I was used to fame; a woman where I was temping freaked out when she recognised me from a brief appearance on Sky News. Like a pro I spent all morning putting her at ease and being as down to earth as possible thinking; this is how Robbie Williams must feel. It lasted till I completely jammed the photocopier and then the office Cinderalla swiftly became a pumpkin temp again. So when I went for an audition with a friend for Orange Mobile and it went well, I wasn’t that surprised when her agent asked to meet me. I had sailed through the audition and though I hadn’t quite counted my chickens, I had decided exactly how I was going to spend them. This agent was my ticket out of the admin slums and like a particularly stirring Alicia Keys video, nobody was standing in my way. Yes, it would mean cancelling a meeting with two friends arranged months ago, but hey, I was no Kelly or Michelle, Beyonce was going to the agent’s workshop.
I knew the score, it would be full of middleclass teenage girls with eating disorders and expensive tracksuits, I'd swing by, we'd exchange knowing glances and when the pleasantries were over, she'd flip open her contact book and I'd be in a Cadburys advert before you could say, Edinburgh completely paid for...
So after wandering around freezing and lost for about fifteen minutes, the greasy chips that I’d grabbed on the way from work slowly congealing in my tummy, I finally found the entrance to the school the classes were taking place in. Harrow wasn’t normally a place I associated with show business, but what did I know. The class was full of about thirty twenty somethings, the earnestness and concentration so powerful it was almost combustible. Actors- pah! I was a writer. I write their words. The agent who was running the class asked the newcomers to introduce themselves; their name and something they were really good at. Oh, Ok agent, you want to do this dance? Fine, let’s foxtrot.
Rob sprang forward, and declared he made a mean spag bol- laughter spinned through class, Tina announced she was a great pilates teacher- impressed ooohs reverberated through the room, Gráinne stepped forward and said her twitter updates had been really funny lately. Silence.
It was a successful drama group I quickly learnt. The classes improv group had just won a prestigious improv competition. Their devised piece was not only hysterical, she proudly revealed, there were moments where it was actually, pause, extremely, pause, moving.
But they weren’t ones to rest on past glories though, there were scripts to work on. A comedy script. Oh, I thought, this will be embarrassing, G- Dog is back in the game. But before we could read the scripts we had some thinking to do. “Words were nothing” the teacher explained, “Anybody can say a word. But what brings them to life?” “Emotion?” A nervous voice suggested? “Exactly” the teacher confirmed. “Comedy is all about emotion” I was still pretty sure it was words.
We split into groups to work on a scene and she then rated our efforts. Out of a choice of three, I came third. My smugness was now beginning to desert me. I could actually see it, outside the window having a fag and occasionally peering in and laughing at me.
Then the agent announced fantastic news. Somebody in the class had been shortlisted for the Orange indent! Who could it be?! How embarrassing for them I thought, I’ve been to one class and already I’ve exposed the futility of their ambition and I didn’t even want to be an actor. How bracing must this gust of reality be for them? For about three seconds I felt like Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” a secret Orange mobile indent superstar undercover in their midst.
Then step forward Sonya, a rambling teenage Jade Goody tribute act who described how she nailed the audition by revealing how much she hated Tinkerbell from Peter Pan. JM Barries metaphor for infant mortality was exposed as nothing but a common hoe. “I bet she was with all them Lost Boys” she angrily declared, like a contestant on lost Edwardian version of Jeremy Kyle. “Isn’t she wonderful?” the agent calmly stated looking serenely around the sea of almost completely nodding faces. “How can we learn from Sonya’s energy how we can get that audition recall too?” I suddenly had a vision of Edinburgh but instead Sonya was now doing my show about how Alice in Wonderland was definitely a prostitute. It got quite good reviews and there were suggestions of a brief Soho theatre run.
The class was £7 and it took me two hours to get home. When I finally made it into my kitchen I realised the horrible stench that I had smelled all day was in fact the sole of my shoe slowly rotting. That is all.