The Author Formerly Known As The Actor
Posted on June 25, 2012
I think I may have mentioned once before quite some time back my brief stint in acting when I was in junior high and high school. If you don’t remember it because you’ve only recently tuned in, bonus! If you do remember or kinda sorta hazily remember, I didn’t have pictures back then and I do now! No, it wasn’t anything professional. The pictures aren’t either. Mom took them and we didn’t exactly have digital cameras back then. As for the plays, they were school productions and that’s what I ended up getting my letter in. Yes, I’m a thespian. It just sounds delightfully dirty, doesn’t it? Let’s move on, shall we?
Part of my “let’s clean!” agenda since leaving my last job (or getting laid off from any other job in the past for that matter)–which usually lasts for 2 to 3 weeks and, after this weekend, I’m proud to say is 90% complete–has included unearthing a container of picture albums. It usually just gets moved around, only this time I’m scanning many of them in and sharing them on Facebook. And there, tucked away ever so quietly, were a few pics from the very first play I ever did; The Leprechaun’s Pot of Gold. I was in seventh grade and the tallest one in the group. Naturally, I was chosen to play the leprechaun.
It was the lead role and it went downhill after that. Well, let’s just say I didn’t snag another leading role. Oddly enough, I’m okay with that. While I have no idea what it’s like for real actors, I suspect that you can stretch a bit more with a supporting role than you can a leading one since the expectations are very specific. As long as you don’t upstage the lead while in a supporting role, or at least don’t do it that often, you might be given a bit more latitude. That’s just a guess.
My second role was in The Invisible Man. I recall auditioning for the lead, only I didn’t get it. In retrospect, it was good I didn’t since you never actually see that character out of the coat and wrappings. I played a doctor who was important to solving the case…or some such thing. This was eighth grade for me and I honestly don’t remember much about the production, the play itself–except the Invisible Man was played by a girl–or any of my lines. The odd thing is that I remember some of my lines as the leprechaun. Go figure.
Now, I auditioned for a play when I was in ninth grade, but didn’t land a role. That’s not entirely uncommon since freshmen didn’t really get roles back then. I had to wait until tenth grade before landing the small part of a Nubian steward in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Nile. Yes, a Nubian steward and if you think the makeup came off easily every night…well, you’d be mistaken. Still it got my foot in the door and I had the chance to share the stage with some incredible people. One thing I won’t forget is the assistant director bellowing out to one of the lead actors in a deep, deep voice, “Learn your lines, Greg! Greg, learn your lines!”
The following year found us putting on a slightly watered down production of Brighton Beach Memoirs. I believe they removed a few expletives and a few references to male masturbation because, you know, boys that age NEVER masturbate. I never did, not unless it was a minimum of three times a day. I was very specific about that. Anyway, I won the role of the father who never masturbated and was given dark lines and gray hair to help age me. And if you think that shit came out of my hair easily each night…well, you’d be mistaken. Still, it was an awesome cast and the young lady who played my wife used to play the piano for us during rehearsal breaks, plus she got us all to go out and see Aliens together. Nine times!
Finally, there was my senior year where the lead in Harvey went to a junior, which also went directly to his head. Again, this really didn’t bother me. Remember that theory I mentioned earlier about having a bit of fun with a supporting role? Well, I developed the nads to do just that. I played a stodgy doctor and worked on some light physical comedy bits with the young man playing my assistant. We were allowed to keep it in, so that made us quite happy. We figured it made the scene a little more interesting. I also had a soliloquy and since the doctor had been out drinking, plus was experiencing a great deal of stress, I played it slightly tipped and that was tremendous fun!
Ahhh… I loved acting. Going out on stage in front of people terrified me to no end and it still does. But the thrill of being part of a group that entertained? There hasn’t been anything quite like it. I guess that’s why I became a writer. Can’t have too much of a good thing, which is what my hubby tells me. He provides me with a kind word once every 5-6 months so it doesn’t go to my head and can’t be deemed too good a thing. I also think I would have done well–with a whole lot of practice–in the realm of comedic acting.
We’ll just never know for sure.
So, does anyone still with me at the end here have anything they would have loved to pursue and didn’t?
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
One Response to “The Author Formerly Known As The Actor”
June 25, 2012 at 8:58 am
Another example of our two-peas-in-a-podness, Kris. “Going out on stage in front of people terrified me to no end and it still does. But the thrill of being part of a group that entertained? There hasn’t been anything quite like it.” Ah, how true, how true!