In the mid-1990s, I made my way around various film and theater circles. My interests were mainly centered around the prospect of putting on a good show. I enjoyed being one of those wizards behind the curtain executing an illusion. And it didn’t matter whether it was coming up with a wacky storyline or perfecting a visual detail that only a handful of people would notice. But because I was often so lively when I worked on sets, friends began to insist that I should act in their projects. One even promised me a bottle of vodka for a day of work. And it seemed impolite to say no. I would begin to point out to them that, although I had taken several acting classes to understand the process, there were plenty of people out there who could act.
But no, they wanted me. I had something that these actors didn’t. Or maybe they just liked seeing me ham it up. So in my early twenties, I would often be enlisted to act in short films and plays. I would either play authority figures (attorneys and doctors) or completely crazy characters (psychotic killers and lunatics in a sanitarium). I would develop an intricate character backstory far exceeding anything the writer had intended, and I would often work out elaborate character relationships with other actors so that we would have additional facets to work from during a scene. And it was all a great deal of fun.
Recently I discovered a videotape containing one such scene. I was twenty-two. It was 1996. I was enlisted by my pal Han Lee to play a scene from Glengarry Glen Ross for his film directing class at San Francisco State University. The other guy, playing Shelly Levene, is Eric Gibboney. At the very least, the clip demonstrates to the world that there once was a time in my life in which I did indeed have hair!
© 2009, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.