Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Actors Don't Hunt in Packs

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  • Jackie Clark,

    Re aforementioned book cover. Nice rack. Seriously.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I saw the same link, then noted you (Emma, not Lyndon) had used the verb waitressed, and wondered if there might be sympathy with Joe Bennett.

    Heh, I think Karl du Fresne naughtily confounds two quite different things with 'waitress' and 'actress'. A number of my friends and family have waited tables and been perfectly happy to be called 'waitresses' (largely the women). But several prominent female actors are on record as intensely disliking the term 'actress', and several others as not wanting to be called an 'actor'. My position is that, if possible, you find out what a particular individual wants to be called, and call them that. Which is rather different.

    Probably not any more, but in the early days fly tower cues were called through a series of whistles, so if you whistled when you were backstage a sandbag may well have been dropped on you.

    Yeah, there are still a bunch of places you do NOT want to stand in the wings of a modern theatre. Even the lightest scenery panels weigh a ton when descending from a height.

    Swim regularly, and pretty soon you've seen thousands of bodies in the changing room. I find it hard to understand how people are hung up on things.

    I remember once swimming with my boyfriend and a bunch of friends at some bay on the peninsula. All chivalrous-like, Boyfriend held up a towel while I got changed. The group of yobs down the beach yelled, "Show us your tits!" to which my response was, "Ask nicely!" They were disconcerted. My boyfriend was appalled.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4371 posts Report Reply

  • Stuart Coats,

    Yeah, there are still a bunch of places you do NOT want to stand in the wings of a modern theatre.

    Or on the stage where there is a steel frame holding two tonnes of antlers.....
    Anyone who saw the NBR NZ Opera production of Lucia di Lammermoor will know what I mean.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 181 posts Report Reply

  • Stuart Coats,

    Sorry, not sure why that happened twice! Maybe I shouldn't have said Macbeth before I posted.....

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 181 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Stuart, yes indeed. Were you present for the unfortunate accident? I know Catherine, and heard about it second-hand. Didn't know it weighed quite that much, though!

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3913 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    The group of yobs down the beach yelled, "Show us your tits!" to which my response was, "Ask nicely!" They were disconcerted.

    Sounds like the experience of a mate from high school, who once yelled out that same challenge to a particularly attractive, well-endowed young lady who was standing on the footpath of Victoria St, Hamilton. She obliged. Turned out she was advertising for a strip club.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3913 posts Report Reply

  • Stuart Coats,

    @ Matthew
    Yes, not only was I there but I was on stage just before the accident occurred. I was also working for the company at the time so got to be part of the aftermath. We had an interesting time with OSH afterwards. Our natural theatre tendency (the show must go on) collided head first with their policy of leaving an accident scene alone until they have had a chance to look at it.

    I've performed in most of the theatres in NZ, and if a lot of them were inspected they may not pass. But then that's half the fun!

    I no longer work for the Opera company, but I am in the chorus for Eugene Onegin in Wellington. The show is playing in Auckland this week and it is, by all accounts, fantastic. No antlers to fall either.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 181 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Swim regularly, and pretty soon you've seen thousands of bodies in the changing room. I find it hard to understand how people are hung up on things.

    One of the most enjoyable parts of mandated swimming at intermediate used to be the outrage and squawking I could get from the rest of my class by taking my togs off, drying off, and then putting my clothes on, rather than futzing around with getting changed under the cover of towels and school uniform. Personally I preferred the speed and relative dryness this allowed, but apparently the sight of my nude eleven-year-old body was just too much for all the other eleven-year-old girls to bear.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Swim regularly, and pretty soon you've seen thousands of bodies in the changing room.

    I don't even look. I've never gone so far as some people do, who like to strike up conversations with strangers whilst stark naked in a shower, at the same time as soaping up their balls, but everyone's got their level I guess. I did recently have to point out to a young boy that standing and staring and laughing whilst I changed my son's dirty swimming nappy was not polite.

    I find it hard to understand how people are hung up on things.

    Well, I guess it's similar to how hung up people would be if I wandered into the women's changing room to strip off. Nudity is contextual - actors are at least working together, and they have to dress a lot, and fast, so there's really no room for too much modesty.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Yay, Emma. Opening up a discussion on nudity. I'm not from a family of actors - we're all just completely immodest. I'm always extolling the virtues of nakedness - more to women, and more as a political statement about loving your body, but still. The women at the gym exhibit some very interesting behaviours, and it's not unknown for women to change in the shower. Very uncomfortable, and it always makes me feel just a little sad for them, so I've threatened a Gok Wan day where it's compulsory to be naked at least when you're changing and we all have to affirm how beautiful each other is. Main reaction has been abject horror to be fair, but we'll get there. I always do.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Ask nicely!

    So, about this book cover..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I'm surprised to hear that it's so pronounced in the other changing rooms. I shouldn't be, I suppose, but I thought it was only men who went to such lengths to hide their bodies from each other.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I've never noticed that from men.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    'm not from a family of actors - we're all just completely immodest. I'm always extolling the virtues of nakedness - more to women, and more as a political statement about loving your body, but still.

    I've been saddened to see my daughter adopt what seems to be the 'proper' shame about her body, and it clearly comes from her peer group. She used to love swimming, and now it makes her feel all insecure. At least she's got my alternate example sticking an oar in - she has come home to find the dining table covered in photos of my chest.

    With actors and doctors and tattooists, my attitude is that they're professionals and I expect them to be professional. While there's a degree of self-protection, there's an implicit assumption in every offer of a female practioner that I'm straight and they're straight. Likewise, gender-divided changing room only make sense from a heterocentric point of view.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4371 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Roberts,

    I'm surprised to hear that it's so pronounced in the other changing rooms.

    I was surprised to learn that the girls' showers at my intermediate school had separate stalls. We lads had one large space with about 12 nozzles. Well sized for a game of crab soccer with the soap. Somehow those games faded away as we hit high school...

    Co-educational nudity, however, was not encouraged.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I was rather disappointed in my female dermatologist, who refused to examine my legs after I told her I'd gone commando that day. "It's a bit early in the morning for that!" she said. None of the males have ever been the least bit weird about it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    Who isn't averse to yellow shoes? But seriously, you might have something there. And a couple of years later I was in The Wizard of Oz, which might have put me off red shoes...

    I don't think you're allowed to blame your not-shoe fetish on The Theatre.

    I have two pairs of yellow shoes...

    And I have at least two pairs of red. Danielle, if Emma ever wrongs us, I think we'll know what to do.

    This reminds me that the Shakespeare Club at my high school, they were the smartest and (secretly) filthiest kids.

    Um, it's fair to say there wasn't much kept secret in the Shakespeare I was involved in.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    I shouldn't be, I suppose, but I thought it was only men who went to such lengths to hide their bodies from each other.

    Women also have the added issue of societal encouragement to judge each others' bodies - so exposing yourself is implicitly exposing yourself to judgement. It kicks in pretty young.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • nz native,

    I've never done acting ................... in a theatre setting.

    I have done it where poor acting would have resulted in arrestt or on other occasions perhaps divorce.

    I've decided some of the most important pressurised acting has nothing to do with theatre, plays or 'make belive for entertainment.

    The best god damn acting is where EVERYTHING is on the line ( ok maybe not life/death but certainly your present style of life ).


    ............. I've got one coming up on tuesday ;-).


    Nakedness: My dog would be a bastard at a nudist camp ............ theres no way he'd keep his nose out of peoples private affairs. Much like a dwarf I'd imagine.

    Since May 2007 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    exposing yourself is implicitly exposing yourself to judgement

    Word. I would rather - and frequently do - go home in wet togs underneath tracksuit pants than get changed in a communal changing room. (Of course, that could also be partly because my home shower is exponentially better than the pool shower, and because I have issues with remembering to bring appropriate clothing and accessories. But mainly it's because of the Judgeypants thing. I think I need to harden up.)

    And I have at least two pairs of red. Danielle, if Emma ever wrongs us, I think we'll know what to do.

    The other day, while clearing out the spare room, I found my purple suede fringed go-go boots, inherited from my husband's grandmother. Would they be Emma's Worst Shoe Nightmare?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3662 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I found my purple suede fringed go-go boots, inherited from my husband's grandmother

    Now that is just plain groovy cool. Nuf respec!

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6320 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    But mainly it's because of the Judgeypants thing. I think I need to harden up.

    If you are soft, it's pretty understandable. Previous girlfriends have complained that female gym/pool changing rooms are full of judgment, often quite nasty. "You've got a lot of work to do", "How hard IS it to shave?", "When's the baby coming?" etc. Guys don't seem to get so much of that, and if they do, it's usually laughed off rather than taken to heart. Even if you are "hard" and have managed to successfully tell the snipey little biatches where to stick their observations, it can still ruin what is meant to be a pleasant and uplifting occasion - a nice swim or workout.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    With actors and doctors and tattooists, my attitude is that they're professionals and I expect them to be professional.

    I've just finished an antenatal course, where the instructor took pains to point out to the women on the course that a medical professional will probably have trouble recalling your face a few minutes after you (or they) walk out of the room.

    She used an example where she had had a breast exam from a colleague at her hospital, who she then ran into the next day. After a minute or so of chatting away happily, she realised this colleague didn't have a clue who she was.

    I was rather disappointed in my female dermatologist, who refused to examine my legs after I told her I'd gone commando that day.

    Thanks for sharing. Does anyone have a wire brush suitable for my mind's eye?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Does anyone have a wire brush suitable for my mind's eye?

    I believe bleach is what you're after.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    She used an example where she had had a breast exam from a colleague at her hospital, who she then ran into the next day. After a minute or so of chatting away happily, she realised this colleague didn't have a clue who she was.

    It's a funny business. In any other business forgetting colleagues and customers is considered extremely rude and unprofessional. In medicine, it's the least you can do.

    Thanks for sharing. Does anyone have a wire brush suitable for my mind's eye?

    I can almost see what you're thinking. I just find it odd, particularly in someone who takes a professional interest in conditions of the skin (which covers the entire body) that any region of a patient's body would be considered "too early in the morning".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

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