Thursday, February 09, 2006

My Life, My Cheese

Like most people, I have every expectation that one day, sooner or later, I will receive a telephone call during which an anonymous caller will state their intention to make a movie of my life. I usually imagine the voice to sound remarkably like the late Orson Welles, for some reason, and in the more elaborate versions of this fantasy I am speaking into an oversized gold receiver dangling from diamond-ring encrusted fingers (my own or somebody else's).
Now, I'm not delusional. I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like everybody else (especially one-legged people). As an aside, however, I have developed a method of putting on my underpants two legs at a time, which involves lying on my back on the bed or floor and flinging them up in the air while kicking wildly. It usually takes four or five attempts, but it's hell satisfying once achieved.

Anyway, since I'm not delusional, I'm fully aware that such biopics don't just come along to any old joe. That's why I've been working on several secret projects that will set me aside from the common folk once revealed (hush hush for the moment but if you're thinking "could he mean robots who look just like normal peoples?" you MAY be on the right track.

But this is also why Orson doesn't just come out and say "we want the rights to your life and we're already two weeks into shooting with several leading Hollywood actors including Denzel Washington in an uncredited cameo as your fictionalised half-brother/table tennis coach". What he says is more like "we're going to begin with a six month development period in which we workshop the script we're using and conduct test readings with real live audiences".

And so it was with interest that I went to a reading on Monday. The script in question was a play, not a film, and it didn't so much tell the story of one interesting man's life as it did explore the grim future offered by cloning technology. Futur Deluxe is by an acclaimed Swiss playwright, and now that I think of it, Orson Welles made a famous comment about the Swiss in his film The Third Man. It was something about nothing ever coming out of Switzerland except cuckoo clocks. There was more to it than that but I'm so lazy I'm not even going to google it.

The play reading was a pleasant enough experience, comfortable and presented in the attractive environs of fortyfivedownstairs. The cast were mostly good, but I just couldn't get excited about the script. Cloning is not and never will be an interesting subject for a play, and if it does feature in a decent script it will be a 'despite' thing, not a 'because of' deal. A conversation afterwards included something along the lines of "it might have been a better play if the whole cloning bit was cut out", and if somebody is saying your play might be better without its central theme, you might want to rethink things.

The Theatre @ Risk crew have been responsible for some outstanding stuff, and this was just one of a week of different play readings they're doing alongside the season of performances of One Way Street which I'm seeing on Sunday. Since Futur Deluxe was the first of this season, opening night featured catering from some Swiss folks (might have been the embassy). That meant pretty good wine and bucketloads of cheese - white cheese, Swiss cheese and the biggest monster-truck-wheel-sized block of blue I've ever clapped eyes upon. And it was all great, in that "ewww, I think I'm sweating cheese" post-event manner. But kudos to the Swiss for a fine spread.

NOTE: this scene will probably be cut from the final script of my life.

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