Inside The Actor's Studio

It's probably a good thing that I got out of the theater when I did. Let's ignore for a minute that I lack the necessary talent and ambition to make it as an actor, and also the necessary temperament -- what I really worry about is that I never would have been able to handle the heartbreak of falling hopelessly, helplessly, head-over-heels into (mostly unrequited) love with all of my co-stars.

(Okay, "co-stars" might be a bit of an over-exaggeration, since I was always just a member of the supporting cast, but still.)

Let me provide you with the examples, lest you think I am joking.

  • Seventh grade, "The Hobbit" -- I played a dwarf (either Dwalin or Balin, I can never remember which), and developed a terrible crush on the guy who played Gollum. He was in my 6th period study hall, and we would pass notes via a mutual friend, and repeatedly make plans to meet up for pizza on Friday nights after our high school's football games. After the third broken "date" because my parents determined that 12 years old was probably too young for me to be dating boys, he stopped passing notes, and I ended up spending three weeks in complete tears.
  • Eighth grade, "South Pacific" -- I was a chorus girl, and I feel hard for the guys who played Stewpot, Emile, and Luther Billis. The first two crushes never amounted to much (primarily because they both already had hot 9th-grade girlfriends who allegedly "put out"), but on the cast trip to NYC that spring, I got drunk or high or whatever off of an entire canister of Binaca breath spray and spent the entire bus ride home French-kissing Luther Billis. We "dated" for a month or so, before I realized that (1) he was kind of gross and (2) the smell of Polo kind of makes me want to throw up, and he used to practically swim in that stuff. Not sure which of these facts occurred to me first.
  • Ninth grade, "Li'l Abner" -- I played one of the Dogpatch Wives, and I had crushes on both of the guys who played my Dogpatch Husbands (yes, both the "Before" and the "After" Yokumberry tonic versions), and they both basically thought I was a ridiculous fool who kept following them around with puppy dog eyes, humming stupid love songs all the time. Not a lot of 9th-graders were listening to Anita Baker, after all. At this point someone probably should have had me committed or at least staged an intervention, but I'm pretty sure that all my friends thought I was the most spectacularly, hilariously dumb person who ever lived.
  • Tenth grade, "Annie Get your Gun" -- Another turn as a chorus girl, and crushes on two of the gayest human beings who have ever lived. Both of them dropped numerous hints and yet were astounded to discover that I could not get a clue. Thus begins my storied history of gay ex-boyfriends (even though, technically, neither of these guys were ever my actual boyfriend).
  • Eleventh grade, "Our Town" -- Oh sweet Jesus. I played Rebecca Gibbs, and I fell in love with the guy who played George (my brother, in the show), and this crush remains legendary for spawning one of the most transparently obvious "anonymously submitted" sonnets in the history of Mrs. Trimble's 4th period British Literature class. This poem is SO BAD, you guys, and I have Facebook friends out there who can vouch for it. I don't know why nobody stuffed me in my own locker for the remainder of my junior and senior years in high school.
What? You actually want to read this terrible, awful, treacly, disgustingly amateur sonnet, this love poem that I wrote to a boy who basically thought I was the biggest nuisance in the history of ever? Are you sure? Well, okay, but don't say I didn't warn you. You might want to have an airsickness bag or similar device handy, because I am telling you -- this is so junior-year-of-high-school-English-class-unrequited-love poem.
The moonlight dances on the windowsill,
The wind echoes your name against the glass.
It's January now, but I think still
Of scenes we shared, performed November past.
Distinctly I remember, in the play,
You were my brother George -- sixteen, in love.
"I love money," I was supposed to say,
But no one knew it was you that I thought of.
And as upon the ladder we both stood,
You gave a line that I thought quite ironic;
Manipulate the facts as best I could,
The word for us will always be "platonic."
As far as I'm concerned, well now I know.
"There's only room for one at this window."
I mean, honestly, could you just die, or what? That right there is some of the worst poetry in the history of the written word, is it not? And yet I somehow figured that by writing this down and handing it in for a class assignment and having someone read it out loud that perhaps, just maybe, it would get back to him and he would have no choice but to fall instantly, desperately in love with me. What a goofbucket I was back then.

In retrospect, I really should have learned to deploy The Wonder Twins (i.e., my boobs) sooner in my dating career. Although considering the number of gay ex-boyfriends I have, I'm not sure it would have mattered much anyway.

  • Twelfth grade, "The Sting" -- I played two parts in this show, one of which was a cop or an FBI agent or something whom our director decided to play like some kind of femme fatale, and there is quite a story here that ultimately ends up with my husband, and since we are now literally 20 years after the fact, I can say at least that this particular (and particularly devastating, eventually) crush began with a comically misguided attempt to get a date to a Christmas dance that everyone else was going to, a whole lot of double-entendres, a black trench coat, fishnet stockings, a really spectacular push-up bra from Victoria's Secret that I wish I still fit into because it really was something, and a slew of high school students running around backstage in their underwear because we pretty much completely lacked adult supervision.
  • Freshman year in college, "West Side Story" -- I was Anybodys, and I fell in "little love" with Tony and "BIG LOVE" with Baby John, and I don't even think I told my parents this but there was a period of about a month where I was seriously considering converting to Judaism because Baby John's father was a rabbi and I was willing to do whatever I needed to because I really thought I was going to marry that boy, so you can imagine how much it destroyed me to walk in on him kissing another girl who already WAS Jewish.
Wow. That was longer than I expected it to be. The good news is that right after "West Side Story" I decided that I didn't really want to be an actor any more, just a person who dated actors, and not too long after that (but, sadly, after a non-zero number of gay ex-boyfriends) I met my husband, so it worked out pretty well for me.

(And that's what you missed when last night's "Glee" made me remember all this crap in the first place.)

No comments:

Post a Comment