My First Acting Effort

Photo by Cliff Coles, used with permission
Eugene, Oregon
June 11, 2016 11:19am CST
This happened when I was forty. I had auditioned for a part at college some years earlier, got the part, then bailed immediately with very cold feet. I saw the notice in the paper. The play was the last in the "Texas Trilogy" written by Preston Jones. The first, "The Oldest Living Graduate," was televised in 1980, starring Henry Fonda. The second was "The Last Meeting of the Knights of the White Magnolia," and mine was "Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander." Since it was set in west Texas in the 1950s, I figured this was my best chance to get cast, since I spent my summers there and "talk the talk." I auditioned and got the biggest male role. I played Lu Ann's older brother Skip Hampton, just back from "Ko-rea," as I pronounced it, full of war stories and brags about my courage under fire. The photo shows me telling the story of the enemy charging over a hill. The male actor on the couch was "my buddy, Dale Laverty, whom I brought home to meet Lu Ann. The actor who played Skip on Broadway won a Best Actor Tony award. The first act had a lot of humor (I even bought some beat up boots at a thrift store), but the show turned dark by the third act. As I recall, we did nine performances at the Very Little Theater here, most sold out. Yes, I was nervous, very nervous. Have you ever done any acting on stage or anything?
19 people like this
19 responses
@JudyEv (123179)
• Bunbury, Australia
12 Jun 16
I'm sure you had a great time though didn't you? Vince and I were both in musical comedy but only ever in the chorus groups.
5 people like this
@teamfreak16 (41179)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
11 Jun 16
No, nothing like that. I'm too introverted. I couldn't do it.
5 people like this
@blitzfrick (2912)
• United States
11 Jun 16
I instantly recognized you in that photo, James. Do you ever perform on stage these days, or have you moved on into more commercial ventures? In the 6th grade, I recited a poem (Seein Things, by Eugene Field) in a contest. My mother put my hair up in pincurls and we squeezed a ball cap over all of it. I was costumed as a little boy and I swaggered around and mugged it up as I recited. The audience went wild, then when I took off my cap and let down my curls, they gasped! "It's a girl!!!" I heard some of them say. Yep. I loved it! Then in high school, I helped a close friend audition by reading opposite her. The director wanted me for a part but once again, I was denied because the part was for a boy. I had once again fooled my "audience" by dressing in "drag" as a male, even though by then I was very obviously a female when I wore my usual girly clothes. I'd love to go on the stage again, but the work of memorizing the lines, well, the remembering of them daunts me these days. Seein Things:
Select Search World Factbook Roget's Int'l Thesaurus Bartlett's Quotations Respectfully Quoted Fowler's King's English Strunk's Style Mencken's Language Cambridge History The King James Bible Oxford Shakespeare Gray's Anatomy Farmer's Cookbook Post's Etiqu
4 people like this
• Eugene, Oregon
12 Jun 16
That is a delightful old poem.
• Eugene, Oregon
12 Jun 16
@JamesHxstatic I did four plays, one a year back then, but each took up about two months time. These days, I try to do some commercials and extras parts for series that filmed in Portland.
@DeborahDiane (21638)
• Laguna Woods, California
12 Jun 16
I haven't done any obvious acting since high school. However, in my 40s I belonged to a puppet troup that took child size puppets to schools and acted out skits with them. The skits were designed to help kids discuss traumatic experiences. I loved it!
4 people like this
• Eugene, Oregon
12 Jun 16
That was a generous and wonderful thing to do!
1 person likes this
@RasmaSandra (17570)
• Daytona Beach, Florida
11 Jun 16
@JamesHxstatic I hoofed my way though two musicals in high school and while I was working in my first job after university I went to the American Academy of Arts and lasted two years after which I knew I would never become an actress.
4 people like this
• Eugene, Oregon
12 Jun 16
I decided that plays were just too much work after four of them. I try to do film things now but it doesn't happen often.
2 people like this
• Otis Orchards, Washington
11 Jun 16
No, I have never done any acting (on stage, anyway)–not even in my school years. The thing was when I was growing up I lived in a Seventh-Day Adventist home and all the plays during my school years were on Friday night after sunset. At sunset on Friday night participate in watching tv, listening to radio or any other forms of entertainment ended. About the only thing we could do was read a book until Saturday at sunset. Since I couldn't be in any plays I never had any experience. Nervous or not it must have been somewhat thrilling.
4 people like this
@LadyDuck (157523)
• Switzerland
11 Jun 16
I recognize you in this photo James. I have never acted on stage and it's a shame because I think it's a lot of fun.
3 people like this
• Eugene, Oregon
12 Jun 16
It is a lot of fun, but takes so much time. I prefer film things but they don't often come up.
2 people like this
@ElicBxn (60884)
• United States
11 Jun 16
Nope, I had to get on the stage in Speech class in Middle School, I could barely talk once I was up there.
3 people like this
@Inlemay (16548)
• South Africa
11 Jun 16
Just fabulous, and acting is a great way to have fun. Have done a few roles, however not paying roles.
3 people like this
• New Delhi, India
11 Jun 16
I am a camera shy person, never do the one
3 people like this
@jaboUK (53935)
• United Kingdom
13 Jun 16
I mentioned in my limerick about you that you were an actor, but I didn't know if you still did any of it. Do you?
2 people like this
• Eugene, Oregon
13 Jun 16
The last thing I did was a non-speaking part in a commercial for a German made instant water heater for recreational vehicles. I worked for about 1 1/2 hours and was paid $200. That was in November. The weekend that I helped my daughter move, I might have been hired as an extra for a series filmed in Portland, but was not available.
2 people like this
@jaboUK (53935)
• United Kingdom
13 Jun 16
@JamesHxstatic That was pretty good pay for an hour and a half - just think how long it would take you to earn that here
2 people like this
• Eugene, Oregon
13 Jun 16
@jaboUK Oh my yes. That was the most I have been paid for any acting effort and the easiest too.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jun 16
i'm so tickled that'cha gave such 'nother try :) nah, i aint one fer bein''n the spotlight. ne'er showed horses'r did the rodeo thingy neither. jest trained other folks horses fer such, lol.
2 people like this
@just4him (117058)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
11 Jun 16
I was in my high school play. I had the smallest part. Two lines and two walk on's.
2 people like this
@Jdaw1985 (4003)
• Harrells, North Carolina
11 Jun 16
I have never done any kind of acting I am to shy for that LOL.
2 people like this
• United States
12 Jun 16
I have done a great deal of public speaking, and then teaching of course. I was in the school play (cameos were filled by teachers like me), but the most real acting was when I was dragged on stage at an improv. The bit was the Dating Game and I was a contestant. The dates came out with various accents (such a coincidence). The first was French, so I switched into French and brought down the house. The second was German and I did the same. I really got into it and fed them leading questions so that they could say something funny. The cast loved me. it was lots of fun.
1 person likes this
• Eugene, Oregon
12 Jun 16
That sounds like it was a great evening and a surprise to the audience as well!
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Jun 16
@JamesHxstatic I went with my girlfriend's family. Her daughter was just starting with the group. When the French guy came out, even before I said a word, the look on her face was priceless.
1 person likes this
• China
12 Jun 16
I haven't done it ,I think I would have stage fright.It was a wonderfull experience for you and you have a real gift for acting .
1 person likes this
• Eugene, Oregon
12 Jun 16
I had stage fright every time. Thank you.
1 person likes this
@Hannihar (36439)
28 Feb
You must have acting in your blood. I was an extra once here in Israel.
@LoriAMoore (4790)
• United States
14 Jun 16
You're a celebrity! No, I haven't one any acting.
@cacay1 (32915)
• Cagayan De Oro, Philippines
12 Jun 16
Wow, you were once a movie actor, you look great . Can we see your shows through YouTube this time? How happy you had been those days in your acting lives.