Know your role

As I stood there watching the young man writhing on the floor, lip locked with a rubber IKEA oven mitt, I wondered what the hell I was doing here.

My friend Abner has been encouraging me to go to auditions, to network, make contacts with script writers. “You’ve got to get out there and follow your dream!” He was right.

Consequently, I’ve been signing up for auditions and taster classes. It’s been something to get me out of the house at weekends. Plus it’s free, which sums up my criteria for entertainment these days.

It’s definitely been entertaining.

At the writer’s workshop, I felt like a moody teenager. I was sat at the back, all dressed in black, screwing up my face every time someone bleated at the opportunity to read their work out.

I was grateful for the pair work. At least then the other person could strain their arm enthusiastically in the air, while I continued to slouch apathetically in my chair and text.

The activity was a silent dialogue, set at a party. Pradeep and I commenced our silent conversation. Needless to say, in real life Pradeep and I would a) Never be found at the same party b) Would never have commenced to converse because I would have been able to see his conversation coming a mile off and hot-tailed it to the bathroom.

Writing classes and workshops are a great place to meet a writing partner; your lobster.

Pradeep was not my lobster.

There weren’t any lobsters. Just people trying to figure out what their ‘love’ was. But maybe loving something wasn’t enough. Nor was Marcela. She gleefully shared her comedy creation, Paul: an extremely fat man good at his job. “Fat isn’t a character flaw. What’s his flaw?”

“He works too hard? But sometimes it’s difficult because… he’s fat!”

“So it’s funny because he’s fat?”


This went on for a while before we all just gave up.

This would never happen at TGS

The following weekend I was amidst a group of actors. Some of whom found it hard to mask their disdain at the fact I was a tourist. ‘It seemed like fun’ is not what the competition want to hear at an audition.

They want the part.

They will even use a five minute break to try and get it, as I found when I was faced with the ridiculously energetic Eva. Her heart-rendering performance of the day she fell over in the rain went sadly unnoticed by the director. I think I’d asked her if there was a Tesco nearby.

I couldn’t bring myself to participate in the improv. The group of people on the floor fighting over a toilet brush, while one waggled his tongue in and out his heat protected hand, left me speechless.

I have no problems looking like a fool. I just won’t fight other fools to do it.

They really wanted this. I needed to have that ‘willing to pretend to make it with a glove’ type of desperation. But I couldn’t even make eye contact with anyone. Every line I delivered was aimed at someone’s crotch or my own cleavage.

I was their Pradeep. Their Marcela.

My friend got a part in the play, without having to romance homeware. I signed up for the comedy writing class.

I think my first piece will be a drama about a woman trying to write a play about an overweight man trying to make it as an actor.

Maybe IKEA guy could play him. He seems like he would commit to putting on 20 kilos.



The long road to insanity

The phenomenon of having to live with your parents again  after years of independence, is not something that I am experiencing alone. It’s pretty much standard practice for Londoners, especially with housing being priced the way it is. So when you are changing career and have no income you should thank your lucky stars that your parents will have you. You decide to use those years of worldly experience and let grown up you handle life with the folks. Unless they are my parents that is. No one is mature enough for that. My parents make me wonder how I ever managed to act like a functional member of society for so long. Maybe it’s adjusting to home life again. Indian families, have their own brand of crazy. I don’t know if they are crazy like my folks are though. There was a reason I left so young and so quickly. Sadly, had I put more thought into my escape I wouldn’t have been forced to move back because of finances. Sometimes I feel like I deserve a Pride of Britain award for not spontaneously combusting after a week in their company.

Many a laugh has been had at the expense of our torturous relationship. Friends want to meet my Dad, buy him a drink, think my mother is quaint and traditional. To these people I say: NO. There is nothing cute or eccentric about either of them. If I didn’t know better I would think they had been weaponised to make the enemy go mad in closed spaces. Maybe it’s me overreacting, I’m always being told that it can’t be that bad. I have decided to dole out the crazy in installments, so you can judge for yourself without the harmful side effects.

The never ending noise

As a talkative person who has been affectionately called a ‘big mouth” and inspired more inquisitive minds to wonder if I would ever shut up, I have a pretty good tolerance for noise. It generally doesn’t tend to bother me. I enjoy a good conversation, a stimulating discussion, an impassioned debate, just as much as the next person. Just not all day long. Definitely not if I am not needed to have said conversation. Much less so when it is screamed at me because the other participants are almost completely deaf. This is where my Dad is a viking. He doesn’t need an audience nor a conversation opener it would seem. He often starts in the middle with “So I told him…” It takes a while before I even realised the conversation is aimed at me. When he tries to have a discussion he thinks calling me a moron is helping to develop the debate. This is normally when I tap out and put my headphones on. He does get sulky when he can see you’re ignoring him, which often leads to very animated discussions with the television. When he and my Mum ‘talk’ it could be easily misinterpreted as an argument. The police have been called more than once. Occasionally he bursts into song which then makes my mother burst into song and we then have a Bollywood sing off at 9pm. Delightful.  Imagine this all day every day. I no longer leave my room if I am home without a sibling.

Practical Joker

When I was a teen it was the bane of my life. The fake letters in the post, the phone calls, the ‘hilarious caricatures’ where I was covered in acne and arm hair. What every sensitive 14 year old girl needs. My Dad can actually be quite a funny guy, but too often it’s at the expense of someone else and you need to remind yourself, he is a small old man whom you will gain zero satisfaction from killing. He is constantly making up songs about how I have no friends, or how I am stupid, but to a jazzy tune like Copacabana, so it can’t really be seen as cruel. Nothing sounds mean when sung right? Wrong. It’s actually the karaoke equivalent of “Why do you keep hitting yourself?” You can only be called an idiot 27 times in a row before you start developing a twitch. I know. I have tested it out. In an attempt to save my sanity I have started smoking again, Unfortunately unless I start smoking crack or dosing myself with Ketamine, it won’t be enough. My Mum feigns sleep, only having a sneaky peek to see if she can sit up and finish off the rest of the peanuts before he comes back to share his latest joke. He doesn’t need you to be awake to talk at you…

Over Sharing

Since I can remember being able to understand my Dad’s anecdotes about his reckless youth, I have begged my father to keep his personal life and sexual commentary to himself. He retells it like the Adventures of Emmanuelle, only it’s being told by a man who isn’t wearing his teeth yet. Player Player.  I doubt the film franchise would have had the same international success, had it been told by a wheezy, 76 year old Emmanuelle. No one needs to know that, nor do they want to picture that. The number of times I have wanted to stab myself in the ear after some comment my father has made about some scantily clad woman on the TV, or when he has managed to crowbar in a story of his sexual hey day, well I would have slowly stabbed myself to death. My cries of “Inappropriate!” are ignored. I am a prude, it would seem. According to him, once you pass 18 everything gets put on the table. Maybe this is why most people leave home around that age. Now I am back and using his electricity, the only way out of hearing it, is to get up and go. He’ll remember though. Next time I am hungover and unable to move on the sofa, he will pick up where he left off and there isn’t enough Rohypnol in the world…

Human compost heap

Both my parents seem to think that I double as a garbage disposal. They are both impulsive shoppers, easily swayed by a BOGOF campaign. My mother is the worst offender. She will come home after one of her walkabouts around London, with an bag filled with random snacks that have taken her fancy and will then proceed to push them on you like her life depending on your consumption of these goods. “Have you had a Battenberg?” She will ask this question seven times in a day, often minutes after the previous time and then finally approach me in all severity, pause the telly and instruct me that it is my job to eat all the remaining Battenberg as it now stale. After three hours. The same is done for any food in the fridge going off. Many a time have I walked into the dining room to see a plate with a stale cake, a watery looking piece of fruit, some hummous that I didn’t know we had and a packet of Golden Wonder, and walked back out before she could make me eat it. When I have returned later in the evening I can still hear her ranting about her ungrateful children and my dad’s inability to force us to eat food. The key is to wait until they’re asleep and throw the food into the recycling bin. She seems to be so much happier in the morning and if I fake stomach cramps I get a cup of tea thrown in to boot. Ironically when she gets food that we all love, we are all rationed one piece each and god forbid you should eat more than your share. Believe me, there is hell to pay when that happens.

Tomorrow we will cover drunken MJ impressions and learning shame. For now I have managed to convince myself to take a walk to the pub. It’s what a grown up would do.