Site icon Alexander Hammil

However We Survived

Carmen isn’t talking to me because I’ve given her some singularly bad direction. It went like this:

Me: [diffidently] That was a good read, could you do it with more emphasis?

Carmen: Sure. Emphasis where?

Me: Oh, just in general. Generally more emphasis.

So, silence. I’m annoyed by this, because I’m young and stupid and it doesn’t seem like an unreasonable sort of thing to say to an actor, so I’m not talking right now, either. I’m taking this moment to look around the room and see where everyone is.

Tim’s where he always is, half-asleep with Erin and Gail running their fingers through his hair. There’s a sort of smile teasing at the corners of his mouth, the blissed out content of a cat kneading the arm of a chair. He’s not in this scene, but he’s listening. Erin and Gail are talking over his head about David Bowie’s area. “I can’t even listen to him anymore,” Erin says. “I just see The Area and it scares me.”

Trevor’s got his arms folded on the edge of the table and he’s making notes in the margins of his script. He’s wearing the damn matador shirt – red and tight and ruffled – the one that makes half the girls go cross-eyed when he comes into a scene, rattail or no. I cry “Ole!” every time he wears it, hoping to get a rise out of him. It doesn’t work, he’s too phlegmatic.

Nikki ought to be here, she’s in this scene, but she’s gone down to costuming for something and I’m reading her lines. Just for this second, though, we’ve sagged out of the play, and we’re gathering breath for the next stab at things.

Which is when Ben comes into the room like a human cannonball and pants, “Anna and Heather just walked in on Ryan and Ellen having sex in the dressing room!” It’s like striking midnight: in half a second everyone has magicked out of the room and I’m alone, the pages on my script fluttering slightly in the fan.

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