On Wednesday I had two lovely roles in an un-rehearsed reading of a pilot episode of a very funny sitcom. The first role was of an Office Manager; a powerful character. I got to be assertive, a bit sarcastic and bossy.
The second role was voicing a pen possessed by the spirit of a (sexy) French woman.
It was a paranormal comedy.
I am, as those who have worked with me will know all too well, an intensely serious actress.
I always do my character A,B,C.
- A: What my character says about herself
- B: What others say about her
- C: Most interesting of all, what is implied
One of my most annoying habits is to ask too many questions. (The great, late Ken Campbell rid me of this habit for a few years but now it has returned.) If I am to play a character I want all the background information possible. I thus gave the author the third degree.
What sort of pen was I? A fountain pen, Mont Blanc possibly? A felt tip? If so what colour felt? Was I a biro, a roller-ball or even a quill?
“I just kind of thought an ordinary pen,” he said. “A bic.”
I felt deflated. A bic! A plain, sort of cheap plastic thing?
“It’s funnier that way.” said the writer.
Inwardly I was not amused. An actress of my stature being asked to portray ordinary was a bit of a come-down.
Thus in a room above a pub on the fringes of China Town, I did my best to inject life into this writing implement most ordinary.
Ah, an actress’s life can sometimes be fraught.