Friday, May 19, 2017

casting couch potatoe...

(original image from Two Old Beans Vintage via Pintrest)
This weekend we finally got to watch LaLaLand. We were all pretty excited to watch it, and by “all”, I really mean “only me”. After all, it’s not every day you get to watch The Movie of the Year, which is also Not the Movie of the Year.

Anyway, watching Emma Stone’s character go through hundreds of castings reminded me of my brief foray into the world of film. Those that know me slightly, but not very well, may be inclined to think I’d be a natural actor – such is my loudness and clownery. However, this could not be further from the truth.

I recall how, in Standard 7, my best friend Exotica and I were tasked with reciting “Macavity the Mystery Cat” for English. We spent weeks and weeks rehearsing after school and were sure we had this poetry recital thing down pat.

But here’s the thing, I’d forgotten that when faced with a nerve-wracking experience, my go-to reaction is to giggle. It really is most inappropriate. I can’t begin to tell you the amount of times I’ve giggled in the most inopportune moments and at the most sombre of occasions. And if you think it’s difficult to hold back a cry, I can only report that it is way, way more difficult to stifle a laugh. But perhaps you already know this.

Anyway, the day of the recital came and I was feeling pretty good about things. Exotica and I positioned ourselves centre stage, in front of the red velvet curtains. If you know the poem by T.S. Eliot, you’ll remember that it’s roughly seven stanzas and begins with the line “Macavity’s a Mystery Cat: he’s called the Hidden Paw”. Well, there was something about the phrase “hidden paw” that set me off. So struck was I at the hilarity of those words that I couldn’t even speak. I just stood there shaking with laughter while Exotica had to deliver the ENTIRE POEM on her own. And because I was just standing there shaking, the only way “out” was to reverse through the slit in the velvet curtains and disappear.

Given my bad history with the world of theatre, I can only think that it was the allure of making a quick buck that rekindled my interest in acting and made me sign up with a casting agency. And so it was that one fine Monday morning, I received an SMS that read: Casting at such-and-such street. 10am. Bring along a swimming costume.

Well, I thought, there’s no time to go home and get my swimming costume, I’ll just have to go as I am.

I arrived at a pokey house in Woodstock and found myself amongst a sea of serious faces. A number of men and woman sat around looking like deer caught in the headlights. I soon found out why.

After some comings and goings, I heard a gruff voice say “Number 17. NUMBER 17!!! YOU ARE BEING CALLED”.

I scuttled through a door into a barren looking room that looked like it was, until recently, inhabited by crack addicts. A bright camera light shone on a cheap deck chair in the centre of the room, and I could only just make out the silhouette of the person who owned the gruff voice.

“Where’s your swimming costume”, the gruff voice said.

“Umm, I’d already left home when I got the SMS” I hear myself say.

“Well”, the gruff voice adds, “the casting is for a woman on a beach in her swimming costume. You’re just going to have to do it in your underwear”.

Holyshitfuckcrappoopfuckinghellbloodypoopshit, I think to myself.

I wish I could say that it was only on this particular day that I chose to wear my worst underwear ever, but it wasn’t – it was my actual and real underwear. The bra was one of those three-in-a-pack bras from Woolies. You know the cotton, underwire kind that over time, gets so thin that it actually goes see-through. It was at the see-through stage and not, I repeat NOT, in a sexy way. My panties weren’t even panties. I’d taken to wearing BK’s underpants because, well, they’re quite comfortable.

At this point, can we just take a moment to talk about women’s underwear? Why is it that men get to wear sensible, 100% cotton underwear, that neatly cups their buttocks, sans scratchy trim, while women are expected to wear all manner of medievally uncomfortable clingy, scratchy, creeping panties?

Let’s start with the G-string, or as a friend of mine calls it, anal floss. This is a truly horrible invention. While its fair to say that you don’t have to worry about wedgie-making arse-creeping underpants, having something that thin rub between your nasty bits just has UTI written all over it.

Next, the high-cut panty. These seem to have the uncanny ability to simultaneously ride up the arse and pinch in the waist. Somehow the strip of fabric between where the high end of the leg ends and the waist begins, is magically able to compress itself, making a kind of belt that digs into your fleshy bits.

The bikini cut would be fine if they weren’t, you know, a bikini. The bum bit is all good and well but if you have any, and I mean any, kind of a muffin-top, you are in trouble.

Boyfriend panties seem like an exciting solution. One would think that they would just be a more girly version of men’s underpants but they aren’t. If your bum is any longer or bigger than a granny-smith apple, you will find that you aren’t so much wearing panties, but rather a kind of butt-sash. When I tried them on, my butt looked like a giant onion that had a little ribbon tied around it.

I should point out, of course, that any of these panties are fine if you have a physique like “the ladies on the boxes” (as TFTF calls them). If, like me, your body-type is quite, quite different from the “ladies on the boxes”, you are in for a rude surprise.

But back to the casting. I strip down to my horribly worn and slightly manly underwear. There isn’t only a gruff voice in the room but also two cameramen. I’m blushing furiously but try to seem professional as I wave to an imaginary husband and say my lines. To make matters worse, there aren’t actually any real lines, you’re simply expected to make them up and for some reason, I decide that they don’t need to be spoken out loud, but rather mimed. Like a woman in a silent movie, I wave and chatter wordlessly to this invisible, imaginary husband who is swimming in the sea.

All I could think to myself is that if I ever became famous, THIS would be the “before she became famous video” that would be released to the tabloids.

And that, dear reader, is why I’ve forfeited becoming famous.

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