Sunday, January 12, 2014

Never a Bride: Bizarre Adventures of a Great Pretender

I am in a weird business as a performer. I have been paid as a dancer to wear a fairy costume and twirl while glitter flies through the air. It's like every six year old girls dream, and sometimes I forget to think how special that is, that you can actually grow up to play pretend for a living.
And while playing pretend, as an actor, I have filmed a sex scene-on the Oprah Network for their housewife-pleasing steamy show "Unfaithful." Seriously. So, not unlike a porn star, I've been paid to spend a day in bed making out with a hot actor in a hot room filled with lighting equipment and a half dozen crew men. That was an odd day. It is jobs like that where the magic and innocence of playing pretend are upstaged by the stark crossover to reality. Seeing what you look like close up in bedroom action in high def, having a director tell you how to move and what to do in that sort of context, having cameras, it's.....not normal. And there is a good amount of reality that even a talented actor can't separate from. (Read: the dude does still get it up and this obviously leads to awkward pauses in the film day while he takes a moment Overall, that day was one of my most exhausting days on set ever, and ironically I spent most of it in bed. And most of it thinking how I was not feeling like I wanted to engage in these bedroom activities at home for quite a while either. Or at least for a little while, until the director's voice got out of my head and I wasn't worried about rolling over and hitting a bad angle for my thighs. I also now watch any sex scene in film and television with a certain detachment. I know how unsexy it all is.
Not as sexy as it looks.
But it is the detachment from reality that I have found to be the most adverse side effect of engaging in the world of pretend as a performer. In my world, it is totally normal to play dress up, to twirl through glitter, to sit around practicing accents by calling for your take out using it, to go from small talk to being madly in love with someone and kiss them with unbridled passion and then rush off on your equity ten to use Listerine to get the taste of them out of your mouth. But then, when it comes to reality, sometimes I just can't cope. A day spent on set kissing a stranger makes you come home and be aloof to the guy you are actually dating. A day not spent twirling in glitter is a day that feels wasted. How can any normal day of cleaning cat litter and running errands be compared to a day filled with applause, roses, and glitter sparkling in the spot light?
This week I came back from the whirlwind of the run of shows of Nutcracker, the holidays, and a vacation to the beach in Mexico to hit the road running and attend a bunch of auditions. Auditions are a whole other alternative reality where people can be total asses to you with no consequences. Polite pleasantries that are expected in society don't apply here. You walk in and say hi, and they just stare at you and sip their coffee. Actually when you talk, they may not even look at you. And when they do talk to you, it's usually to criticize you.
Any other situation, you would yell at these people for being rude and storm out, wanting nothing to do with them. But instead, here you are, hoping they like you and that you get to spend more time with these bitches. What is wrong with that picture?
But anyway, this week one of my auditions really caused me to think about the weird reality I live in as a performer. I had a casting call for a Bridal photo shoot. I am not married, I've never been engaged, I'm not even currently dating a good prospect for that, so obviously this was the first time I ever tried on wedding dresses. And what a bizarre way to do it. There I stood, seeing myself in the most amazing white cupcake dress, complete with a bodice encrusted with crystals, and before I had that moment that I have seen so many of my friends have when trying on wedding dresses-that moment of seeing yourself in the mirror and thinking how you look like the Princess you always wanted to be-before I could have that moment, I was accosted by casting directors and designers just picking on me. "Oh, she's way to short waisted for that." "No that makes her look short and boxy." "Can you walk more gracefully in that?" "I don't know if she looks like a bride." What does that even mean? The first moment in a wedding dress felt ruined. I stood there feeling not at all like a princess, but more like Cinderella having her dress torn off of her by the stepsisters. And just like that, wedding dresses became as fake to me as a sex scene or a British accent. I'm not saying I'm scarred for life or will never want to get married, though I did see a wonderful article this week about bridal pantsuits that I now like the idea of as they may make me look less short waisted......but I did find myself becoming bitterly disillusioned by yet another sect of reality that to most "normal" girls is their twirling with glitter in the air moment of life. Maybe I should be glad that this didn't go the other way which would have ended up with me pathetically buying a wedding dress like Liz Lemon and sitting around eating night cheese in it.

So I am thinking maybe it will be different when I am actually getting married. Maybe that sense of magic will return and I will have forgotten the time I auditioned to be a bride and I'll be able to live in the moment and actually be a bride. I got over hearing that director's voice in the bedroom, and the crocodile tears I've cried in dramatic moments on stage have not taken away the depth which with I've felt real tears in true moments of sorrow. So maybe there is hope.
But meanwhile, I continue to pursue this life in altered reality while traveling on the parallel road of reality. Like I said, it's weird. But the glitter makes it worth it.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure that when you try on a wedding dress in preparation for your real wedding, the magic will return! It does stink that your first time doing it had to be like this though. Man I can't imagine doing what you do! I don't take criticism well so the auditions sound terrifying. You are such a strong, thick-skinned person! Or so you seem to be haha. Best of luck in all of those and it was so great to see you last night! You're hilarious.