“Do you have a relationship with Jesus?”
Oh, man. Why did she have to go and do that? We were having a perfectly wonderful day together. I’d worked with this older lady a few times before. Doing background on a tv show, or a commercial. Maybe a movie. You tend to cross paths with the same people eventually, when you do this sort of work long enough. You make friends, since sometimes you are spending a fifteen hour day sitting together in the holding area.
“You look like a mime.”
That came from the photographer who was shooting my headshot. Years ago. Back in New York. When we were still shooting in black and white. Film. Not digital.
People say that to me all the time, and I don’t mean when I am wearing white face. Photographers, casting directors, every day people I come across. They don’t know that I am, in fact, a mime. They just tell me that I look like one.
Sometimes I joke that half of what I own was used in a show. It’s not far from the truth, actually. So many of the items around my house were originally purchased as a prop or set piece for a play, or they were already my belongings and I cast them in a show. Or two. Or three. That’s one of the things that happens when you do small budget theatre.
There was a story in the news last year about an Easter Bunny getting into a brawl with some guy in a New Jersey mall. Naturally, there was footage, and it was pretty funny. The kind of funny when you know you should not be laughing, because… do I need to say it? There are kids standing around horrified.
Once, I almost played Hamlet.
Well, sort of. I’d been cast to play the Dane, but not in the Shakespeare. There is a very funny play by Lee Blessing, in which the entire cast of Hamlet appears, in a way that is different than what you might imagine. Fortinbras is the central character. The title character. Hamlet, who is already dead, spends most of the play trapped in a television set.
“Here, we just bought these tuna fish sandwiches, so feel free to eat them in the scene.”
Every actor who is a vegetarian has this scenario in the back of their mind. At some point during their career, they will be asked to eat something on camera, something that is not vegetarian. Like a tuna fish sandwich.
One of the first things I learned as a clown was how to choose a person from the crowd. The rule was: Only play where you are invited. If a person was smiling and seemed eager to engage, great. Pull out the feather duster, the Harpo Marx horn, the water squirting daisy. If they were sending out “Leave me alone!” signals, then leave them alone and find someone else to sprinkle with confetti.