I was so looking forward to writing this post a couple of months ago. It was going to be dramatic. [Un]Fortunately, the story didn’t turn out as interesting as I thought it might.
Anyway, I acted in a play. Theatre has been a major life-defining interest for me, but for the last few years I’ve been so busy with websites and stuff I haven’t had much time for theatre projects, but I managed to squeeze in Autobahn, my second show in the last three years.
Autobahn is a series of playlets by Neil LaBute. Each has two characters in a car. In my scene, the characters are described simply as “Man” and “Girl”. During the course of the scene, the audience gets a series of clues about the relationship between the two characters and recent events: The two have been driving continuously for nearly 24 hours. The man is the girl’s drivers ed teacher. They had an altercation earlier in the day where the man dragged the girl away, kicking and screaming, from a rest stop bathroom. They are headed to a remote cabin. As the scene ends, the man… I won’t give it all away.
I played the scene with two different actresses through a five week run. The first actress was a little younger than the script called for— there are clues suggesting that the girl is around fourteen—this girl was ten. We were wondering how the audiences would handle the very sensitive material, particularly with the extra jolt of the younger girl. There was backstage discussion of how playing such a role might affect my reputation in our small community. Would I be shunned, spat upon, or publicly insulted?
Well, our local audiences seem to be better able to tell theatre from reality than some think. I received a smattering of high praise, and quite a few complimentary “oooh, creepy” comments. But nobody got really upset, or at least they didn’t vocalize their upsetted-ness in my presence.
I’m not sure if I’m disappointed or relieved.