Thursday, December 12, 2013

That One Summer With A Hollywood Agent

More years ago than I want to count I took an acting course with a Hollywood agent/scriptwriter. She looked like Alice Cooper's older sister. She dressed like Alice Cooper. Does Alice Cooper have breasts?

It was three long days of acting exercises and challenges. My heart raced triple-time and I was sweating because there was only one level of participation -- all in. 
Imagine her whispering in your ear, show more love.

On the second day we read a script. We'd already practiced rapid memorization but this was read-then-act freestyle. GULP. We paired off and secretly thought about how we'd do it better each time a brave couple took the floor. It was a sexy scene between two long-term lovers. I knew my partner less than twelve hours. When we started, I giggled constantly. Mary, said agent, rasped for focus, her smoker voice as craggy as the Marlboro Man's face. 

We did. I remember zero lines and no plot. I remember nothing but being on the floor surrounded by the others on their hands and knees feeding us lines. As my partner and I embraced we lived the scene, damn the words. It was glorious. I never flew so high. Mary gave us one of the only compliments of the weekend and I knew what it meant to act.

But I left a little piece of my soul on the carpet where we'd laid entangled. 

Acting is hard when you slip beneath self-consciousness and lose yourself to a moment. That one scene was as exhausting as a day digging for arrowheads during July in SW Missouri. 

I stumbled around giddy but unnerved by the absence of a piece of me. In that emptiness I discovered I prefer existing behind the scenes, writing the moment that makes others giddy or unnerved. I finished the workshop triumphant -- my fearlessness as an actor best used for writing.