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Monday, February 22, 2010

STANISLAVSKY REMEMBERED: DIVING DEEP INTO CHARACTER

Because of cheap coolie labor now available all over the world, added to which are the huge tax breaks offered to foreign car makers by southern states conveniently hostile to unions, the former car capital of the world—Michigan--has had to take drastic steps. Among them are tax breaks, offered not to foreign companies, but to our domestic film industry. The result has been a blizzard of movies being made in the state. Before we left for Florida, Barbara worked in several.


--Are you excited about tomorrow?
--I guess I am. Yes, I am. I’m looking forward to it.
--And the title again?
--Crave. It’s a crime story. I appear in a murder scene.
--One of several, or just the one?
--One what?
--Murder scenes. I see you have your little costume bag all packed.
--I don’t know how many murders take place. They said to bring four or five different outfits. So they can choose.
--Maybe one for each homicide. And you’re cast in the role of a gawker.
--Watch the mockery, please. Extras aren’t “cast” and you know it.
--What else is it, then? You’re a member of the cast of Crave. You’re supposed to be a gawker at a crime scene. Your director has cast you and your fellow extras as gawkers. But that raises a question.
--No doubt.
--Think of this in terms of practicing for the interviews you’ll have to grant following the release of Crave. “When you were choosing your costumes, how did you go about deciding what gawker clothes would be? What a gawker would wear at a crime scene? Did you interview known gawkers? Is there a gawker hotline or support network?”
--Well, Oprah, as I believe you know, a gawker can’t dress for the occasion. Gawking just happens.
--You mean events suddenly intervene. So gawking occurs in medias res.
--Whatever, professor. You’re just on your way somewhere. I chose outfits in terms of what I’d wear to go to the market. I see myself as trapped in the moment while on my way to go grocery shopping.
--OK, that makes sense. But probably it’s best to be on your way there. Otherwise, you have to buy groceries before you reach the set. Or would the prop people give you those? No, you don’t want groceries. Sometimes they make you wait around for hours. Groceries could be a hassle.
--I can’t have groceries because you can’t emote as a gawker if you’re holding a sack of food. You need your arms free to gesture. To express horror and outrage.
--True enough, my mistake. I see your hands flying to your face, eyes wide. But a carton falling out of the shopping bag, followed by a tight shot of broken eggs, that could be good. Is there crime-scene tape?
--Yellow crime scene tape, that’s it. When I see the tape and what’s happening, I gawk.
--And next Monday?
--Monday’s shoot is for something called Vanished on Seventh. It’s a horror film.
--I love just thinking about you honing your skills. Your craft. Last year, that two seconds of you in Prayers for Bobby, I can’t get them out of my mind.

2 comments:

  1. OK. Now I need a notarized statement from both of you that this is a team effort and not just online 'gotcha'.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This has got a period-piece comedy quality to it. I like the way you set the contextual frame: Barbara has been "cast" by the peculiar circumstances of her geo-socioeconomic condition. Edith Wharton meets Stephen King. P.D. James meets Spike Jonze.

    Oh, and, Barry and Barbara, meet Jack of Self-Sufficient Steward.

    ReplyDelete

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