A Tale Of Two Garths. Chapter 7. Blackballed? By Broccoli?
“YOU SUCK!!! YOU SUCK SO HARD; YOU GIVE ALL NEW MEANING TO THE WORD SUCK! Suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck!”
This was my introduction to my new acting coach, David Beaird, immediately after I performed my first monologue in his class. Well, maybe those weren’t his EXACT words but it didn’t really matter what he was saying because that’s what my ego driven mind was hearing.
“You’ve been doing theater for a really long time haven’t you?” he asked me.
“Yes,” I answered while sitting on the floor of a completely black stage, in a completely black room, full of people I didn’t know, with stage lights shining right in my humiliated face.
“It shows.” What the fuck is that supposed to mean?
“Stacy, your acting is just so large. You have a huge presence and a powerful voice,” he continued. But I didn’t understand what he meant. On stage what he just said was equivalent to a giant pat on the back.
“Was it Joan?” I asked. “Because I know my Joan can be pretty intense.”
“Stacy,” he sighed. “Your Joan of Arc was great for what it was, but it’s just not what we do in this class.” I really didn’t know what he wanted from me. Joan had taken me very far and for her to all of a sudden fail me outright was so confusing to me. Where was Dr. Owen when I needed him? He had trained me for this. Was everything I had learned been wrong? David just sat back in his chair in the audience looking frustrated.
“I think you need to do something more contemporary. Get out of Shakespeare and all Classical works all together.”
“Umm…okay,” I said.
“I want you to work with Dax,” he told me. “Dax can you come down here?” Out of the darkness appeared a man I can only describe as perfect. He had perfect features, perfect blond hair, perfect brown eyes, he was well…perfect. Great, how am I supposed to concentrate with that around?
“Dax, I want you and Stacy to partner up and do a scene for next week. You pick it out and show her the ropes.” Dax nodded to David and then looked down at me still sitting on the seat of shame on the floor.
“Hi, I’m Dax,” he said in a James Bond voice. Dax Griffin. Of course you are.
As we walked out of class later that night Dax walked with me and told me that he had the perfect scene for us and then we exchanged numbers. What is wrong with these people? Are any of them normal looking? I thought as I took his number and got into my car.
“Oh Stacy, you’re going to be okay,” I told myself out loud as I tried to navigate Sunset boulevard in hopes that I was traveling in the right direction to find my way home.
Dax called me the next day and we set up our first rehearsal at my apartment. I warned my roommates ahead of time about his looks because I didn’t want them passing out from shock.
“Whatever you do, just don’t look directly at him.”
When the doorbell rang I went to open it and I caught Claire and Hung huddled inside Claire’s room with their heads peaking out.
“Inside. NOW!” I said to them as I pointed to Claire’s room. They both looked at me like I just taken away their favorite piece of candy. I opened the door to let Dax in and just his presence alone made me feel like I needed to pee. Of course I thought he was good looking, I mean you would have to be blind not to. But I think I was more intimidated by him than anything else. I had somehow gone from a great student at San Diego State to the lowest, suckiest woman on the totem pole and my self-confidence couldn’t stand another hit. It was as if some sort of talent body snatcher had snuck into my room and sucked every bit of acting capability from my body.
“I think this is a little more of what David is looking for,” Dax said as he handed me a scene about a couple fighting over deodorant. Really? The whole scene is about deodorant? Lame. As I read over the scene I was relieved to see that there was no kissing in it. I was already intimidated enough. Add a kiss and I probably would have gone into convulsive shock. As Dax and I sat there in my living room reading our lines back and forth to one another my roommates kept making various excuses as to why they needed to come out of Claire’s room from where I had banished them.
“I’m sorry to interrupt, I just need some water,” Claire said as she walked through the living room. Funny. When I banished her to Hung’s room she was in shorts and a t-shirt. Now she looked ready to hit the clubs. Next thing I knew Hung was out.
“Oh, sorry,” she said like we had shocked her with our presence. “I just need to grab the phone.” Then she grabbed the phone off the counter and walked back into Claire’s room. This went on for a while.
“I’m sorry, I just need a Granola bar.”
“Oh, I just wanted a can of string beans.”
“I’m looking for a cheese grater.”
“We’re never going to be able to concentrate here,” I told him.
“Well now that you have the scene, why don’t you come to my house next time,” he said.
“Uuuuuh sure.” Why do I feel like I’m cheating on Garth when I haven’t even done anything? I felt guilty and I didn’t even know why. Maybe it was because my boyfriend didn’t look like that and I wished he did. Maybe it was because I was acting with a man Garth didn’t know? All I knew was that I wanted this scene to be over with and the sooner the better.
Dax and I had rehearsed a couple more times and it was our turn to do our scene for the class. I was nervous but confident I was going to knock it out of the park this time. He and I stood up on stage and played our characters and when it was over I felt strong and assured. I knew I had just proved that I was a great actress. Thank you. Thank you. I would like to accept this Academy Award on behalf of…well, on behalf of myself because I am so magnificent.
“YOOOOOUUUUUU SUUUUUCCCCKKK!” David pretty much said.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!” I stood there on stage again and accepted the suck award.
“Stacy, you’ve just done too much theater. It’s just engrained in you.”
“David, I don’t know what you want. Can you be more specific?
“You’re used to playing for large audiences and the camera is very personal. Your acting needs to be non-acting. Right now it looks like your acting. You need to more natural. The camera will pick up on all the subtleties. I just don’t know if you’ll be able to make the switch from theater to movies and TV. I don’t know if I can help you.” That was it. He was giving up on me.
“Please just me me one more chance,” I begged.
“Okay, let’s try another scene,” he said but the way he said it he didn’t sound entirely enthusiastic about it. The second scene he set me up with was with a girl in the class who had been acting for years. It was nice to have been set up with a girl. It was much easier to focus on the scene this time and not busy being distracted by the opposite sex.
During the week of rehearsing I still had to work because somehow the money fairies had lost my address and were no longer delivering to my house. I was serving one afternoon when I had the pleasure of serving the Soup Guy. The reason I call him the Soup Guy is because I have never I my life seen some one freak out over a bowl of vegetable soup before. This is how the conversation went.
“What can I get for you today?” I asked him.
“I would like a bowl of your vegetable soup with extra vegetables,” he replied.
“Okay. Well our soup has a lot of vegetables in it already. What extra vegetables would you like me to add.”
“I don’t want you to ADD anything. I just want some extra vegetables.”
“Um…I could throw in some extra carrots and tomatoes for you if you like or broccoli. The soup doesn’t have broccoli.”
“I. Just. Want. Some. Extra. Vegetables!” he said clearly getting aggravated with me. Look dude. I’m going to need you to help me out here. I’m not a mind reader.
“What kind of vegetables?”
“That’s it! I want another server!”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes!” he said. Now he had gone from irritated to just down right pissed off. So I went into the kitchen and asked my friend Kevin to wait on him and warned him about the extra vegetable thing.
Kevin went out to the table and came back into the kitchen laughing.
“What? What did he say?” I asked.
“Well first he wanted to know if you were an actress, and I told him yes. And then he told me he could tell and that he would never cast you in any of his movies because of your attitude,” Kevin told me laughing the whole time.
“Over some vegetables?” Fantastic. As if my acting career wasn’t already hanging on by a thread, now I’m being blackballed by broccoli. Things were getting better by the minute. After Kevin served him I asked him how he solved the vegetable dilemma.
“I just gave him less broth,” he explained to me.
“I hate you,” was all I could say as I walked back out of the kitchen to wait on my less aggressive tables. I was half way across the restaurant and I could still hear Kevin’s laughter from inside the kitchen
Even though I was having a hopping good time at work, being server of the month was not what I had gone to LA to do so as Wednesday night rolled around again I was back off to acting class. I wanted to go back again so I could make everyone feel better about their acting skills in relation to mine. Everyone in class took turns doing their scenes and getting critiqued, and then it was our turn. When it was over, David just sat there glaring at me, long enough for me to eyeball the distance to the door and wonder if I could get out alive. I was fairly confident that I was about to be thrown out of an acting class for the first time ever and I was preparing for the humiliation.
“That was actually good Stacy,” David said. What? I all of a sudden perked up like a dog that had just been asked if she wanted to go for a walk.
“You did it exactly right. How did you do that?”
“Well, you were more specific in your notes this last time so I made the changes you requested,” I told him.
“AND you can take direction. I can work with this.” I felt so relieved. I wasn’t going to get booted out of class. I was allowed to stay and I was now officially one of them. Now all I had to do was make sure that whenever David ate at my restaurant he didn’t order the vegetable soup.
To be continued…
Love it? Hate it? Let me know! Send questions, comments, brownie recipes or random brainfarts to: email@example.com