Two Worlds, One People
Every so often, I am starkly reminded that I live in two different worlds.
One is the ‘real’ world, the regular world, the one where most of you, the readers of this blog, probably live. Everybody lives in the real world. Everybody except crazy people and… There used to be a name for those people… What are they called? It’s on the tip of my tongue… Oh, yes: Artists. In particular, actors, actors in theater and film.
During my first year at the university I majored in Mathematics and took one course in Theater because I missed writing. It was a short walk between a talk with a genius who shared with me his contemplations about what multiplication really is – and walking into the Theater department, where two actors were reenacting Romeo and Juliet in the cafeteria to everyone’s delight.
These two types of people do not live in the same world.
When Worlds Collide
Here’s where my two worlds collided while rehearsing The Indestructibles, my low-budget epic SF film. On the one hand, I write books, plays, and work on films. But that sometimes earns decent money and sometimes it doesn’t. I have to help support my family, so I have a real job in high-tech with people who live in the real world.
Seeing as The Indestructibles is a low-budget production, we rehearse where we can. A couple of weeks ago, I suggested one of the conference rooms at my job, since it’s big and has a big carpet we can use to rehearse on (part of the film takes place on the ground).
It was nighttime, and most of the office was empty. However, it wasn’t completely empty.
The collision began innocently enough when I let the two actresses in, and had to walk with them through a long corridor, getting stares. The next day I would get quite a few questions, with a wink-wink here and a nudge-nudge there, about who those two beautiful women were and what was I possibly doing with them, wink-wink, nudge-nudge.
But that’s nothing compared to what happened when the rehearsal began.
It was just the three of us in the room, and we started to set up the scene. The two actresses were on the floor, one was lying down, the other talking to the ‘camera’. Then the actress who was talking bent down to kiss the other actress, who played her sister, on the cheek. I was a foot away, on my knees, staring intently at them. That’s when someone walked in to say good night.
Feeling very comfortable in rehearsal-world, I told him good night, and continued with the scene.
A few minutes later, one actress was hugging another, the two of them still on the floor, and me on my knees next to them, when one of the vice presidents of the company stepped in to say good night. I told him goodnight.
But as soon as he stepped out, the three of us realized at once that the scene he saw, which felt natural to us, would appear utterly strange to a real person who lives in the real world. The three of us broke into simultaneous laughter. And I thought to myself: “Lucy, you’re going to have some ‘splaining to do.”
And once again I was starkly reminded that I live in two worlds, and that jumping on tables to portray a character, breaking into a dramatic monologue, purposefully bumping into doors to get a laugh, and spending time with two women on the floor, are all things that belong to one world and not the other.
I can tell you with confidence that one of these worlds is a lot more fun than the other.