I feel the blog has wavered off the acting and writing track a tad lately, so I must write a post about the first Lee Strasburg class I went to last week. Not that it has been on that track much anyways, but the class was pretty nuts to say the least so worth a mention.
It was last Thursday, and I had just been informed by Aaron Speiser’s people that his class was going to be $50, instead of free like I thought, plus the $40-$50 round trip in the cab ride, good duckaduu to that, does he not know I’m homeless and unemployed! It was 7 on the button when I rang the Lee Strasburg school and the class started at 7 until 11. I could come along if I hurried and came straight away. I’ll be there in two minutes! So I had a cup of tea, changed out of my blue t-shirt (remembering the last time I was hungover in class and wearing blue), had another drop of tea, hurried as fast as I could and went to class.
So I get there about half 7, go to the reception, tell guy at the desk about the flat tire in my imaginary car, had to walk, sorry for being late, sign up for the class, then sign in for the class for some reason, get given a few pages of a scene and get told I might get do to a scene with one of the girls at the end if there’s time. Not too shabby, could be good. So I’m brought upstairs to one of the rooms, the teacher is expecting me, have fun! I surely will. I walk into the big enough room, and immediately I’m worried and freaked. Everyone is crying and making weird noises. This is going to be great fun.
A guy who looks a bit like Woody Allen, glasses and accent included but with black hair, sees me at the door – freaked and wondering why everyone is crying, is this a cult? – and starts to walk over to me. When I say walk, I really mean pirouette. Seriously, he does about 4 twirls across the room, swivels through 2 crying, wailing people in his way, and comes over to me. With him in a ballet stance (on his toes with one foot, arms up in the air, other foot wiggling around gracefully, like a posh little tea cup stance), he introduces himself “Hey, I’m Robert, we’re warming up, have a seat, take it all in, I didn’t get to dance without the practicing, essential, absolutely essential, warming up and practicing, have a seat”. He points, with his toe thats in the air about neck height, to where I should sit. Cheers Robert.
While all of that was going on, everyone is still chanting, wailing and crying. Some are staring at the wall, some are walking around, some have their arms out, fists clenched. There are about 12 in the class, the majority are crying, pausing only to say “HUUUUHHHH, HHHUUUUHHHH. HHHUUUHHHHHH”, then politely crying on. There’s one guy sitting on the floor in the corner saying and doing nothing, just rocking to himself. He must be newish too. There’s a girl with a massive afro, shaking her head, spitting out random bits of French, crying and rubbing her hands all over herself. This is freaky as funk, reminds me of a voodoo scene from a movie. I notice as well that the majority of the girls in the class are extremely hot. Even amongst the tears and wailing, they are still top dollar. Maybe I’ll stick around for a few more minutes at least. it’d be rude not to.
The layout of the room is two stages either end, and wooden floor in between, with seats scattered here and there. I followed the teacher’s toe and sit in the corner. As I’m realizing to myself it didn’t matter what colour t-shirt I wore to this asylum, and realizing how hot the women are, this Australian dude, old enough as well compared to the rest (I’m guessing 37 and a half maybe?) sits two seats down from me, huhing away to himself. Softly at first, eyes closed, arms out like a cross. Ok, huh on buddy, this is normal. So while he is huhing to my left, an extremely hot girl sits two seats to my right (people were walking around the room, changing places). So I forget about the dude, decide to see how good an actress the girl is, do I really believe that she is crying, is she really as hot as I first thought. She’s sobbing away, looking well, when I hear the huhing getting louder next to me. I turn back towards my left, and see the guy is looking at me, or into the distance and through me, not sure, and huhing for dear life, getting intenser and louder with each one, veins popping out of his neck. What is going on, is that his chick next to me, should I move seats, this is fun alright, surrounded by nutters!!!
The girl next to me gets up, eyes closed still, starting to laugh now – Good, you’re getting better, did I tell you I’m Irish? She then does a big “HUUUUHHHH”, wacks me in the head with her arms out cross motion, reverts back to laughing straight away, and goes on her merry way. What is going on, good God this is freaking me out.
The teacher must’ve seen this, starts to pirouette over to me, explains how he is getting the students to see what emotions they are overcome by today, strip them down bare so they can work off an empty canvas, blowing on. He also liked to start every single sentence with “Dahling…Lee used to say that to me…Dahling…” then say whatever it was he was going to say.
The first hour went on like this. Good laugh. Just sitting there watching this. The second hour involved them doing a daily activity with a twist. So the students were still spread out all over the room, doing a daily activity, such as showering, cleaning the dishes, making breakfast etc, when the teacher would say a different twist to each… “Showering drunk” or “Cooking naked” or to the girl with the afro, “Making coffee, singing a song, your national anthem, at the top of your voice”. And she wouldn’t or couldn’t stop crying while doing it for some reason. She was the most disturbed I think.
The teacher goes around asking them how they are feeling while doing their daily activity. One feels sad (no way!), one feels explosive(is that even an emotion?), the really hot girl feels sick. She then reveals too much while she’s cooking her eggs, in the freezing cold, with her eyes shut, and half crying… Dahling, why do you feel that, tell me more… my stomach feels sick, I don’t want to eat these eggs… tell me more, what happened today that made you sick… I was using the bathroom all day, my stomach is upset… Dahling, tell me more, were you getting sick all day… no, the other way, it was really bad… good, let it all out, now you’re ready to act, open your eyes!
Too much info for my liking. Thankfully it was time for a break. I found out during the break that the French girl was in fact from the Ivory Coast (she didn’t care or seem impressed when I threw Didier Drogba’s name into the converstion, thinking we shared common ground about a soccer player). The Aussie dude told me he was at make or break time, if he didn’t make it in LA his wife and kid were not going to be happy. He also let slip that he had being going to this class for 9 semesters which I’m guessing is a long enough time so his family might not be happy with him. I didn’t see the really hot girl, probably in the bathroom the whole time.
The second half started with two students doing a scene they had prepared. Ah, here comes the good stuff, a 15 minute scene where you get to see if they can act or not, then the teacher gives them pointers. Except it went on for about 40 minutes. And the guy was from Argentina I think, somewhere in South America anyways, and the girl was Spanish I think, and I had little to no clue what they were saying, or what scene from what movie it was meant to be, so was completely lost (it was actually a scene from a play, one with only 3 long scenes, and they were speaking English apparently). I went to the bathroom after their scene and forgot to go back, it had been a long, tough few hours.
The weird thing is, when I went home and thought about it, I actually think it was a good class. It was highly bizarre and full of nuts, but I could see where ballet man was coming from with what he was saying and the logic behind it. I might go back for another audit or two. I’ll bring some Imodium for the hot girl next time as well.
I must go now and practice my “Hhhhhhuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhs”, while staring at the wall. Naked. With an upset stomach. Song of the day is Silent Shout by The Knife.