One False Move

I’ve been rehearsing with Kevin, my scene partner for the showcase. We met at The Actors’ Centre to discuss scripts and drink some Rustoleum disguised as coffee, then read through some scenes to get a feel for how we might work together.

We had to pick something that was five minutes long with enough range in each character to showcase each person’s talent (or what we hoped would pass as talent). He rejected my suggestion of Broadcast News, as he was too attractive to play the Al Brooks role. (Holly Hunter: “THIS IS IMPORTANT TO ME!” – a classic.)

I rejected some of his car chase/bimbo-storyline suggestions. We finally settled on a scene from Eyes Wide Shut – the one where Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman are arguing in the bedroom. He thought he was as cute as Tom Cruise and I knew I was as white as Nicole Kidman. We didn’t really think about wardrobe. That was my first mistake.

So we met up a few times, ran through lines and watched the scene from the movie repeatedly (probably something we should have avoided). That was the easy part. Then we had to become more comfortable each other so we wouldn’t have any awkwardness on stage. Building trust with your scene partner is key to a successful performance.

“Well, Lucy, we need to get comfortable. How about you give me a blow job”: his attempt at humor.

Blank stare: my attempt at a response.

At some point we realized professional help was needed, so we worked with an acting coach. He took us through the typical exercises: what animal do you think your character is like? What is she really thinking? What does she want from him?

Yes, yes, yes – I’d done my homework. But then – “He’s going to kiss you at the opening of the scene. You’re going to have to make this look real. What can Kevin do to turn you on?”

“Um, nothing,” I thought. Although I agreed he was better looking that Al Brooks, he didn’t do much for me. Besides, he was short.

I called to mind the famous Laurence Olivier response to Dustin Hoffman’s method acting for Marathon Man. Rather than trying to create feelings that were never going to happen, why don’t we just “try acting”.

If I can pull off this kiss, I’ll know I’m in the right business.