Friday, February 17, 2006

My 15 Minutes

This past weekend I watched my cousin perform To Kill a Mockingbird at a local church. As I watched the 6th grader girl play "Scout" (and do a mighty fine job, I reluctantly observed), I couldn't help but think back to my old glory days in acting. If I may take a minute to gloat (well, I could take a whole post to gloat if i wanted to, it's MY blog), I shall tell you that when I was a senior in high school, I won the title of “Best Actress” at our UIL One Act Competition

I was bitten by the acting bug when I was around 14 years old. I had, however, been performing some time before that. I cringe whenever I see old home videos of me during our family’s Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings…I was such a camera hog! I would tell jokes and do impressions. I did a pretty spot-on George Bush, Garth (from SNL’s Wayne’s World), Bobcat Goldthwait, and Elvis when I was just a wee girl.

However, there was one night in particular that I woke up with this pain in my stomach—it was a yearning to become an actress (or gas, but for this story, I like to say it was a yearning). I remember waking my mom up and telling her how I desperately wanted to act in movies. She told me to get back in bed or else, but the next day, she was kind enough to humor me with a conversation about my ga...er...yearning.

My previous acting experience included the lead role of Alice in “Follow that Rabbit”, a small (but important, I tell you) part in the spoof “Phantom of the Op’ry”, and an appearance as a Medicine Show Troupe Girl in “Tied to the Tracks”. These were all productions from my middle school days. So, okay, no REAL acting experience, but I was like, 12, so give me a break. And I remember people really liking me in those plays, so there.

My mom decided (which was very unlike her) that she would take me to see an agent. A few days later, I was signed with a local agency, and was already given my first job—a commercial for a theme park! It was so fun; we got to cut in all the lines on a really hot summer day, and no one could do a thing about it. Plus, I got paid what was considered a LOT of money to a teenager. Now, it just *might* cover my cell phone bill. After that, I saw stars. Acting was my life!

Unfortunately, casting agents didn’t agree. Because I was in school, I couldn’t go to auditions that were during school days, and my mom was not willing to drive me to the far side of the city, let alone Dallas or Austin, for an audition on the weekend. Needless to say, my exposure was limited. I had an audition once for some product, I forgot what, but it had me paired up with a boy, and the scenario was this: We were in the living room watching t.v., we look at one another, lean in to kiss, and JUST as we are about to, the parents come in and we had to spring apart so as not to get caught smooching. Oh good grief, the boy I was paired up with…the most delicious looking feast of a boy I’d ever set my teenage eyes on. Which only made me more nervous, and, surprise surprise, I didn’t get the part.

I had a few more auditions, but after nothing was really materializing, we decided to pull out of the agency. I still have my headshots and slides…I looked like I belonged on the cover of Seventeen or YM (not because I was so photogenic or anything, but just because the pictures and poses were so good!).

After that, I limited my acting to school plays. I was a court jester in the musical “Once Upon a Mattress”. My theater teacher (who is now in jail for something a stereotypical theater teacher would pull) seemed to have it out for me, and cast me in a boy’s role (even though I did a back handspring on the stage during my audition for the lead role. Whatever.). I took that role and did my very best. I shudder to think I sang in front of my school body and parents and friends. In a court jester's outfit. Yes, complete with the goofy 3 pointed hat with bells on it. And pointy shoes with bells. And poofy jams. AND it’s caught on tape. Dah.

But then came my role as Hermia in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. My fire for acting had fizzled out quite a bit, but it was still fun to run lines and make the character my own. I felt bad though, because our theater teacher had me really slap one of the actors—hard—because he said it looked more realistic than a staged slap. Sure it did, but this guy, who started out my friend, wasn’t too keen on me by the time the production rapped. This is when I won "Best Actress", which was quite an unexpected honor. But even more rewarding was the fact that I met some of my best and oldest friends, whom I still keep in touch with to this day.

Acting was fun. It was the first thing I had a very strong passion for, but don’t think I ever will again. Ah, memories.

Oh, and the answer's no. No one will ever see that tape of me signing and dancing to "Soft Shoes". Not even the boyfriend.

Insignificance Conveyed @ 12:27 PM   14 GabbyGabbers

14 "Sure was sweet of you to drop in":

At 9:44 PM, Blogger Afe "told me"

Dude, I would absolutely love to hear your Bobcat Goldthwaite. I'm laughing already.

 
At 1:03 AM, Blogger Simon Swinbank "told me"

At last someone else who's performed a midsummer night's dream. I stole the show as the nice but dim Snug the joiner in my primary school's (english equivalent of your elementary school) leavers play!

Since then though, the only thing I've done well acting wise was an immense portayal of the posh kid Eddie in Blood brothers in my english class at secondary school (english equivalent of high school).

 
At 1:45 AM, Blogger Léonie "told me"

So, what you're saying is you still have the jester's outfit and you try it on every night before bed and sing to yourself in the mirror, yes?

I won Best Actress at Uni, for being Adelaide in Guys and Dolls. I carry the trophy with me everywhere I go, just in case someone wants to look at it.

Are you still going to be a movie star?

 
At 2:48 AM, Blogger Chris "told me"

Hows about those swanky photos where you look like a cover girl? Do we get to see those?
Did your British Boy tell you that we first became good friends in a performance of Midsummer Night's Dream? I was, inevitably, Bottom, and was totally upstaged by his deadpan Peter Quince.

 
At 3:44 AM, Blogger anna "told me"

Much as I hesitate to reveal, my middle school obsession with you was fueled by those very stage roles you mentioned! I still remember how cute you were in Phantom ("He said I couldn't carry a tune *sniff* if it had a handle!"), how charming and energetic as the Jester (fun for everyone but you!), and how easily you pulled off Hermia in One-Act. Of course, by that point, we had become real friends, and you, me and Kate "Ti-TANYA" bonded over love of acting and less-than-love for acting teacher. I say all that to confirm grudgingly that you are not merely a horn-tooter (and by that I reference your ga- um, yearnings)--you were good. Oh, and your Ace Ventura impressions! I remembered those the other day! Aaah, we all had our shtick.

(Hey, me and Huw were both Quince! If only I had thought to play it deadpan, not put my heart out there for stupid One-Act convention to trample. *tear*)

 
At 7:13 AM, Blogger trishy "told me"

ah, but can we see the headshots?

 
At 8:36 AM, Blogger Lauren "told me"

Wow! More tidbits about Twinny that I didn't know before. I, like you, was always hogging the video camera at home. Always. I watch the videos now and I look at my parents and ask, "Um, why didn't you stop me? How was I NOT incredibly annoying to you?"

I was a dancer when I was younger, always dreamed of going to Juilliard one day and being a Broadway ballerina. So I was always onstage. . .even when I wasn't. Get it? My life was a show and I was the STAR! What a nerd.

Acting is fun. My high school musical experiences are still some of my favorite memories.

Love ya.

 
At 9:08 AM, Blogger Dancinfairy "told me"

My acting career was limited to a number of leading girl parts in pantomines (Jack and The Beanstalk, Cinderella etc) where I embarrassed myself completely and I have never lived it down.

The worst was the one where I played a dog but we don't talk about that.

Whoops.

Glad you were more sucessful than me!

 
At 9:38 AM, Blogger Curly "told me"

"poofy jams" I'm guessing: Gay Pyjamas?

I expect the bess actress award was for the slap. I'd like to see it re-enacted one day.

 
At 12:35 PM, Blogger Huw "told me"

One of my favourite roles from my youth was when we put on an old fashioned Christmas folk play at my primary school one year. Specifically, if you care, it was what’s known as a Christmas Mummers play, of the sort that has been performed for centuries and is now quite probably rather politically incorrect. Typically, they revolve around an anglicised St George meeting various filthy Arabs and other such non-Christian folk and doing them in, and then them being resurrected care of a Quack Doctor only to be run through once more. I played the Quack Doctor to great effect.

My friend Pee played the Turkish Knight. Pee was actually British, of Sri Lankian stock, but his foreign looks suited our purposes and landed him the role of generic Arab type. I was heartened to see Lost take the exact same rigorous approach in the casting of Sayed.

 
At 1:57 PM, Blogger Jona "told me"

Lol, you can bet someone's kept a copy ;o)

 
At 2:51 PM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake "told me"

Pretty please?

 
At 6:38 AM, Blogger Cleavers "told me"

I was a prolific thespian in my youth - always Mary in the school Christmas Nativity, always a leading role in our annual summer productions.

Then puberty hit and boys became so much more interesting than acting. Just think, if not for a small inconvenience called nature, I might have been a star.

Is it naff to join an amateur acting group?

 
At 7:07 AM, Blogger Tim-tambolini "told me"

We might now see the tape, but we'd like to see those head shots!

 

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