We’d woken up in Berlin 23.5 hours earlier, but one does need a bite to eat and to at least make an attempt to arrive in a new time zone. So we’re sitting outside at an Italian place in Los Angeles, plastic chairs and tables but ironed tablecloths. View of the Pacific if we sit a bit sideways, sun going down this month much earlier than back home. I’m alternately zoning out and relating fragments of conversation I pick up around us to my husband.
A lovely let’s say 27-year old sits down, dark shiny long hair, vaguely south American, wearing an exquisite blue silk blouse that nicely sets off her hair. Ten minutes later a second woman shows up, also probably lovely (prominent cheekbones, perfect teeth in a large smile) but more in slumming-it mode, with a casual white see-through t-shirt and holey jeans. I note:
These two don’t particularly like each other: it’s not friendship bringing them together tonight. The second woman is more successful (explaining why she turned up later). Her words may say she’s in the same business as Woman 1, but her facial gestures are tight. Her voice (the first thing to clue me in that they are actresses) is deep, resonant, sexy, an ear-catcher. And then she drops phrases: “it’s like a one-woman show, so I was like ...”; “yeah, there’s a touch of ‘reality’ in it ...”; “it’s the fifth season so they’re leaving me out of the loop for a few things ...”
Woman 1 was looking for contacts, advice. Woman 2 was asking herself whether Woman 1 could be useful, as an understudy or to give jobs she didn’t want herself. But mostly she just wanted to show her: I know the biz, it's a tough biz but I'm tough enough to be successful. Your auditions and phone calls and attempts are just a pale imitation of the real thing.
published 3 November 2012
Editor's Note: Pure Slush will publish a collection by Dusty-Anne Rhodes in mid-2013, and Power Games will be included in it.