Monday, August 3, 2009


Inspired by this, here is a piece I often used for an audition, confident that my audience had not heard it before.

An Eskimo lady, who could not speak or understand a word of English, was offered a free trip to the United States, plus five hundred dollars, providing she accompany a corpse for burial. After burying the coffin, she arrived in the city and went to the railway station. She lined up at the ticket window and listened very carefully to what the person in front of her was saying, she repeated what they had said and in this way travelled around the country from place to place. After a while, her money was running out and she decided to stay in the next place she came to. However she found herself in a small town, from which no one that day was travelling. By this time, she had picked up a little English. So she went to the ticket window and said to the man there, "Where would you go, if you were going". He named a small town in Ohio, where she lives to this day.

I had a recording of John Cage reciting this quite slowly, with many pauses, which were filled in by his partner, David Tudor on, or often inside, a piano. Sometimes they would both make sounds at the same time. I loved that recording; a reel to reel I still have, but have not spooled up for twenty years or more. If my audience did not seem bored, I would segway into a piece from "The Idiot", and maybe from there to a piece by Alan Bennett. When we see actors, we usually see the parts they are playing, and judge them for how well they performed. What usually remains hidden, is that many actors are preachers, trying to impart what they have learned in the only way they know how.


sciencegirl said...

I love the photo, and the story! It's wonderful to just pick up and go, letting fate take you where it takes you.
Going where the next train is going has often been a travel strategy for me, even if people often look at me as if I just said !Hey! Let's go to Fresno!!!

marc aurel said...

I've never done it by train. I used to do it on London buses, but still have a nightmare that I can't get back to where I've come from. We often went on adventure drives.Turn there, try there.

lakeviewer said...

What an interesting story! I didn't know you were an actor. State or film?

marc aurel said...

I was never more than an amateur. I wanted to be a film actor and utterly failed, while having a really good time in about fifty productions, mainly on stages.

willow said...

I often wonder what I am doing in a small town in Ohio.