Monday, March 8, 2010

And The Oscar Goes To...

Every year I get so excited about the Academy Awards and this year is no exception. Lights, Camera, Action. . . and that's just me getting ready for the Oscar Party! I love the whole world of movie making. I'm fascinated at how a movie pulls me out of my everyday life and transports me into someone else’s world. Like most kids, I enjoyed playing “pretend” when I was little. I loved accessorizing my homemade costumes with sparkling jewels and silky scarves. My parents nicknamed my glamorous alter ego “Zsa Zsa”. Unlike most kids, I haven’t outgrown my alter ego nor the wearing of sparkling jewels and silky scarves: I am consistently the best-dressed person in the grocery store. You never know when I might be discovered by a hungry (and desperate) Hollywood director in—of all places—Nashville, Tennessee.

I have to say that Meryl Streep remains one of my all time favorite actresses. She can make me believe that she really is someone else. She is especially skilled in foreign accents which complete her transformation into a character. I also have an ear for accents and when I get absorbed into a drama I start to think like the characters. By the time I leave the theatre I am unconsciously speaking with a foreign accent, even when I don’t know what language was spoken. I hold my breath until the spell passes, hoping no one else notices my Pigeon English (Isn't that what they speak in Pigeon Forge near the Smokies?)

When I was in high school I did TRY to take Spanish lessons. The only thing I remember how to say is “iQue raro!” which means “How odd!” For my friends and me it became our secret catch phrase. To get the full effect we would roll our R's endlessly: iQue rrrrarrro! To which people coincidentally reacted ‘How odd!?!?’ It was the perfect answer to any question, and the meaning was determined by the facial expression. For example, "How do you like these shoes?" iQue rrrrarrro! (frown). "Jimmy thinks you’re cute!" iQue rrrrarrro! (smile). "What did you think of that test?" iQue rrrrarrro! (gasp). While going through this Meryl Streep method-acting phase, I got the rolling R’s stuck in my throat. To the annoyance of all adults and most friends, I could not rrrresist or rrrrestrain myself! "Who is your favorite president?" RRRonald RRReagan. "Who is your favorite actor?" RRRobert RRRedford. iQue rrrrarrro, SI!! The only way I could break this (almost perfect) Spanish language accent was to rrrrefrain from using any words starting with the letter R. I would have to come up with creative answers like, “Just turn to the. . . NOT LEFT, por favor.”

English is still my second language and I don’t have a first language. iQue rrrrarrro! Eventually I lost the accent. I did not become a method actress or a foreign language expert. Through my Drama Queen years I did learn something from the Bible about gaining self-control. Proverb 25:28 says, “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” 'Broken-down walls' portrays a structural barrier lacking strength, protection and privacy. It is a place without boundaries. There is a time to control my speech by concentrating, not on the accent, but on what is being said. It takes a brave act of will on my part, but I am doing my Oscar-worthy best to save the lights, camera, action for the real actors. iQue rrrrarro!


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