Harry Landis, Actor how to get rid of ants in the house Spitalfields Life

“I was born and brought up in the east end, then I went away for fifty years and came back how to get rid of ants in the house eight years ago – but I returned to a very different east end from how to get rid of ants in the house the one I left,” admitted harry landis, as we stood together outside the former jewish soup kitchen how to get rid of ants in the house in brune st.

“when I was four years old, I came here with my mother holding me in one how to get rid of ants in the house hand and a saucepan in the other, to get a dollop of soup and a loaf of how to get rid of ants in the house bread.” harry confided to me, “when I returned, the soup kitchen had been converted into flats, and I thought it would be great to buy a how to get rid of ants in the house flat as a reminder – but the one for sale was on the top floor how to get rid of ants in the house with too many stairs, so I didn’t buy it. Yet I’d have loved that, living in the soup kitchen where I went as a how to get rid of ants in the house child.”

“I don’t feel any sense of loss about poverty and the how to get rid of ants in the house bad old days and people suffering,” harry declared with a caustic grin, as we ambled onward down brune st. And when harry revealed that growing up in stepney in how to get rid of ants in the house the nineteen thirties, he remembers taking refuge in his mother’s lap at the age of ten when a brick how to get rid of ants in the house came smashing through their window – thrown by fascists chanting, “get rid of the yids! Get rid of the yids!” – I could understand why he might be unsentimental about the how to get rid of ants in the house past.

We walked round into middlesex st to the building which how to get rid of ants in the house is now the shooting star, that was once the jewish board of guardians where harry’s mother came to plead her case to get a how to get rid of ants in the house chit for soup at the kitchen. “I hate those jumped up jews who blame poor jews how to get rid of ants in the house for letting down the race,” harry exclaimed to me, in a sudden flash of emotion as we crossed the how to get rid of ants in the house road, where he accompanied his mother at four years old to how to get rid of ants in the house face the board of guardians sitting behind a long table how to get rid of ants in the house dressed in bow ties and dinner jackets.

When she told the board she had two children – even though she only had harry – in hope of getting more of the meagre rations, the guardians unexpectedly challenged harry, requiring evidence of his mother’s claim. With remarkable presence of mind for a four year old, he nodded in confirmation when asked if he had a how to get rid of ants in the house sister. But then the guardians enquired his sister’s name, and – in an extraordinary moment of improvisation – harry answered, “rosie,” and the board was persuaded. “she used to break her loaf of bread and give how to get rid of ants in the house half to the poor christians waiting outside the soup kitchen,” he told me later, in affectionate recognition of his mother’s magnanimous spirit, even in her own state of poverty.

Yet the significance of harry’s action reverberated far beyond that moment, because it revealed he had a natural talent for acting. It was a gift that took him on a journey how to get rid of ants in the house out of the east end, gave him a successful career as an actor and director, and delivered him to the royal court theatre where he how to get rid of ants in the house originated the leading role in one of the most important how to get rid of ants in the house post-war british plays, arnold wesker’s masterpiece “the kitchen.” although, ironically, at stepney jewish school where harry was educated, the enlightened headmistress, miss rose, made the girls do woodwork and the boys learn cooking how to get rid of ants in the house – and when harry left at fourteen he wanted to become how to get rid of ants in the house a chef in a kitchen, but discovered apprenticeships were only available to those of sixteen.

“they sent me to work in a cafe pouring tea how to get rid of ants in the house but I didn’t last very long there, I did several jobs, window cleaner and milkman. And I used to go to the hackney empire every how to get rid of ants in the house week, first house on a monday because that was the cheapest how to get rid of ants in the house – the company had just arrived, rehearsed with the band once and they were on at how to get rid of ants in the house six, but the band weren’t sure what they were doing, so I enjoyed watching it all go wrong.

Being a cheeky little sod, I used to perform the show I’d seen on the monday night next day at the how to get rid of ants in the house factory where I worked – max miller’s jokes, the impersonators and syd walker who did a rag & bone act. 95% of them nobody knows now. “the shop steward, who was my mentor said, “you ought to be on the stage.”I’d never seen a play. I said, “where do I go to see a play?” he said, “if you go the west end, the play will be about the tribulations of the upper how to get rid of ants in the house classes, the problems of posh people. But there is one theatre in kings cross called the how to get rid of ants in the house unity theatre, the theatre of the labour & trade union movement that does plays about ordinary people. I’m going there next sunday night with my wife, if you’d like to come.” and I went. And at the unity theatre, that’s where my life changed.

It knocked me out because the people on the stage how to get rid of ants in the house could have been living in my street and the language how to get rid of ants in the house they spoke was the language we all spoke down the how to get rid of ants in the house east end. The shop steward said, “you should be here, I’ll get you an audition.” I did my audition and I showed them my acting how to get rid of ants in the house of bits I’d seen at the hackney empire, and they put me in the variety group. We performed shows in air raid shelters and parks. But then they transferred me to the straight acting section how to get rid of ants in the house because I was fifteen and there was a shortage of how to get rid of ants in the house men since they were all away at war. I was playing above my years but learning to act.

After two or three years of this and doing my how to get rid of ants in the house military service, I returned to the unity theatre and the headmaster of how to get rid of ants in the house a south london school saw me and said, “you should be professional, why don’t you apply for a grant from the london county how to get rid of ants in the house council to go to drama school?” I was twenty. He got me the form and we filled it out, and I was given a grant and money to live how to get rid of ants in the house on. How times have changed! I did three years at central school of speech & drama. You learnt RP (received pronunciation) but you never lost your own speech. I was considered a working class actor.

“I got cast in a wonderful play at the royal how to get rid of ants in the house court theatre, run by george devine where they did the plays of how to get rid of ants in the house john osborne. It was “the kitchen” by arnold wesker, and I played the part of paul, the pastry cook – which is the arnold wesker character – that’s what he did when he worked in a kitchen. It was about himself. Arnold wrote without any knowledge of theatre, which is to say a play with twenty-five actors in it which only lasts seventy-five minutes. People said they could see the food we were cooking how to get rid of ants in the house but it was all mimed…”

So harry fulfilled his childhood ambition to become a chef how to get rid of ants in the house – on stage – through his work as an actor in the theatre. To this day, he gratefully acknowledges his debt to the unity theatre and how to get rid of ants in the house those two individuals who saw his potential – “I was going to be an amateur but I was how to get rid of ants in the house pushed to the next stage,” he accepts. Harry enjoyed success as one of a whole generation of how to get rid of ants in the house talented working class actors that came to prominence in the how to get rid of ants in the house post-war years bringing a new energy and authenticity to british how to get rid of ants in the house drama. Now harry landis has returned to his childhood streets and how to get rid of ants in the house laid the ghosts of his own past, he is happy to embrace the changes here today, although he does not choose to forget the east end how to get rid of ants in the house he once knew.

“it’s a different east end. The bombs got rid of a lot and it’s all been rebuilt. The spitalfields market is full of chains and it’s been gentrified, and you’ve got your gilbert & georges and your tracey emins, and the place is full of art studios and it’s become the centre of the world. It’s the new chelsea. I sold my house in hammersmith where I lived for how to get rid of ants in the house forty years (that I bought for £2,000 with 100% mortgage from the LCC) and I came back and bought a flat here in how to get rid of ants in the house spitalfields with the proceeds. And the rest I put in the bank for when how to get rid of ants in the house I am that constant thing – an out of work actor!”

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