April 8th, 2005

Acting, schmacting

I had someone ask me yesterday why I didn't pursue acting. Okay, so this person doing the asking was a semi-senile little old lady of extremely questionable taste...in any case, it put me in mind of a few past forays into acting that might give you some idea as to why I would never pursue it again:

School experiences notwithstanding, I made my acting debut in Life on the Edge (aka Meet the Hollowheads) as the "Edge Slut". This part didn't exist in the script, but came about largely as the result of a dare on the part of the film's director (and one of my favorite people ever) Tom Burman. I guess Tom didn't think I would really play a hooker propositioning the two pre-teen boys on their "Edge Walk". Not only did I take him up on that, but once I was in costume (not a pretty costume either, mind you - I had blackened teeth, a total 'fro and tacky black vinyl clothing scraps), I was the one who got propositioned (by a studio guard, no less). (By the way, I was cut from the finished film, so don't look for me.)

Not long after we finished that film, Tom and I ventured into the rarified air of legit theater, doing a Halloween show at Hollywood's Theatre of N.O.T.E. Tom was directing a Grand Guignol classic, an adaptation of Poe's "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Feather", in which lunatics take over an asylum; I was serving as Tom's assistant director (mainly so I could learn more about directing theater). Tom had done a little revamping to the show to include a fabulously slutty nurse who sleazed around stage and stuck her tongue in everyone's mouth. One night the actress playing that part couldn't make it, and again Burman issued one of those dares. I took him up on it, trying to out-sleaze the regular actress. I had a couple of phone numbers from male cast members after that rehearsal.

My last acting foray was again in theater, when I did my big science fiction comedy play Trashers (possibly the worst experience of my life, but that's for another day). There was a character in the play named "Wendy", who was an older woman surviving by her wiles in my decimated future. The actress I had cast couldn't do the show for the first two weeks, so I filled in until she could take over (I also directed the show). No problem...except for the day my tech person abruptly told me he couldn't make it, leaving me to run both lights and sound AND play a major supporting part in the play. I actually ended up incorporating the tech booth into my performance, making entrances from behind the audience as I frantically changed lights while spewing my lines. That incident, by the way, was one of many that occurred on that particular show and caused me to declare that I will never be involved in live theater again.

Are you getting by now why acting holds no fascination for me? I actually think that acting and writing aren't always that far apart (both involve the creation of characters as part of the job), but I get no particular joy from physically appearing in front of an audience (to say nothing of how weird all the circumstances have been in the past). When it comes to theater or film, I'd much rather sit back and watch the stuff in my head come to life, than have to stick myself into the middle of it.