Friday, 2 October 2015
I Killed My Lesbian Wife, Hung Her on a Meat Hook, and Now I Have a Three-Picture Deal at Disney
My performance was pitch perfect. The audience aghast at such honesty: such characterisation: such depth.
It started with a desperate call from the University - they needed an actor and they needed 'em quick. The Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology - I know I get all the "A list" gigs - had this major production number on stream. It was a deep psychological piece about memory loss, identity crisis and anger - Proust in Emergency Ward 10 if you will. The script was tight, it was to be delivered straight to camera. There was to be no hiding place.
So who do you call? Moi, au naturelle. I was slated for 10 am and what with make up, in depth characterisation and coffee I reckoned that's three hours out of my busy schedule. But as I told my agent "These are doctors, for Christ's sake! How can I turn them down".
I was doing it pro bono. Also I wasn't being paid. This would not appear on my "CV", but possibly on my tax return - by way of charitable giving. Anyway, I didn't mind travelling by public transport. I knew if they offered me a limo, I'd have to turn it down.
I received the script a while back. I warmed to it immediately. It spoke to me. This guy was angry, he and his wife had been pushed through the system and spat out. It was heavy. I knew I needed to research the characters and their predicament. So I spent 5 hours in A&E at my local NHS hospital just to get to know what it was like being fed through the sausage machine. Frankly, I think it was that that gave my performance such depth, such grounding, such reality.
The director's assistant met me at the plush office entrance and we took the executive lift to the 4th floor and I was whisked into the studio. The director, a cool academic dude called The Professor, welcomed me. "I've changed the script: now I know you're doing it." I didn't flinch. He handed me the lines. I'm a professional, I scanned the text. " O.K.. let's lay this track down."
I didn't notice the camera. Call me old fashioned but when someone mentions camera I see large chunky mechanicals with two film spools attached. This was "digital".
If you ask me we went wrong when we ditched vinyl, record decks and thermionic valves and went 8 track cassette. This camera was minuscule. It was unnerving: but I handled it.
At this stage I was beginning to think that this was not the Warner Bros style production I was expecting. So I quizzed The Professor. This was no follow up to Bond's "Spectre", no latest iteration of "The Bourne Identity" or "Harry Potter Goes Camping". This was educational......
It was one of a series of vignettes, designed to weed out psychopaths and deviants applying to do a post graduate course in Psychology. O.K. I'm signed up to education and all that jazz. I have no problem with that. Except I saw my expenses claim rapidly shrinking - I mean doesn't the Gov't have it in for higher education - especially anything connected with the NHS?
So we did the scene. I'm a professional and I gave my performance 110%. Two takes and it was in the can. The Director's assistant took me for a coffee - skinny flat white - and I signed off "Hasta la Vista, Baby". I don't hang around when the job's done.
The John Lewis gift voucher will come in handy. And I'm comforted in the knowledge that in some small way I have helped to train the nation's future generation of psychologists.
Is that a take?