the lawyer writer

sometimes legal                     sometimes literary                     sometimes not

Friday, July 22, 2005

Fame and Fortune

Hi, remember me? I used to blog here. lawyerwriter is the name. I have been dogsitting with a very weak internet connection, which meant the dog got a lot of attention but the blog did not. Now, like Lady Lazarus, Ophelia and Sleeping Beauty rolled into one, I have returned to let you know that I have been Discovered.

This is very exciting for me. The closest I have been to being Discovered up until now was when some Indian lady (officially known as an "Auntie") stopped me in the park while I was walking a dog to ask for my name and biodata. That is, she did not actually ask for my biodata, but she was particularly interested to know if I walked the dog at the same time every day, presumably so she could drive by with her eligible nephew to point me out to him. She was very disappointed that I gave her the generic dogwalking business card rather than my home phone number, particularly because I do not think she owns a dog.

That said, I am now playing Kentucky Fried Chicken Girl in Bath Party, which is a multimedia play that is going to go on for four weeks at the Howl Festival, which is a pretty cool festival in the East Village. This is an original one-person show starring the very beautiful and talented Meital Dohan, and it covers issues about the American Dream and globalization, but in a very funny way. My blog audience (and audiences in general) will be relieved to know that I do not actually have to act on stage, but that my part will be filmed and then shown on a screen behind Meital.

One of the great disappointments of my life is my utter lack of acting ability, which I try to hide by being as dramatic and often drunken as possible. The last time I acted was as Goody Crazy Woman in my college's three-and-a-half hour production of The Crucible, where my hair was spraypainted silver (I will do hairpainting if it is integral to the part). Anyway, it was my job to rant in a Puritan kind of way until I was burnt at the stake. I thought I did a fine job, but the rest of the cast seemed a little to eager to use real fire on me.

This did not seem to dissuade Meital or her director, Karen Shefler, at all. I have less chance of screwing up on film rather than theater, so I am grateful not to appear on stage for four weeks in a row. And I hope it will not cause stampedes of people to run when I say that I have to sport an Indian accent. I accept that an Indian accent is intrinsically funny, and I also accept that I cannot do one very well (I look to Apu on The Simpsons as my muse). Again, this did not seem to dissuade Karen or Meital, who rather touchingly believe I am perfect for the part. If only everyone had such faith me!

But this is what I anticipate: a Hollywood Bigshot will be in the audience. My face appears on the screen--just for a minute--but he stands up and says "Who is that girl?" His assistant tries to argue with him: "But sir, she's a nobody." "I don't care," Hollywood Bigshot says. "Get me that girl! I want to make her a Star!" And the rest is Hollywood history.

If anyone can name the show where I ripped off that whole scenario from, I will give them a cookie. It will probably be a dog cookie, but a cookie is a cookie.

27 Comments:

Anonymous Terry Jacks said...

I'm surprised that you have to look to Apu for inspiration. Surely you have hordes of relatives who will be more than willing to lend you a diphthong or two. At any rate, good luck! If not Hollywood, then maybe Bollywood will come calling.
All hail the LawyerWriterDogwalkerActorPhilosopher... You are something else! That's what makes people want to read what you write.
Slainte!!

3:13 PM  
Anonymous qksail said...

Yah! LW is back!! With that gratuitous display of blogging affection disposed of, allow me to return to my occasional annoying commentary.

Question: should a well educated, highly literate, intelligent person of some minority group feel any qualms about agreeing to a bit movie role where she is asked to put on a stereotypical accent for that group? What if the role or writing also includes other stereotypes (even hilarious ones).

I love Apu but he aint politically correct. Should LW be more so? I should caveat my remarks by saying I'm unqualified to answer because I'm a white wasp male.... a "majority" if there ever was one.

But I'm trying to imagine if a similarly educated and literate person who is Jewish/Hispanic/African American/Chinese (or even Swedish!) would halt at being asked to do a simlar role as KFC girl.

Blog firestorm ignite!

11:55 PM  
Blogger the lawyerwriter said...

rather typical response of political correctness, don't you think? the mere mention of fast food and an accent leading to accusations of stereotyping?

The part I'm playing leads to a joke about outsourcing. Like The Simpsons, Bath Party makes fun of all stereotypes, even while portraying them. As for Apu, he is the longest running, most human Indian character on television. Find another one, and then we can talk.

Needless cries of political correctness often inhibit risk taking in art and literature, --not to mention limiting roles for minority actors. That's far more offensive to me.

And devil's advocate gets old when it's just a knee jerk reaction to stir up controversy.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous qksail said...

Well argued for the defense, counselor. But I personally think the question deserved a more nuanced answer.

As for Apu's competition as the most "human" Indian on television,what do you think of Parminder Nagra who's on ER? She's good I think. Forgive if I missed an earlier post on that.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, why Apu? Why not imitate real accents instead of Hank Azaria's take on it? (Is it Azaria doing Apu? I forget.) There are crores of examples of Indians speaking English.

Personally, although I think Apu is funny, I think that English spoken by an Indian sounds as nice as English spoken by an Irish person.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm gonna take a shot in the dark and say "The Brady Bunch." Specifically, the disturbing (unless you're a pedophile) episode when Cindy channels Shirley Temple...

3:11 PM  
Blogger the lawyerwriter said...

alas, blog audience, it was I Love Lucy where Lucy helps Ricky out with his Hollywood screen test. I have given away the cookie.

As for Apu...he is very special to me. It was the first time that someone took the Indian stereotypes (Quik-E-Mart, useless PhD, arranged marriage, etc) and not only displayed them, but turned them upside down and shook them. Remember that Apu and his TransAm were the love of all the Springfield ladies before his arranged marriage. And most jokes about him have to do with how ridiculously hardworking he is.

As for the accent, don't worry. The director wants a mild accent, not something cheap or caricature-ish. I chose Apu because I am a lousy actress and I needed an exaggerated accent just to get the hang of it.

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