2012, Caitlin Hill with the First Year Adv. Dip. of Arts (Acting) Students of Southbank Institute of Technology/Brisbane TAFE for The Bedbug by Vladimir Mayakovsky.
The Bedbug is a huge challenge for any actor. How do you take such dated language or jokes of another culture that can't hide behind a labels like Shakespearean, Restoration, or Moliere?
The issues of The Bedbug are still hot, it's also important to reflect on capitalism and communism and the dire faults of each theory. However, when it is wrapped up in very specific jokes that were even hard to digest in 1920s Russia, how do you make it work for modern audiences? I DON'T KNOW. I tried. Zoya goes from being a young woman to being an old woman within a few scenes. I tried to capture the essence of being elderly without relying on makeup, costumes or a stereotypical old person voice. It was very difficult. Sometimes I watch this and I can see what I was aiming for and other times it is an utter failure, but I don't regret it because I learned so much during this process.
This production is part of our First Year assessment.
In one week I'm going to turn twenty-six. I can't remember looking forward to a birthday less. There's just so much pressure to make the most of your youth. It's something that everyone seems to want. The youngest this and the most youthful that and they are so young and you look so young.
There are many great things about turning twenty-five. The law trusts you a little bit more. You can hire a car. You don't have to record hours for driving lessons. It equals seven. It's a powerful number. It is also, quite often, the cut-off age for Youth aimed competitions. A lot of arts programs will try to offer you as many programs and competitions and awards until you are twenty-five, and then shit gets real. You're on your own. You're playing with the big guns. I don't even mind that, what I mind is that I regret not entering those competitions. I regret not just saying, hey, whatever, give it a shot. I always felt like I couldn't until I was perfect. So, I didn't try. I didn't enter. I didn't throw my hat in the ring and take a chance, and now I don't even have the opportunity. I hate that I care about this, that I regret it. That I feel like the whole arc of my life is to look back and say, "what if?" Why? Why do I think like that? Is it the media? The media showcasing so many young people. Young Hollywood. Up and Coming. This Three Year Old Will Break Your Heart With Her Voice. So many people want to dress like the young people. They want to live that lifestyle. They regret being insecure about their tight, wrinkle-free youthful bodies now that they are softer, and sagging, and wrinkling. I already look back at my younger body, with the handful of problems I have now, and think, "Why were you so ashamed? You were fine! Your clear skin! Your less-hairy body! Celebrate it. "I should have celebrated it more," I think...
...but fuck this guilt trip. Why can't I just suck at being young? Why can't I just accept that I'm a late starter, a Thursday's child, and I have a long way to go? I don't want to go back to being young. I was so bad at it. I was more annoying than I am now - and that's saying something. I was so ignorant. I was so selfish - more selfish than I am now. I felt so uncomfortable in my own skin. I only feel more and more comfortable every year. So why am I made to feel or let myself feel that I'm wasting my youth and letting my "best years" slip by, when maybe they are yet to come. Maybe they aren't either. Maybe it gets worse from here. Maybe. I'm not saying I want to sit on the couch and hope life brings me what I want. No. I will work hard for it. I am working hard for it. But I'm just so angry lately. I'm so angry and sad. I don't want to feel guilty anymore. I don't want to keep apologizing for myself. I don't want to feel guilty about sometimes being a grumpy bitch. I always feel like I'm begging and side-stepping around people and their moods, but why? Nobody is asking me to do that.
There's this weird thing that happens to anxious people. We are so aware of how lucky we are. We're so aware of how every moment, people die, good people who are making the most of every day, die. Yet, we sat at home with our fear and didn't do anything, and we're still here. We have this weird joke on us where we are so aware of our luckiness and therefore so afraid of its potential. We freeze in our awe of our luck, our fate, our lot.
I don't want to do that anymore. I don't want to freeze with fear. If I do, however, I don't want to feel guilty about it, that just makes it worse.
I wake up.
It's really early.
I make a hot tea or coffee.
I stretch my body.
I get shit done.
I enjoy it.
I am with people.
I make food.
I watch TV.
I trade stories.
I have a bath.
I go to bed.
I read a book.
I am lucky.
I wake with no fear of that luckiness.
I wake up.
My Brain lately has been feeding me movie trailers as dreams. I have only been to the movies a handful of times in the last few months, so I didn't think I was over-saturated with content, but I guess I am.
Today's Brain Trailer was a Sci-Fi thriller.
Mashed between an insecurity dream where I didn't know my lines for a school pantomime of Alice and Wonderland, and a beautiful moment where I looked up to see Robin Williams standing before me in a crisp dark suit. He looked younger and so radiant. I grabbed his face, and then gave him a big hug, touched his face again and then ran away, leaving him obviously surprised. It was a beautiful moment...
BUT BACK TO THE TRAILER.
INT. FANCY HOUSE ON TOP OF A HILL. NIGHT. A YOUNG WOMAN is babysitting her YOUNGER SISTER. It is twilight, but as soon as the beautiful afternoon colours light up their living room, they quickly disappear. The older sister walks outside and notices storm clouds gathering far away. As she walks around the house she comes across extremely low-hanging cloud. It is dark, like heavy smoke, she runs her hand through it caught up in the wonder of it - BAM. The older sister starts, looks around for the source of the sound- BAM. Running behind the house, and looking down into the valley, she sees a rocket launcher firing at something that she can't see. BAM: CUT TO: INT. ECONOMY SECTION OF PLANE. NIGHT. A LARGE BUSINESSMAN, talking loudly and annoying our handsome LEADING MAN [Daniel Radcliffe, of course] is ignoring the heavy turbulence of the plane. Our hero is not, he grips his chair tightly, and looks out the window to see the play begin to angle steeply towards the ground, and then the rest of the passengers feel it, the plane is angling too far to not affect their books and coffees - and then he feels it before he sees it, and looks down, the ground is rushing up steadily towards them - CUT TO: CARS rush away from the storm into a tunnel - CUT TO: A JANITOR runs down a school hall away from an unseen force - CUT TO: A BUSINESS WOMAN screaming in pain. And then more flashes of crazy shit that has probably all come from enjoying the ridiculousness of the Into The Storm trailer... BUT THEN: BLACK... FADE IN... The Young Woman and her Sister look around the house and outside at the world below them: DESTRUCTION. [Make sure you say it out and split it up with a deep movie-trailer voice:
DE - STRUC - TION. Feels good, doesn't it?] CUT TO: A collapsed underground tunnel filled with silvery steel going through various piled up and smashed cars and clinging to the walls of the tunnel. CUT TO: The business woman collapsed over her desk chair, to be pushed upright by an unseen person, to reveal that she is dead, with two small holes in her neck [VAMPIRE ALIENS???? OH, GOODY!]. CUT TO: The Janitor, alive, but his limbs have been stretched into thick red vines and he is attached to the wall. CUT TO: Our Hero, is alive, he's still in the wreckage of the plane, his right arm and the limbs of many others have all been joined as one to the roof of the plane, creating a sick, twisted, red limbed tree. A AMBULANCE OFFICER is inspecting him.
HERO DANIEL RADCLIFFE
I've got to get out of here.
We're doing what we can.
HERO DANIEL RADCLIFFE.
No. Really. I've got to get out of here.
You can tell that he knows something. we. don't.
More shots of red shit having absorbed various limbs and turned them into long red roots a la Tom Cruise's War of the Worlds.
Someone must have told me about the brilliant Mathieu Amalric or... OR... I had just seen The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which was suffocatingly beautiful... and I kindly wrote down his name the way I liked it. Isn't that thoughtful?
I suppose I planned to watch his films more closely. I did see Grand Budapest... but shit, I couldn't tell you what character he was off the top of my head in that wonderful whirlwind of a movie.
Let's make another list, his critically-acclaimed film performances:
• Le journal du séducteur (1996) • The Blue Room (2014) • On Tour (2010) • Kings & Queen (2004) • Heartbeat Detector (2007) • Venus in Fur (2013) • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) • My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument (1996) • Un conte de Noël (2008) • Munich (2005) • Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 (2008)
Am I missing any classics of his? I added it to my IMDB Watchlist, so, like everything else, I'll get to it.
When I was younger than 18, I began writing these Really Cool film ideas with Really Cool titles like:
The Return to Hanging Rock
My Battle with the Elusive Mountain.
The best part is the note at the bottom:
*Work on Titles.
Yeah, no shit.
Life 2.0 would be about a young girl becoming a web star... Woo. Diary entry.
The Return to Hanging Rock would be a teen horror film where kids are inspired to go to Hanging Rock to hang out even though the events are total fiction... Or are they???
My Battle with the Elusive Mountain would be about this girl who really wants to climb Mt. Warning (which is actually a sacred site to the local Aboriginal people there, who don't want it to be climbed), but something always stops her from getting to the top: wind, rain, etc. She realises she's been cursed for trying to climb it (which is possibly offensive, nice work), and goes overseas to try to undo the curse... The side-story is that she is secretly in love with her best guy friend... Eventually she gets deported back to Australia, and the Guy Friend is all like: I guess you're still cursed... and The Girl is all like: No, it must be broken, because it brought me back to you. And then they make out at the airport. Fade to black.
I also really wanted to write a Western Film that was epic on the scale of Pirates of the Caribbean but had musical numbers from popular song artists like Jeff Buckley, Muse, and The Killers. Ha ha haaaaaa.
My tips for writing a Western film were:
• Watch all movies. • Read Scripts, Books, Online. • Compile into a scrapbook where you can gather inspiration... • Work quickly. • Make it your hobby on weekends or [I love this part:] on lonely nights.
I never did let it occupy all my free time. What a pity. Let me know how you go writing your own Western with my expert advice! -_-