Comedy in a world of Tragedy

I hope for Madame’s sake that she really does have hidden cameras around. Especially with microphones. Immediately after getting up this morning, I launched into mumbling and grumbling my monologue, which served as the soundtrack for my morning routine, save for actually conversing with Sheila over breakfast. If Madame has cameras that record sound, she will make millions of dollars by sending that video of me sleepily walking through her house grumbling “au voleur, au voleur, a l’assassin, au meurtrier…” We’d decided to get up early today (9:30) to do a load of laundry. Sheila needed to go to Sweet Briar early to meet up with Kyle so that he could do an observation for his sociology class, so she left about half an hour before I did. By the time I got there, she, Kyle, and Rouge were sitting in the library. Kyle had put off his observation for a little while. We all ended up going over to the kebab place by Sweet Briar, and I had planned on eating my lunch there, but because we ended up eating right by the cash register, I decided against it for fear of getting in trouble. I spotted Rouge so she could get something, so she let me eat some of her fries, and she’d asked for sauce Algérien instead of mayo. It looked a bit like Thousand Island dressing… and it kinda was… but it was spicy! I couldn’t stop eating it. We helped Kyle do a bunch of his observations for his project, but we were only there for about half an hour. “I’m really supposed to be here for an hour.” I had a solution. “Kyle, there are four of us. You really only had to be here for 15 minutes. That’s an hour of data.” We went back to Sweet Briar and I pulled out the lunch I’d made (that Madame gave me permission to make), and I tried to eat it, but I’d had so many fries at the kebab place, and my nerves were starting to get the best of me, so I didn’t eat much. Kyle took down what all we’d observed for his project, and the whole group gave me some inspiring parting words before I left for class to try to calm me down… I really love my friends. I don’t know what I’d do without them. “You know that monologue. It’s in your head. Stop worrying about forgetting it because you WILL forget it if you start worrying about it. Just… go to class, get up there… and let it flow.” Nicest thing Kyle’s ever said to me. I did have to teach them that saying “good luck” is bad luck, but they said “break a leg” enough times after I told them that’s what you’re supposed to say enough times to make up for it…

I made it to class with about 15 minutes to spare. I decided to not touch the door on the off chance that there was another class that was going on, and I tried to catch my breath. Professor Bruhnes came down the stairs shortly after I did, greeted me, shook my hand, asked how I was, and asked if I’d looked in the class room yet. I said I hadn’t, so he did. There was a class going on. He asked me to come and find him when they left, so I said I would. He came back about 12 minutes later, the class still hadn’t ended. Other students had arrived by that time… The other class finally ended at two (when ours was supposed to start), but they took a hell of a time getting out of the room. We finally went inside, and the class was set up kind of like a debate room, so Professor Bruhnes joked that we’d have a debate. We moved all of the tables and chairs to the back of the room, then did some movement exercises much like the ones I do back home, where we all walk around the room at the same time and try not to bump into each other. The only thing we did a little differently was that Professor Bruhnes would say something to the effect of “when I count to three, we all laugh/scream/cry/spit/etcetera” so I’ll have to remember that one. After that exercise was done, we all sat down, and everyone was supposed to start workshopping their monologues or scenes. I kept trying to go, but someone else would start to get up at the same time I would, and Professor Bruhnes would see them first, so he never officially “called” on me to go. I never went today, and I feel like I missed one hell of a memo. Every single piece that was performed was dramatic. NOT comedic like the one I picked. All but one piece was contemporary. Out of the nine or so people that went, only three were off book (and I mean off book, like left the book in the audience). Everyone’s monologue was less than a minute long, with dramatic pauses for effect! Mine is a little over a minute long if I speed-through it. Professor Bruhnes would work with each person (or pair, there was one scene that went today) a little after they did their piece once, and after we’d run out of time, he gave a few general notes for all of us to do before we came back to class next week: Either lengthen your monologues if you did a tiny piece of it, or pick new ones (check), learn to speak up or throw your voice (check), slow down your rate of speech (iffy check, I’m supposed to be distressed and speaking quickly for the first part of my monologue), and add blocking (check). Looks like I did all that worrying for nothing. I get a whole extra week to fine tune my monologue, do it in front of my friends and have them critique me, then REALLY come in next Monday and make everyone cry from laughing too hard… assuming these people know what laughter is since none of them picked funny pieces…

During the little break we took in the middle of class, I pulled out my text of L’Avare and blocked my piece in the space, then I sat back down. I got a chance to chat with one of the girls that I was sitting next to, but she asked me a really interesting question to start out… I’ll just put everything in English here. “Do you speak French?” (Really, girl? I’m taking a class that’s totally in French. Pretty sure I speak it. Her friend that didn’t do any talking the entire time, but listened to the whole conversation was so embarrassed.) “Well I hope so. I’ve been studying it for six years!” “Oh… well… I meant do you understand it?” “For the most part. Sometimes it gets a little hard, but I think I’m doing okay.” “What part of America do you come from?” (First time I’ve been asked that. I usually get “where do you live?”) “California.” (This is where her silent friend got really interested.) “Oh! I have family that live in Florida, but I’ve been to California! It’s really pretty!” “Florida is too! I actually live in Los Angeles. That’s where my college is.” (Silent friend about pooped herself.) “LOS ANGELES?! You must be really good at theatre!” “I wouldn’t say that… I study it back home, but I’m so nervous now! This is the first time I’ve ever had to do a monologue in French.” (She spotted my book.) “Oh god. And you’re doing Molière?! Good luck!” Hey, forgive me for liking the classics… and having a bit of thing for Molière… Watch me nail this next Monday and you’ll see… I’m glad I kind of made a friend, though! There’s supposedly a Facebook group for our class (we even took a group photo for it), but I haven’t found it yet. I’m going to have someone write down the exact name for me next week so I can find it. I remember there being an issue with the creator misspelling the professor’s name…

I was so exhausted heading home… I’ve managed to figure out the key for not being bothered by creepy people near the Chateau d’Eau metro, though. Headphones in, volume up. There was someone walking close to me that I didn’t notice until he was right in my peripheral vision, and he was looking at me saying “s’il te plait? s’il te plait?” then he backed off and left me alone because I was ignoring him. Please what? I have no idea! I don’t know what you want! I couldn’t hear you because my music was too loud! Désolée je ne suis pas désolée to take a page out of Rouge’s book… that means “sorry I’m not sorry.” I got home around six, and rested. I got a chance to Skype my big sister since she wanted to know how my monologue went, and she’s kind of one of my theatre mentors… I ended up doing the monologue for her, which was a little lost on her since she doesn’t speak French, and because I tried to limit my blocking to what the camera could see, but she still laughed and thought it was really funny. She told me that the reason why I seem to be the only person in the class that picked a comedic monologue is because that comedy is harder for most actors to do. I’ve always found comedy easier than drama… There goes my worry of trying to “prove myself” in class. I’ve done it simply with my choice in monologue, evidently…

Madame came home and noticed that the usual drying rack wasn’t up in the sun room, but all of my laundry was up on hangers all over my room, so she laughed, brought it in the sun room, said my hanger method was impractical (really? I had no idea…) and had us hang up our semi-dry things on it. Our dinner was pretty darn good. Madame had made one of her homemade soups again, which I absolutely love. It took me a while to eat it because I was so tired. She and Sheila had finished their helpings before I was a third of the way done with mine. Madame asked if I didn’t like it, which wasn’t the case at all, and I had a hell of a time telling her that, because for some reason, my ability to speak French had flown out of the window at the beginning of the meal. I slowly got it back throughout the meal. I told Madame and Sheila to go ahead with the meal and to not wait for me to finish my soup to continue. This is when Madame taught me the expression “il n’y a pas de feu” literally, “there’s no fire” meaning, “there’s no hurry.” We had a salad, two types of ham, and bread (gluten-free for me, of course) for the rest of the meal. We talked about our family’s gardens, and what all we did during the day, which was always nice. Madame has started to get really talkative, which Sheila and I are loving! Joan and I got to talk a bit on Facebook. She’s had to move out of Mme. de Beaumarché’s house because she got a little too strict, so she’s living with a new family now. I’m hoping things go better for her!

I’m really tired. I get to sleep in a little more tomorrow, it’s Wednesdays and Thursdays that kick my butt.

Par ma foi, il y a plus de quarante ans que je dis de la prose, sans que j’en suisse rien. -Molière: Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s