Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kevin Spacey

Once upon a teenage time, I considered a career as an actor and went to study acting in NY and was guided to a teacher named Allan Miller who taught The Method at The Actor's Studio but gave private classes for those who couldn't get into The Studio.  Some of his well-known students include Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Geraldine Page, Lily Tomlin, Sigourney Weaver, Peter Boyle, Rue McClanahan, Dianne Wiest, and Bruce Davison.  Streisand was in my class and we were friendly.  One of the actors who guided me to Allen was already in The Studio and was one of Marilyn Monroe's scene partners but Bob took the private classes for even more training.  Of course you all know his name by now, Bob Veneer, because he's become so famous-NOT!

Acting as a career is a huge crap shoot and I facilitated over acting or returning to college and college won out but it seems every 10 years I would go back to Allan's classes only to retreat again.  Miller had moved to LA and I also found myself in LA and taking classes again after another 10 year break.  I was assigned a scene from the play "Becket" about Archbishop Thomas Becket and King Henry II.  Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole had starred in a movie version.  I was to play Becket and this young actor I didn't know was to play the young King. 

I don't recall rehearsing the scene which was a reunion for the characters after a schism but when we played it in class for Allan and the other students, this guy starts crawling all over me, salaciously.  He's playing the King as aggressively GAY!!!  I'm trying to keep my composure but this clown is all over me.  Miller was notorious for whispering in an actor's ear and giving him a "secret" to use in the scene without revealing what it was.  To this day I wondered if Allan set this up.  Actually, it worked for the characters and keeping my cool was one of my favorite challenging moments as an actor.

The kid invited me to lunch and we chatted pleasantly and never met again as I ran out of money for classes.  On reflection, the kid looked like a young Kevin Spacey.  He had made a bold choice in that scene, something you routinely expect from Spacey.  Though Spacey is not listed as one of his famous students on his site, I've written to Allan asking about Spacey but doubt I'll hear from him; I was not one of his favorites as I bounced back and forth from college and acting.  He pulled me aside once and said I had to stop treating life like a buffet, picking here and then there, but sit down and eat a meal, commit!  I never did.  I dabbled on life's buffet.  And still do. 

Simon Gribben 

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