Page 4, 25th October 1946

25th October 1946
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Page 4, 25th October 1946 — Catholic Profiles : 761
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DENYS BLAK ELO CK IF you ask Denys why be became a Catholic he will halt in his conversation. He has dark-brown hair, wears tweeds and is five feet eight in height. He will observe you benevolently. His suit is a quiet check and he has a round face. His fine, horn-rimmed spectacks will tilt backwards. He has a square chin. He is gazing up to Heaven. Earth is tolerable enough, but Denys has seen it. Then, in his soft, incisive voice he will tell you the story of the Anglican lady who was received into the Church. " She got higher and higher until she turned." He will pick up the teapot. It is china. Denys is a slave to the Demon Tea. He will ask you something about your hseals played drama, melodrama, comedy, farce, tragedy, Shakespeare, Shiny,

m, He has been described as the " supreme comedian " of the English theatre.

Mr. Agate has said of him, that he has " more elegances a mind and manner than any six light comedians of the commercial stage." He is an actor who Maugham, Pinero, Sheridan, Wilde, Aldous Huxley and Drinkwater. He has produced the Quintero Brothers and Sheridan. He prefers production to acting.

To capture the essence of his talent is not easy. But behind the witty, smooth, detached faeade, one is conscious of an unchanging character. It is essentially Catholic. It is his consciousness of the more than Man that gives his work that indefinable grace.

WHEN Denys approaches a new part he tries to pierce into the core of the

person he will portray. He will then, and only then, appreciate the character, emotionally. This accomplished, the action of the play guides him. He works unceasingly until he brings complete understanding to the part. He becomes the person. The person acts. His recent performance at the Arts in Pinero's The Magistrate is a good example. When the respectable Mr. Posket was safe, how proudly he pontificated. His shoulders strained backwards; his chest expanded like a pigeon's. The hands were knitted firmly behind his back. His weighty deliberations were punctuated by a confident stride. But as his rake's progress developed, those straight legs bent outwards. He walked on tip-toe fearfully, lest he be overheard, and observed, His shoulders sagged: he. carried his chest between his shoulder-blades. The part could have been played in silhouette. Denys almost made it ballet. Yet when his friends spoke to him of the rich absurdity of his movements, they had to explain what they meant, The actor was conscious only of Posket: Posket did the rest.

To turn to three parts in a play Denys has not done. He is the only actor one can imagine as Hamlet, Polonius and Claudius. His Polonins would be comic in and beyond the tradition: but it would have dignity; tragic aspirations of parenthood would be there: the hypocrisy of politicians; the end would be terror-stricken. His Hamlet would be a " sweet prince," tired, rebellious and infinitely sad. The tragedy would be that of Hamlet, who was to many men a lunge to the greatness. ultimately possible, hut not to be encompassed in unreflective action. His King would be from Graham Greene, evil, glittering, unobtrusive in action, horror-stricken at prayer. Burdened as Shakespeare's was, by the sense of enormous sin. In all parts there would be tragedy; the actor has Christian pity. It would be these things because, tine actor as he is, his methods are rooted In his Catholicism, and what it implies.

Dis the son and grandson of Anglican clergymen. Ile was educated at Aldenham. He intended to become a doctor. At the last moment, for reasons he still cannot define, he turned his steps towards the R.A.D.A. He played his first professional part in 1920. Before the R.A.D.A., he had been a schoolboy " fan " and for a time scored a notable success as a red-nosed comedian in amateur roles. His path towards the Church was made in easy stages. There is a family tradition that the Blakelocks are a branch of St. John Fisher's family. His grandmother was a Miss Fisher. He is obviously proud of the possibility. Other members of his family have become Catholics. His brother preceded him into the Church.

Ho lives in a modest flat not far from Euston Road, just the place for a Catholic bachelor and journeyman artist. It is partly a retreat. He exists in a pleasant haze, penetrable when necessary. His philosophy is pleasant. The mess of society is the haze. He rises early and goes to Mass. On occasion you may see him presiding at lunch at the interval Club. He looks like an actor and a young bishop in mufti. How he manages to combine these per hseals played drama, melodrama, comedy, farce, tragedy, Shakespeare, Shiny,

m, He has been described as the " supreme comedian " of the English theatre.

Mr. Agate has said of him, that he has " more elegances a mind and manner than any six light comedians of the commercial stage." He is an actor who Maugham, Pinero, Sheridan, Wilde, Aldous Huxley and Drinkwater. He has produced the Quintero Brothers and Sheridan. He prefers production to acting.




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