07 May, 2007

Method Acting

Roger Haskett - he’s playing “Neville”I’ve never been one to take method acting too seriously. I always identify with Sir Lawrence Olivier when I tell (or hear) the famous Marathon Man Dustin Hoffman/Olivier exchange (I do wish my career would identify with Sir Lawrence Oliver [or Dustin Hoffman for that matter!]). However, after the first read-thru, going out to Tim Hortons to get some sandwiches for some of the cast and crew, I seemed to be shanghaied by the spirit of my character “Neville.” What should have been a 15–20 minute excursion turned into a hour-and-a-half long series of mishaps which, at the time, felt extremely tragic but quickly resolved into a comedy once the experience was over; which is what The Beast of Bottomless Lake is, isn’t it? A tragedy to those living through it but a comedy to those watching it.

It started out simply enough: David Nykl, who is playing Paul – a hapless character just like Neville! (oh why did we go together? Why didn’t I pick one of the responsible characters in the movie to go get lunch with??? Ah, hindsight!) Anyhow, David and I following somewhat vague directions start walking (actually David is on his bicycle – which I have to admit he didn’t even offer to double me on! What rudeness!) and immediately go the wrong way. It takes us 4 or 5 blocks to realize our mistake and once corrected we continue on our way, having what I must say is a very pleasant conversation. Passing the Cactus Club, David convinces me that we should stop and eat there (far nicer that Tim Hortons he points out, and I counter that the cute waitresses are a bonus). Yes, it was very hard for him to convince me to eat at the Cactus Club (twist that rubber arm!). And to seal the deal, he quite rightly points out that I can go to Tim Hortons, which we both think is only one block away, after I order my food and pick up the sandwiches only to return to C Club in time to eat my hot food. Ahhh, the best laid plans of mice and men (I’m not sure where I stand in that comparison).

At this point, things start to go horribly awry.

It’s a hot day, so I leave my jacket at the Club only to return immediately to retrieve the paper with all the food orders on it. Aha! Things are going well; disaster averted. Imagine how embarrassing to arrive at T.H. (Tim Hortons) only to realize the food order is sitting in a jacket pocket at the C.C. (Cactus Club). Full of sunshine and happiness over disaster averted, I (or shall I say ‘Neville’ at this point, because he has definitely started to take over) walk to TH only to find that TH is not where our vague directions led us to expect it to be. Quel surprise!

Having no one to ask where it is, Neville pulls out his phone and — with ease — tracks down its actual location. It’s another 2 (long!) blocks away. Thinking of my meal about to be served, Neville breaks into a jog. Construction on the street has removed the sidewalk and replaced it with a dirt track liberally strewn with rocks (actually think boulders; that is more their size). Jogging around a woman who must be the slowest walker in the world, I (Neville) step on a boulder and manage to twist my knee (ouch!). Now, sweating and limping (ok, limping only a little – but it sounds good doesn’t it: “sweating and limping”?) I jog-hop the 2 blocks to TH. Yeah, there it is!

Entering TH I wait (impatiently) in line and finally get waved over to the “cash only” counter. But no problem I have collected the cash from the cast/crew so I place the order (which took quite a while as actors, it turns out, have very specific ideas of what belongs on a sandwich!). Payment time. I empty my normal money carrying pocket: you know, the one where you always stick your money. But sadly there is only a $10 bill in it. No problem! I remember putting the money in a different pocket so it wouldn’t get mixed up with my money. Smart! I congratulate myself on my foresight as I start to check my other pockets… I’m not so congratulatory as I check them again when they turn up empty… and again.

What the hell? I look at the floor. Did I drop the money?

And then it hits me: I must have put the money in my jacket pocket with the food order!?! Getting a little desperate, I offer my Visa®. But no, TH for some unknown reason doesn’t accept Visa® (Who the hell doesn’t accept Visa®!???).

Sweating a little more and causing a little bit of a commotion, I hit on Interac™. Saved! Except we have to switch lines since I’m in a cash-only line.

Ok, once that is done and I bump (on instruction of the staff, I might add) an elderly gentleman who was just about to order his lunch out of his line (who insists on standing right behind me — and I mean RIGHT behind me), I offer up my card and watch in amazement as it doesn’t work.

5 attempts… 8 attempts… Manager is called over… plastic bag is found and more attempts are made with plastic wrapped around my card… (remember the elderly gentleman? He is muttering not so quietly into what feels like the back of my neck things that shouldn’t come out an elderly gentleman’s mouth).

Finally the manager gives up and insists that she can not enter the numbers into the machine rather than swiping it. At this point, much of the lunch crowd is thinking: “boy, this lunch is more entertaining than normal” since there is no hiding what has been going on. Really sweating and feeling very desperate, I suggest the only option: hold my food order ’til I can return with money.

Jog-hop-limp the 3 blocks back to CC. I arrive to see David enjoying a tasty meal and my meal growing cold in front of my spot. I check my jacket. Yes! The money is in it. Good! You got to see the good at moments like this. I sit down and half eat my meal as we have now been gone for a long time. David, the gentleman — not to be confused with earlier elderly gentleman — offers to pay for my lunch. Great! Things are looking up! In a fit of generosity, David offers me his bike. Things are better and better!

However, it take David 2 tries to get his bike key off of his (rather large (!) key ring). Finally he gives up and gives me the whole set. It takes me a minute to unlock his bike lock and then I can not figure out where the lock goes. The lock holder doesn’t seem to like the lock. I’m stumped. I think of throwing the lock into the middle of the street hoping a big truck comes along to destroy it. David comes out (from his leisurely lunch, I think darkly) and snatches the lock out of my hand and explains as one would to a child that the lock is bungee corded down to the rat-trap. Of course! How did I not see that (I think sarcastically)! But then I get the last laugh! Ha! David can’t get his lock to lock. (David was channeling Paul at this point I am convinced.) Finally the lock is locked and bungeed down and I am up on his bike picking up speed as I race to TH. Oh oh, I forgot about the non-existent sidewalk. I slow down to avoid the boulders but mistakenly go a little too slow so I lose maneuverability and ride over a smallish boulder.


What the hell was that? The pedals stop moving and as I dismount in confusion I realize that the extra bungee cord not being used to hold down the lock has wound itself around the back tire and gear area! ARRRRGGGGG! Oh, and to top it off the bungee hook has wedged itself into the spokes and is strangling the wheel so that I can’t release the pressure on the cord.

Fuck, fuck fuck fuck fuck I am muttering (well muttering is not really the right word; it’s more like a contained yell) only to look up at a shadow passing by to realize it is a mother with a young child in a stroller. Oops!

After playing around with the wheel, spokes and cord for 5 minutes or so, I finally untangle the cord. Praying to Ogopogo, I test the wheel and everything seems to be working. Back up on the bike and off to TH. The rest is somewhat anticlimactic as it goes smoothly. Nervously riding back to the studio, though, I check over my shoulder for cars, dogs, bikes, raccoons, birds, whatever because I do not trust this day to end without my visiting the hospital.

Now, as I said from at the start: I’m not into ‘Method’ much. After this day I’ll be happy to stay distant from it for a long time.
- Roger

No comments: