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Saturday, February 23, 2019

I'm Finally Coming Out.

After 15 years of skulking in the wings of self-imposed theatrical retirement, I am finally treading the boards again.

I spotted a play audition notice in the local mountain rag and thought… why not?

Hahahaha… why farking not…

I forgot all about the laborious learning of lines business. I pushed the fact that I work 12-hour days to the back of my mind, and I certainly forgot that I am actually quite a wooden, hack of an actress.
I manage to bluff my way through auditions by using a loftily projected, false bravado, but the directors are usually highly disappointed when it comes to the actuality of any quality acting radiating out of my wizened and googly-eyed face.

So, now I’m to be found dawdling on the theatre doorstop at rehearsal time, eyes hanging out of my head after a long day, and barely able to speak, let alone pretend to act.

I’ve told Scotto he’s not allowed to come and see it. I told my parents not to bother as well.

I’m considering buying ALL the tickets so no one can come.

I’ve had to plough down a lot of ‘road closed’ signs along my neural motorways in a desperate attempt to memorise my lines.

Nothing is sticking. 

It’s like trying to stick the script lines to my brain with a cheap and crappy fridge magnet. Every time I open the fridge door the script falls off my brain and words scatter all over the floor.

I’ve recorded myself and play it over and over in the car; forcing that nasal, whining voice into my short-term memory banks.

I walked past a mirror in the dressing room the other night and jumped in fright. A pale, crumpled witch looked back at me. I’ve been starving myself for the last 5 months in an attempt to lose my pot belly.

(This was after a slightly deflating incident when my mother told me she was worried I had a giant tumour in my stomach and asked me if I thought I should go to the doctor about it. 

I had to reassure her that you can’t grab a tumour in two hands and wobble it around and make interesting animal shapes out of it and that no, I was just fat).

Naturally, the pot belly is still there but my face is now deflated and sagging and the loose skin on my arms is so flappy, I could quite easily complete a few aerial laps of the local mango orchard and roost upside down for the night in the branches.

Luckily, there’s a line in the play where I’m having my photograph taken and I have to say, “I’d better suck in my pot belly!”

I was probably typecast purely because of my tumescent gut.

I’m afraid I’ve damaged my memory corpuscles (or whatever) by all that alcohol I drank over the last 15 years.

What happens if I NEVER learn these bloody lines?

I’ll disgrace the mountain.

I’ll have to move towns and go into witness protection.

I’m freaking out. Are there any thespians out there who can give me some tips, apart from writing my lines out on my arms? (God knows there are enough crevices and crannies in my arms to record the bloody Good News Bible but I’d never be able to find them.)

Saturday, February 16, 2019

She'll Be Apples: A School Camp Story

“I’m perfectly happy to sit here for four hours doing nothing and we'll all miss out on the fun activities we have planned, until someone owns up,” my Year Six buddy teacher, Mrs V, declared in a commanding manner to the thirty-seven students on our school camp last week.

She was an unyielding iron statue. She would take no prisoners. Even I was full of unease.

We all nervously perched on chairs on the veranda, breath held, awaiting the guilty party to stumble forth, red-faced and remorseful.

Even I felt guilty, although I knew I was innocent.

At least I think I was.

No. I was.

I was definitely innocent.

We waited a long anxious few minutes for the devilish miscreant to reveal themselves.

Guilty looks exchanged under seventy-four fluttering sets of lashes.

Mrs. V sat; immovable and unblinking.

“I can understand that whoever it was, probably thought it would be a nice treat for the wildlife,” Mrs. V persisted in feigned compassion, “but this is NOT our house and we CAN NOT leave rubbish behind.”

But even this guileful tactic failed to lure the perpetrator into a public and possibly embarrassing confession.

We sat in tense silence. Feet timidly shuffled. Crickets chirruped.

I began to wonder if Mrs. V was serious about not doing the activities because, to be frank, I wouldn’t have minded sitting on the breezy veranda for four hours instead of running around in the hot sun playing a game of ‘cat and mouse’ with a bloody parachute.

“Three honest people have already owned up,” Mrs. V persevered. “That took a lot of courage. This last person needs to prove to us that they too, possess courage and leadership qualities…”

She was very good at what she was doing I’ll give her that. Drawing out the felon with flattery and sweet talk.

No one moved a muscle.

Mrs V retained her grim demeanour and I stood beside her, my arms crossed and wearing a pained, twitchy expression which was supposed to communicate extreme disappointment but was really from indigestion after scoffing my salad.

Of course, I knew we wouldn’t really sit there for four hours but I did speculate about how on Earth she was going to back down if nobody owned up.

There were four, random apple cores wantonly tossed over the veranda rails, during lunch.

Mrs. V had vowed not to budge until the final culprit had come clean, and evidently, this was not going to happen any time before Christmas.

That’s the trouble with threats. You have to be prepared to go through with them. I was glad it was her and not me.

Finally, a little boy stood up and a collective sigh spread through the throng.

It was tiny Horatio.

Out of all the students presently ensconced on the veranda with their saucer-like eyes bulging in apprehension at Mrs. V, tiny Horatio was the last I would have suspected of such a devious crime.

“Mrs. V,” he lisped sorrowfully. “It wasn’t me, but I’d like to go downstairs and pick up the apple core and put it in the bin for you.”

I could almost see the relief flood out of Mrs. V’s body. She’d been given a get out of jail free card.

“Thank you, Horatio,” she said pointedly. “Now everyone, go to the toilet and meet up in the hall so we can start our activities...”

“We could get the apple core tested for DNA,” I suggested helpfully as the kids all rushed off in excitement in search of water bottles.

Mrs V pointed up at the security cameras and grinned broadly. 
“We could tell them we just had a call from Security saying that they have a film of four children throwing apple cores over the railings.”

“We could say the police are inspecting the footage right now,” I added gleefully.


The things you think of after the fact, eh.