Friday, May 7, 2010

The Experiment

Blood shouldn’t have such beautiful color. She wipes her hands on her pant legs. Smears of burgundy, like dust from rose petals. She wonders how she got here in the first place, how it all could’ve happened. It was meant to be a simple experiment. An exercise. She was just…acting.

“As actors we seek truth,” Mirabelle Florence began. “Then we share it, bring light to it on the stage and share it with humanity. Stanislavski said we bring truth to imaginary circumstances. That, my dear ones, is your job. So…” She turned to the dry-erase board. “Your assignment for next week.” She wrote the words ‘imagine,’ ‘create’ and ‘report’ in aqua blue. “Venture into the world with your story. Believe it yourself, then illuminate the truth you’ve created for others. Any questions?”

No, Camille thought. For the first time since the class began, she didn’t. Until tonight she hated acting homework. She’d only taken the course to fulfill a dare from her roommate, Emily, who had stardust streaming from her eyes and practically had her Oscar speech embroidered on her pillow. Camille never admitted her other motive for taking the course--an easy ‘A.’ Or so she thought.

“Good then. Au revoir.” Mirabelle shooed her pupils away as though batting flies. Within moments, the energy in the theater rows shifted from captivated to bustling. Camille, who normally would’ve rushed out ahead of the pack, remained planted in her seat, her mind whirling. Until tonight, acting seemed this elusive thing. This alternate form of consciousness she couldn’t grasp or step into. “Stop thinking so much,” Mirabelle told her repeatedly. “Don’t think. Don’t act. Just be.” What in the hell did that mean? Wasn’t acting rather the point? What else had she paid three-hundred-forty dollars for? She could sit around be-ing on her own. She planned to resign tonight and surprise Emily with front row tickets to Wicked!--her end of the bargain. Instead, something clicked.

“Man I love this stuff.” Emily approached, awestruck as usual. “It almost inspires me to tell my parents I dropped biology for performing arts.” She paused. “I am a total hypocrite, aren’t I? All this talk of truthfulness and here I am, lying my ass off to my parents.”

“Maybe you’re just acting,” Camille replied.

“Pardon?” She looked at Camille, perplexed.

“Maybe it’s only lying because you don’t believe it. You should do what Mirabelle said--sit in the story. Imagine you’re a bio-major when you’re around them. It only has to be true for you, right?”

“On stage, yes. But with my parents? Speaking of which…” She glanced at her watch. “…the scientists await. Au revoir.”

Camille turned to gather her things and felt a presence behind her. She turned to see Christian, the classes’ latest addition and the eligible apple of many an actress eye.

“You’re right,” he said. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop. But I liked what you were saying, about honesty. I get sick of all the bullshit, you know?” He furrowed his brow. “You’re not from LA, are you?”

“How can you tell?” And why was she blushing?

“Too honest. People here seem rather…”

“Flaky…shallow…pretentious…cocky... Shall I go on? Don’t worry, you’ll get past it. I’ve met some of my best friends here. You just have to be particular. And you’re right, I’m not from here. Dubuque, Iowa. We grow corn.”

He squinted and cocked his head, as though deciphering an amusing puzzle. “Want to partner up for the assignment?”

Would the old Camille take him on? No. She’d be busy dropping acting class. But now, who would she be…? The answer leapt to her head and drew a smile to her lips. “Yes, let’s.”

(To be continued...)

No comments:

Post a Comment