Tuesday, March 15, 2005

auditions, dress rehearsals, and the mysteries of a pair of X chromosomes


I really have nothing interesting to say today (ever?), but I will nonetheless fill this lovely blank space with a few letters before I retire for the evening.

I went to that audition this morning. The guy's condo was right by my house, and I didn't bother telling anyone to call me five minutes into it. At that point I was more concerned about making a good impression that about being raped and murdered. [Yay for overcoming paranoia out of an irrational desire for external validation (because my mom's approval doesn't count).] I turned up early, and had to hang back for a few minutes. It reminded me of the scene in Pulp Fiction where Jules and Vince hang out outside the apartment at 7:00 am discussing foot massages. That was the point in the film where my mother commented "these guys would be speechless without the F-word."

These guys turned out to be Tarantino fans too, which was cool. They were both very young, not much older that me, pretty clean-cut and polite, and the director who had emailed me was very cute and extremely non-threatening. This was reassuring. However, much like Tarantino, they meant business, and had me filling out forms within seconds of my arrival. There was no "hey, how are you, what's up," etc. The forms were pretty standard, quite professional, except for the questionnaire asking me if a) I was okay with coarse language (HELL yes!), b) If I was okay with playing a homosexual (why the hell not?), and c) if I would work for free (ah hell, if it means I get to swear and be gay, I'm happy to volunteer). Then there was the 'thank you for auditioning, you may draw a picture of yourself in the space below.' That was odd. Now that I think about it it was probably an attempt to get me to be creative, but I can't draw at the best of times, and it was 10:00 am and I was too tired to be witty, so I wrote something like 'Absolutely no drawing abilities here. Sorry.' Gah! How boring of me.

The pieces they had me read were good, but I definitely did better on the second piece than the first. The first was some ludicrous conversation between a guy trying to slit his wrists with a spoon and a giant banana (me) who claims to be death. I probably should have deadpanned it, but I ended up somewhere in between sounding genuine and sounding sarcastic. Fuck. I also didn't know ahead of time that they were going to film the whole thing, and that threw me a little.

The second piece was this big blow-up of an argument between a woman (me) and her boyfriend, who seemed like kind of a slob. I had some great lines like: "Take a look around you. You live in a garbage dump. There's a dead rat rotting in the corner. You're a sick delusional man." And "Pull your fucking shit together and don't bother calling me, because I sure as hell never want to talk to you again." Ooh, it was fun. I was practically yelling at the end of it. When I was finished, the guy who was reading the boyfriend's part (a somewhat overweight, slightly pasty, kind of awkward fellow), said, quite sincerely: "Whoa." I think I scared him. Maybe this is a good thing.

In all honesty, I'm not sure at all that I will get the part. I've decided that if I get it, I will be thrilled and pour my soul into the production, and if I don't, then it's their loss and I will have more time to hang by my feet upside-down from trees. Because in the end, that's really what I want to do with my life.

We also had our dress rehearsal for Firefly today. Has anyone else ever heard the old theatre adage that the worse the dress rehearsal, the better the show? Well, by that logic our play will be fucking brilliant. People had not memorized their lines, the blocking was fucked-up, lots of people didn't even show up to rehearse, and the people who did show up almost all left early. I don't get it. When I was doing high school theatre the rule was always that you DO NOT leave the dress rehearsal early! It's simply not allowed. Your grandmother would have to be in the hospital dying before they would let you leave. But not with these directors -- they are awfully laid-back. As a result, many, many people have slacked off, and the people who haven't (like say, me), are considered to be particularly saintly. But I'm not saintly, at all. I just commit to things once I've said I will commit to them. It's really that simple.

On the plus side, my pieces went really well today. The AIDS monologue is improving all the time. I still feel really shaky when I'm finished, but at least I don't shake all the way through anymore. I think this is one of the pieces that will affect people the most, and I'm actually glad to have been given the responsibility of doing it.

It's a funny thing with monologues that I never ever thought I could do them when I was younger. They gave me this one little monlologue in The Tempest, one where I had to walk down some steps to the lower part of the stage and deliver a speech directly to the audience, and I was the only one onstage, literally inches from the crowd. I hated rehearsing it. It sucked. Every single time I felt like everybody was judging me and thinking I was really bad, and I got so nervous I could hardly stay standing. But something happened when I walked down those steps on opening night. For the first time, I was completely calm, and completely in awe of the moment. For those 35 seconds, everyone was listening to me. It was just my voice, just my presence, and just my dialogue. It was one of the first times ever that I felt like a good actor, and not just a kid playing around and dreaming of grandeur.

And now, I love being alone onstage. I love the feeling of control, the idea that all eyes are on me. The really weird thing is that in my life, the idea of being watched scares the crap out of me. I hate getting gawked at at clubs, on the bus, when I'm walking down the street, at school, in restaurants, in bars, whatever. It's probably because the staring has absolutely nothing to do with what I'm saying, thinking, or expressing. It's just some nice visuals for people who don't give a shit who I am or what I'm about. I like monologues because I can use things like my age, my appearance, and my gender to make people listen to the words. I can draw them in with superficials, but I will keep them with the words. That's what acting is really about to me. The idea that there is so much more to a person than their appearance. Their words have power, a real kind of power that they don't normally possess in daily life. It's a nice power trip.

On a totally unrelated topic, I have been thinking recently (mainly when hanging out with the girls from the Trojans who go stunting with me) that there are certain features that some girls possess that I not only do not understand, but also confirm for me for like the millionth time why I so often prefer the company of men:

By the way, I believe that many or even most of these things are in fact affectations that a lot of women feel they need to put on for men. Why they do it around other women is utterly beyond me. Oh, and this is not in reference to cheerleaders, so let's not reinforce those stereotypes. Let's not reinforce stereotypes at all. I just want to express my observations about many of the women I have had the sometimes dubious pleasure to run into in daily life. These observations apply to actual people and are not necessarily unsubstantiated generalizations.

This is the short list:

1) The giggling: Now, don't get me wrong, I giggle with the best of them, but I tend not to do it when stuff clearly isn't funny, and I tend not to let it interfere with whatever I'm doing. If I'm about to throw a stunt and someone makes an amusing remark, I will chuckle briefly and then throw the damn stunt. This is how the guys behave. But the girls will collapse in peels of uncontrollable laughter, to the point where we never actually get to do the stunt, because by the time they've finished laughing they've forgotten what the hell we were doing to begin with.

2) The intentionally short attention spans: These girls are not stupid, I know. But they sure as hell act like it. We'll be discussing one thing, and often something really important such as how to do the stunt without injuring someone, and they'll simply forget I've asked them and throw the stunt, while I'm standing there going....uh...I hope she doesn't land on my head. Why do they not calmly and carefully explain things? Why do they pretend to forget, and then giggle about it some more? It is a mystery.

3) The constant, usually irrelevant references to TV shows and other pop culture minutia: this is usually about stuff like the O.C. and Britney Spears, stuff I neither know about nor care about. Apparently it's uncool to simply not care.

4) The total and complete reluctance to discuss anything even remotely intellectual: I have actually had a few intelligent conversations with guys I've stunted with. But with the girls, it's damn near impossible. They end up uttering something like "you're weird. Hee hee!" and then giggle some more, and then go back to whatever it is they were paying half-attention to. Most of the time I simply don't bother. I'd rather be quiet.

5) The constant removal of clothing and/or touching themselves: By this, I mean almost exclusively the cheerleaders, and always in public. They're in this strange, exhibitionistic state of constantly pulling down their pants, pulling up their shirts, showing off their underwear, and grabbing their own breasts. That, and who the hell wears a thong to work out? What is the point, really? I'm all for women being sexual creatures (since I am one, I have to be all for it), but must it be so cheapened, so obviously performed for the benefit of the people watching and not for themselves?

6) The cattiness: By which I mean, rumour-mongering, gossip, whispering about another girl's hair/clothing/makeup/shoes/purse while she's in the room. If they must gossip, why not at least wait until the other girl is out of earshot?

7) The tendency to carry a purse/wear tons of makeup/avoid sweating/refuse to get dirty: I mean literally dirty, not dirty as in sexually adventurous. I hate purses. Plain and simple. I think they encourage women to buy and carry around all sorts of crap they don't need. The person who invented the eyelash curler really ought to be shot. And I may just shoot the next person I see curling their eyelashes in class. Gross. Foundation is gross. Blush is revolting. Lipstick tastes like plastic, gets stuck on water glasses, rubs off on people, clothing, and objects, and makes most people look like they belong in a circus ring. When I was a waitress I lost count of how many glasses I had to send back to the poor 14-year-old dishwasher because the rims were covered in some godawful "long-lasting endurance" lipstick residue. Double gross. And Bri and Ruh and I were walking to a restaurant for Kun's boyfriend's birthday party the other night and Ruh told us to slow down (when we were already 15 minutes late) because, uh, she was starting to sweat, and that was really gross...say what? Since when are natural functions like exercise and sweating seen as being "gross," while forcing your eyelashes into a horrible metal machine to curl them is seen as desirable??

8) The unwillingness to eat things: I have said this before. I can't stand the picking at food or the refusal to eat out of concern for getting fat. One meal does not a fat person make! If you're full, that's one thing, but not eating because you think it's fattening, well, it pisses me off. Guys don't do that, and I like that about them. I like digging into something that's bad for me once in a while. Why do so many women deny themselves the absolute pleasure of that?

9) Changing guys' clothes, hair, music selection, food choices, entertainment preferences, etc: It simply doesn't work. Believe me, I have tried to get the Boy to not wear clothes with a thousand holes in them, to cut his hair once in a while, to put on nice soft music at appropriate moments, to occasionally not eat baked beans cold out of the can, and to maybe watch a little less wrestling. Has it worked? No! Have I given up? Hell yes! But more than that, I think the long hair is kind of cute as long as it's not all over my pillow, and I figure since he does wear the boxers I buy him, he can keep his holey clothes as long as he wants. He's smart enough to know not to wear them to a nice restaurant.

10) The constructed attempts to be older than their years: This is an odd comment coming from me, because people are frequently confused about my age. When I was 14, they mistook me for 24, and now at 21, they think I'm 12. Great! There was an interesting comment in the paper the other day from a piece written by a woman who used to date Pierre Trudeau. She said that the moment you know you are really in love with a man is when you can see the little boy in him. A strange comment to say the least, but one that I think is very true. Look long enough with most men, even the really surly ones, and there is a mischievous little boy underneath. Women, it seems to me, try so much harder to be grown up all the time, when really I'd love to see them be a little more vulnerable. I often see 13-year-olds who look like they're 35. That shell can be hard to crack, indeed. It is probably a side effect of working one's whole life to be a strong and capable woman -- and people assume that to be strong is to be impenetrable. Not so, I think. I think strength has to come from being challenged again and again and not giving up despite it all. I just have more respect for people who are honest about their weaknesses with themselves and others.

Many of these viewpoints come from simply not having a lot of women in my life to really get to know. The ones I have gotten to know have, with very few exceptions, defied most of these stereotypes. But it takes so long to get to know women really well that most of the time I simply don't bother.

I hang out with the guys because more often than not they lay all their cards on the table. And I always like to know what I'm dealing with before getting involved.

Plus, I like drinking beer and playing pinball.




p.s. forgottenmachine -- I have not abandoned you, I've just been slow to email back. It's coming, I promise!

by Nome at 11:29 PM
5 mews

    Welcome. This is the humble chronicle of my life & my thoughts on the world as I see it. If you know me in real life and want to keep my trust, PLEASE ASK BEFORE READING! I'm not accountable to you or to anyone else for what I say in these pages. Comments are much appreciated, but but insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please respect privacy and anonymity - nicknames or pseudonyms only. This is my space to be an adult - kids should go elsewhere. Thanks, and enjoy.

    About The Nome
    Nome is where the heart is
    I Will Not Be Silenced


Other Witty And Wonderful Creations

    referer referrer referers referrers http_referer