Saturday, 2 August 2008

Look Up It's Dalton Trebeck

Dalton Trebeck, late forties, sort of trim but sagging slightly, sits, looking around at audience.

Midgets spitting acid. Dogs that vomit children by the
truckload. Old gents eyeballing and killing the young.
Those are the plots.

Dalton talks monotone, the kind of man who has said blood bank to many a jobbing actor playing victim.

Have you seen my movies? In The Dream Of Goya.
I played a professor of ancient religions in that one.
Many confused young men trying to stab me. Used
one of Christ’s cross-nails to redeem us. Was a Catholic
thing. Tomorrow I Renege. I played a covert individual
there. Fighting AI super-computer gone independent.
Lots of interesting musings about man, nature, duality
and individuality, and the true order of the world. I Spite
Your Father, Sir. That was the dogs vomiting newborns flick.
Well, pre-act. First act I was in the White House, as a intern,
undercover protection for the President. I have to negotiate
with the problem children, who will grow to be our future.
They kill a lot of people but I show them the Buddhist way.
Communication through fighting, a world turned painfully
confused by selfishness and fear. A lot of interesting ideas,
about humanity, where we are going, how we evolve as a
collective. Director has promise. Midgets spitting acid?
Circus freak flick. I am on run from CIA. Hide out in a
circus. Turn assassin into freaks, let their inner nature evolve.
Ended up fighting modern world, back from the dead, a spirit,
with an army of zombie elephants. Didn’t quite work but had
some interesting, upsetting images. (PAUSE) I’m a jobbing
actor. I can’t choose the parts. A lot of them I have no interest
in. I try not to look bored but… I still try. I have a contract for
a few films a year. Still useful. Used to be big. You would
have seen my films that didn’t go straight… one that were
on the big screen. Early 90’s. Fighting terrorists. They were
good. Had nice fights. I was appropriately lean, like a beast
on the hunt for good eating.

Dalton is silent. Pained in a way that suggests constipation.

I had gadgets. Big guns. Knuckle dusters. Household appliances
used with imagination. Once we had exploding condoms. That
was amusing. Now I have obvious stunt doubles. You can tell
its not me. It’s embarrassing. Just awful. And I read the websites
doing parodies. Like that bastard… I don’t direct them. I can’t get
good people. Writers, directors. Its just me and some drunk in his
thirties, early forties, moaning about titles like Sleep Deadly 4:
I Want Your Wife, talking about how he doesn’t spend enough time
with his children. And big-titted actresses that are all teeth. Day-
players given prominent villain acting roles that stretch them
to yell, hey you m-f. Come and get some. I’m from Canada.
Ex-sports stars, not exactly twinkle-toes in emoting, that I
painfully share disgustingly bereft dialogue with. I’m disgusted
with myself. Shall I tell you about my marriage now? Would
you like that? Or a story. What about the story of my marriage?
Don’t worry. It’s quite a yarn.
It all began in smoggy LA. The smog choked small children and
policemen alike, making them crawl along the streets like vacant
basketball players, ten years after the peak, with too much sauce,
too much vomit and just not enough shame. LA has a deadly summer.
And along came my second film at number one, a leftie-revenge flick discussing the ways that the CIA corrupts your soul. The hacks I worked with later did not appreciate the ambivalence I have about that type of thing.
So I’m cock of the hoop, swinging from deal to deal. But to be honest, I don’t cater to the women there. Nice smiles, open, but you wonder, you know, no-one’s that open. So you get paranoid, drunk, end up in many a hotel room at three in the morning calling the maid mamma.
Or some of the people you have to deal with to get ahead. They you can’t escape, ever. They’re crazy. They say to you…. They say…
How do you react to what they say, the crap and lies. I was just in
this to be an actor. So I’m kind of trapped. Some say repressed.
So I’m polite enough to them, watching, smiling, wondering what
to do. And the women keep coming at me like clones. And I’m
divorced already, but I have issues. I actually think I’m a pretty
good feminist, for a man. I’ve read...
So here I am, apparently doing well, now in trouble. So how do I
meet my wife. Well my son needs a nanny.
My son, well, he was ten, twelve. It was someone to look after him.
Me. Mainly him. Someone who can organise. So that’s how I met her.

Dalton looks a little shy.

It was that duality, was she looking after him, me, was I using him to get someone to look after me, that she pointed out. Had to at least like her for that. Should she point out that she was actually watching the kid, so I would feel concern for him. Or see concern. He’s a nice kid but we have little in common. Interested in law, money.
Where’s the soul in… Anyway, she didn’t even like my movies.
So, you know, wasn’t trying to make me like her. After she was
hired, never showed much judgement to my actions. Very warm.
Saw me as flawed. I liked that. Nothing said anything about any
I remember the first kiss. I looked at her like a shy teenager, then
gave her a kiss. She responded in a very warm way, very emotional.
I relaxed. I loved kissing her. There was never any cynicism when
I kissed her. Never felt it the way I did with others.
Always helped me when I was confused, told me to keep things
simple. Not in a cruel way, like you are simple. No, just, keep
story to point. Don’t meander. She liked to read a lot.
If she ever thought I was having an affair, never did, once I did.
That was scary. I did it out of anger, see what it felt like, to hurt
her, lie to her, lie warmly then go sleep with someone else.
The anger and obscenities that came from her mouth, the hurt
she showed. Never did that again, out of shame. It was odd,
unnerving, to hear her say the things she said. Unnatural. She
forgave me. I was strange, angry at that time.
She told me that some people would feel like locking me up.
It was oddly kind, under the circumstances. I don’t know why.
I would have been judgemental. I was once a basket-case.
My wife always looks at me, as if I’m about to go strange.
Something happened once. It was odd, on a shoot. Recent circus
freak film, shot in Bulgaria. Acid midget film. Had a great paper
headline joke: Circus worker saves bear from small child.
I went for a walk. Nodded hello to the locals. They are lovely
people. So I’m walking in broad daylight, and I look down, at
a bridge, looking down at the water, where I see two ghosts
floating and fucking. Excited they looked, floating like a log
down a stream. I swear. They had no shame. Just ignored me.
I looked around yet no-one seemed to see it.

Dalton pauses for apparent effect.

It got worse. One day I was on the set, learning my line, again
in daylight, when I saw ghosts on the set, ghosts of men, women
and children, tearing each others to bits. I know that sounds a bit
weak but these guys were tearing into one another like starving
rabid dogs. All over the set, without pity. all looking sane for a
second before they started ripping bits off one another. No sense to it. People would kill then be killed, women eating their own children.
They looked like… seemed solid, seemed to bleed. I was alone,
looking like I was a man going mad. Then the cast and crew started
to see it. They started screaming, vomiting. Someone turned the
camera on and caught it. Contract said we had to go back and finish the film.

Dalton looks chilled at the memory.

I saw red blood dominating the river later, the drained dead bodies standing up, walking, as if going home. Again families. I saw them on the streets the next day, looking entirely normal. Saying hello to me, having a nice day. Of course I responded politely. Then you see them every day, wondering how to respond to them. Then you go back to LA, wonder how to respond to those people. You see, you wonder, who can you trust. You learn to rely on what you are doing, the people you are creating, to be real. And they are created half-heartedly. So you wonder who to trust, what makes them them, if they worth your trust. If you are worth their trust. it’s a difficult situation. That feeling has been growing for years, feeding into my films, as I care less, the characters and situations more like ghosts, no gristle to keep me focused. Save my wife, and I sometimes feel unsure there. She seems to be too nice. A director once told me I wanted to be an actor out of a need for bored attention, even though I had zero interest in real acting, was half-hearted actor at best. That’s why I am so stiff at it. Wasn’t just lack of training. That I just wanted people to seem to be looking at me, not really looking. Because that would require them saying things to me I wouldn’t like. So learning to fight is a good way to get at safe attention. He was an intelligent young man. Bitter as a politician.
I’m Dalton Trebeck. I was in movies your parents liked. And now I’m in the land of the dead.

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