When I was 18 I became part of the drama group at University. Many moons before then (I think I was 17), I started acting. I had decided that either I was going to become a professional tennis player or, if my serve failed me, I would be an actress. Two obviously wonderful professions that were totally plausible to an eighteen year old dreamer.
Well, I got cut from the University’s tennis team and for the next eight years, I pursued acting along with studying and partying and becoming a woman. I had marginal success along the way and if I were to be honest, I did more acting in classes than on the paid screen or stage. But, those classes and the University’s theater performances were brutal and they taught me the trade very well. Eventually I began to write the roles I wanted to play and the rest is the rest.
Until last weekend. Now, I have been in Husband’s movies and tv shows before, usually pregnant and having a bit of a laugh. Most of the time I act in them just to make my brother jealous – he’s a lawyer and a secret (very crappy) actor at heart! But this time, Husband offered me a role to play, a lawyer in fact, opposite the female lead. It was our world coming full circle; my years of supporting his career to now arrive at a place where he could hand me a descent role. I instantly said of course and didn’t give it much thought at all, until he called to tell me I had to be put on tape. Audition? Husband insisted it was just procedure. I threw on the best legal outfit I could muster from what seriously looked like a now hippy wardrobe, and set off to the casting office. Who the heck do I have to sleep with around here to get the part??
As I pulled in, I realized how insanely nervous I was; that somehow I was walking the walk and now I had to actually talk the talk on camera, with a very famous casting director, ready to judge. I hung in there long enough to not pass out and if truth be told, I’m glad Husband put me through the exercise as there were serious cobwebs to get through in order to perform well.
I got the part…yeah yeah…and the calls started coming in. Here is your work permit info, your car info, what are your measurements, your food likes and dislikes, when shall we book your hair, how long do you want to stay…on and on it went. IF ever I felt at the center of the universe, it was in that moment; I was invincible, important, just look at how many people are bothering over me; a ridiculous amount of attention was being spent on my needs. Kids-shmids, who needs ’em. And then I was sent the breakdown of the week’s call sheets and held my breath. In all of my temporary bravado, I was secretly praying that I wasn’t filming during the first or even second day of little one’s new school. How could I leave that one to the nanny? I’ve never had to make that choice. How lucky, for chrissake, I’ve never had to make that choice.
My scene wasn’t being filmed till the following week, long after the first day of school; the third in fact. Leaving during his transition, and my eldest son’s brand new high school journey, and without any rhythm for our crazy new schedule, I felt crazy myself. On paper I would never do this; I would assume the overwhelming schedule would seize my inner acting goddess and squish her. But this was real life, happening right now, and if I didn’t take the opportunity, the path of so much resistance would end up stifling me, instead of inspiring me.
I found myself walking in the shoes of that young woman so many years ago; waiting for her permit at the airport, climbing into the production car with her name on it; sitting in the trailer awaiting hair and make-up; and, ultimately, acting in the scene with Husband directing. It was an outer-body experience, literally, days spent with my feet on the ground but my head spinning round. I was pretending to be me, the other me, which was so weird. At the final sound of ‘Cut’, after looking at Husband and getting the golden nod of approval, I had more adrenaline rushing through me then when I went sky diving. It was a high worth missing the third day of second grade for, for sure.