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Rose Lane Ch24

by Jubbly 

Posted: 05 March 2004
Word Count: 2094

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Chapter Twenty Four

Brian's workshops began life in the garage now empty of car and other smelly mechanical appliances. Since neither Brian nor his mother drove they'd sold his late fathers old Ford Falcon and got about in buses, trains and taxis. Brian had never bothered to learn to drive, haven't got the concentration for all that, he'd said, ricocheting around in a piece of metal , not natural. The garage had been cleaned up quite a bit since Mr Trinder senior had popped his clogs. Any remnant of the male world spirited away. Only the old oil stain in the middle of the floor remained like a black ghost. As long as you could see it, the memory of old Mr Trinder tinkering away beneath his beloved Falcon stayed in the room like a double exposure in a photograph.

Brian thoughtfully placed a rug over the stain, painted the walls bright yellow, hung some lanterns in the corner, re- upholstered his grandmothers old sofa and armchairs and stuck colourful prints and old film posters over the walls. Less like a teenage bedroom and more like a loners bedsit.
He spent the night in the garage sometimes, my bachelor pad, he joked with his mother. She laughed but looked away sighing. No grandchildren, oh well, he is a good boy and he does mow the lawn every other week.

"Okay, lets begin with some simple breathing exercises, close your eyes, breathe in , imagine the air you're breathing into your lungs contains creative powers, let them flow through your body, each breath making you more than you are. "

Can we breath out now, spluttered Philip, mock choking.

"Very funny Philip, no one appreciates a joke more than me, however if we are to achieve anything in our workshops we have to agree to leave levity alone for the time being."

Philip rolled his eyes and Brian winked at him.
Tara yawned , too much air had always made her tired.

The workshops had been underway for three months now and the motley crew that attended each week seemed happy enough. Jolly, bouncy Christine Maguire, staid and homely Richard Pugh, a couple of earnest, intense young men who'd unsuccessfully auditioned for NIDA, the drama school wing of NSW university , the affable electrician Jim whose ex girlfriend thought the workshops might help him get over the break up and several people who popped in from time to time but were too dull to leave an impression. One day, after an emotional albeit all too brief reunion, Miranda Allerton graced the room.

"Oh do come Miranda, please, we could learn so much from one such as you, and it is great fun, really."

So Miranda decided to make her own mind up. She'd managed to get herself an agent, one Don Darell. A twice divorced ex one man band who ran his business from his bedroom, which also doubled as his living room. Framed photos of successful clients took pride of place on his walls, unfortunately none of these now famous actors, actresses and singers were still on his books. It was a case of Don doing all he could but at a certain stage on the celebrity staircase, Don just didn't have access to the next flight.
They'd been the odd booking at Senior Citizens clubs and private parties but the fame and fortune Miranda had imagined for herself and had failed to appear.

Brian had run into Miranda in Hyde Park one lunch time. The department store she still worked in and Brian's office not far enough apart nor Sydney's population quite immense enough for the two not to meet.

"Yes of course I'll pop in Brian, it would be lovely to see how you're all getting on."

And so Miranda came, she sat in a corner of the newly refurbished garage, smoking and looking most uncomfortable.
Brian took centre stage as always and began.

"Now I want to try an experiment it's an exercise designed to free us all up , to make us more emotionally pliable, more vulnerable and in turn more believable as actors."

"Will it hurt?" joked Miranda.
Brian looked directly at her, then nodded.

"It just might."
Miranda tried to smile like she always had but Brian looked away too quickly and the moment was lost.

"Now firstly I would like us all to form a circle, then we will go around the room taking it in turns to tell the group all about ourselves, anything you feel is relevant to the situation. I'll go first.
My name is Brian, I'm 36 years old and still as gorgeous as ever.....

Miranda of course refused to discuss the topic of her age, instead she got through the exercise as quickly as possible.

"Um...Miranda Allerton..married to Dr Geoffrey Allerton. Hold down full time job as Manageress of the shoe department at David Jones or DJ's to those in the know and I am presently preparing a cabaret act to perform on the club circuit. Next.....

And so they went on - all 12 of them, Brian's loyal disciples.
"Philip Thompson, aged 19. I want to be famous. Either as a singer or actor. I come from a small family, my parents wanted lots of children but unfortunately only managed the two, myself and my deathly dull sister, Dymphna. I love animals and have a cat whose nearly 17, we've known each other practically all our lives. My best friend is Flyn, we went to school together, sadly he's moved to Perth so now I find myself spending alot of my time with the lovely and gorgeous, stunning Tara Medway - Browne, but I can assure you we are just good friends."

Everyone laughed, even Brian. Tara leaned over and kissed Philip passionately on the lips.
"Oh yeah," she said," one day, just you wait."
Philip flashed his soulful eyes at Brian and Brian raised his eyebrows as a signal, these two shared intimate secrets, Tara knew that. Sometimes the three of them met up for coffee in the various freak friendly bars and cafes up the cross. They laughed and bitched and discussed the world of theatre and film and surprise surprise, Tara had decided she would be an actress after all, why not? She had the looks, the temper, the ability to be any one she wanted to be. They were a formidable trio of Wannabees, a cackling, cauldron stirring Triad not so far removed from the scheming Hags who caused all that trouble in Shakespeare's Scottish Play.

After each member of the group had given a short verbal resume of themselves, the great Brian spoke.

"Very good, now that we all know more about each other I want to find out your Archilles heels, what makes and breaks you. When you're playing that tragic scene I want to see real heartache and I want you to know exactly how to dredge up the right emotions required to reproduce the right feeling for the your character. I want to teach you how to find them quickly with a sort of mental shorthand if you like. Now some of you and I know most of you pretty well, probably think you've no dark secrets, you're all of you very well adjusted and as happy as dear, old Larry, so in order to free up our emotional sense memory we have to dig very deep."

Brian pressed his clenched fists hard against his Solar Plexus to emphasise his point.

Miranda lit another cigarette and Brian continued.

"When I call your name you will come to the centre of the circle and take a seat. Then each of us in turn will ask you questions, talk to you, engage you in a process that will bring your inner most insecurities to the fore. We will find your weaknesses and in doing so you.... will find your strengths. Miranda ....please take a seat.

Miranda looked up, shocked, her professional smirk sprang into action.

" You must be joking." she said, setting a nervous face saving smile across her lips.

"No,not at all." said Brian sternly, "Come on Miranda, you want to be a hit on the club circuit, you want to melt the hearts of your audience when you launch into your big band ballads. You want to make it on the telly. Come on girl, dare to be different, take a risk, get yourself noticed, show them what you can do."

Miranda took her seat shrugging, once settle into the hard backed chair she looked directly at the group.

"Okay hit me where it hurts, dare you." she said challenging her classmates.

Philip was first.
'How old are you Miranda?'

Miranda sneered, "No way, my husband doesn't even know the answer to that.'

"Why, what have you got to hide, we're not blind you know, we can tell you won't see 21 again." he continued his verbal bashing.

Miranda blushed, she looked hurt. But she was damned if she was going to let this untalented mob of amateurs get to her.

"No dear, I won't and by the way you're drinking darling, you'll be lucky to see 21 ever."

"Miranda!" snapped Brian, may I remind you , you are the one in the hot seat, not Philip. Just answer the questions please, that's all you have to do in this exercise."
He spoke so sharply that even Miranda looked bewildered.

"Do you think you'd be famous if you'd stayed in England?" asked Penny, a dumpy little thing, who'd only joined the society a few weeks before Brian left.

Miranda shrugged, "Who knows,eh?"

Tara chipped in, "Well there's more competition over there isn't there?"

Miranda nodded, "Yes, I suppose there is."

Tara no longer worked at David Jones, she'd simply stopped going in, spent more time with Brian, hardly noticing Miranda at all, now the bond between the two women was irreparably broken.

"Miranda," asked Brian, balancing each letter of her name on his tongue. " Do you enjoy singing?"

"Of course I do, you know I do, for heavens sake what sort of question is that?"

"Would you say you enjoy it more than anything else?"

Miranda thought a moment, "No, well yes, I don't know, more than what?"

"Sex," said Tara looking straight in her eyes.

"Sex? Oh please , I thought this was an acting workshop not some kind of hippie love in."

"And so it is Miranda," said Brian, "In this room we're going to learn how to act by not acting, in this room we are only searching for the truth."

Miranda tried to laugh it off, but everyone looked so serious, for a moment she felt as though she was in the middle of some dreadful cult like the ones you read about in America. The Moonies, the Moonies, as Pattie would say, watch out for the Moonies, they'll see you coming a mile away.

"I enjoy sex when I'm singing, how's that?" said Miranda, triumphantly.

"Are you faithful to your husband?" stressed Tara.

"How dare you!" snapped Miranda, "Mind your own business you spiteful little tart."

Everyone gasped.

"Good," said Brian, "now I think you're feeling angry, good, hold onto that feeling Miranda, learn to control it and you might just get somewhere."

"I don't need lessons in how to feel angry my dear man."

Tara leaned forward.
"Does it upset you at all to know you're hurting a man who loves you very much?"

Miranda paled, she looked unstuck for the first time, when she tried to speak nothing came out.

"Do you have affairs behind your husbands back because you feel so insecure about yourself, about your looks fading and getting old?" Tara brazenly continued.

"How dare you!" Miranda rose to her feet knocking the chair over.
But instead of striking the defiant Tara she started to cry, her whole body collapsed forward and there she was a bundle of weeping sorrow.

"It's alright Miranda," said Brian, patting her gently on the back. "You let it all out, good work Tara, good. Now we've made you vulnerable Miranda, now you can do anything you want to."

Miranda never came back to the acting workshops and stopped speaking to Brian altogether.

"But you were such good friends." her husband Geoffrey lamented.

"We've grown apart dear, we want different things from life, besides he was never a true friend, you couldn't trust him if you know what I mean. "

Geoffrey did, he certainly knew what it meant not to trust someone, especially someone you loved.

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Comments by other Members

Salty at 14:44 on 05 March 2004  Report this post
A great read, but
oh dear oh dear oh dear. The sad world of the actor wannabe. As a former actor myself it brought it all rushing back. I enjoyed the read even though I have only arrived at the book at Ch24 having just joined the group. I look forward to Brian's further adventures.

Jubbly at 20:38 on 05 March 2004  Report this post
Salty, thank you so much for reading and commenting. I'm very impressed you picked it up at Ch 24, I hope it wasn't too confusing for you. I used to be an actress too, all the acting scenes are set in the seventies, I hope that came across.

Cheers to you too


Account Closed at 08:21 on 07 March 2004  Report this post
Julie, I love this chapter. It cleverly reinforces the relationships between characters and is very revealing. When Brian suggests finding the achilles heels (at the first lesson!) the tension mounts. Miranda is beautifully destroyed and Tara is perfectly direct - they are all true to character. I enjoyed poor Geoffrey's reaction too and the last line is perfect.

Now for the picky grammar bits:

Brian's workshops began life in the garage, now empty of car and other smelly mechanical appliances. Since neither Brian nor his mother drove, they'd sold his late father's old Ford Falcon and got about in buses, trains and taxis.= a few commas wouldn't go amiss!

Grandmothers, loners= when something belongs to someone we put an apostrophe before the s - grandmother's. If it belongs to more than one person the apostrophe is after the s eg My sisters' house ( more than one sister) An apostrophe also replaces a letter.
You have missed a lot!

Brian thoughtfully placed a rug over the stain = not sure about thoughtfully. I know what you mean but...

any one she wanted to be.= anyone

cauldron stirring= maybe need a hyphen otherwise we read the two words seperately

"Do you think you'd be famous = you'd have been?

there isn't there?"= comma after there

The Moonies, the Moonies, as Pattie would say, watch out for the Moonies, they'll see you coming a mile away.= did you mean to repeat?
husbands back= husband's

Maybe something to suggest Miranda and Tara's relationship has changed before you tell us?

I think I can see what's coming (for the first time!)

Jubbly at 09:06 on 07 March 2004  Report this post
Elspeth, thanks for such a detailed crit. Fortunately I've now read Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss and have a much better grasp of punctuation, so I'll correct ASAP. I'm glad you liked this chapter, I think it's the only one that stays in one time zone. I wonder where you think it's going? I'll post another soon.

Thanks as always


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