I was once in a casting workshop when a tutor determined the casting bracket of each actor.
He took me in; fraying bleached blonde hair (surfer chick?) and charity shop clothes (chic student?) before stating:
- Single Mum
- Shakespeare Wench
Oh, right. Cheers.
“And for Pinter’s sake, don’t lose any weight, we have enough skinny actresses”.
Why, thank you kind Sir.
It then came the turn of the actor next to me; a lanky, fair haired bloke with dreams of playing James Bond and boffing Pussy Galore in the back of his metallic Skoda.
His stage name was Jeremy (real name Bob) and his website was SuaveLondonActor.com Some other burk had even offered him £250 to buy the domain and he’d turned it down. Cut your losses bro.
He perched cross legged, picturing his career laid out in front of him; an array of leading hunks with the hidden depths of Keyser Soze, The tutor looked him up and down, stating:
“You look like a floor manager at Dixons”
He took a sharp intake of breath as the circle murmured “oh yeah…”
The albino, wannabe Daniel Craig was not amused. He flicked his scarf and left the room, (presumably to sell some cut price blu-ray players and noise cancelling headphones with extra bass).
But the workshop leader was right about us. My first eight roles after leaving drama school were maids. No one carries a tray like this bitch!
All hail the upside of having a Midlands accent and a weathered visage!
Ten years on from that casting workshop and the majority of my castings are now for 'Mum':
- Mum on train
- Mum in car
- Mum at Supermarket
Yesterday, I went up for the role of 'Wife'.
You think I look too young to have children?!?! Merci!
It was the actor equivalent of being ID’d for Blue Wkd.
Once in the Spotlight waiting room, I glanced around at a group of models. These exotic creatures had lean limbs and gaps between their thighs.
‘This is in da bag, I thought’ kicking off my sneaks and plonking my Aldi shopping down on the wipe free pouffets.
But as I glanced around the corner, I saw another casting group; the mousey haired collective. Run down wenches, fake smiling at each other and making mindless chit-chat about elasticated tights.
There was one time when my casting bracket was closely aligned with my true self. I have been an actual barmaid more times than I have played one and my courting of tips from the dandies in the Old Vic bar could be considered wench-like in approach.
My maid characters involved carrying trays and serving people I detested. In the real-life version, those trays had ice creams on them, or vol au vents or goblets of wine. I’ve served Ronnie Corbett sushi, Mr Big coffee and Gareth Gates a frozen yoghurt.
I am still carrying those real life trays, even when those trays are spreadsheets or conference calls or being an elf in a Westfield grotto of hell.
But the characters in my world-within-a-world have suddenly become stable and secure. How has my fake-self become better at life than my actual self? They have mortgages and children and husbands and un-creased clothes.
We are all types one way or another: the daughter, the brother, the student, the lover (oi oi)! But maybe the way we see ourselves is not always the way that others see us.
No wonder the original SuaveLondonActor kicked off. Do any of us actually want to be considered average?
And just like that, *flicks proverbial scarf, she was gone…
*Lorna is available for children’s parties, bat mitzvahs and kissograms. She is also available for Bridget Jones 3, should Renee not eat enough pies...
Spotlight link here