Friday, March 19, 2010

Method Acting Class?

Many years ago, when my children were little, I was a SAHM (Stay at home Mom).  I had a degree in education and had been a teacher, prior to having children. When my husband needed to take a class at the University to renew his teaching certificate, I decided we should get a sitter one night a week, and I, too, would enroll in a class.  The only one that interested me that was held at the same timt and and on the same night as my husband's accounting class was Acting I.  As I was certified to teach English or Business subjects at the high school level, and had been advisor of the Drama Club at the schools where I had taught, it seemed a reasonable choice.  A close friend of mine was working on getting a teaching certificate in Art, so she found a an Art class she could take as well.  We lived about an hour from the University campus, so we elected to carpool.

It was a win/win situation; Hubs and I could get the required credits to renew our teaching credentials, my friend Linda (Name changed to protect the guilty) could work toward her Bachelor's Degree, we got to spend time socializing on the trip back and forth, and I got a night out without the cherubs.

I wish I could tell you the name of the instructor, because it was really a humorous name with a bit of accidental double entendre which was totally appropriate to how he taught, but again, I'm protecting the guilty, so I'll just call him Professor Perv.

Professor Perv was pushing fifty and told us right off the first night this would be unlike any class we had taken in the past.  There would be no textbooks, no desks, and we would start each class sitting on the floor .  There would be no furniture to distract us.  We should wear comfortable clothing that  would leave us free to move, as movement would be a large part of the training.

 I was quite skeptical of his "agenda" for the semester, and I decided from that point on decided that I  would approach this class with a little skepticism, low expectations, and high humor.  It was my night out, after all!
I was 29 or 30 years old and not exactly a novice to college classes.  Most of the students were 18 to 22, aspiring actors, hanging on his every word and gesture.

On the ride home that evening, I described the presentation and provided his printed "agenda" to my art major friend.  She pointed out that the final class was the final exam which would not be a written exam, but an "experiential" activity for which we needed to bring a friend.

"What the heck kind of course is this, " asked Hubs.
"Your guess is as good as mine, " I responded.
The second week of class, Professor Perv asked the prettiest little blonde in the class to come stand next to him, which she did, eagerly, like this was a command from God.
Then he told everyone to select a partner to work with.  We formed pairs and waited  instructions.

" I want you to use your partner as an object.  I will give you an example.  I'm going to pretend that Susan (fake name) is a submarine periscope."  
He told Susan to place her hands on her hips, which she did.  He then illustrated that she was indeed a submarine periscope, by placeing one hand on each of her upper arms and planting his face against her ample booobs,  (one eye probably against each nipple) and turning her body left and right, as he scanned the "horizon."
Now I had to stifle a gigle at this point.  To my amazement, the young students around me did not show any evidence that this action on his part was in anyway inappropriate, or even comical.  They just took it all in--soaking up this wonderful knowledge like lttle sponges!  Ah, the power of the title "Professor!"  We were told to use our partners as vacuum cleaners, tables, and other inanimate objects.  None of our choices lent themselved to suggestive activities, fortunately.  I will say, the Prof spent a great deal of time staring at the "horizon" through his periscope.

On the way home that evening, I regaled my fellow travelers with tales of my acting training.  Linda was laughing hysterically at the spectacles I described.!  She had a bit of a tale of her own; it seems the class was surprised to have  male and female nude models as subjects that evening.  This was 1974--a much more conservative climate than exists today;  nude models were still a novelty at a small University.>p>
Several of the art students were quite disconcerted by the experience, and a few nervouse giggles  could be heard.  Hubs was bemoaning the fact that he was the only one taking a boring class!

One week in my Acting class, we were lectured on the concept of staying in character.  Professor Perv said many times in stage acting there are distractions which can cause you to "break character," and this  results in a much lesser performance.  Our activity that night was to maintain eye-contact with our partner, no matter what transpired.

Again Prof Perv selected on of the lovely young coeds in the group to demonstrate how to keep eye contact with your partner (maintain character focus) under any and all circumstances.  The dewey-eyed damsel lay on the floor, per his instructions, and he proceeded to straddle her, prone, one hand on each side of her shoulders, and a foot on each side of her feet, and he was able to crawl around the room in that position, Dewey-eyed Damsel somehow crawling around under him on her back, maintaining eye contact and a straight face the entire time.  The youngsters in the class were all, "Wow!  Did you see that?  They never broke character once, not even under the piano!" I on the other hand, could not believe this guy! Biting my lower lip hard was the only thing that kept me from bursting out with a "Bwa hah hah hah!

(I know, at this point you probably think I'm making this up, but I swear, it all happened just as I'm describing it!)

Soon it was time for the Final Exam.  Linda suggested I bring her husband Bill (fake name) as my friend.  He was willing to come, as his wife had been amazing him with my theatrical tales,  My exam was starting an hour later than Hub's and Linda's classes, so we elected to go to a nearby pub for a drink.  Bill felt he needed a bit of liquid courage to prepare himself for this experience.   Over a couple of beers, he asked if the tales Linda had been telling were true.  "Every single one, I assured him."
Finally, sufficiently fortified, we went to my class

 The first task we were assigned was to form two circles, one inside the other;  students of the class in the inside circle, facing outward; "friends" in the outside circle facing inward.  We were to close our eyes and the two circles were to walk in opposite directions.  When told to stop, we were to join hands with the person facing us.  We were to take turns massaging each other's necks and shoulders.  Once again, Prof Perv had managed to stop opposite the Dewey-eyed Damsel and was tenderly massaging her neck and shoulders.  I glanced around and spotted forty-year-old Bill doing the same with a well-stacked brunette freshman.  When I caught his eye, he gave me a wink and a grin.  He definitely was enjoying my final exam.

Once everyone was sufficientlhy "loosened up" we were instructed to withdraw into ourselves and regress all the way back in evolution to a single-cell organism.  As we "withdrew," dropping to the floor, and in our minds getting smaller and smaller, the lights begin to dim, until when we reached the single cell stage, we were in pitch dark.  Now we were to progress forward, to earthworm, primate, etc.  We were to act and make sounds  like the creatures we were simulating.  Groans and moans issued through the darkened room..As we crawled around the floor in the dark, all of a sudden someone grabbed my butt.  I turned quickly and hissed, "Bill, that's me!"

"Oh, sorry!" he whispered back!
Professor Perv was narrating everything and as we began to return to human beings, the lights slowly became brighter.  Once everyone was up on their feet, we were told to form a "group hug" and that was the end of the final exam!  I pulled an A for my participation.  Had I been unable to control my inner hysterical laughter, I probably would not have fared nearly as well.

On the way home that last night of classes Bill and I shared our experiences with our unbelieving spouses.  Apparently their finals did not involve any massages or ass-grabbing!

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Steven Anthony said...

If all my final exams had been like that, I would have so passsed with flying

Tgoette said...

What a great class! Gotta love that Professor Perv! LOL! My daughter studied drama all through high school and had similar exercises. I think, given the kinds of things actors are asked to do in movies these days, that a simple massage is just the warm up! Great post, Eva!

Brian Miller said...


DJan said...

The really bad part is the willingness of all those students to drink it all in without question. And yes, The Perv probably didn't stop there. Sheesh! Thanks for the great story, Eva.

Canadian Blend said...

I took Human Sexuality and Sexual Deviance while in college. Neither was as risque as your acting class.

I did have a prof show up a little bit drunk during a speech class, once. During a test he left the room with a bottle of Gilby's.

Stereos and Souffles said...

Searching for words here...WTH. I don't know how you made it through without peeing your pants. I would have been a hysterical laughing mess!

Mandy's Kidding said...

I would have dropped out of the class faster than Professor Perv's groping hands could snake their way down a coed's top.

jules said...

OMG. I was uncomfortable reading that. Sounds like a fun time though!

Candice said...

I wish some of my classes had been even remotely that interesting.

Jeanie said...

I wonder if today's students would be such eager followers. You gave "Professor Perv" the right name.

The Retired One said...

I am sure, by now, Professor Perv has gotten a stunning career on "America's Most Wanted." (And I don't mean that in a GOOD way).

Life Laugh Latte said...

I'm amazed you didn't insist on re-taking the class for a better grade...A+ afterall was just within reach. Imagine what that would have required! Holly:)

A 2 Z said...

What a great memory you have. What are you on? I want some! I also took drama classes as part of my education degree but it was nothing like yours. I am guessing you were never able to apply his "drama techniques" with your own class...

Cougar Tales said...

OMGoodness. This is a great story. I love the name Professor Perv. We probably all know one, huh?
- Cougs @

Blackberry Jam Cafe said...

There is no way you could make this stuff up! There are crazies out there every where - and what about the ones who are blindly following them??? OMG

Joanna Jenkins said...

Times sure have changed! Prof Perv would be in jail and/or sued from here to kingdom come!

But I'll agree it sounds way more fun than an accounting class.

Great story telling Eva!

Happy weekend.

Eva Gallant said...

A2Z: Now, somehow I couldn't quite imagine getting awaw with straddling some cute 6 foot senior boy on the floor in my class room and getting away with it! lol

Mandy: But then I wouldn't have had this blog fodder!

Canadian: I saaw all the deviance I cared to see! lol

Steven: Wouldn't we all!

Unknown Mami said...

WTH?! Why did you need to bring a friend to the final exam? Just to add bodies to the groping pile?

Gwen said...

I can only hope that something similar happens at my improv class. Assuming I still qualify as a hot co-ed, it'll be the most action I've seen since Y2K.

Laura Jane said...

How bizarre! I would have never made it through an Acting class if it required us to pretend to be a worm. Props to you!

Happy SITS Sharefest!

I am Harriet said...

Hi there.
This was a great post .
You sure don't forget an experience like that.

Stopping by via SITS to say hello.
Have a great day!

Lluvia said...


I literally spit a lot of coffe this time, onto my laptop!!

I can stop laughing! this is a great story! I believe it! I had a Professor Perv myself, only he taught psychology, and used my big boobs a lot as examples. you'd be surprised at how much psychology involves big boobs!!

Now, i want to take an acting class!!

gayle said...

Great story!!