“What’s my frame?” I ask my little sister whose holding the extra sensitive flip video camera trying her hardest to keep steady.
“Quiet on the set!” My mother yells to empty rooms and inhales another Capri cigarette. My sister and I try not to laugh.
I’m putting an audition on tape for a pilot in my living room. I think my mom believes we’re on a movie set.
“Quiet on the set. Make-up!“ She shouts again to no one, making herself laugh out loud.
We’re trying to figure out where to film the audition: Where is there a blank wall? Where is there enough light? We can’t film in front of the Christmas tree that’s still up after New Years, (these casting people will judge my family probably) and we can’t film in the dining room because there’s still battery operated -flashing Christmas pins and perfume from the 99 Cent store; unwanted gifts from distant family members piled and strewn all about the dining room table and surroundings. My sisters have refused to bring these items into their bedrooms. I know my mom is considering selling them on eBay. I can tell. I say nothing.
“Mom, where are the birds?” I notice our family parakeets Sheeba and Bombay are gone.
My mom’s in the mirror applying maroon lipstick for her off-camera reading. She shouts, “Oh I sold them to that a**hole Gary.”
“You sold the birds?” I ask seriously.
“Oh Alice, please. Take your hair down.”
“Wait…you gave away our family birds?” I ask again, just to make sure.
“No! I sold them, I said. Now take your hair down. You’re prettier with your hair down.”
My little sister reminds us that the sun’s setting in twenty minutes and we‘re loosing light. My little sister: the only sane one in my family I‘m starting to realize.
We move a very heavy fluffy couch to the other side of the room to use the while wall behind it. The place looks it was just ransacked. With the Christmas tree, unwanted gifts and winter coats and now this couch – If these casting people could see this.
I’m halfway through the scene and my other sister Kiki interruptedly stomps down the wooden stairs holding a massive pile of laundry and is accompanied by the golden retriever Mochi .
“Kiki! Are you kidding?!” I snap.
“What?” She innocently asks as clothes fall and Mochi barks piercingly loud.
It’s a miracle we finished. In the time it took us to finish this 3 minute audition I could have flown back to Los Angeles and stopped at Starbucks. But we did it. Together. I only have a few days left in Chicago before returning to Toluca Lake, and although totally insane, I wouldn’t spend it any other way.
And just in case anyone was wondering…my mother still hasn’t found that $100 check.
Alice can be reached at AliceActress@yahoo.com