’ve done enough work. I find that exhilarating.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
It was in an opening night card from my dad and my mum, it was the first time I did a job at the National, I didn’t have much to do but working there was special. It just said, ‘Thinking of you, have a good night. Rejoice.’ That’s a lovely word. You have to enjoy it.
What has been the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
That good intentions aren’t enough. I spent a lot of my life and probably still do thinking, ‘But I mean well...’
What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
Rejoice. Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t matter that much. Throw yourself into it, and don’t check yourself.
What 3 things are at the top of your bucket list?
Go for a really long walk, Camino Del Santiago or something that big.
Do more plays.
Go back to Brazil.
What do you think happens when we die?
It’s the undiscovered country. I couldn’t begin to presume to offer something constructive, but hopefully something. I like to think everything carries on.
When do you feel a sense that we live in the presence of something bigger than ourselves?
Quite a lot.
I love walking in London, and architecture is a big thing for me. I like the idea of the past happening in a certain place, I find it elusive and I love to try to bridge that gap between then and now. It can be a city, or equally the wilderness, but it can have that same feeling. In Malibu a while ago, I went for a walk with my parents, the sun was setting, and it just felt... immense.
Equally, I felt like that doing ‘Lear’ at the Royal Exchange. It’s a fantastic theatre, it has this dome and we used to come down from the dressing room, full of excitement and adrenalin, about to open a show, after all the work. I remember coming down the first few shows, looking up at glass dome which hangs over the theatre module, and feeling the wonder.
What do you try to bring to your relationships?
Honesty, but more than in an obvious sense, more than just not lying, I’m unfettered. I rely on full and frank exchanges.
What keeps you grounded?
My girlfriend. She doesn’t take any nonsense. She knows me. I can be quite unreasonable about things, or easily frustrated about technology. I’m not a patient, practical person. I’ve just been fortunate in my career, but recently I had to fill in a UCAS form and I ended up breaking my phone in frustration - what a terrible thing to say. But she’s having none of that.
What was the last good deed or act of kindness you received?
We’re about to start shooting the next season of this TV show ‘How to Get Away With Murder’, and everyone is so enthused to see each other. I’ve been in a different continent, other people have been travelling for work, scattered to the winds and now we return. There’s a lot of warmth when everyone gets back together.
‘King Lear: The Film’ is a Talawa Theatre Company/Royal Exchange Theatre/Saffron Cherry TV production in association with Lion Eyes TV, commissioned by The Space. This free groundbreaking, multi-platform release and will be available on-demand through the BBC in the UK and internationally as part of the BBC/ British Council Shakespeare Lives digital festival for three months online at bbc.co.uk/shakespearelives. Tap the first picture below to open the slideshow:
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