So my last post was a little negative. I thought I’d share that I found an outlet for my fiction and am currently working on it. Here is a snippet of what I am working on:
“Mr. Boroughs, thank you for staying with us. Have you familiarized yourself with the material?” the goateed man asked.
“Yes, I have. It’s practically memorized.” I said trying to sound confident without being boastful.
“Excellent. Before we begin I’d like to talk to you for a few moments. For starters, I’m David Stein, I’m in charge of casting, and I’m a co-producer with our author, Colin Shapiro, who is this man to my right.” Stein says.
“A pleasure to meet you. I love what I’ve read so far.” I say to them as I smile and nod.
“And I am James Merchant, the director.” Declares the short bearded man on the left. The second I hear his name my heart skips a beat. James Merchant is one of the biggest directors in New York now. I’d seen his work, and even read about him, but I always assumed he would look different. Taller, and more…refined.
“It’s an honor sir. I saw your production of Much Ado about Nothing three times last year. It was incredible.” I gush sounding more like a fan boy than I mean to. The second the words leave my lips I regret them, and am trying to remember everything I said to him before I knew who he was.
“Did you now? That’s good to hear. However, Masque is a different animal despite the similarity in language.” He says.
“I understand. Is there anything I should know before we begin?” I ask hoping to a little direction.
“I’m sure there are a great number of things you should know, but right now I’m only interested in one thing. Chemistry. We’ve seen a lot of people for this role, seasoned professionals, even a celebrity, but they lacked the ability to connect to our leading man. The role requires an actor to not simply keep up with him, but to challenge him, and for some reason this has been difficult to find. So chemistry, Mr. Boroughs, is was I am looking for.” Says Merchant as he orbits me, evaluating every inch of me.
“He must be quite an actor.” Is all I can think of saying to reply.
“Well you would know wouldn’t you? I thought you two were friends.” Says Merchant extending his right hand toward Kevin, and placing his left at the small of my back. His hands are rough and cold, and my body spasms at the touch. Normally I would be so concerned with the fact that his fingers touched my bare flesh, meaning my vest has ridden up to exposing my holiday weight, but I am too confused to care.
“Kevin is the lead?” I ask for confirmation.
“Yes. Didn’t you know?” Asks Shapiro.
“He said he was the reader.” I reply.
“Well I am. It was the only way I could be part of the casting process without suspicion.” Kevin explains.
“I see someone is already getting into character. Practicing deception before we even begin rehearsals.” Shapiro says with a nod of approval.
“It would seem so Colin. Well that should make this somewhat interesting, so while the moment is still fresh, let us begin.” Says merchant returning his seat, and locking his eyes on me.
In this moment I am flooded with so many emotions. My brain feels foggy from the confusion of Kevin’s little e trick, I am nervous to have for a scene partner, especially with a director like James Merchant staring at me with such scrutiny. Chemistry. He wants chemistry. I’m not even sure what that means, and I feel myself shrinking in the room. This is why I play lackeys, my job is to make the lead look good. Challenge him. Challenge Kevin. The idea turns my stomach, as if to physically manifest a rejection of the very nature of the idea. I realize that time is going by, and that I’ve been staring at nothing for at least a minute. I have to snap out of it, so I tell myself to take another moment, to breathe, and then I force myself to look at Kevin and begin.
“Your Lordship has been most kind in inviting me to dine here, but soldiers are not used to supping on delicacies such as these. Surely you waste your finery on a man such as I.” I say to Kevin, my Count Ezio, and the line mirror my mind. I’m out of my class pretending to be Caleb.
“All men appreciate the pleasantries I provide. So worry not, my dear Caleb, what kind of man you are, not how refined a palate you may have. I devote my time to perfecting the guest list, your nutrition I leave to the masters of the kitchen.” Replies Kevin in a velvety tone locking his eyes on me and extending his hand toward mine.
My first impulse is to deliver my line as someone who ahs been bewitched by Kevin’s charms, but my brain keeps hearing James Merchant’s request to challenge him, and so I fight my lackey nature, and leave Kevin’s hand in the air.
“Yet I see your lordship has failed to invite anyone else tonight. Surely your judgment is something queer If I am your only guest.” I say demanding Kevin work harder if he wants to seduce this Caleb.
“Perhaps my judgment of you is somewhat affected. It was my thought that a private supper would be best for us. I am told soldiers prefer more intimate affairs.” Says Kevin redoubling his efforts to have Ezio ooze charm.
“Some do. Many find the constant company of their platoon tiresome.” I say with detached indifference.
“My thoughts exactly. Are you such a solder? Do you hold dear evening such as these, where one may relax behind closed doors?” Ken asks taking my hand in the same swift elegant gesture he had used this morning.
“Sometimes my lord. I have always felt that it depends on the company I keep. But I assure you that, as I’ve never dined with nobility before, this is a night I shall never forget.” I say, and although I once thought this was an indication of Caleb’s giving in to Ezio’s advance, my intonation is as intentionally evasive as the words Caleb speaks. I see now that Caleb is a mystery, and this is what causes Ezio to try so hard. Realizing this I drop Kevin’s hand, and walk toward the chair that Kevin sat in at the corner of the room.
“Oh, my little Caleb, think not of me as your lord tonight. Call me Ezio, I would like us to be friends. Will you embrace me as you do your fellow soldiers?” Asks Kevin, as he approaches me in my corner, leaving me nowhere to run.
“Ezio, I will gladly embrace you, but do not ask it as a comrade. If we are to be friends, I hope you never know the life of a soldier. The horrors there are not for a man as refined and fragile as yourself.” I say, and choose to give him a stiff hug instead of a tender one. I wait for Kevin to let go, but instead he pulls me forward into a tight embrace. My head rests on his chest, due to our height different, and I look up at him with a pleading look on my face, this causes him to smile ever so slightly, cup his hand to my jaw, and then kiss me ever so gently. For a brief moment I feel elated, Kevin’s soft full lips are so different from Eric’s that I feel compelled to linger to explore the sensation, but as my guard drops further, Kevin begins to press harder, and I jerk away from him once I feel his tongue attempt to invade my mouth. Furious that he would try this in the middle of an audition I shoot him a look of anger and betrayal. My mind goes blank, I cannot remember Caleb’s next line, and when I look down to find my place in the script I see that I must have dropped the pages during the kiss.
“Let’s stop there shall we?” Merchant says as I am about to bend over and collect the script.
“Sorry, I lost my place for a moment.” I say.
“Oh, don’t apologize Mr. Boroughs. I rather appreciated your interesting interpretation with those lines.” Says Merchant as he is looking at the papers on the table.
“Yes, well it would be hard not to lose your place when Mr. Connor’s decides to embellish the script. I don’t recall adding a kiss there James.” Says Shapiro.
“Sorry, it just felt right. I felt like I was running out of options.” Kevin apologizes.
“Yes, it surely seemed you were. Though I am not sure Ezio would be so brash. This play is all about seduction, it needs to be slow, to really rev up the tension. Though Colin, I think a kiss in that scene might help. We all know what sells.” Says Merchant to Shapiro who shakes his head in disapproval.
“Mr. Boroughs, thank you so much. I believe we’ve seen enough to make our decision.” Says Stein.
“Oh, alright. Well thank you. Thank you so much. It’s been an honor.” I say, and quickly make my exit before I have a chance to embarrass myself further.
“Hold up! I’ll walk with you.” Says Kevin as he chases after me.
“We are not through with you Mr. Connors. We still need to discuss some matters with you.” Stein says like a teacher telling a kid he cannot go out and play.
“ Oh…right. Well I’ll see you then.” Says Kevin with a short wave that feels so inconsequential compared to the intimacy of the scene that happened moments before. Taken aback by how quickly he returned to being so professional I simply nod to him and close the door.
The entire experience has left me light headed, and before I know it I’ve boarded the subway home. I don’t recall speaking to Jerry, and for a moment on the train I feel guilty for failing to say good-bye. The train is crowded, and though I wish I could sit down, I don’t get to do so until I flop down onto the couch inside the apartment. Before I know it, I close my eyes and fall asleep.