I've seen enough episodes of Entourage to understand that the talent agent schmoozes and fishes for acting jobs for his client. When that work is found, it is the job of the talent manager to make the actor do his job. The manager has to encourage, rationalize, flatter, monger fear, argue, manipulate, justify, soft-soap, clear obstacles, plead, prate, cajole, coax, coordinate, cater to whims and foster idiosyncrasies and stroke ever so gently that fragile artist's ego (remember that, because I'm going to need your help there) ... all so that the show can go on. In other words, a talent manager is a mother.
My client recently got some work. I'm happy for her. The First Grade play could be a big opportunity. It's a chance for her to grow artistically. To stretch her creative wings.
If she had wings, that is. Like the butterflies ("Butterflies." Say that like Seinfeld says "Newman").
Thing is, my girl has been cast as the Stinkbug.
The Stinkbug, whom the other bugs make fun of.
The Stinkbug, whom the other bugs don't want at the picnic.
The Stinkbug, who is to appear on stage in front of the entire school adorned in dirty socks, onions and garlic cloves in a stage metaphor for a certain aggressive odiferousness.
At this casting decision, my client was, true to form, in a bit of a stink. Considering there were Labybug and Butterfly roles to be had, I hardly expected different from my client. You know my girl: Stinkbug? Now that Ryan kid: That Ryan kid has that rugged vulnerability that will elicit the audience response we want for the Stinkbug, right? Or Maddie. Sweet Maddie. Maddie with those heartbreaking doe-eyes. Now she charts very well with the primary school girls aged 5 to 11 demographic. That's good Stinkbug casting. But my girl? Cricket, Gypsy Moth, Army Ant. My girl has broad range: She can do Army Ant. But Stinkbug?
Imagine now that I am talking to a locked dressing trailer door to muffled sobs (really, it's the slammed bedroom door, but in my mind, I'm on the Paramount back lot with Best Boys flirting with the Third Assistants to the Second Assistant and Gaffers and Key Grips impatiently swilling Fiji water).
"Darling, the Stinkbug is the most important role! It is the cathartic catalyst. It is the character that forces the other characters on their journey of self-realization! Without the Stinkbug, this is just a story about eating crumbs. You are the story. The Stinkbug lifts this to art. You, as the Stinkbug, could do for body odor what Dustin Hoffman in Rainman did for autism."
Okay: I didn't really say that.
What I said was, "Baby, you don't have to wear dirty socks. You can wear whatever you want. We'll go through all the fabrics and you pick out what you want. Stink as you might, you will be the cutest Stinkbug in all of theater history."
This is a real indy, bring-your-own-wardrobe kind of production. And I'll take some heat on the whole what-part-of-dirty-socks-costume-didn't-you-understand?-thing. But I have to protect my client's interests.
I don't care what you really think about this concoction of felt and craft glue, because my heart wasn't in making this. Not for me, but (and this is where you come in) for the First Grade play, for the love of all that is good and holy, write in the comments that this is the cutest Stinkbug in all of theater history.
For your cut-and-paste convenience:
This is the cutest Stinkbug in all of theater history.