One of the things I admire about Keanu Reeves is simply that he is an actor. He makes his living doing something that he loves, something that too few people can say.
I wanted to be an actor (or actress as we so un-PC-ly termed it "back in the day") for as long as I can remember. If I had a scanner I would dig out and share some early pictures of myself, up on the picnic table in our backyard, putting on shows for the family. I lived for the little pagents and talent shows in elementary school. I think the first character I ever played was Betsy Ross in a little "To Tell The Truth"-type skit in first or second grade. I was a shy kid, socially, but I loved putting on a character and performing.
In junior high, I was in choir and we put on a Christmas musical. I was just a member of the chorus until one of the girls with an actual speaking part got suspended for something. Another girl got her part and I got moved up to her role. It was a street-urchin. I had lines and everything, I also had to sing solo in one of the songs. "~Show me how to manage it- a diamond ring or two..I want to be an expert...and do it just like you!~" My singing sucked. I was nervous and my voice cracked, but I loved being on stage. When I got to high school, I signed up for Theatre as my elective. My first real role was as "Lettie", the saucy cockney maid in the mystery spoof "Something's Afoot". My first line was a scream. Literally.
It was that year in high school I also got to do a local commercial, a PSA spot for a youth counseling center.
Just me, saying my lines walking through a park. I can still recite them verbatum.
"A couple of months ago I had a lot of problems. I was failing in school and always in trouble at home. My whole life was one big mess. Now, thanks to 'Youth Manor', I'm back in control of me. I can deal with my problems, and I can talk to my parents again. That means a lot to me...and to them. Thanks, 'Youth Manor'....for being there when I needed you."
I actually nailed it on the first take, but the cameraman messed up so I had to do it two more times. The spot aired every day on channel 8 during the "Tom and Jerry" cartoon hour. I must have been pretty convincing because my family was bombarded with calls about me being in trouble. My mother got tired of it, but I was thrilled. All I wanted was to be an actress. I transferred high-schools to one with a better theatre program, and was cast in one of the three speaking roles in the fall play. 75 girls tried out. I loved everything about performing. Never got stage fright, never had opening-night jitters ( unless I had to sing)...it was so
my calling. When I went to college the only classes I managed to make it to were my theatre ones. I loved my professors and they loved me. I know I had talent, but I was lacking in the crucial element of ambition. My esteem wouldn't survive the rejection involved with moving to LA to chase the dream. I found myself listening to the voices that said...'stay home'...'be safe and comfortable' ....Hollywood? New York? THERE BE DRAGONS
Dragons with clipboards and scowls and less-than-constructive critcism.
I chickened out of a Cal-Arts callback and went to work for my family.
I took business courses.
I gave up. And yes, I regret it. Yes, I always wonder what could have been.
Could I have played Sara or Annie or Ms. Wilkes? I'll never know.
Every once in a while, I see an audition or something, but I never follow through. Still too comfy in my comfort zone.
But I still get to act, sometimes. Everybody does, really. Most jobs require you to "act" in some fashion. You act like you know what you're doing...act like you give a shit.
And there's always freelance thespianism
When ever I get the chance, I act.
Just a little harmless role-playing...I have to choose the situation wisely, because there's a fine line between being a freelance-covert-guerrilla performer and being a pathological liar. And as in any performance, one must have the proper motivation.
My most recent performance was yesterday at a customer service counter. The facts being, I bought something that was not to my liking and wanted to return it. The fiction being, said product caused my "family" dismay and inconvenience and nearly caused a rift between I and my usually loving, hardworking husband.
I nailed it.
The thing about freelance thespianism is that you must gage your performance not by applause or reviews or curtain calls, but by results and reactions. And yesterday I received the Golden Globe of customer service stagework.
A double refund.
Thank you....call my agent, we'll do lunch.
| from inside the mind of krix at October 14, 2002 03:53 PM