Don’t tell my dad, but I took his iPad and signed up for something. It’s called the Baby Society of Over-Dramatic Arts. It’s a webinar series that I can watch in my crib while my parents are trying to sleep. The teachers are fantastic! Al Pacino is lecturing on scenery chewing. Christopher Walken is covering menacing glares. Scarlett Johansson has a segment on ennui and quiet crying. Carrie Fisher is doing screaming. (She’s a pro – did some horror films early on in her career.) Paul Rudd does an hour just on soulful looks.
We babies, I don’t have to tell you, really need to work our parents and acting is a key survival skill. To get what we want requires the highest emotive ability, since we don’t yet have any words to express ourselves. I have really, really worked hard at my acting. I am proud to say I go one better than Pacino. He is often accused of scenery chewing (otherwise known as overacting), but I actually chew the scenery. I eat table legs and suck on strollers – anything to express my craft. I’ve gained 20 pounds for the role I’m playing now (I play a baby). I’m working on learning English. And I already speak Babble. Sometimes I do three costume changes a day, depending on how well my diapers are fastened.
My dedication to the craft of acting is complete. I yell like DeNiro when the people who take care of me don’t feed me right away. When being rolled about in my stroller like a little prince I have perfected a far-away look of subtle sadness that would be at home on stage in any Chekov play. Waiting for Godot? Try waiting for your parents to get up and feed you in the morning if you want to sample true emptiness. I can do snappy, rapid-fire dialogue that would work in any Howard Hawks film like The Philadelphia Story, but for now it’s all in Gibberish, another language I speak.
I believe there is no such thing as holding back for rehearsal. I give 100% in every performance, even if there are no cameras present. I cry a bitter river of tears every time my mommy leaves the house. I want her to hear me when she is halfway down the street. I think she can! But I save the best fireworks for the nighttime, when my mommy gives me a 10 or 11pm nursing. She comes in, I have a snack, she cuddles me, and when she sets me back in my crib, I let loose. After studying my webinar lessons carefully I am able to release a heart-tearing scream that rips at her soul. I really relish the emotions I can bring up in her.
My father, sadly, seems immune to my acting skill. When I sit in my highchair, spoon in hand, moaning in hunger and looking like those actors in Les Miserables, he usually breaks out laughing. He has no appreciation for the craft of the Over-Dramatic Arts. But he will be wondering soon about the charge I put on his credit card to pay for the webinar. I hope he doesn’t notice it until I absorb enough of these lessons to achieve my greatest goal.
I am going for the Oscar for Best Baby in an Over-Dramatic Role. Winning would be nice. But even being nominated would be an honor.