I play a guy named Rustan. He's a farmboy who wants to become a great warrior. Kind of like Luke Skywalker, only Rustan has serious anger issues, and instead of Obi-Wan Kenobi, he has a slave who follows him around giving bad advice. It's sort of a weird play. I'll post pictures if I ever get any.
But anyway. Things happen. People die. My character goes through some serious crap before he becomes reunited with his true love... a girl named Mirza whom he has known since he was a child. And last Monday our director decided that instead of just an embrace to end the show, instead, there would be a full-on kiss.
Like, pretty much right on the lips.
Now, there are two thoughts that may or may not have come to my mind.
1. It's only awkward if you make it awkward.
2. Should I make it awkward?
I know, I know. It's just a kiss, right? It's just a kiss. An action that is meaningless without proper relationship context. Totally doable. I'm tough. I'm an actor. I'm a writer. I can go in, kiss this actress right smack on the mouth and think nothing of it. Right? Right.
But guys, let me tell you... it wasn't that easy.
For starters, we'd already gotten flak about the way we hugged. You know. Back when all we
Our stage manager: "You guys look like you're two middle school kids who are being forced to hug for a school play. More lovey dovey, please."
I mean, that kind of comment can undermine a guy's confidence in his ability to hug a woman. And now you want me to KISS her? On the face? On the lips of said face? It makes me wonder... what if I were a better hugger? Would it have been sufficient? Or was the fact that our hugs looked awko-taco on stage the determining factor in the smoochification of this play?
All I know is, it is now my job - nay, my duty! - to kiss a beautiful woman every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And once on Saturday, for the night performance.
Well, okay. I guess. If you make me. Twist my arm please.
For the second thing, one wonders where one places ones hands when one kisses. Don't worry. I got coaching from a friend of mine, who is a woman and therefore smarter than I am about such things. Stop your snickering. I'm a little inexperienced, okay? Not because of lack of opportunity, but because I am a gentleman.
"No... no, not there!"
"Where do I put 'em then?"
"Here, around my waist."
"What about one there, and one here?"
"I guess that's okay."
"Now what? I just kind of lean in?"
"Yeah. Well, it depends."
"Aaaaand... muah. Wait, which way do I tilt my head?"
You know. So we don't bonk our noses together. Kissing is way more complicated than it looks.
"To the right, silly."
"Why to the right? Why not the left?"
"Because that's how everybody does it. To the right."
"TO THE RIGHT."
It takes a real friend to be a smooch coach. I tried to be a good student. Honest I did. For the stage kiss, I decided to put one hand around her waist and one up kind of on her neck. And yes, I do tilt my head to the right It sounds kind of weird when I say it all like that. Promise, it's not. Okay, it is. But on stage it looks totally natural.
Then there was the persuading that had to happen. It went a little bit like this.
ME: "It's just a kiss."
HER: "But there's like, no one watching!"
ME: "And that freaks you out because...?"
HER: "Well, when there's an audience, when the theatre is filled with people, it'll be different. But when it's just three people, it's weird!"
And when she said it like that, I kind of saw her point. Think about it.
ME: "Um... you'll be okay. Just pretend like you like me."
OUR BELOVED DIRECTOR: "Do I have to make you two go practice in the actor's studio?"
US (In nervous chorus): No no, we're good!
OUR BELOVED DIRECTOR: "Okay then. Do it."
I moved to kiss her.
HER: Le-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-et's run the scene first.
So we ran the scene again, and at the end... we kissed. Lips to nervous lips.
And then the aftermath.
She pulled away like I was a dead armadillo and she might get leprosy. That might have offended me if I hadn't thought it was so funny. The three or five people watching cheered.
We laughed about it.
Then I tasted something.
ME: "Hey, is that... what were you wearing? Chapstick?"
HER: "Oh! Yeah, lip gloss, sorry!"
ME: "Ah. Mm. Wow."
HER: "Sorry! I won't wear it next time."
ME: "Nah, you're fine. It tastes pretty good, actually. I can see why girls wear it."
So we discussed lip gloss for a bit. And laughed a little more. And then she left.
Our stage manager came up to me, grinning her face off.
STAGE MANAGER: You enjoyed that, didn't you?
ME: Not gonna lie... that made my day and a half.
Somebody commended me, stating that I must have a lot of experience to kiss like that. It's the first time I've ever been complimented for a kiss by a third party. Remind me to tell my smooch coach. She'll be so proud.