Dishing with Dennis and Cat, Part III: Stage Lovers

C- Back in my day when I was first starting out as a performer, I always had the lead in show and I always had a crush on the leading man in the show. It didnʼt matter if he was gay or straight.
D- Oh, I know how that is. Yes.
C- It is very confusing. Anyone who is a committed actor will invest in the situation. You don’t even know you are doing it. But you are very confused by the whole situation. This sort of thing is not acknowledged enough. There are a lot of social complications to being a performer. Back when theater began, actors were considered whores and lowlifes because they did things like kiss people onstage and show off parts of their bodies that were improper. It is really hard because when you are an actor, you cannot help but embrace your character in real life. Most of those people were much more free in their personal lives because they had been freed up by playing different people.
D- Yes.
C- And the reason for the social stigma was they were disregarding the social laws in real life. Even today, you think about actors making love on camera … whenever I see that, I think, “I don’t know how you do that without an emotional connection to your fellow actor.”
D- I know. You are not really doing your job as an actor if you do not have an emotional connection to the scene.
C- I know. I don’t know how anyone stays married in that business.
D- I don’t either.
C- Because every kiss is confusing if it feels real to you in the moment.
D- Yes. If it is believable, then it is BELIEVABLE.
C- Unless the guy is gay. That is my theory. If your leading man in gay then you are better off.
D- Because it is not going to go anywhere.
C- It’s not going to go anywhere, but also there is a comfort and a trust that is actually beautiful. It can work for the character without the other confusion.
D- It is interesting. When Lynn Redgrave did her one woman show at Intiman, Shakespeare for My Father, in 1996 I found her to be a lovely, lovely woman.
C- She seemed pretty cool.
D- Yes, indeed. She had created a memoir play that she performed by herself about her childhood growing up in a theatrical family and with her famous actor dad, Michael Redgrave. She had a few great stories about her whole family would take on the role that dad was playing at any given time. They liked the comedies the best!
(They laugh)
When dad was doing a comedy, the house was filled with joy and laughter. And when he was doing a drama, the whole house was filled with THAT drama. It was very confusing for them as a child, to not know what their father’s next role would be and what it was going to be like at home a month later when dad changed into a different character. Are you familiar with Object of My Affection, the book or the movie?
C- No.
D- In the movie, Jennifer Aniston plays a woman who gets pregnant by her boyfriend. Her boyfriend is a jerk and the relationship is rocky. She decides to keep her baby and raise the child with her best friend who is gay and played by Paul Rudd. They make a plan to  maintain a platonic relationship, and her friend will be the father figure.
C- oh, wow.
D- It sounds good in theory. The gay best friend is single and they have all that platonic beauty … safety and security and trust. And then the friend gets a boyfriend.
C- oh, no.
D- Yes. And she becomes very threatened and fragile. The new boyfriend’s presence destroys that friendship. They may or may not have been able to pull off raising the child as a platonic team, but the threat makes them take a look at themselves and question whether it would be the best thing. And who is to say one way or the other? I have never read the book, but the movie ends with Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd both getting into other relationships. Everyone being happy.
C- oh, that’s nice, but you have to wonder how much that really happens. This stuff is so confusing. In my book, the character of Sven is on the fence sexually. I know people like that. They are predominately one or the other, but they are so open physically. They are so comfortable with their body that if you give them a few drugs or drinks and they will go either way. Whatever is convenient. And they don’t think about consequences, because most actors don’t.
D- No, they do not.
C- It is interesting when you are writing fiction because you know that some aspects are absolutely absurd and other aspect are not as absurd as people think.

[To be continued.]

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