Kris Hedges-Manuel - Embracing the Ensemble / Starting a successful school during lockdown

Kris Hedges-Manuel - Embracing the Ensemble / Starting a successful school during lockdown

Kris Hedges-Manuel - Embracing the Ensemble / Starting a successful school during lockdown

Five Minute Call - S01E04 - Episode Summary

In the latest episode of The 5 Minute Call podcast, hosts Claire and Oren sit down with West End veteran Kris Manuel for a captivating conversation about his remarkable journey in the world of theatre. With a career spanning over two decades, Kris has graced the stages of some of the most iconic shows, including Starlight Express, Billy Elliot, Matilda the Musical, and Phantom of the Opera. Throughout the episode, Kris shares his experiences, challenges, and triumphs, offering valuable insights for aspiring performers and theatre enthusiasts alike.

Kris's story is one of resilience and determination. Growing up as a bullied child, he found solace in the performing arts, discovering his passion for singing, acting, and dancing. Despite the challenges he faced, Kris's talent and hard work propelled him forward, leading him to attend the prestigious MADD College and later the Royal Academy of Music. He emphasises the importance of integrity, perseverance, and continuous learning in the highly competitive world of theatre, sharing anecdotes from his time in various productions and the lessons he learned along the way.

One of the most inspiring aspects of Kris's journey is his commitment to giving back to the next generation of performers. Together with his husband Mark, Kris founded West End Prep (WEP), a theatre school that nurtures young talent and provides them with the tools and guidance to succeed in the industry. Through WEP, Kris aims to create a supportive environment where students can develop their skills, build confidence, and learn the importance of balancing their craft with personal well-being. 

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Episode Transcript:

[00:00:00] Oren: Hello and welcome to The 5 Minute Call. This is a podcast where we take a deep dive into the stories of the people that make theatre happen.

[00:00:08] Claire: Today we are chatting to Chris Manuel. Chris has an amazing career spanning over two decades in the theatre industry. He's appeared in shows such as Starlight Express, Billy

[00:00:18] Oren: Elliot, Matilda the Musical, Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins and Phantom of the Opera, again.

[00:00:25] Oren: I mean, a fantastic way to start. Are you, have you always been an airhead?

[00:00:29] Kris: No, I've always been an utter airhead. Complete airhead. Um, and in my own little world, but in some ways I think that's kind of helped along the way. You know what I mean? So used to going into my own little head, and I suppose like a bit of a safe space if you like, and I think happy thoughts.

[00:00:49] Kris: No, I do, I do think that like it's a bit of a superpower in a way. Being able to just retreat into your own head and get away from all of the shit, and then come back out feeling like you've had a bit of a break. Was, did

[00:01:02] Claire: performing give you that opportunity straight away? Or did something else do that stuff?

[00:01:09] Kris: I mean, I suppose like a lot of, a lot of kids going into musical theatre were, I don't want to say were oddbods, I think it's a bit more accepted now, but when I first found musical theatre, um, it was, again it was a bit of an escape because I was quite, it a bullied child and, um, I had a very few. In a circle.

[00:01:30] Kris: I only had about three friends, um, and then I found this drama group and they were doing, um, I think it was 15 and they were doing every, um, Joseph. They were doing Joseph and, um, I always used to sing, but I was so bad and, um, and I got the part of Joseph so I couldn't have been that bad. Um, and I got Joseph and then that was kind of how it, how I got into it.

[00:01:58] Kris: And then, um. My first ever singing teacher, Flora Wilson, she taught my mum and my mum used to sing as well. And, um, she was great friends with my great grand who was a concert pianist. So that was all in that performing and that was in the family, but I had never thought about doing it until, until I started doing, um, And then it just kind of rolled from there.

[00:02:25] Kris: I started to have singing lessons with Flora and, um, and then it just kind of, it went from there. I did that. And then I did Dracula Spectacular. And then I did High Society at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle. And then I did Judas in Jesus, in Jesus Christ Superstar. And then after that, that was when I was like, I think I want to.

[00:02:46] Kris: I had started to buy the stage newspaper because back in the day, you could buy a physical copy. And it had like auditions in the back. And, um, I used to read it. I was such a geek. I'd read it cover to cover to cover. And I'd go to the back and I would look at auditions and there was things like, if you want to be a pop star, call this number and sing.

[00:03:03] Kris: Um. And I would do stupid things like that. I'd go to the phone box and I'd phone and I'd sing down, I have a really bad voice. But I used to sing down, like in the phone box, down to these little things. These, um, search for a pop star. And then, as I, I, I was, as I was turning, I found schools. And there was a one, um, called Mad College.

[00:03:23] Kris: Um, and it, um, and it was, um, Their, their slogan back in the day was we're mad for success. And I was like, and I, and there was something about it that I was like, Oh, I quite like, quite like that. And, and I auditioned. And I got, By this time I'd had singing lessons for a few years, um, and I was a gymnast, so I kind of took to dance quite easily, and I, I'm going off on a bit of a tangent, um, so.

[00:03:51] Kris: Had you, had you done any I hadn't done any, no, I hadn't done any dance, I'd only done singing and acting, but I was a gymnast. Wow. And then, um, when I got my audition through for, for college, they were like, okay, you have to have prepared. A couple of dances and some songs and a couple of acting pieces. And so, there was a, a school in Newcastle called, then, uh, it's still there, Newcastle Dance Centre, and a girl, um, called Hayley, who was Anton Dex, she's still there, we're friends, um, she choreographed my, Anton Dex was Anton Dex's choreographer, and she choreographed my pieces, and, um, and yeah, and I went and I got in, and then, um, I, I got a full grant.

[00:04:34] Kris: to go from the government. So I didn't, I didn't have to raise any money. It was, like, it was such a gift. And, back then, the, it was quite a small college but a lot of the, um, a lot of the, the teachers were, Pat Dennison, who was the artistic coordinator for Cats. We had Paul Domingue. He was um, The, he's choreographed for Steps and Five and Whitney Houston and like loads of people.

[00:04:59] Kris: So these were the caliber of people that they had in, but it was smaller, smaller groups. So for me, who hadn't really done any dance, it was a place that I could really kind of turn the obsessive side of my personality onto what I was learning, because I only had three years there and I hadn't done any dance before.

[00:05:17] Kris: So it was, you know, It was perfect. I think that if I had gone to a bigger college back then, like the Lanes or the Italia Conti, I, I might well have got swallowed up and not been as developed after three years as I was, having gone to a smaller college with the same tutors. Um, Yeah, I mean, I owe everything to, to, uh, Francis Clayton and, and MAD College because without them, I would never have then gone on and had a career, which then subsequently I went and retrained at the Royal Academy of Music when I was 34.

[00:05:52] Kris: And then, um, and then that is what helped me bridge moving from being, uh, primarily a dancer and a singer to being an, a singer and an actor and who could, who could still move. So if I hadn't gone to MAD College, uh, I would, I wouldn't have. I wouldn't have done anything. So, it was quite a

[00:06:14] Claire: You mentioned going to the academy there and I know you've just recently been In their honours list, become an associate.

[00:06:21] Kris: Last year, it was last year. Amazing, congratulations. Thank you

[00:06:23] Claire: very much. Um, how was it going back to education at that point? Was that a scary thing to do? Um,

[00:06:31] Kris: not really. Um, a lot of people said to me it's a really brave thing to do. It was, you're really brave to do that. I was like, well, hunger for learning isn't brave.

[00:06:41] Kris: That's just part of my personality. And like, now I'm 46, I know I don't look it. Yes, um, just a lot of work. One of the two. Um, no, joking aside. Um, I don't think that when you, when you want to learn, that has, that bravery has anything to do with it. That didn't even enter my head. It didn't. And when someone said, I was, said to me, Oh God, you're so brave going back to college.

[00:07:09] Kris: It made me go, Oh, is there, is there something I should be nervous about? But actually it, it, it was a joy. And, um, if I had the opportunity to go back and retrain again, at the age that I am now, I would, I would jump at the chance. It's just so bloody expensive.

[00:07:24] Claire: Yeah. Well, you are still learning

[00:07:28] Kris: now, aren't you?

[00:07:29] Kris: Oh, absolutely, yes. I am

[00:07:30] Claire: still learning. You've never, in all the time I've known you, you never, you never don't have some form of advancement and learning on the

[00:07:39] Kris: go. Yeah, I mean, surely that's what it's all about. And I remember seeing some, I remember seeing something, um, years ago, um, and it was, I can't remember who it was, but it was a famous actor, and they had said, As soon as you think you know everything, that's when you stop and do something else.

[00:07:56] Kris: And I just think there's so much to, there's so much to learn with regards to performance and finding honesty in the moment and find, and, and, and like our voices are such living, breathing things that, you know, you can wake up one day and like, we've talked about having 100 percent voice on a Thursday, but then you go out, you're a hundred percent on a Friday.

[00:08:15] Kris: If you've been out the night before, isn't the same as what it was would be on a Thursday. So. And I just love learning how to manage that and to challenge myself. I think, I mean, I've got such an overactive, like, I'm always thinking so far ahead. And if I'm not interested, then I just don't give anything, I don't give anything to what, to what I do.

[00:08:45] Kris: So. But there's so much to learn. Like, I mean you look at, especially in America, um, I, I go to, uh, a guy called Stephen Buchwald. And he does a lot of Meisner classes and acting, uh, scene study classes. And, Here, the way he talks about how people work in America is that people in America are pretty much the same as what I've just said.

[00:09:09] Kris: They still have their singing lessons. They still go to their acting classes. They still go to, um, scene study class, or they still go to improvisation classes. People who are, like, Hollywood leading actors. They still go to class and they still have their demons the same as what we do. I mean, I have my demons, but as like, as soon as an audition comes in, I go, Oh, well, am I right for it?

[00:09:30] Kris: Or my voice isn't quite right. Or my voice isn't in a, in a good place and I'm going to sound dreadful. And should I really, but then you, you, you deal with that and then you, you put the work in and then, um, sometimes it takes a little bit longer than you think to get a job, but. If you're constantly learning and you're constantly getting better, surely at some point, something's gonna happen, where you've then, you've broken through and you've made that transition to being somebody who wants to be part of the business, and somebody who is an integral member of a company, you know, like an ensemble member, the ensemble is like the heart of every, of every show.

[00:10:08] Kris: And, um, I think there's a lot of focus on being a lead. And, you know, I've been very lucky. I've, I've played leads I've done, but I've also been as part of an, of an ensemble. And I think it's really important that the ensemble Uh, recognized as being the heart, the heartbeat of the company because without the ensemble, a lot of the shows on the West End would be absolutely nothing.

[00:10:33] Kris: So, and I remember back in, when was it? It was when Jerry Spring of the Opera won Best Supporting Actor for the Ensemble. And I think it might have been around about 2005, after maybe, at the Olivier's. Maybe, And they weren't the ensemble one best supporting actor. And I just thought that that was such a huge move forward for.

[00:11:00] Kris: on people who work in the ensemble because there are people who move from show to show to show as an ensemble in an ensemble capacity and that's what they love to do and I think to, to, to have moved into a, a time when

[00:11:14] Kris: things like that and understudies are being celebrated is, is wonderful because there's a lot of hard work goes into being an ensemble member and being an, an individual within a choral or an ensemble capacity and also to learning huge roles. I mean I've understudied some huge roles and I end up, the work that goes into it and then to keep that fresh when you might not be on for three or four months and then bang you get a phone call and you're on and you have to get it into your body

[00:11:51] Kris: as if it, as if you've done it, as if you've just finished your rehearsal period and the dealing with the pressure, um, is a huge thing and I just think it's wonderful that things like that are now being recognized and acknowledged.

[00:12:05] Claire: Was your first gig an ensemble gig? What happens after

[00:12:10] Kris: Mad? My first, I mean I did, I was in a Steps tribute band.

[00:12:14] Claire: Yes, we wanted to ask about

[00:12:16] Oren: that! Right, so Claire sent this to me. She was like, we need, I was like, I need to know. Everything about this. So

[00:12:23] Kris: when I was in my third year, I, I was, I was amazing. I loved it. I mean, back then, 50 quid a gig. It was like, and like, and I think we were, we were out. We were out about 28 nights a month.

[00:12:34] Kris: So if you think something like 1400 quid for a student who is getting his rent paid by his parents 1400 quid a month pocket money. I was like, ka ching! It was brilliant. Um, but like, it was so good. And. We had the full costumes, the full mics, we thought we sang live, um, it was all choreographed, and yeah, we just get in a van and go

[00:12:59] Claire: and How did it come about?

[00:13:01] Claire: Did a group of you get

[00:13:02] Kris: together and go? No, it was, there was an audition. There was an audition in the stage and it was by a company called Dance Attack, um, from Nottingham with some of my college friends and we all got the job, so it was brilliant. We'd finish college at five o'clock, get in a car, drive to Norwich or Ipswich or somewhere and sing and do a gig and get fed.

[00:13:26] Kris: And then we'd be back home for one in the morning and then have to get up and go to college. It was, it was amazing. It was so much fun. And of course I was Faye. No. Yeah, what's quite ironic is I mean, I was H and, um, I actually didn't know that the Royal Academy did, A course until I saw on TV H Site Story where it was, did you never see it?

[00:13:53] Kris: So H went to, or Ian went to the Royal Academy and they did a year following him around the Royal Academy and um, and I watched it and I was just like, and I'd always wanted to go to the Royal Academy but I didn't know that there was a musical theatre course there because Flora, my singing teacher, she um, had LREM.

[00:14:14] Kris: after her name. Um, and I was like, Oh, I'd love to go there. And I always, from being a kid, I'd wanted, I'd wanted to go there. So I think along, somewhere along the way I had kind of cosmic ordered it. I watched this and then I found out that that's how I found out about the musical theater course and that it was a postgraduate diploma.

[00:14:32] Kris: So I, I, I, I, I qualified. I remember it was the way that I got in was really funny. Not as in haha, but quite, quite funny. I was rehearsing for Panto. Um, In Lincoln, and a friend of mine, well, a guy who I had just met, we had gone for dinner, and he was just talking away, and I said, Oh, I've just missed the deadline for the Royal Academy of Music, I would, that's where I'd like, I'd love to go.

[00:15:00] Kris: And he said, you haven't missed the deadline, because I'm on the course at the minute. This guy who I'd just met, um, he said, the deadline was Friday. So you could fill your form in and get it sent. So I was like, Oh, brilliant. Okay, I'll do that. We went back to rehearsals and they said, we are so far ahead.

[00:15:18] Kris: You can have like Thursday and Friday off, but just be back on. Come back on Friday. Saturday. Um, no, come back on Friday for Friday and Saturday. So I, I got in the car, we got in the car, drove down. I had just finished doing Starlight for Arlene Phillips and I messaged, sent Arlene an email saying, Arlene, would you do me a favour?

[00:15:39] Kris: Would you do a mere reference? Because we needed references. And then another MD who I'd worked for and I got, they sent me them through and I basically just sent it on the, I went in and I handed it in on the Thursday to make sure that it was there and then I was back on the Friday then I found out that I had to audition and then I'm sure that the only reason I got in was because Arlene had said, had said Well it's not a bad referee.

[00:16:02] Kris: Oh it's not a bad referee, I mean it's pretty much The best kind of reference. But it was, and I'm so grateful to it. It was just, Arlene's always been a big supporter of people who work for her and, um, I was just, there wasn't, I know, you do kind of go, oh, but would she do it for me? But then she's just the nicest person and she, she, yeah, she did.

[00:16:24] Kris: And, uh, So then that's how I, that's how I ended up going to the Royal Academy. Followed H into a stepped tribute band. Followed H to the Royal Academy. There you go.

[00:16:42] Oren: You've played a large variety of roles. Um, doing sort of, Lots of different things and I'm really curious to know about the process to prepare for kind of the different types of roles that you're playing and then the differences between touring and non touring and that kind

[00:16:56] Kris: of thing. Yeah, I mean, with regards to preparing for a role, there's a lot of musical theatre where it has to be played a certain way, um, or it's traditionally played a certain way.

[00:17:07] Kris: So, as much as you have the scope to, to create and to mould. Your character, your version of this character. You also have. the marks that you have to hit. Um, so then I always start with, uh, well, I mean, I look at, I look at the play or the musical as a whole, and look at the character and think, what does the character, what does my character want?

[00:17:36] Kris: But that, what, what is the objective of the character? And then I, as in for the whole play, and then I look at it scene by scene, pretty much the same. So I look at it, um, I look, what, uh, what's my objective, objective of The song, or of the scene, who am I talking to, uh, where are we, what time of, what time is it, it could be the time of the day, the season, it could be autumn, it could be winter, which, Or the era.

[00:18:02] Kris: Like, all of those things change how you would hold yourself. Like, when I was in Phantom, I wore a waistcoat a lot of the time. So then that automatically holds you, holds you a certain way. I look at, um, and then I kind of action what I am, what I am doing alongside my other, the other people that I'm playing opposite.

[00:18:23] Kris: Um, not as in action, like action man. Or like, gestures, should I say. Um, More like, what am I doing to this character? What am I, what am I doing? And then I work through, I work through it like that. And then once I've kind of got that in my head, I just kind of think, oh well, okay. I've done the work, now, now I can just live it and then we can start to create.

[00:18:46] Kris: But I've always got a base to go back to. And is that,

[00:18:49] Claire: now I can live it moment, is that the moment you feel you can start to have the two things meld together, the character and you?

[00:18:56] Kris: Yeah, I suppose so. I mean, that's when you, once you kind of, once I've done that kind of, the groundwork and the, and the actioning, and I've considered the backstory and the actioning, or you could call it just subtext.

[00:19:10] Kris: Once that's kind of part of me, I can then go, I can put that down and go, okay, I can forget about that because that's my baseline. And then I can start to play and really start to, really start to create. Um, that's how I tend, that's how I tend to, yeah. Prepare.

[00:19:28] Oren: Is it the same process then for, um, you know, if you're playing a lead role or if you're playing ensemble, if you're doing other things, do you do the same process regardless of the, the type of role?

[00:19:39] Kris: I mean, yeah, I suppose so, but not, not to such a level, you know, if you're playing, if you're playing a huge role, then it's evident what you want. But sometimes if you're, if you're in the ensemble, I mean, for me, I always, I, I hate, there's nothing worse than being on stage. And rhubarbing, you know, oh, rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb, because it just looks naff.

[00:20:03] Kris: And so for me, I always, even if I'm in an ensemble or playing different characters, I always give that character a name, and I always give it a, for example, I was, um, when I was in Saturday Night Fever, I was in the ensemble and I played a character called Luke. And, um, along with about eight understudies, uh, but that character, that particular character, um, he, he worked two jobs because his mum was, was poorly.

[00:20:30] Kris: And, uh, he was supporting her and, and, uh, and his brother, uh, there was no father in sight and he was working two or three jobs just to kind of make ends meet. And he would, and he didn't used to go to the club every Saturday. He would go maybe once every month or once every two months, which then. I then took into the piece, or like I would save up, I don't know, the tiniest amount to save for a new shirt.

[00:20:56] Kris: And so then that made me appreciate going to the club so much more, which then gave me something to work with. Whereas if I just went, okay, I'm on, then I'm just smiling at people like, like I'm smiling at you across the table, then, then it's, then it's fake. But if me just being that character and nobody probably would have noticed, but it made a difference to me.

[00:21:16] Kris: And then I like, and I think that integrity is, is a, is a huge thing when, when, you know, being part of a show is such a huge honor and regardless of. where you are, whether you're the lead or whether you are, um, a featured ensemble, or if you're an ensemble with no covers. I think to have your integrity in the forefront of your, the forefront of your persona is what helps you get re employed again.

[00:21:39] Kris: Because then people see that you're not taking the piss and that you take, that you take it seriously. And I think that's probably one of the reasons why I, why I've had such a lovely career. I've had a lovely time. And. But I, I believe that your, and I say this to my students a lot, your, your, your reputation is in the room before you are.

[00:22:05] Kris: So if you've been messing around on a show, there's been shows that I've been on where they've had people pulled into the office and they've been reprimanded. Or for example, my, my husband is a resident director, and he's come home and said, Oh, I had this person in the office. Um, and, He would be then be reluctant to employ those people again or recall those people for a show again because he knows about them or the amount of times that people, people have phoned me up and said, Oh, what do you, what do you think about this person?

[00:22:38] Kris: But then that's my reputation. If I say they're really good yet, they employ them and they mess around. So your reputation always enters the room before you. And I think that's to have integrity and to, to actually care about what you're doing. I have a little bit of pride in what you, in what you do.

[00:22:57] Kris: Punctuality, knowing your, knowing your words, knowing, knowing your harmonies as soon as you can. And always being, always being prepared. You can still have fun.

[00:23:07] Claire: Yeah, it's knowing where the, um, the boundaries of playtime are. Because actually if you don't bring playtime with you as well, you can't do the job.

[00:23:15] Claire: Oh, exactly. Knowing where that. But

[00:23:17] Kris: knowing where the line is. Yeah. You know, don't get me wrong, there's been times where I've been on stage and I've absolutely, things have happened and I've kind of, it almost makes it funnier when you're trying not to. To laugh and you go off and then you lose it, but then yeah, I don't know.

[00:23:33] Kris: I just think to have um, a little bit of pride and a little bit of integrity at the forefront of everything that you do, whether you're build, when you're building a character or whether you are learning a huge role is, it pays dividends. And I think that's probably why I've worked for such a long time.

[00:23:52] Kris: Not necessarily because, and this isn't me self deprecating, but like I wasn't the best dancer in the world. I'm not the best actor in the world. I'm not the best singer in the world. But I do care. And putting that in front of everything, then that makes people want to, to employ you. And, you know, I'm not saying that I can't sing.

[00:24:13] Kris: I, you know, I can't sing and, and I love it. And there's nothing, there's nothing that I love more.

[00:24:20] Claire: Did that, did that develop that integrity? Or was that there from the beginning of your

[00:24:26] Kris: Well, like I said, it was a bit of an airhead, but I always wanted to do well. I think the integrity was always there. And I, but whether I, um, I think it was more, I think there was a handover from an ugly pride.

[00:24:44] Kris: And then a hand over towards, like, real, real integrity. And what? Like, say when people would come and see the show, I would literally, I would just want that kinesthetic feedback to be so high, that I was like, oh god, I've worked really, really hard, and they're not going to be able to say that I'm not very good.

[00:24:59] Kris: So it was, it came more from that than it did from me actually going, have I been honest? Have I told the story to the best of my ability? And actually, also, I think there's a, there's a level of acceptance that, you know, I might do a performance, and you might. I think that I was the best thing that, best thing since sliced bread.

[00:25:19] Kris: You might go and go, I didn't really like him. But then you can't control that. You, you can't control what people think. And actually what people think of you is none of our, is none of your business. Because you can't control it. So why, why waste energy trying to control the things that you can't control?

[00:25:35] Kris: So control the controllables. And all I can control is what I put into my work. And that's what, that's, that's what

[00:25:42] Claire: I do. That transition from one form of that into its current, sort of sounds like a more adaptive form.

[00:25:52] Kris: I think that comes through just with maturing. I mean, I was very, I was very young. When I first went to, to MAD College, I was 19 years old, but I, I think I was still like a 15, 16 year old lad.

[00:26:04] Kris: I was, like I said, I was a bit of an airhead. Um, And I was just so blasé about absolutely everything, but the handover really started to happen when I understood acting a little bit more. So when I went, when I'd been to the Royal Academy of Music, so quite late on, actually, um, and

[00:26:32] Kris: having been to college with some great performers, I mean, there were some great people in my year. And I just saw the integrity and I just saw the focus and the calm that they had, whereas I was, I never had that. It was all like, I've got to do this, I've got to do best now, and I've got to look angry, so I'm going to look angry and I've got to.

[00:26:47] Kris: But I never really understood it. Um, So I think, I think it was probably, that was the moment that I was like, Ah, you've been doing it wrong all these years. And now's the time to, to calm down. And to kind of, and, and change what, and actually, Do it because you care because I always cared, but it was more important that people valued rated what I did and I didn't understand that taking care of something truly taking care of something is what is what would truly get me what I wanted.

[00:27:15] Kris: So I just thought that going straight in head on full out is what would make people think that I was good. It wasn't. That's not that's not true. I think that having been that bullied child, you want people to. Rate you and want people to like you and want people to, to, to value what you do. And so just trying harder.

[00:27:47] Kris: You think that you are, you are on the right path. And actually there was a lot of moments that, um, I remember there was a, an acting teacher that I had at my first college called Ian Kin, and there was lots of things that he said. Once I. That once I had that lightbulb moment that I was, Ian said that. And I, and I, it was almost like I was learning from my past.

[00:28:08] Kris: From what teachers had said because I was recalling things that had been said. Um, as well as what I was learning at the academy and from, from my peers and. Seeing the way that they worked and, and that was when I started, felt like I started to piece together the person or the performer that I became.

[00:28:32] Kris: Does that make sense? Yeah, totally.

[00:28:34] Claire: Totally, it makes sense. So does that then, did that change your experience of being a working performer after that? I think

[00:28:49] Kris: there was a spell of, there was a spell of leaving the Academy where I, I still, I was still being pulled back to default. I think for about a year, I didn't really work.

[00:29:01] Kris: Because I felt like I was like, I knew what I wanted to be, but I was so, not attached, but I was so, it was, the default setting was so strong that I felt it was a bit of a push and pull thing going on there. But then once I, I got my first job and I was able to put into practice what I what I'd learned and what, and, and then I could start them all together, which was another, I did, um, Iolanthe at the Union and I played the Fairy Queen, uh, in the all male Iolanthe.

[00:29:31] Kris: And I think that was a challenge in itself because if you're playing a woman, you don't want to be sending it up. You'd have to be, you'd have to be totally real. So that was actually the perfect opportunity to, or being thrown in the deep end, to actually put into practice having real. care and, and integrity with, with what I did, and to, it would have been easy to have sent it up, to have sent it up and it made it a bit more palatable, but I didn't want to, and I just, I just loved it.

[00:30:07] Kris: And then from then on, that's when things started, things started to roll. And you know, everybody has a time and everybody has, you know, everybody gets their chance. Um, And I just think that at that, after that moment, that was my moment and things, uh, offers started to come in and I was really, I was really lucky.

[00:30:26] Kris: I mean, I think luck's got a lot to do with it, but I also, I think that like, focus and, and, and the talent has, Is is part of it. But a luck is a, is a real part of it. Yeah,

[00:30:38] Claire: it is. It is. And to and to pretend otherwise would be ridiculous. Mm-Hmm. . But you have to show up in that lucky moment. You have to show up with the skills.

[00:30:47] Claire: Oh, the readiness.

[00:30:47] Kris: Absolutely. Luck and hit the ball in the net. Yeah, yeah. Like you say. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:30:51] Oren: Absolutely. How do you go from performing to now starting your own? school West End

[00:30:58] Kris: Prep. I haven't just started it. We started it in lockdown. Well, actually it wasn't, it was just before lockdown. It was, I think we had our first day on March the 1st, 2020.

[00:31:11] Kris: It's a bi weekly program. We did our first session, which was great. And then we did our second session two weeks later, and then we went into lockdown. And so we were like, what are we going to do? Because what we did is we got, uh, we got everybody pays their fees for the term upfront. And we had all this money in the bank that we were thinking.

[00:31:28] Kris: We're going to have to give back to all these people, but there had been six months prep leading up to us opening the school and it's not we didn't want to give the money back, but we didn't want to give the school up and one of the mums is really tech savvy and she said to us, um, Why don't you go online?

[00:31:48] Kris: And this was literally before any of the big colleges went online. I think, didn't lockdown happen on a Friday? I think it happened on a Friday, didn't it? Yeah,

[00:31:57] Claire: it did. Because my last day of work was a Thursday. Yeah,

[00:31:59] Kris: yeah. And we opened, we, we went online on the Monday. And so on the Saturday, I know it was ridiculous.

[00:32:10] Kris: Um, and she had given it, she had said, there's this program, there's this, um, platform called Zoom. So she talked to me what I had to do with it, and I'm such a technophobe, and she talked me about downloading it and how to, how to install it. And it worked, and we, and then on the Sunday, Mark, Kristen, who helps us run the school, and myself, we went on Zoom and we were like, Right, what can we do?

[00:32:34] Kris: What can we do to make this work? Um, and we ended up putting together a fifteen hour schedule from the week, because the kids weren't even at school. So, they were like doing three hours a day, and they would have like, they would, We did, like, analyzing text, we did competitions, we did dance classes, we had people from Broadway, Rochelle Rack from Broadway, we had people from West End Shows, um, doing dance classes, we had, um, casting directors, big London casting directors coming in and working with the students, and it just snowballed.

[00:33:08] Kris: And I mean, that was like full on lemons that we got. We made the tastiest lemonade.

[00:33:16] Claire: Totally did. Did you not do, like, a nightly Wasn't there a nightly dance session or something? Oh,

[00:33:21] Kris: on Instagram.

[00:33:23] Claire: Because me and my kids did that. Yes. More than once.

[00:33:25] Kris: So it was literally, like, you could see like, all of our kids were like, were really loving the dance classes.

[00:33:32] Kris: And we just went, right, let's do it. And so every night at six o'clock, this was, This was literally like the first week of lockdown. We decided we were going to do some weekly dance classes. And then, and I think in my mom's front room, because we were up at my parents house when lockdown kicked in. Um, and so, yeah, we were, we, we were stuck up there for a while.

[00:33:52] Kris: Uh, we just. Set the set the iPad up and did some dance classes. And I think, like some classes, we had about 800 people on. It was ridiculous. It just, it just seemed to take off. But

[00:34:06] Claire: what had given you the idea to start the school in the first place? Because

[00:34:11] Kris: we wanted a little bit more money. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,

[00:34:14] Oren: ha.

[00:34:14] Oren: No, no,

[00:34:15] Kris: no, no. Honesty on this. No, no, no. I mean, I mean, to be fair, it was something that we wanted to add to our. We were not. To add to all that, both, both Mark and I have always talked, even when we've been doing, even when we've been doing, um, our, our own shows. Um, but when I was up, when I was up in the Northeast, there was never anything like that.

[00:34:38] Kris: Um, And while there are a lot of good colleges up there, there was, there wasn't anything like a, an associate program. So we're not a, a, we're not a school where you come and you do your, your, your, your technique and you do your tap and you do, we're an associate program where people from other schools, you know, come to us and they do ex they, they do extra.

[00:35:00] Kris: Um, and it, yeah, it just seems to have, it just seems to have taken off and we've just taken our, gone, taken our own premises and, uh, last year, was it last year? No, it was this year. We did Everybody's Talking About Jamie. Um, we do a Christmas concert. every year. We do a summer show every year. And the stand is really superb.

[00:35:23] Kris: Yeah, they're great. Seeing these videos. They are absolutely brilliant. In fact, a lot of the kids make me feel very untalented and they're like, genuinely you should hear some of the voice. Like even me with the knowledge that I have about voice like, how are you doing this at your age? How are you creating that sound?

[00:35:41] Kris: It's they they they they they They genuinely humble me and blow my mind and make me feel utterly useless all at the same time because they're so, they're so brilliant. Um, and I just, I just love it. And, yeah. Do you

[00:35:58] Claire: think that experience at MADD of, of, uh, Being in the smaller school and being looked after or, or, or given the space to grow is something that's, that you're giving your young people at WEP?

[00:36:15] Kris: Yeah, I mean, we don't, originally our ethos totally changed because we were wanting a, like an army, an army of incredible talent. And then the thing is though, even though the ethos has changed to, Something slightly different, we still have that. Um, uh, we didn't, now we don't just want, like, triple threats and people who can, like, dance and kick their faces and, and whack out a top C and act at the most beautiful Shakespearean monologue.

[00:36:44] Kris: We've got a, a group of, a group of, Young individuals who come with their own talents and their own troubles and their own challenges, and it's become more about us helping them as individuals. We do a lot of mindfulness, but we've also woven in that with regards to their, their, their singing and their acting and, and their dancing, and that that's all kind of woven in with what, with what we do with the school as well, and.

[00:37:13] Kris: of course getting them to assess their own development, um, and why. And I do with them what you do with us. Um, okay, when they get up and, when they get up and sing, I'll say, well, okay, so what did you like about what you did? Because as performers, we always, Self flagellate if you like. We always kind of go, I don't need to be told that when I've performed and it's bad, I don't need anyone to go, well that, that note was bad.

[00:37:39] Kris: Or, you didn't connect on there, you didn't, you, you, you, that, that bit made no sense. Because I know. I know. I know when I'm bad. Um, but I never give, I've never ever given value to what I've considered a bad performance. in a positive way since I met you, Claire. And actually what it's done is it's made me a much more balanced performer.

[00:38:03] Kris: And I call it, I call it balancing the seesaw. So if we're constantly putting the negative things on one side, the seesaw's moving down on one side. But then if all you're doing is putting a few a few positives on the other side, it balances it and it's so much nicer. And I think what we're doing with regards to the school is breeding a new generation of balanced performers because now I don't even have to ask them what they liked about what they did or like I'll go did you and some of the ones who aren't dancers come oh no I really struggled but I really tried to do this and I did this and I picked up two eights of it and I was really pleased with myself so it doesn't stop because they're noting the positives then.

[00:38:46] Kris: That, that, that progression is, seems to be faster. They seem to be progressing at a, at a, at a faster pace.

[00:38:53] Claire: Because you don't waste time on the self flagellation. Exactly.

[00:38:56] Kris: Yeah. Exactly.

[00:38:57] Claire: You can go, okay, that was crap, I need to work on it. But that doesn't wipe me out as a performer. I don't have to climb under the duvet for a week to recover from that performance.

[00:39:06] Claire: I can, I can move straight on

[00:39:08] Kris: and start. And I feel like an utter hypocrite because that's basically, that's literally me for my entire career. I'm like, oh, I'm so dreadful. And I, oh, I should have done this at one point. And I remember coming out of Matilda one night and I had. I had, something had happened, I can't remember what had happened, but I had a really crap show, and this mum came up to me and she was like, you were just, you were really, really, really, and she was, she was really emotional, and I was just like, thank you, and I was like, I couldn't even begin to, it's not that I wasn't, I wasn't impolite, but I was just like, I just want to get, I just want to get away because I was so embarrassed, and the saboteur side of my personality was like, she's patronizing you, but she wasn't, she was genuinely touched by what I did, but I felt it was really dreadful, But that was on the cusp of when I started to work with you, and now, um, I, like, I would just be like, Thank you, like, thank you, because I think there's, whatever we do, there's always something good in what we've done.

[00:40:07] Kris: And it's how we give value to that, in light of shit happening. And that, that's what balances that seesaw. And I feel so much better from meeting you, I have to say. Oh, very much. As a person. As a friend, and as a mentor to the young. You can't stand me, really. Awkward. If

[00:40:36] Oren: you look back on your journey so far, because you're working with young people now, I think it's really interesting to understand this.

[00:40:42] Oren: advice, or what, what's the one thing that you would go back to younger version of you and tell them, or advice that you would give them?

[00:40:49] Kris: I'd say chill out. Chill out and control the controllables. Yeah. Have integrity. I'd probably be harsher on myself than I am with other people, wouldn't we all? Sure,

[00:41:00] Claire: yeah.

[00:41:01] Claire: Yeah. But do you think that, do you think that harshness on yourself? is a driving factor? Or do you think you could have done the journey you've done and achieved balance sooner?

[00:41:13] Kris: I struggle with perfection, but then I ask what, what is perfection? And what I deem as perfection, like what we said before, you might think what I've done was beautiful and you might think that it was the worst thing you've seen.

[00:41:24] Kris: So, um, perfection, I suppose, is, is relative to the individual or it's in the eye of the beholder. And Who's to say that what are, my idea of perfection is, is, is right. And when I start to sit and think in a positive way, and, and, or analyze, that in a positive way, then I feel so much more balanced. Um, but also learning to not put such high expectations on myself.

[00:41:58] Kris: If you're only ever expecting perfection, then 99. 999 percent of the time you ain't ever going to reach that. So you're constantly going to be disappointed with what you do. And I was sick of feeling disappointed with what I was doing. Because actually, I look back and a lot of the stuff that I've done and videos that I've, I've never been able to watch, I'm like, actually, you know what, that's pretty good.

[00:42:18] Kris: And I've just beaten myself up for so many years and I don't, I refuse, I refuse to do it anymore. And I refuse to, Sit by and watch the young students that I've got turn into the person that I was. Because I was unhappy with regards to myself for many years. With regards to what I did and constantly feeling like I was a bit of a, a blagger or that I was, um, I mean, this is quite, until quite recently, like I've always believed that I've completely blagged.

[00:42:51] Kris: My career, and now I know it's not true, but up until relatively recently, I believe that it, that I've got it as by a fluke or by some anomaly something, or that I've, I dunno, they've been desperate and so that's why they've taken me. But do you

[00:43:12] Claire: not think that that's been end de. amongst performers. Oh, absolutely.

[00:43:15] Kris: That

[00:43:15] Oren: sensation. Like we've spoken to enough people now that have said the same kind of thing, that they feel, you know, either the imposter syndrome or they feel like they shouldn't or they don't deserve where they've been. I think it's, I think you're right. I think it isn't. I

[00:43:32] Claire: think it also comes down to Something else I was going to ask you from listening to you then, which is how do you balance understanding that there's no such thing as perfection with the elite level that you're asked to perform at in professional theatre?

[00:43:51] Claire: We are striving for excellence. You've given up calling that perfection, which is really healthy, but you know, nonetheless, we are striving for the best it can possibly be. And I think. The two really, if you're not careful, can really feed one another.

[00:44:09] Kris: Yeah, I mean, I think I've, I've been a, a round peg trying to fit a square hole, you know, into your entire career.

[00:44:15] Kris: And I think jobs that I've got, I've been, you have to be something that you're not necessarily right for, especially if you're an understudy. You, you might not be perfect for that role. You've to do it. Um, and I think that you can't control. The way that you look. You can't control the way that you sound.

[00:44:33] Kris: You can't control All you can control is what you can control. Like, which is the work. If you can control the work and your focus. Then that's all, that's all you can do. And I think as soon as I realized that I was sick of trying to be a square peg when I was round peg, that's when you, that's when I tend, like, let go of the, of, of, of the issues with perfection and,

[00:45:07] Kris: not that I care, not that I care any less, I still care, I still want what I want to be good, and I still want it to be rated, but, I still understand that I might not be someone's cup of tea, and accepting that is, is the most wonderful, is the most wonderful thing. Um, but yeah, I think just controlling what you can, what you can, what you can control is the fundamental parts of how you get a job, how much work you put in, um, and go in and, Deliberate.

[00:45:41] Kris: And like going into an audition room, like with Secret Sing, it's such a brilliant thing because you are kind of bridging the gap between rehearsing or practicing it in a safe space, and then going into. The lion's den, where all of a sudden you, your anxiety is through the roof and you've got to deal with your, your breathing being higher or, and the, the blood racing and, and, and, and the, the, the thoughts that pop into your head, like they're writing something down or they're looking at my picture or, or he's not, he's not even looked at me once and dealing with all of those kinds of things.

[00:46:14] Kris: But then that goes off onto a different tangent. Dealing, uh, you know, dealing with those things, you can have, you can go to, to therapy. Or you can go to Secret Sing. Um, and, and I think Secret Sing is pretty much like therapy, but it also, there's the bridging of, there's the, there's the bridging of that gap.

[00:46:34] Kris: Which I think is. Very important. It's very, very important because going in with an elevated heart rate or an elevated, uh, breathing, um, it sounds like nothing, but it's a massive thing. So, to deal with that, or it being more familiar, then you go in. It's it being more familiar.

[00:46:57] Claire: Yeah. You're not trying to relocate it in any way, because that's unrealistic.

[00:47:01] Kris: Because if you're familiar, if you're familiar with it, it's, it's not that it's part of your comfort zone, but if it's more familiar, then you're able to, you know, It's, it's, it's, you've dealt with it before, so you know that it's You can control what you do in those elevated moments. You rewrite the story,

[00:47:19] Claire: what

[00:47:20] Kris: it means.

[00:47:20] Kris: Absolutely. I didn't talk about the difference between touring and More

[00:47:25] Oren: just, um, the demands really, the understanding of Well, first of all, your preference, if you enjoyed one over

[00:47:33] Kris: the other. I prefer working in town only because I think as I've gotten older. The desire to to be part of a show back then was so intense that if it was a number one tour and I was I was in the, I was in the ensemble and then I had to sweep the floor and then I had to go and iron everybody's costumes.

[00:47:55] Kris: I would have done it back then, because I, I, because I hadn't done it. But I think as I've gotten older, to be able to have that and have routine and, be able to live my life, that's much more appealing to me. I mean, at the minute, my husband's away on tour, um, and I would never stop, I would never stand in his way of him doing anything.

[00:48:19] Kris: But fortunately, his contract is only three days a week, so I get to have him home for four days a week, and he's, he's away for three. So it's not so bad. But if he was away on tour all of the time, I would personally hate it. And, and, or if I was away on, if I was away on tour, Then I don't think I, I, I, I wouldn't, I couldn't handle it and also your values change when you get older.

[00:48:40] Kris: I've got a dog who's 13 and I don't, I couldn't take him on tour. I mean, I could, but it'd be really unfair and it'd be really unkind and I don't want to do that to him. And I just like having a life and I like getting my clothes out of a drawer and I get my underpants out of the top drawer. And I like, do you know what?

[00:48:56] Kris: I don't like living, living out of a suitcase isn't for me. You've been together

[00:49:00] Claire: a long time, you and Mark? Yes. Yes. And you're both involved in theatre. Yes. We, you were both performing when you met?

[00:49:09] Kris: Mark was the year below me at college. Ah, okay.

[00:49:13] Claire: So. So how is it, you know, you mentioned one of you being on tour, one of you being at home.

[00:49:18] Claire: How has it been crafting two careers around an industry that's not very well known for its life friendliness?

[00:49:27] Kris: Um, Well, for starters, when you're with someone and you know it, and it's right, you know it's right. And I've known it's been right for a very long time. Um, and I think that Mark Mark's very levelheaded, mark's very logical, and I'm just one big emotional

[00:49:49] Kris: Um, but Mark starts to work before me. Mark got Little Shop of Horrors. He did it, um, with, um, Cape Prince and Zoo Nation up at, um, in 1999. Um, in. The, uh, in, uh, the Edinburgh Festival. And then he went straight into Starlight Express in London. So Mark was already, Mark was working and doing what I wanted to do.

[00:50:12] Kris: And I got offered some ships and I got offered, uh, uh, uh, a UK, no, a UK and a European tour of a show. And Mark was like, go, just go and do it. This is what you need to do. And I think because he never stood in my way, that really built the relationship. The trust, um, that was a really kind thing to do because he could have quite easily have said I don't, I don't want you to go, I don't want you to go, um, but he never did and I think that because he's never stood in my way and I've never stood in his way, I think that, that's just built such good foundations that we would, you know, of, of trust and, um, and admiration and we never, I think because we, we, he, look very different.

[00:50:55] Kris: We're not, we don't, we're not of a similar kind of ilk. Um, that we were never really in for the same stuff. So there was never that kind of competition, uh, between us. And there was, there'd only ever been support there. Um, and a lot of people say, Oh, I could never be with somebody in, I could never be with somebody in, in the business, but I could never be with somebody who wasn't in the business because he understands.

[00:51:21] Kris: Everything. He understands what it's, he understands life from an actor's perspective and he understands life from a perspective of, of desperately wanting to be in, in a show and dealing with rejection. And, um, and that's why in my mind, he's the best person I know. Um, if I've not been right about something or if I've been, I've misjudged something, he'll call me out and go, well, I think you're being, I think that's, that's unnecessary.

[00:51:48] Kris: I think you're being, uh, unreasonable, or I think, or he'll go, okay, and he's, but he's just so logical and so, but, but, so supportive. And it, the hard part was being a part. That was the hard part. But knowing that I was allowed, if you call it, I want to say allowed, that he allowed me to go or without kicking off.

[00:52:12] Kris: And then I've also done the same for him. Then it's just, like I said, it's just built up this most wonderful, um, sense of trust between us. And I think if you hold on to somebody too much, then all they'll want to do is, is have a longer leash or get further away. You let someone go. You let someone go, they'll, they'll, they'll, like, And that's what he did with me and that's what I did with him and I think that's why we're still together 26 years later.

[00:52:36] Kris: And happier now than we've ever been. So, there you go. So much support, I love it. Really,

[00:52:43] Oren: really nice.

[00:52:44] Kris: Supportive environment.

[00:52:45] Claire: I love it. Um, so this podcast is called The 5 Minute Call.

[00:52:49] Kris: And what, we've been talking for an hour and two minutes. And we

[00:52:53] Claire: wondered What you do at the five minute call. Oh, what do I

[00:52:56] Kris: do at the five minute call?

[00:52:59] Kris: Um, I'm probably still getting ready.

[00:53:05] Kris: Oh shit, I've got to get my makeup. Um, uh, I think, no, I'm normally, I'm normally quite, actually on Phantom, I was always late down. I don't know what it was about that show, but I was always late down. It was like, Chris Manuel, please come to the stage. We've had, we've had clearance. I'm like, where's my wig?

[00:53:25] Kris: Like, oh no, I was, I was, I was dreadful on that show, but like other shows like Matilda or Billy, I was all like at the five, I'd say at the five and I would just get down, I'd get down the stage because I was, I just wanted to do the show. And what's,

[00:53:38] Claire: what's going through your mind at that

[00:53:39] Kris: point? Just, I, I depends it differs from show, it would differ from show to show.

[00:53:44] Kris: Okay. And what track you're on for or, um, or if you've had any notes. Um, if I've had a, if I, if, if I was on for a cover, I would take a list of notes down and I would leave it in the wings. So I would go and I'd be looking on, okay, I've gotta remember I've got do, I can't, I've gotta do that. I, oh shit, I've gotta do that as well.

[00:54:05] Kris: Okay. And then I would put it, and I would go through my, go through my mind, what I, what I have to do. But if it's in a track that I. No, I'm just getting myself, I'm just on, I'm just getting ready to go on stage and do what we all wish we were doing, you know, like, I'm not in a show now, and like, I would love nothing more than to be in a show, and like, that's why I say I would do, do what I wish I was doing, because there's nothing, I mean, don't get me wrong, the school is absolutely everything, and I adore it.

[00:54:40] Kris: But also at the same time, Alec, I miss being, I really miss being in a show, I miss the camaraderie, I miss the, you know, the banter with people backstage, and I miss the, the smell of the grease paint, the horror of it all, yeah. But yeah, I wish you'd asked me that. I wish I, you know, I wish I had a better answer for you.

[00:54:59] Kris: But that's a great answer. It's the honest answer. I love it. But yeah, probably, probably panicking backstage thinking, Shit, I've got to be downstage on stage now. I'm going to get put in the show report for being late.

[00:55:12] Claire: So we have one last thing for you. Okay.

[00:55:14] Kris: What? So reading. Is this what you said to us? I forgot to read. This is why you might

[00:55:18] Oren: need to practice. So, we ask all of our guests to write a question for the next guest in this book and we don't get to see it. Nobody gets to see it. Do you not know what it is? I have no idea what this question is.

[00:55:30] Oren: No. Old, 20 years old, 30 years old. What would you say to your younger self?

[00:55:34] Kris: Well, 10 year old. Um, I don't know whether it would be something worth, with regards to the business, should I say. Well, I would probably just give an insight of what my life, what life has become and it's not what I expected it to be.

[00:55:48] Kris: At that age, I, like I said, I was very, I was really bullied and I didn't tell anybody. I didn't tell my parents. I kept it hidden from the school and, um, little did I know that being able to con, not to, not to hide that, but to kind of deal with that at such a young age without telling anybody, that was, I suppose that was a bit of a, It's given me a bit of a superpower to deal with a lot more, um,

[00:56:21] Kris: a lot more than I probably think I can. So I would probably thank myself, to be honest, for being Resilient guy. As, yeah, as strong as I was. Yeah. Um, dosh, I didn't expect that to, to get me. Um, but yeah, I would probably thank myself and probably that life's worth. Something that I didn't, that I probably would never have expected to have had back then.

[00:56:53] Kris: And especially growing up gay as well, you know, that was like a massive thing. So like you were hiding being gay, you were, I was like hiding being bullied and I was hiding being, um, you know, all of that stuff. Um, but I just think that I was a fucking brave little soldier. So I'm quite, I would like, I, like I just, I would just, Give myself a round of applause for being that person, even though I just thought that back then I was weak and I was shameful and I was an embarrassment, even though now, like, I know that I'm not.

[00:57:26] Kris: My parents never made me feel like that. They always made me feel powerful and worthy. But I just, I think because of the time, that was, um,

[00:57:44] Kris: that was a really shit time to grow up being gay. And especially like at the height of the AIDS pandemic and stuff like that and seeing all those awful Um, adverts and things, and that becomes part of you

[00:58:05] Kris: and the way that you go through life and the way that you conduct yourself with people. Yeah. And then 20 years old, I would say, calm the fuck down, calm the fuck down. Um, and then 30 years old. What was I doing? What was I doing? I was 30 years old. What was I? Calm the fuck down. I'd probably say the same thing again.

[00:58:34] Kris: Um, yeah, that's probably it. Chris,

[00:58:40] Claire: thank you so, so

[00:58:41] Kris: much. for having me. Thank you. Thank you very much for having

[00:58:44] Oren: me. This has been, wow.

[00:58:48] Kris: It was lovely. Thank you. You know, you made me cry.


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