Just when you think you can 100 percent predict what someone will do, he goes and pulls his pants down in public. I did not see that coming.
"I can," he said. He will not tell you his strengths unless you ask but, at that point, he sees no future in beating around the bush.
"Please," she said. "Please come to tryouts."
"Okay," he said. "But I can't play a lead. I will sing a solo but I don't have the time to learn a lot of lines." Those were his terms. I guess it didn't occur to him that he might not be cast in a part that required a solo and a lot of lines.
Originally, he was to be Teen Angel. One song—"Beauty School Dropout"—, almost no dancing, absolutely no lines. Over and out. That lasted until rehearsals started.
Though he can sing, his comic skills exceed his musical ones, and his dancing exceeds both. I'm not exactly sure how the director found out he was funny and could dance since he was only supposed to be crooning "Beauty School Dropout" while he sauntered down some steps, but I highly suspect he had taken it upon himself to do a little unsolicited coaching on the side. You know, just helping his pals out a little. That's the way of him.
Anyway, next thing we know, Precious Angel is no longer Teen Angel, but is Roger, the class clown T-Bird. I think his name was Putzie in the movie, but we're talking Broadway Musical here, though not so much Broadway, as the auditorium of Decatur High School. I guess he relaxed his terms a little when he got caught up in the whole thing. For whatever reason, he now was in practically every scene and had more lines than fleas on stray dog. And then there was the singing and the dancing--including a little number called "Mooning". You see where this is going.
Stephanie said, "Did you notice him up there pointing and ordering people around on that stage like he was the boss of them, just like when he's playing football?" Yeah, well. I like to think of it as being a leader. "He's come a long way since 'I see London, I see France, I see Jean's underpants.'" Yeah, Stephanie was there when, just shy of his second birthday, he pulled up my skirt in public and intoned that little piece of poetry for the world at large.
Speaking of underpants, and back to Grease and the point of this blog.
If I had been asked, I world have bet the farm and my last cup of coffee that this child would not have been willing to—not once but twice per performance—pull down his pants and expose his smiley-face-boxer-shorts-clad rear end to the citizens of this town. Even in the name of art. Not that I think there was anything wrong with it. But I know this boy. In spite of his self-confidence, he has a small streak of shy and a huge streak of modesty. And he'd already proven he was willing to dictate, if not stick to, his terms.
Yet, there is someone I know even better than Precious Angel. His name is Luke and he is the hero in the story Stephanie and I are revising. Some of our characters are hers, some mine, and some a blend. But Luke is mine, mine, mine. I expect him to do what I tell him.
However, a few days ago, he said something that I didn't think of and didn't think was a good idea. I took my hands off the keyboard and stared at the screen.
"Oh, no you don't," I told him. "That's not what you would do."
"Yes, it is," he said, smugly. (Because he is smug.)
"Stephanie is not going to like this," I told him.
"I don't care," he said. (And he doesn’t) "Besides, don't blame it on her. You want to be the boss of me. Nobody is the boss of me." (And isn't that the truth.)
"Can we compromise?" I asked.
"Absolutely not. I don't compromise. You ought to know that." (Sigh. I do.)
"I'll make you pull your pants down in public," I threatened him. "I have the power."
He laughed at me. "Go right ahead. Just try it, and I'll never let that woman bring me to my knees. And then, where will you be?"
So, no matter how well you think you know them, sometimes they will surprise you. And aren't those the best moments? It used to scare me when I couldn't handle them anymore. Now I know that's when it's working.
Do you handle your characters or do they handle you?