Roger Marolt: Roger This
November 16, 2012
I love the community play. It’s ours. It’s fun. You know people in it. Mostly, though, it’s great acting. I don’t mean great acting for a small town. It’s great acting, period. I think I admire it more than most, even, because, of all the things in this world I can’t do, acting is the one I can’t do best. I get the idea of it all right; I just can’t do it. I’ve had experience.
There was the fourth-grade play. I was Lord Fulke. It was a good part. He was a hero of the Crusades. However, this is when I learned about kryptonite, Achilles’ heels, etc. It turned out that at the end of the first scene, after which Lord Fulke was never to be seen again, he had to hug his sister goodbye before heading to battle. Big deal. Well, it turns out that Lord Fulke had a terrible crush on his “sister.” Suffice it to say, I wasn’t convincing in the role, red face and all.
As they say, though, you have to get back on that horse as soon as possible after a fall. My next chance came approximately 10 years later when I was asked to try out for a Bubble Up commercial. You remember – it was the 7Up wannabe from the ’70s.
The idea was that we would all show up in the Red Brick school gym wearing yellow-and-green clothes and play a game of volleyball while the casting people observed. I took advantage of the situation. Against a bunch of actors who were concentrating more on smiling than watching the ball, I had my chance to shine. I was above the net, spiking on everyone. I destroyed them. It was like they weren’t even trying!
After the game we had to demonstrate how we looked chugging Bubble Up.
“We want to see bubbles rising up in the bottle as you drink,” they said. I showed them bubbles! Overheated from the game and completely parched, I chugged an entire bottle of the stuff in nothing flat, the last of the foam streaming out of the sides of my mouth and down the front of my sweaty yellow turtleneck. My eyes tearing from the carbonation added to the effect. If the script had called for an ass, I was a shoo-in. It didn’t. Next!
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It was probably another half-dozen years when I took my final shot at acting. It was for McDonald’s or Coke. Partially suppressed memory prevents me from recalling exactly which. I’m told it’s a self-preservation reflex of the mind.
The ad in the paper said, “Experienced actors wanted for national television ad. Guild membership desirable. Bring portfolio. Will play the part of a ski racer at the Olympic finish line.”
I thought, “Well, I know how to ski. Perfect!” It was all downhill from there.
The part actually called for very little skiing. All we were required to do was schuss across the finish line, look up at the scoreboard and act like we were a little unsure of our performance. We had to appear nervous when the other skiers came down. Then, when it was clear that we had won the race, we were to express great joy at winning the gold medal. Easy enough.
Coming through the finish line was the best part of my performance. When I stopped and looked up at the board, I recall snapping my head down with a disgusted look on my face. I clucked my tongue. I think I mouthed, “Dammit.” It was supposed to be realistic, right? I might have even thrown my ski poles down. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I did.
As I pretended to watch the rest of the racers come down, you have never seen a countenance of such anguish. Then my eyebrows would rise like the dead on Judgment Day as each successive racer supposedly crossed the finish line with a time slower than mine. I was counting the girls and riches that would come with an Olympic victory, and the sly smile on my lips betrayed me. When the director yelled that I had victory at hand, I ran and jumped and whooped around the staged finish area like I had just pulled off the most miraculous win in sports history!
The casting crew stood speechless. I never heard from them again.
Anyway, this is a long way to express my awe for the Aspen Community Theatre. Go check out “Crazy for You” this weekend. You won’t be sorry.