Confessions of a Child Actor

Some time ago, in my 100 things about me post, I mentioned a little bit about my stage/screen history. Because I’m preoccupied with watching the snow fall and felt like writing, I figured this would be easy enough and not require too much creativity. So I’m going to give you a little bit here and a little bit there, but those wanting to see the printwork and headshots and such from my youth are out of luck for now. I will, however, be willing to accept bribes.

How it started:

My recollection is a little fuzzy. I was young and essentially my older sister and I were asked if it was something we wanted to do. It was, so we did. My mother and father spent a considerable amount of time running us around to auditions in DC, Baltimore, and New York City (day trips up and back on Amtrak). One audition I remember very well was at the Lazy Susan Dinner Theater in Woodbridge which resulted in…

First Memorable Acting Experience:

South Pacific at The Lazy Susan Dinner Theater. We trekked out to Hoodbridge for the audition one night. My sister and I were auditioning to be the 2 Polynesian kids (if you’ve seen it) and had to sing Di Te Moi for the audition and perform a coordinating routine. When we got back home the phone was ringing and we were given the job that night. Evidently they liked us and our look. A white brother and sister combo were our understudies (to perform, they had to be covered in darkening makeup). Retrospectively it was pretty cool to perform with my older sister, though at the time I didn’t entirely appreciate it. Now, French isn’t a language I know (semi-funny story alert) but I learned (and still remember most of) Di Te Moi especially for the show. During the song, I hear a crow off in the distance and get distracted. I run after the bird sound waving my arms yelling a word that I’m going to misspell (oiseau) which was supposedly was French for bird, and then stopping and going “caw caw caw!” at the bird before being dragged back to the rest of the song by my irritated sister. One night, a few nights into the show, the bird caws and I run after it going “caw caw caw!”, then realizing I was supposed to be saying “oiseau!” I say – in English – “OOPS! I mean…” and then saying “oiseau! oiseau!” Tons of laughs backstage for that one…

Other stories:

- I had an extra role in Live Wire, a movie starring Pierce Brosnan as someone on a bomb squad, expert in diffusing bombs (to my recollection). In the beginning of the movie a bunch of kids and I had to dance around in a cracked-open fire hydrant amid a huge stream of cold water. Did I mention this was the middle of October? Anyways, I appear in the water in the opening of the movie, and in one scene later. Two other kids and I were going up the street, 1 on a bike, 1 other and I running alongside throwing a beach ball back and forth. So, up the street we go over and over, away from the camera, with Brosnan coming down the street towards the camera. Me and the kid throwing the beach ball back and forth. Over and over… So, on one take, Brosnan walks between me and the kid and I throw the ball and – WHAM!! – I hit Brosnan in the face with it. He was REALLY pissed off. He grabbed the ball and slapped it with his hands and spewed a bunch of angry British-accented stuff that may or may not have included obscenities. I don’t really know for sure because I didn’t really understand much of it and I was scared/fascinated by his reddening face. No, they didn’t use that take.

- I’m doing The Man Who Came To Dinner at Arena Stage. I’m part of a youth choir that’s supposed to go to a house and sing Silent Night. When the other kids and I enter we’re supposed to be chattering about not much really, just making noise to fill the time from when we walk in to when we get situated to sing. One night, I think it’s funny if I ask aloud to nobody in particular “who farted?”… only I do it just as the chattering has pretty much stopped and evidently loud enough for everyone to hear. Niiiice…

Very Abbreviated List of Experience:

- Extra movie roles in JFK and A Few Good Men. I can find myself in the former, not so easily in the latter.

- Twelfth Night at The Folgers Shakespeare Theater. I remember this very well because Kelly McGillis was in it and I was watching the World Series backstage when the earthquake hit in San Fran (’89?).

- Commercial for People’s Drug (before it became CVS)

Most of the stuff I did on-screen (TV or movie) I was an “extra” in and often in the background. I used to take pride in being able to find myself on screen but now I don’t really revel in it anymore – possibly because I haven’t done anything really since early high school. I do know a few of you who were inquiring minds so there it is. Further explanation can be solicited through e-mail, as well as bribes offered. Enjoy the snow!

Leave a Reply