The Actor and The Actress
Episode 1. By Lynette McNeill
Hello actors and actresses! I present to you – The Actor and The Actress – a series I wrote for my acting students. I have decided to publish them to the public so that they can inspire many more and help you with your own journey. These are based off of real experiences I have observed – with my own students and others in the industry. Enjoy!
Giovanna Reynaldi is a beautiful, young Italian actress living with her boyfriend, actor Hugh McLaren, in a house they rent in the Hollywood Hills. Giovanna has been working consistently for the last two years, but Hugh is struggling to get his career off the ground. They met in acting class in Los Angeles three years ago and continue to take classes and work on their craft. Hugh has written a play and has put several of the actors in class in key roles. Set in the 50s, the story takes place in New York City and is about a nightclub singer with ties to the mafia.
He has cast himself and Giovanna as the lead characters and is also directing the production. This evening they’re rehearsing the opening scene, which they’re taking into acting class tomorrow night. Giovanna has been at a photo shoot for a magazine and is running late. Hugh is setting up the living room to rehearse. He’s getting into character by wearing a smoking jacket and ascot that he picked up in a thrift store. An instrumental version of “Fly Me To The Moon” is playing on the sound system as Hugh mixes a drink getting into the part.
When he hears Giovanna’s keys in the door, he grabs a mic and begins to perform “Fly Me To The Moon” as she comes into the room. Loaded with clothes and bags from the shoot, she’s taken by surprise as he leads her to a chair and takes her things, singing the whole time. He finishes the first verse and says, “I’ve got it. He should be performing in the club when the play opens.” She looks up at him and says, “Gee, honey, that’s great. But I need a minute to catch my breath.”
“Gee, honey, that’s great? What is that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing. It’s great. I just need a few minutes. I’m still coming down from the photo shoot. It was amazing. It was so much fun and they actually gave me some of the clothes!”
“Okay, I get it, but we have to get to work. We perform the scene in class tomorrow night and it’s the first time anyone’s going to see it.”
Handing her the script, he starts the scene.
H. (with an accent) “Lombardo’s coming to the second set. I can’t wait to see his face when I tell him.”
G. “He doesn’t know?” Wait a minute. When did you add the accent? I really think it’s better when it’s simple and you’re connected. You were really there when we read it last week.
H. No, he needs some fire. He’s too weak. This is sexy.
G. You’re sexy, Hugh. The accent sounds put on. Like you’re trying to be Antonio Banderas.
H. See there you go. I start to get creative, and you kill it. I can’t work like this. I’m trying to put my stamp on the work and you make me feel ridiculous.
G. Okay, let’s just improvise and play around a little with the characters and see what happens.
H. Oh, so now you’re directing. Thank you so much, Kathryn Bigelow.
Rehearsal. It’s a bitch. Tune in next week to see what happens with Hugh and Giovanna and where this all leads.