Thursday, August 9, 2007

Another of my "Mad Skills"

Have I told anyone I've done some acting? I'm far from professional. Never studied drama, and much less had a chance to, what with being homeschooled. But I have had some experience.

I kind of started in Sunday School, I guess, where you are drafted into a particular role. I remember being one of the three wise men in the Christmas pageant... I hate those things... I will never force any children I may have to do them. But I do remember blowing away my folks by saying my line loud and clear!

The next role I got was being a saint in a human video of Carman's "The Champion." I was with my brother and a midget... They were the other two saints...

Then came Youth Camp. That first year I went, I didn't really have any important parts in our sketches. Oh, but the next year! The next year, I finally broke out and showed off what I could do... the final night of camp. We were doing a parody of the show "The Real World," and we were behind the scenes of a musical about a fictional musical based on the life of the fictional hosts that year, hillbillies Pa and his son, Boy. I played the understudy for Pa... and, being from southern Missourian, I hammed it with a hillbilly accent. One of my memorable lines was about the understudy for Boy. I commented that the "actor" and I had had lots of roles opposite each other: the Mad Hatter and the March Hare from Alice in Wonderland, and "when I was the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, and he was my Tin Man!" And at that point, I gave the guy an awkward hug. Tons of laughs.

Before camp, my Youth Group started a drama team, which is still going to an extent. I was involved in almost every production. My first role was a lame man on a crutch that was a little too small for me. (It looked like it had been swiped from Tiny Tim.) I pulled it off.

I even got to create and direct and lead (there was no one else) my own human video, "And They Praise God," performed by Chapter 6. We only got to perform it once, and then it was shelved because the leader of the Drama Team felt we were too out-of-synch at the end. (We were supposed to each get down on one knee on different beats. Mine was last.) Too bad, because it went from being mine to having everyone put in something about their roles. It was OUR drama, not mine. (Thanks, Lizzie!)

When we went back to Youth Camp, my build was used as comic relief, which I do VERY well. I got to do weird pacing throughout our "cheer," which was really a dance routine, which closed with me all alone, then realizing I'm alone, then running off. (Silently.)

Later, I got to tell a group of girls that "I could eat Chip and Parker (late night activity hosts) for lunch." Then I was a one-man firing squad who almost killed off a whole cheerleading team, before realizing that the last one was my long-lost brother... all set to Celine Dion's "My Hear Will Go On."

The last night, though, I had a blast playing Lord Lipgloss, who steals women's lipgloss while "trying to make the world a beautiful place!" I even carried a light saber and had to put on lipgloss during it, and spoke like Darth Vader. (That is really taxing on the throat to do it at an audible level... and I haven't even seen the original Star Wars trilogy.) I was defeated by "spirit fingers" after I bumped off "Bubbles," who was actually a guy.

During the next year, I worked more with the drama team, including our first public performance at the See You At The Pole Rally. The song was "What If His People Prayed" by Casting Crowns. They sabotaged our performance by having the song muted for the first 15 seconds. We picked up the slack, but the impact was greatly decreased. Not to mention they'd put us in near the end of the Rally...

The next year at Youth Camp, I was one of the very few people in my team who was not afraid to act stupid in front of everyone. I was the only guy who didn't sing our theme song (instead I marched in front of Princess Orange and did some swaying on my knees). I also played Zoltan, the anime-style supervillian in a "live anime," who moved jerkily, even when he died. His only line was "Uh," which was immediately followed by his followers shouting "Zoltan!"

The last night brought us a musical about Egypt. I wrote up a parody of "Bohemian Rhapsody" to retell the story of Moses (worked very well!), but, and you won't believe this, there was only one other person in the whole team who had heard the famous song by Queen. So, with no time to teach it to everyone, we threw together a song medley that wound up feeling more Arabian than Egyptian. I put my gusto into it, but no one else felt like looking silly.

I mean, I started it by singing an abbreviated version "Prince Ali" from Aladdin, then we set down the "Prince Ali" on his chair, and then two wastrels tried jigging to "The Smurf Theme Song," and then picking on the prince. I stopped them, then they burst into an abbreviated "It's A Hard Knock Life For Us" from Annie. Then the Prince stood up, lost the Monty Python & The Holy Grail reference ("I just want... to sing..."), and started singing "When You Wish Upon A Star" from Pinnochio. Then, the wastrels carried him off, and I took his place on the throne, finding it empty, where girls fed me grape-flavored Juicy Fruit gum.

Any wonder we came in LAST place? (I'm only as good as my co-stars!)

That next year, as I had turned 19, I was asked to leave the drama team. I did.

But, then came the irresistible lip-synch contests! In 2006, I did a solo lip-synch of "7th Wheel" by Chapter 6. (This also earned Chapter 6 at least four new fans.) It was ineligible for prize consideration. The next year, I and two friends performed "Lost in Canada," also by Chapter 6. Tiffany lip-synching for Jarrett Johnson was worth it all! We got the top points of the night, but because of my status as a Youth Leader, we dropped two points, putting the two girls I worked with in second place, but they (and I) still got to enjoy the rewards of pizza and a private DVD viewing of Night At The Museum, as well as doing it again for a Dinner Theater fundraiser.

So my acting is now off and on. I'll do it by request. Most recently, I played a demon afflicting our Youth Pastor, Tim Armstrong. (I had three others with me.) We'd actually been told we would perform in blackface, but we all objected. That black-stereotype look would not go over well! So, we just had to temporarily contort our faces into looks of sheer evil.

One thing that did annoy me was that they said AFTER casting me as a demon that they wanted all of the Youth Leaders up front at the end, but as I would be at the other end of the sanctuary at the end, and the duplicate roles without change of costume would be confusing, so that was a no-go. (Maybe I'd act like a Youth Leader if they'd treat me like one... just a little bit?)

Anyways, that drama led into the praise and worship of our 2007 Youth-led service... best service EVER if you ask me...

The craziest part is that an old lady was actually a fan of my acting with the drama team, and said God would use my acting to His glory, according to a dream she had.

But, I'm not acting now. There are no current plans in my life to act. Maybe my interest in screenwriting and filming may be what she dreamt...

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