This episode is dedicated to Sydney Pollack, who did not throw me off the set of “Three Days Of The Condor” after I “inadvertently misinterpreted” the signs posted when they filmed at my college, but instead introduced me to everyone, including Robert Redford and allowed me to stay for the rest of the production. You changed my life.
The second week I drove to class without incident. It was as if the Traffic Gods had taken pity on me.
My blue sweater, that I loved so much, that I thought I looked so good in, was delivered unto the local Goodwill, in the hope that someone who needed warmth but not on-camera style would be able to use it. My new beige, cotton audition t-shirt bought at Walmart especially for class had been washed but alas, the Wienerschnitzle spawned chili splotch would not out, d*mn it, so it was relegated to clothes I wore to the ranch to see my horse. He casts no judgement on my attire, as long as I show up with carrots.
I chose a red cardigan to try this time. I did not wear it in the car. Instead I wore a button down shirt over a beige camisole, also purchased at Walmart.
Now this may be too much information and it probably is, but under the camisole I wore a brassiere, an article of clothing I think I have worn maybe twice in my entire life.
I entered High School in 1969, when we had all started to burn bras. Not that I really needed one back then, as I was about a 32A. Honestly, I just could have used band-aids. So between the fires and the flatness, it just never occurred to me to wear one again. I might have for some events, but not on a regular basis.
But after watching my “audition” at the first class, I thought a bra might give me a little extra “contour”. Luckily I had one at the very, very bottom of my lingerie drawer, which is really a basket in the closet and really only holds white cotton bloomers and white cotton socks, which, for me, constitutes lingerie. But it still fit and the elastic hadn’t worn out, so that was money I didn’t have to spend.
Something else I hadn’t worn, except occasionally, since 1969.
After that first class, the second thing I did was drive to ULTA, and throw myself at the mercy of one of those 16-year-old Beauty Experts.
One hundred and Forty Nine Dollars and Fifty Two Cents later, I was ready for my close up.
I packed bread with cheese, which I could eat in the car without any risk of spills and that I could tear off in small bits to eat during class while we were sitting in the lobby.
I parked in what would become my usually spot on my usual street a few blocks away from the building. With all the time I had allowed, I changed into my cardigan, at first raising, then dashing the hopes of a handyman who was unloading his pickup truck in the next driveway.
But, Ladies & Gentlemen, I tell you none of this was important. None of it.
Because in WEEK TWO, in class, I auditioned as a TREE.
And here’s the thing…
I don’t think I’m above being a tree. I like trees. Quite a lot.
I have played worse. The last go-round of me becoming a Working Actor, about 15 years ago, involved a short stint at a Children’s Party Character Company. I played many things that involved many types of smelly, hot, heavy character costumes.
In this class we were just required to act as if we were trees, no costume required.
But the problem was, when I first read the copy, was my mind immediately went to this:
(Here’s the whole clip. Worth watching)
And stayed there.
This was all I thought about while I sat in the lobby and read the copy, when I sat in the lobby and memorized the copy, when I went into the room for my first audition, when I went back into the lobby to wait until everyone else had their first audition, when we all trooped back inside to watch our auditions, when we all walked back into the lobby to wait for our second auditions and this was all I thought about during the second audition and the subsequent lobby waiting and room watching.
I just couldn’t get past it. I couldn’t get it out of my head.
Because it was one of the funniest scenes played by two of the most brilliantly funny actors in a hysterical movie that I have ever seen. Ok, maybe not ever, but it was funny enough to have stuck in the recesses of my brain for over 35 years.
Which is more than I can say for the copy we were asked to read, as trees.
I don’t think I did very well in WEEK TWO of my COMMERCIAL CLASS, but I didn’t really mind. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to go out to audition as a TREE of any kind, and I really wouldn’t want to. There’s something about comedy that relies solely on visual content and isn’t backed up by well written context that makes me crazy, like the time I went to the $5 Comedy Class Introduction at LA Oncamera, which I’ll tell you about another time.
And although this class cost me $224.69 – ($71.25 for the class plus $149.52 for make-up plus $3.92 for the camisole), it was money well spent.
I did look great in that Red Cardigan, though, don’t you think?
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