24 May 2007

That Is The Subject To Which I Am Referring!



It's a joke. It doesn't translate very well when typed. Friend Adam used to be quite fond of celebrating a victory--his or someone else's--by jumping up and shouting, "That's what I'm talking about!" (That's what he used to say. Now it's usually, "What! What!" As in, "What do you think of me now?") I got to sharing/mocking Adam's enthusiasm by chiming in with overly formal versions of this phrase, said with the same enthusiasm. Ergo: That is the subject to which I am referring! Other faves include:

  • That is the topic of my conversation!

  • That is what I am expositing upon!

  • That is the approximate meaning of the words I am speaking!
Silliness, but it taps into a very personal aspect of my humor; specifically, the self-deprecating aspect of it. More specifically, mocking my formality, relative intellectualism and very sincere desire to join in the fun of rowdier, more relaxed personalities. It's interesting to me to think that, to some of my friends, I am that type. I do crazy things, like go to Italy and forego income for a month, or stilt walking, or standing on a platform in front of hundreds of people and crying. I have a job at a desk, and yet I insist on risking my health (usually sans health insurance) in order to elicit a few gasps or chuckles from people who probably haven't even paid for the privilege to see me do so. But most people I know, other performers, see me mostly as the conservative type.

This is on my mind today owing mostly to the apartment hunt. (ALL HAIL THE APARTMENT HUNT! ALL SERVE THE APARTMENT HUNT!) It's hard for me to phone strangers, to visit their apartments and stroll through neighborhoods that are A) unfamiliar, and B) usually not terribly similar to where I come from. I have lots of actors friends who rule at this sort of thing. Absolutely rule. They walk in a room smiling, shake your hand and make you feel like you're the one they've been looking for all day, yet not in a way that's overwhelming or artificial. Somehow they do it in a way that just makes you want more of their attention.

It seems like a natural extension of their craft. If you think about it, it means every part of their day is in some sense acted. We always talk about wanting to act more, we actors, and complain of not having enough opportunities. These may not be the exact circumstances we crave, these moments of conversational dexterity, but it incorporates a lot of the same skills, and it feeds so nicely into creating more opportunities for the real thing. Practice, praise, good vibes and more work, what's not to love about it?

This, however, is not me. I have my moments, true, when I captivate attention, but never in a sense that puts people at ease. Gets them excited or, at best, laughing suddenly, sure, but never relaxing or enticing them. In fact, my best bet for charming the socks off people is to trip when I come in the room and just keep up that clownish energy throughout. I used to perform in shows this way, always going, always with a forcefully klutzy energy. Hopefully I've learned enough to back off of that now and again on stage. In life, it has become balanced with a slightly more limited resource of energy and an almost complete intolerance for bullshit. Which is to say: I don't have time for this, people. Let's just say what we mean and mean what we say, and if you don't care, you don't care, and that's fine. I frequently don't care.

You've had a hard day, and want to share the details with me? Yeah, I don't care. I just want me coffee, thanks. You feel insulted to be the one who has to proctor the auditions when the show doesn't actually even need replacements right now, and want to at least feel like the actors coming in to audition find you attractive? Yeah, I don't care. I just want a job, or at least to feel like I'm fulfilling my obligation for useless auditions. You really, really enjoy walking around your apartment naked except for combat boots, and what's so wrong with that, and if that isn't cool with your roommate she should just get married already? Yeah, I DON'T CARE. I just want to find an apartment, get to the rehearsals for As Far As We Know already and get the hell off this subway car.

Sometimes it seems as though to be a high-functioning member of contemporary society is to be capable of dealing with a lot of bullshit. I am not functioning highly. I am done with this. But can I really be done with this? If it's going to make me unlikable and, worse, threaten my ability to get cast? I'm not talking about being a genuine person here. I want to be that regardless of my attitude toward bullshit. It's like the difference between having a great performance in which you didn't really feel in it, and the great performance in which you felt somehow like you were transcending all the pretense and sleight-of-hand to really embody the story. I want the latter. It's not enough to do good, but to do good right.

That
is the matter under discussion in my 'blog entry!

8 comments:

Davey said...

The thoughts that were expressed in that post were of the variety known to be the truth.

Indeed, a young male.

Which direction am I refering to my canine friend?

A sentence consiting of a solitary utterance (voiced in the direction of your female parent)

Jeff Wills said...

Say word, Davey?

dave said...

A short religious ceremony for Jeffism:

Who do we Serve?

All: THE APARTMENT HUNT

What gives us Light?

All: THE APARTMENT HUNT

Why do we Live?

All: THE APARTMENT HUNT

How do we have Worth?

All: THE APARTMENT HUNT

Where is Truth?

All: THE APARTMENT HUNT

When is Breakfast?

All: THE APARTMENT HUNT

Jeff Wills said...

Can I have breakfast sans apartment hunting?

Davey said...

I was just trying to play along, sorry if I didn't get the idea right.

True that!

Yeah BOY-EEE!

What up dog?

Word (to your mother)

Jeff Wills said...

No no no no! I got that! I was playing along with you, too. You know: "Say word?" You know how the...people...say that sometimes?

They do say that sometimes, don't they?

I swear I'm not racist.

Adam said...

Oh HELL YEAH!! I got the 'Friend Adam' treatment. What!?! In fact, I shall throw in a BOO-YAH!!

And in the distances, can you hear it? The sky, it says KRAK-AA-DOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!

I'm all catch phrased out. :)

Jeff Wills said...

Oh Adam. No matter how kick-ass you try to be, you're just darling. That's the way it is.