We had the good fortune of connecting with Oliver Boon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Oliver, what role has risk played in your life or career?
In terms of my role as a theatre critic, I believe there are plenty of elements of risk involved in reviewing a show. To have an opinion is to take a risk and one that I believe is always worth taking. When you review a play, objectiveness is sacred. You can’t let your relationships with those that are a part of a production dictate your sensitivity to your writing, otherwise you risk writing a flawed review and that does nobody any good. I have written reviews where those involved with the production have resonated from what I’ve said and thanked me for my honesty. Not everyone is going to like what you write but you can’t let yourself be bullied into writing fluff! As an actor myself, it can be difficult at times when reviewing the work of my friends. I have friends that were a part of productions reviewed by me, that either ask for an early look at my review or request changes. Most of the time, this will be out of ego rather than anything factual. If you are writing objectively then you are doing your job as the critic. There will always be a risk of alienating those that you review but that is a risk that goes with the territory! When I was first starting out as a Theatre Reviewer, I had this fear of reaching out to productions because I was still finessing my writing style. I didn’t want to risk being rejected so I wasn’t aggressive enough. It took me a while to just go for it and approach theatre companies and when I did I was pleasantly surprised how many were so receptive towards me! You have to risk being told “no” for them to even consider saying “yes”. Taking risks is an integral part of any life and career. Without them, you risk (ironic) letting opportunities pass you by because you didn’t put yourself out there enough.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have always prided myself on my work rate. When I was younger I wanted to be the first to wake up and the last to go to bed. Since then, I have realized the benefits of a good night’s sleep! I have had to deal with a lot of rejection early on in my career which is actually incredibly healthy for an actor. You have to accept that there are a million reasons why you won’t get a job that are completely out of your control. You have to focus your energy on what is in your control. This will take away so much unnecessary and anxiety that we unfairly put on ourselves. The best advice I could give would be to create your own content with a like minded group of artists. Put yourself in projects that show you the way you want to be seen! I am currently working on adapting a play I wrote that combines my two favorite things; puppetry and dark comedy! I want to create work similar to what inspired me as a kid with films like Beetlejuice and Return to Oz!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Being a vegetarian, I would definitely have to take them to Doomies for some Vegan Fried Chicken! All the tables are themed with different superhero comics on them. I try to get the Wonder Woman table whenever it’s free! For drinks, i’d recommend Lono Tiki Lounge. Make sure you bring your best tropical shirt! Since moving to LA, I have fallen in love with Bouldering and there are so many different indoor rock climbing centres you can visit and they are constantly changing their “problems” (a climbing sequence) so it’s always fresh!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I definitely would have to thank my teachers at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Some of the best advice I ever received was to “take all of your hard work that you’ve put into your role and when you go up on stage, leave it at the door and simply be present. The work will all still be there”. My favorite acting book is Andy Nyman’s ‘The Golden Rules of Acting’. It is a concise acting bible filled with inspirational quotes from acting legends. I recommend to anyone that’s ever felt lost in their pursuit for an acting career.