Friday, January 30, 2009

I’m bored on the plane to Texas

and, though medicated (read: tranquilized), still working hard to avoid turbulence-panic. So thought I’d type up a quick story from my acting days. There are many aplenty of these gems, but this one is a personal fav.

My freshman year at college, I studied at the Fine Arts School in the theater department. Now. At some/most colleges, this means you take a few drama classes, a bunch of regular classes, and act in some plays on the weekends. This wasn’t that. This was a conservatory, which meant you did acting crap (Theory, Speech, Movement, Singing, Script Analysis, etc. etc.) all day everyday. And freshman year you were also stage crew for the older students' shows. So classes were 9-5 usually, then you had stage crew - graded as a class - from 7-11. What I'm trying to say is, I did nothing all day.


Second semester, quite sure I would be transferring the hell out of this Twilight Zone, I had a hard time paying attention or taking any of it seriously. This didn’t mean the shit that happened didn’t stab my soft inner sensi flesh; I just pretended it didn’t. My acting teacher for the second half of the year, a semi-elderly black man in his sixties (seventies? fifties? impossible to tell) who wore stained undershirts and sunglasses to class, was…crazy. We'll call him Jim.

In March or so, we started working on scenes (which would be graded as our Final), with partners. My partner was my buddy Matt. Now, I semi-forget the premise of our scene, but I think I played a sexually frustrated wife married to a gay guy. And I think my character buys a French maid’s costume to spice things up, but I come home one day to find him wearing it instead. Er? Is this right, Matt? I usually remember things like this better.

The most important thing to know, though, is that Matt had to pretend to, um, put his hand in my undies. Seeing that Matt was/is a) one of my best friends and b) gay, proved super uncomfortable for both of us. (Did we not read the scene ahead of time? I think we chose it, dumb asses.)

So one afternoon we’re practicing in front of the class. And things aren’t going well. I’m feeling awkward, Matt’s blushing, and I wish we could just move onto the next round of scenes.

Well Jim had this thing he did when he saw you were stalling out, where he’d walk up to you and whisper something in your ear, something no one else could hear. It was supposed to motivate you to get better/funnier/real-er. I wish, I wish I could remember what he said to me, but I do remember what he said to Matt, who told me later.

“Pretend her crotch is a red hot poker.”


So after delivering his pearls of wisdom, Jim takes a cross-legged seat on the floor with the rest of the class. Now, it should be noted that my boyfriend was also in this class. Which sucked. First semester we were in different sections and remained blissfully unaware of the other’s daily lives. Not so that spring. It’s difficult to describe the intensity of spending all day with someone in spirit-draining, soul-sucking classes where everyone’s crying about how mean their Dads were and how the kids in sixth grade didn’t invite them to McDonald’s. Then eating dinner together. Then going out or watching a movie together. Then spending the night together, waking up and doing it all over again.

I digress. But remind me to tell you about the day we broke up and I cried actual tears of joy walking to get a hot dog in the park because it was the first time I’d been alone in ten months.

Back to class.

So Boyfriend was there in his tanktop, sitting with everyone else, watching me suffer. And not really throwing me any looks of love or understanding. He was good like that.

A few more painful attempts pass. Suddenly Jim turns to Boyfriend and asks loudly:

“Is she always this frigid in bed?”

Ba-dum ching!

Abrupt ending about to happen, but that's the gist. Turbulence ensuing, plane landing soon, Dallas and wedding and fried foods await me.

Moral of the story? Don't go to acting school. And don't be frigid in bed!

Happy weekend!


  1. and the strangest thing is it's all true. and always makes for a great cocktail party story.

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