May 12, 2012

Good evening Mr. bond

I just finished my first ever monologue for the intermediate acting class. I know I know. Compared to how terrifying the last class was you’re surprised I would torment myself again. Glutton for punishment. Last class was miserable but I squeaked out without doing a monologue. Which was a blessing since it wasn’t really a monologue. This class we were supposed to prepare a monologue and be ready to play 10 measures of music using an instrument that we’ve never played before. Crazy huh? It took me 3 days to decide if I still wanted to take the class. I waited till the Wednesday before the class to register. After much convincing and self determination. I searched for hours online for a monologue. Finally my mom stumbled on one that was a perfect fit. It was a bond girl. One of the smart ones not the dumb blondes that dies after having sex with Bond. Then my dad gave me his harmonica for my other performance. I picked “Blowin in the wind”, by Dylan cause I knew the rhythm. Even though when I played it you couldn’t tell. I was terrified. My sister being present in this class was only a small condolence. She was going to sing for her instrument. I know that’s cheating. Exactly what I told her. She definitely has used that instrument before. And she didn’t prepare a monologue. Can you believe it?! My sister who always talked about being an actress refused to prepare a monologue. Ridiculous. She says it’s not fear though. Who believes that? Not I.

We started the class with some exercises that gets everyone moving and interacting. Next was our music audition. Everything was intense. Every performance was taken to a new level by the instructor, Di. I was nervous what extra stipulation would be added to my performance. Anna didn’t sign up to play her “instrument”. Don’t worry it’s not due to fear.

In one person’s performance she had everyone get involved by dancing or playing music. After 20 minutes we took a break. I looked at my watch and it was only 12:30. I still had 4.5 hours to go. Me and my sis grabbed some grub and headed back to the room of vulnerability. My sister talked to the instructor about her song and that she wasn’t sure she was ready to take acting seriously. Or something like that to get out of it. Well we didn’t go back to the performing music, but shifted to some other exercises. The instructor had us all get in a circle and had one young man walk around the circle and make eye contact with everyone. We were all supposed to give off love and encouragement to help him open up and prepare the space for our monologues. Well after he went around the circle multiple times with multiple instructions Di introduced him to each person and said something about the love that person was giving off. Well when they made their way to Anna, Di told the man that Anna had a song for him. So then she asked Anna to sing her song. Glorious!!! Get out of that one. Oh the look on Anna’s face. I had to hold back my chuckle. Anna hesitated to get her bearings then sang to the boy and everyone else in the circle. The lyrics went perfectly with the scenario. It was a worship song about going through a valley with God and about being accepted for who you were. It was only about 15 seconds, but I think it made a difference in the guy’s demeanor.

After this exercise people started to do their monologues. The first one was from Shakespeare. The girl did an amazing job and Di pushed her to even more amazement. The rest after that seemed to be the same level of seriousness and intensity. I purposefully avoided a monologue that would cause me to yell, cry, or act crazy. I guess in the acting world the more intense the better. As time started to slip away Anna slipped out the back door and off to work. There was one more hour left till I got to escape and I had yet to perform. I was not so secretly hoping that I would dodge another bullet. During a break someone said they had to leave early so he would like to go next. Di said she wanted to make sure everyone got a chance and wanted to know if anyone else had to leave early. I didn’t want to say anything, but since she asked I couldn’t very well sneak out innocently any longer. So I was second. The guy had chosen a calm serious scene that he was having a hard time getting any emotion out of … now I know why actors choose intensity… it’s easier to portray. Having to portray a less obvious and intense emotion can be a lot more challenging. Sadness is crying. Anger is yelling. Joy is laughing. But what about contempt. Or smugness. I look at my watch for the 176 time that day and I have 15 minutes before work. I’m gonna get off the hook… “Who’s up?… Amy.” Damn!

Di asked me what I needed in the scene. James Bond. So after I briefly explained my character and the scene I took a deep breath… and died. Some part in my died. The part that had never done a monologue. The part in me that thought I would never act. The part that told me I wasn’t good enough. The part that apologized when I walked in the room. The part that feared failure to the point I never tried. That part died and another part of me was born. I was alive. I was doing it. I was failing and being ok. I was acting… well… for two lines before Diane stopped me. She said I was acting as if I’d seen the movie and was just trying to portray what I saw. She asked me all sorts of questions to help me understand where I was coming from in the scene.
Is your character smart?
Is she a virgin?
What relationship does Bond have with you?
I have just met him and I want to prove I’m just as smart and good as he is.
So this is a competition?
And he might ask you to have sex with you later?

After starting then being told to stop again I thought I wasn’t going to get through this. I just wanted to run out of the room. Di told me to quit trying to act. I wasn’t adding the attitude which is why I picked this monologue. I’m a jock I know how to banter. I know how to put a guy in his place. I shifted in my seat and put Bond is his place. Here was my monologue.

Casino Royale (2006)
by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis

Vesper: Alright, by the cut of your suit you went to Oxford or wherever, and naturally think
human beings dress like that. But you wear it with such disdain, my guess is you didn’t come
from money. And your school friends never let you forget it. Which means you were at that
school by the grace of someone else’s charity. Hence the chip on your shoulder. And since
your first thought about me ran to orphan, that’s what I’d say you are…

Oh, you are? I like this poker thing. And that makes perfect sense. Since MI6 looks for
maladjusted young men, who give little though to sacrificing others in order to protect Queen
and country. You know, former SAS types with easy smiles and expensive watches. Rolex?
Ah, Omega. Beautiful.

Now having just met you I wouldn’t go as far as calling you a cold hearted bastard. But it
wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine. You think of women as disposable pleasure rather than
meaningful pursuits. So as charming as you are, I’ll be keeping my eye on our government’s
money, and off your perfectly formed ass.

Even accountants have imagination. Good evening, Mr. Bond.

I did it. Everyone in the room started clapping. Di told me how proud she was of me. I did it. I can’t believe it. It felt good. I felt the I said the lines how they were supposed to be said. I had conquered that fear. I had to immediately run out of the room and head to work. I felt invincible. On the way to work I was hot, flushed, on a high. I can do anything. 

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