Monday, February 14, 2005

Cause of Death: Linda Lavin

I am not an actor. Thank you, Linda Lavin.

Actually it's not all Linda Lavin's fault. I just had an unfortunate experience with her - and really, who doesn't know what that's like? Dying a hundred deaths while being humilated by TV's "Alice" - we've all gone through that, right?


I was in my junior year of Acting! school. I was also working as a waiter, so I was perpetually short on time. Linda Lavin and her then-husband Kip Niven had come to our university so that Mr. Niven could direct a production of a play in the summer arts festival. Linda Lavin offered to do an audition workshop for the students on a Saturday.

I had to work later that day, so I asked the student stage manager who was arranging it all to put me first on the list. I had no time, so I did what I usually did in those situations: I pulled something out of my ass and hoped I could skate through. We were supposed to do a monologue and a song; looking back, I know that my choice of material was spectacularly wrong. I also hadn't worked on them all that much. I figured I would go first and it would all be overwith quickly.

Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

I went out onto the stage, with the stage lights on full; Linda Lavin was somewhere Out There in the black void. I shlepped through my monologue. I did the song.

Silence from the void.

Then she began peppering me with questions. What did I think about my training? I sort of rambled through an answer - I liked school, I enjoyed my classes, blah de blah. She interrupted me, and asked again. What I realized was that she was saying something more along the lines of, "Do you think you have any training? Because you? Suck."

I don't remember how long I was up on that stage. Eons passed. Tectonic plates shifted. Crops grew and were harvested. Seasons passed in time-lapse splendor. Dynasties sprang up and were overthrown. And still I was there sweating under the stage lights, sitting on a stool, being lectured by Linda Lavin. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying.

Dying. Dying. Dying.


After I was reduced to a small tidy pile of ash, the stage manager came out from the wings, swept me neatly into a dustpan, and deposited me backstage.

I learned several things that day. I began to realize that acting, while I enjoyed it, was not my passion the way writing was (side note: though I sucked that particular day, I wasn't bad in general.) I would crawl over broken glass for my music; as for acting, it was fun, but I didn't have the fire in my belly.

But more importantly, I learned that going through life with blinders on, it's tough to see. I had to get up, get out from under and look for me. There's a newwwww girl in town...

And the most important lesson: don't try to fake it by pulling something out of your ass. You can't fool Linda Lavin.


Blogger jwer said...

A comment in 2 parts:

1. If anyone should've hyphenated their name, it's Linda Lavin-Niven.

2. Well you certainly can write, sir.

5:31 AM  
Blogger David said...

He certainly doesn't do a very good job of acting like someone who turns the lights off when he leaves a room. (Am I sensing a thread here?) :)

7:48 PM  
Blogger crumblord said...

jwer: Why thank you.

David: Maybe it's that I bring illumination wherever I go. Along with crumbs.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous JRowe said...

Linda Lavin can kiss my grits...

6:27 AM  
Blogger jwer said...

While the well-meaning frequently tell me I should have a column somewhere, it's far from effortless for me to write a series of coherent vignettes about anything, and I'm rarely even satisfied with the very ones they claim are so syndication-worthy.

Meanwhile, here you are, coming late to the blog party, and knocking off a crapload of just such posts...

You know what I think? You should have a column! (you know, to fill up all your spare time.)

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

I'll never watch "Alice" again.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should have said, "You had the worst accent ever onstage in BROADWAY BOUND and then reused it again in GYPSY...and closed it in a week. Whore."

7:13 AM  
Blogger Hilary C said...

You should update your self on Linda Lavin. Whilst I have never been a particular fan of her work (I do not watch television), she has devoted many years to sponsoring opportunities for under privileged youth and working within a community to return poor neighbourhoods to dignity.


3:04 PM  

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