Monday, January 31, 2011

The Actor

The actor lives at 33 rue des Annelets, 75019, Paris.  There is no lift.  He is currently performing in a play, thus he is his profession - it always makes him feel a frightful impostor when asked what he 'does' when he's not rehearsing or performing in anything at that particular moment.  Because after all, what is he then, if not Sganarelle, or Prospero or Oedipe?  He doesn't exist.  He was never there.  An actor can't just act without a play.  An actor without a play is an actless.  And now the play will run four more months.  So he won't have to feel the nothingness until at least then.  Except sometimes in the small of night. 

The feeling of currently being what he is brings a great deal of satisfaction.  Particularly as he is well respected throughout the community.  In fact, after a brief television appearance in an awful show that made him shudder as he read his daily scripts, he has rather become a household name.  Admired.  Which is a curious feeling, especially after decades in the theatre and all that training.  Admired.  For being what? 

For he is nothing.  And everything.  All at once.  It's exhilarating.  He knows nothing else.  And he enjoys the approval.  It feels nice.  He signs photos of himself now.  He wears a robe and a look in his eye.  People 'double-take' him in the street.  Young girls go red.  That's hardly a bad sensation, now, is it?

Still, despite the attention, he is alone.  Not lonely.  He likes himself.  He likes to be inside himself.  Hence the string of unsuccessful relationships, the daughter in Rouen, the apartment, the toys, the routines.  The dreams.  The waiting.  He likes the peace of the small of night.  He dreams he is a puppeteer.

He is an actor.  A puppet.  A born marionette, hand shoved firmly up him from behind.  Directors, producers, set designers, costume designers, everyone else, and then him.  He likes the hands on him, moving him, the best ones making him feel like he's moving himself.  He is.  They can't find a vessel like him to fill up - he's got the gift.  He knows how to disappear.  To become the thing, and to let it become him at the same time.  To release.  To play.  He knows it all.  People watch him, they see him transform.  He can only do that because he's got the gift.  And he knows every sense of his body intimately, knows every part of himself like clockwork and how to make it rise and dance.  So he likes the hand up his skirt.  He knows how to be manipulated and to manipulate the hand back.  It's good when it hurts.  Pain is good.  It makes him feel real. 

Then, when the lights are on, he's free of the hand, free of everything.  He flies out over the audience.  They soak in him.

And then, in the small of night, back in the Rue des Annelets, he takes his make-up off. 



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