Thursday, July 21, 2011

David Tieck…… ACT…tor

The last time I was in a play was about 25 years ago. I played a Native Hawaiian who was part of a posse who speared Captain Cook to death (this was my second on stage murder in my second play, having been in charge of dumping a house on the Wicked Witch in my first play, I never did grow out of my murderous typecasting).

This was really fun because the kid playing Cook was an old friend who was a temporary enemy, and I liked the idea of stabbing him to death at this time. Also I think I was jealous of him getting the lead even though I would have stabbed myself before saying a single line on a stage.

Then again it was also horrible because for some reason playing a Native Hawaiian meant the make-up lady put me in black face with bright cherry red lipstick (I believe it was her revenge for years of mental abuse by the supermarket chocolate isle) and I had to go on stage like that, and then no one showed me how to get it off, so I spent the best part of twenty-four hours like that, and it was epically humiliating.

Fun fact that ex friend became a friend friend again and then the first time I ever heard Smells Like Teen Spirit was in his little brothers room, and that little brother is now a hugely famous electro pop musician, I hated him then (annoying) and now (jealousy), and because of him it took me a many years to appreciate Nirvana. Also because Axl Rose told me via interviews not to like them, and if Axl Rose tells you to do something you do it damn it.

Recently I've been thinking about trying to perform in a play in a positive way. Like enjoying it, and having lines, and not taking out immature vendettas (actually I believe from memory the catalyst for the ex friend period was someone who wasn't a friend daring me that I couldn't de-friend him as a friend, holy lord pathetic, at least I am pretty sure that is the only time I have ever been influenced by another person).

So I started putting some feelers out for audition opportunities, and last night I was invited to a play reading.

What occurs at a play reading? I hear you ask. I thought it was a place to hear the play read by a series of prepared actors, when alas it was actually a place where several things happens:

1. Potential auditioners such as myself get to read random parts of the play at various time.

2. Actors show off how Acterly they can be despite being told not to be acterly.

3. Actors with dyslexia try to come up with as many jokes as possible to self deprecate their inability to read.

4. Numerous actors try to show off how good they are at doing Upper Class British accents even if their character is described as being from Austria or France.

5. Actors such as myself decree that one should only adopt said posh accent if one is directed to by either text or director, and when the time cameth upon my good self to read a character, I decided to conduct my business in my normal Australian accent still tinged with whisks of Americana, yet when I discovered myself endowed with a character an accent arbitrarily came out of my mouth akin to what I would do when mocking the British royal family, or reading something utterly disgusting to humor my friends.

“And then, my lord, she shat her last nights fine dining experience over my face, lathering it in the same manner I lather your fine silver with polish, before shining it to a mirror, so you can watcheth yourself fist a goat in the rectum” Jane Austin.

Speaking of shining silver, Paris Hilton stormed out of an interview today when the host suggested she may no longer be relevant, I was equally outraged, how dare someone suggest she was ever relevant (awesome boobs though).

The play that we read was “An ideal husband” by Oscar Wilde. I shamelessly do not know that much about good ol’ Oscar, other than that I believe he was a hugely admired, and extremely promiscuous homosexual who died of alcoholism in Paris in the early part of the twentieth century, and was keen on the phrases “she’ll be right” and “ya know what I’m sayin’”. Also I have personally kissed his grave, something I like to do with all playwrights before exploring their work.

This particular play, while extremely witty at times, was full of not too interesting characters (at least when cold-read by a variety of unprepared rotating actors) and the story is way, way, way, way too long and repetitive, and probably far less interesting than any random page of Mr Wilde’s hypothetical personal journal (Example: Today I had lots of promiscuous sex. My partner, a beautiful young man, asked if we should lock the door, and I said to him “she’ll be right” but then just as we were getting deep into it, so to speak, a woman burst into the room yelling “what’s going on here” and I was forced to reply “just banging your husband, know what I’m sayin’”).

In the end I decided to leave early and not audition, mostly because even though this was amateur theatre, it still requires the best part of six months of three times weekly rehearsals, and even small parts in the play require learning a minimum of seven million words (rumors had it that the catalyst for Wilde’s death was an actor in a minor role skipping three words in one performance and as a result only saying 6,999,998 words in one performance, creating a depression that caused Oscar to drink himself to death).

I have too much respect (laziness) for my potential director to risk that. Plus the theatre holds only about 22 people, and there aren’t that many performances of the play, which by my calculation means the actors will each rehearse 217 hours for each individual that will see the play, just overstepping my personal 213 hour per viewer standard. And if we don’t have personal standards why even enter the theatre?

In the end I went and gorged on KFC, then went home, had some beers, watched some TV, and polished the hell out of my fine silver, you never know when the next fun times are on their way. Wait, did you, you? Ewww, I don’t have a goat here, Axl Rose just told me “Welcome to the jungle” and I assume that’s his way of saying “your place really is a pigsty, better have a tidy up”.

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