Tuesday, October 16, 2007


This seemingly innocuous little drawing actually means quite a lot to me. I keep it near and dear…posted in my office, for instance. Sometimes, when the darkness descends, I need to look at it and remind myself that I, too, am a Bad Motherfucker. And I am walking the earth, my brother.

We need an explanation.

So, everyone is clear that I am a nervous ninny. I’ve got the tummy trauma, heebie jeebies, jimmy jammies, crazy elbow, and I can’t stop my leg. Basically, I should be more medicated. I’ve always been like this, exuding mass amounts of non-confidence, but there are times in life when you’ve just got to suck it up and jump. And so.

In grad school, as the defense of my thesis fast approached, the sense of doom and destruction became cloyingly close and suffocating. There’s something wildly perverse about defending one’s own writing. At last, finally, after all of that constructive criticism and soft accolades, there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and some of the sharpest people you’ve ever met are giving it to you but good. Granted, I loved each of them: my poetry professor Luci Tapahonso, a respected poet whose soft voice said nothing of her spirit, fearless and honest; Tom Lorenz, my fiction professor whose wisdom and energy brought the very best out of me; and, finally, the wizard and consummate Magic Man, G. Douglas Atkins, a man so brilliant and sensually Southern that I could barely stand to speak with him and yet, for reasons I still do not understand, he showed me nothing but kindness and understanding. Look, it was all Love and Flowers. I was freaked out of my gourd.

I started thinking of ways to conquer my fear. What would numb me from the suffocating terror? How would I face these people? How would I sound remotely intelligent…let alone SPEAK? Can you feel the blood pounding in your temples? Ug. This is how people make themselves sick under the oppression of anxiety. But I figured it out.

As I loitered on campus one afternoon, I noticed a posting for the annual cattle call from the Drama department. Every year, KU has an open cattle call to all students. You prepare a monologue and present it in front of all of that year’s directors on the main stage. Welcome to the Terror Train.

Why not? Let’s do this thing, yo.

I scrounged around my old Lit. books trying to find something appropriate. I finally settled on a monologue from Brighton Beach Memoirs of all things. I memorized it, added some feelins,’ and locked it in my schedule. Considering the humiliating history of my Drama past, I was already sick about it. Once a Frog Footman, always a Frog Footman…and never to act again. So this would be nice and terrifying and should do the trick real good.

Was it heart stopping? Yes. It was a hot rush of blood, tunnel vision, and all the world closing in. Invigorating. But what does it have to do with a smoking duck?

I got a call back. Two call backs. It was a serious WTF moment. Moments. In my effort to fight the demon Terror, I got some serious confidence and drama lovin’ in return. And I went to both callbacks, why the hell not? I didn’t get the part, but it did not matter. It felt so damn good to face the beast and get and freakin’-A Call Back! The feeling of elation would not be topped for some time and I will never forget it.

The duck? After one of my call backs, after doing a read through with other actor-y types, I visited my friend at the Science Library on campus. As I relayed the story of my day (the unthinkable, wondrous weirdness of it all), I sketched this little dude. Did I feel 2 Kool 4 Skool at that moment? Yes. And you would, too. An unpredictable boost to the ego never fades.

And the defense? Flawless. With honors. Or, as Michael Scott might say, A++.


Blogger Flushy McBucketpants said...

Yeah. I got a B on my thesis. Thanks for rubbing it in. Actually, the B wasn't so damaging. It was the rest of the experience.

The last time I acted, I got covered in blackface. That sounds atrocious, I know. But it was for a scene from the Dutchman, in which one character is pigeon-holing the other. She ends up figuratively and literally painting the character I was playing as an African-American of a specific type. In hindsight, it was probably the single best design decision I've ever been involved with. Too bad it was ruined by my acting. It could've been a good scene.

12:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mom is an adrenelin junky and the kid is totally overwhelmed by adrenelin. Who knew.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Shiny said...

Mmm, yes. Your sweet tears. I do love to rub it in. Feel the burrrrrn.

I didn't know you did the actor-y thing! You only ever mentioned set construction and lighting and whatnot. I would surely have loved to see such a sight. Is it like when you have to explain a process, o wee deer in the headlights? *hearts*

(Note to "anon": adrenaline junkies begat nervous nellies, thereby nervous nellies begat adrenaline junkies, world without end, amen.)

10:05 PM  
Blogger Flushy McBucketpants said...

I never really acted willingly. I played a monkey in the Diary of Adam and Eve, which was about 10 seconds of pantomime and did that scene for the Dutchman in my drama 101 class. It was a required assignment. I did do some voluntary dramatic reading with some friends for forensics, which isn't so much with the crime, but rather is more debate and dramatic reading oriented. We did a Monty Python bit, a Rowan Atkinson piece, and a rendition of Chicken Little, which I played a gander in. A German gander. Don't ask 'cause I can't explain.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Shiny said...

O. My. God.

I was Lucky Ducky in Chicken Little. Why are you copying me all the time?

10:22 PM  
Blogger Adairdevil said...

Sniffle. Look at you, all radiant with possibility. And chicken love.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know there must be a photo of the Lucky Ducky in costume cause I'm pretty sure I took at least one. Do you have it or do I? If you have it, let's see it Lovey in all your beautiful high school glory. Oh, and how about a photo from your other on high school stage part? You know the one. Just the 2 of you in a monologue with a high school boy. Hot stuff! Didn't we take photo's of your grade school part too? And yes, I did indeed do a little acting in my day. I got a rave review in the Beagle for my singing and dancing part, Mrs Darling, but I can't recall the name of the play. It was a rather obscure musical. I got in trouble with my voice teacher because it was a razmataz song. He forbid me to do anymore musicals for the theater department, which I of course ignored and got in trouble again. He didn't get mad cause I just sang in the chorus on Showboat. Too bad I don't have any photos or recordings or I'd show them to you.

9:33 AM  

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