After a longish period, with not much happening at all, the last week has been a particularly good time for reviews of my 'nostalgedy...
Thursday, 29 October 2015
I have no idea where this came from - it's just been running around in my head all day. So, at least it's been getting some exercise!
Scene: A grubby and untidy back-street office. Behind a desk overflowing with newspaper cuttings, final demands, playbills and hopeful letters sits a balding, chubby man in an ill-fitting suit. On the wall behind him there is a sign bedecked with little stars and bearing the rather optimistic legend 'Wishaw's Theatrical Agency - wishes come true with Wishaw!' A middle-aged woman, dressed rather younger than her years in a figure-hugging sweater and jeans, pokes her head around the door:
Veronica: "You wanted to see me, Mr. Wishaw?"
Wishaw: "Veronica! Come on in"
V: "Thanks, Mr. Wishaw"
She wiggles toward a chair and clears a few papers off it in order to sit down.
V: "BTW, Mr. Wishaw, it's 'Veronique' now, I've changed it"
W: "Veronique eh? Very pretty, I'm sure. Now then, Veronica…"
W: "Yes, of course. Well, look V, it's like this. You know I sent you up for that gas boiler ad?"
V: "Yes, Mr. Wishaw. Thank you, Mr. Wishaw"
W: "Thanks are unnecessary, Veron…V. I've had a note back from the producer and I thought I ought to share it with you."
V: (squeals excitedly) "Oh, some notes! I'm always willing to learn, Mr. W."
W: "Well, not notes as such, V. You see, I sent you for that audition because I thought it was something you could do standing on your head. However, from what it says here, it seems that's exactly what you did do"
V: "That's right, Mr. Wishaw. You see, the shot was just my from my feet up to my knees, and this animated corgi was going to be added in later. I couldn't see how I could convey the important emotions with just my feet and knees"
W: "So you stood on your head?"
V: "Yes, that's right. I wanted the viewer to understand the depth of my feelings"
W: "Let me get this straight, V. As I understand it, the nub and the gist of the ad is that a cartoon corgi brings a newspaper to you with a headline that shows that 1 in 11 boilers are potentially dangerous. Is that right?"
V: "That's it, Mr. W. It's an emotional subject. People could get hurt!"
W: "I don't doubt it, V. But don't you think the sight of you hanging upside down might just distract the viewers a tiny bit from the content of the ad?"
V: (sulkily) "I don't see why, Mr. Wishaw"
W: "Well, be that as it may, V. Leaving the 'standing on your head' approach to one side, for the moment, the other thing the producer was somewhat concerned about was your modification of your lines"
V: (very sulkily) "I don't think he properly understood my motivation"
W: "V. All he wanted you to say was 'Oh dear, corgi, that's not good is it?' and then the voiceover would explain the rest. But you didn't say that, did you V?"
V: (moodlily) "No, Mr. W."
W: "What you actually said was, and I quote, 'Good grief, my dog can read, I'm going to be rich beyond my wildest dreams!'"
V: "Well, that's what I would have said, Mr. W. I have to be true to my character, to my inner self."
Veronica slams her right hand to her chest for dramatic effect.
W: (sympathetically) "V, no-one doubts that your heart is in the right place. It's just that…"
Wishaw stares fixedly at Veronica's sagging embonpoint
W: (distractedly) "…your charley's aren't"
V: "I beg your pardon!"
W: (hastily) "Charlie's Aunt! There's talk of doing a run, thought you might fancy it?"
V: (suspiciously) "Where?"
Wishaw is still distracted and continues to stare at Veronica's chest
W: "God kn…Godalming!"
V: "I don't think so, Mr. W. It's not where I see myself right now. "
W: "What? Godalming?"
V: "No, silly! I mean my creative journey. Light comedy is so… yesterday. Today, I see myself as more…Ibsen, possibly Chekhov, Beckett perhaps?"
W: "Oh V! No, love. You mustn't run before you can walk." Picks up a piece of paper from the desk "What about a nice soap powder commercial, eh? All you've got to do is stick your hands in a bowl of suds. No dialogue, no nothing. Just your hands and a bowl of suds. What do you say?"
V: "But what's my motivation?"
W: "They're paying £300"
V: "I'll do it."
Wishaw gets up and escorts Veronica to the door
V: "If I bent down a little, perhaps I could…"
W: (firmly) "No V."
V: "I could scream a little? The water could be very hot…"
W: "Don't talk to me about hot water! Just the hands, V. and think of the money"