Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Alan Alda Nightmare

I had the actor’s nightmare for the first time in my life.

For the uninitiated, the actor’s nightmare is an anxiety dream in which you find yourself in a performance situation for which you are horribly unprepared. Common scenarios include being on stage and not knowing your lines or readying for your entrance and not being able to find your costume. For actors, being caught unprepared for a performance without any help in sight is a terrifying prospect. Hence – nightmare.

My anxiety nightmares have never taken place on stage. They usually involve realizing I haven’t packed for a flight that leaves in an hour or going into a meeting without the Powerpoint presentation I was supposed to make. Nerd anxiety.

Until last night.

I dreamt FX un-cancelled The Riches (hooray!) and I was back to reprise my role as Kimmie. It was my first day on set, but I still hadn’t gotten the script for my scene. I asked and asked and asked, but kept being told it was coming soon. Finally it arrived, but instead of a script, it turned out to be an issue of Entertainment Weekly with my lines printed in a sidebar column.

WTF? I stared at the super small print, trying to cram the lines into my brain. The director called action on rehearsal. I began my scene opposite Alan Alda (I don’t know), struggling to decipher the tiny words on the page. We didn’t even finish the rehearsal before the director shouted, “Let’s shoot it!”

No, no, no. As I returned to my starting mark, the 1st AD came over to remind me about page 2 of my scene, which was located about 15 pages later in my magazine script. Great. I grabbed a stack of prop file folders and put the script on top so I could glance at the lines during the scene. I’d figure out the page turn later.

We started shooting and everything was fine until Alan Alda caught me looking at my magazine script and went apeshit.

“You don’t know your lines?” he berated. “And you call yourself a professional?” Throwing up his hands, he shouted at the crew, “What kind of amateur circus hour is this?!” Now everyone was staring daggers into me as I stood there, paralyzed, getting yelled at by Alan Alda until I finally woke up in a cold sweat.

Now that’s a nightmare.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fiction Friday: Three Gifts, Part 2

Click here to read Three Gifts, Part 1

After the funeral, Tammy collected condolences in the parking lot. She looked stylish in mourning, having gone to Bergdorf’s over the weekend for the perfect ensemble. Matilda approached with a gift to say how sorry she was – another Paris Hilton necklace with a crinkly spiral of black hair encased in the glass.

“Nice,” Tammy said, clasping it around her neck. “I totally lost that other one.”

Goulash was served again next Tuesday. Tammy told the Mexican lunch lady the food was so awful she should kill herself. So she did, plunging the knife into her chest over and over, spraying blood onto the fruit cups and milk cartons as Tammy and her crew screamed and screamed.

Everyone had heard what Tammy had said, and if they hadn’t, they heard all about it by the time the police released all the students to go home. Her reign was slipping – only a few people offered her condolences, stumbling to gain her favor in this time of tragedy.

She saved face by approaching the principal and making a well-rehearsed plea to continue homecoming as usual to rally student spirit and honor the deceased. He nodded, moved and titillated as always by the sight of Tammy’s short skirt in his office.

At the popcorn stand on homecoming night, Tammy’s posse shifted uneasily behind her. “We heard what you said to Brooke and the lunch lady. It’s just weird, you know?”

“Shut up,” she sneered. “You guys are lucky I even know your names.”

“You know my name, don’t you Tammy?” Matilda stood at the popcorn stand with an amused yet dark smile on her face. “I gave you that necklace you’re wearing.”

Tammy rolled her eyes at the interruption, fingering the new necklace around her slim neck - a blonde hair looped in circles, replacing the second one she’d lost. “So I know your name. What’s it to you?”

“Well, I thought since I’ve given you three gifts, we could be friends.”

Tammy laughed openly in Matilda’s face. “Yeah, right. I’d rather cut off my own head than be your friend.”

And her posse shrieked as Tammy’s head landed in the popcorn machine, staining the fluffy white popcorn with blood as the necklace containing the strand of her blonde hair slid off her neck stump and disappeared among the kernels.