A PHONE CALL FROM THE AGENCY
You know what I think? I think that if an agent from a pretty good agency happened to be here now, I might be getting a phone call sometime soon. A few years ago, it really happened to me.
An agent calls and says that a minute ago she was on the phone with some good film director and she recommended me and made him interested in my humble person. Very soon, he starts shooting his new movie and he needs a midget. The agent asks me how tall I am, because the guy needs actors who are not taller than 160 cm, and I say that I’m not … so tall at all. I’m actually 160 cm. I don’t know, seriously, I have no idea what would’ve happened if I had been given the job and appeared on the set as a… king-size midget. I don’t suspect that I would cut a 10-centimeter-long part off my bone. After all, I don’t have insurance. Besides, who needs an actor without knees? Anyways, everybody tells me that I have difficult acting conditions and that’s why it’s hard for me to find a job. Yes I know, looking for a job means sacrifice. One time my friend called and said that he’s going to Cracow the next day and asks me if I want to go. I answer that if I manage to make some appointments with the theatre directors then sure, why not? And then something amazing happened; the assistant in The Old Theatre arranged my meeting with the director. Next day, two to ten, I enter the secretary’s office. “Hallo, I’m Marcin Zarzeczny, 504155237.” The secretary tells me that the director is very busy at the moment and that, unfortunately, he won’t have time to meet me. When I said that I traveled 250 km to meet the director and that was the only reason of my coming there, it did not make a big impression on her. To be more precise, none whatsoever. She asked me to leave and she closed the door of the office. But I didn’t want to give up. I came up with an idea to catch him outside, but … well, a bit awkward, isn’t it? Besides, it was really cold. I figured out that it would be much better to hide somewhere. But as if out of spite, in the corridor there was no closet, no corner, no curtain. I was getting closer and closer to the exit when I saw a cloakroom. A cloakroom! Brilliant! I can hide between a couple of jackets. I placed myself somewhere between the rows of those long coat hangers. After 15 minutes I emerged from my hideout or rather jumped out of the coats. I asked for a meeting, presenting the whole situation. I can firmly say that it did not make a big impression on him. To be more precise, none whatsoever. For the next five minutes our conversation looked more or less like this: “Sir, would you consider meeting me?” “No.” “Please.” “No.” “Please.” “No.” “Please.” “No.” “Please.” Finally, I said that if he had agreed for a meeting at the beginning of our conversation, I’d probably be leaving his office in this very moment. There was no point wasting his precious time if he said he was so busy. Yep. We had a conversation, a strained one. You probably know what happened after or rather what didn’t happen. Well, at least I know that the director’s office in The Old Theatre in Cracow is quite cool.
Maybe what I’m going to say now is awfully trivial, but I think, disappointments aren’t easy, however they’re really important. It’s like you’re just about to get something and suddenly it turns out you won’t. The disappointment helps you to realize how important this thing is to you. At that point either you resign or your aim becomes even more important, and with every next disappointment it becomes much clearer. You know what I think? Perhaps we should fall in love with the goal, and then the goal will fall in love with us, so to speak. Perhaps we should swim against the current and dare disappointments. The greater they’ll be, the better taste of being on the top. And you know what I do? I smile to my private disappointment and I say: “Thanks mate.” I say “mate” because we know each other for a bit. “Thanks to you I’m getting stronger.” Well, at least I think so.
I generally have no idea what’s all about this whole disappointment. For example, when I try to make a good impression on someone, someone who can give me a job in the future, it seems I always fail. Recently I’ve got a part in some TV serial. I admit it was a heavily trodden part, but still it was a part. I was to act “A Man.” True, it was a big challenge, one of the biggest. I’d never acted “A Man” before. It was a small part, two scenes, in which I fight for my property, because someone is trying to destroy it. I’m on the set standing maybe ten meters from the director who is talking with the assistant director. They both are looking at me and I hear them saying: “This actor there, he’s a bit short.” As you see, it would be hard to challenge him. Luckily, no correlation between talent and height has ever been proven – at least not to my knowledge.
The director comes to me and says: “You know, Marcin, I imagined ‘A Man’ as a tall, big, muscled guy and you are a bit delicate. Instead of screaming at the gut, you’d probably say, ‘Excuse me, I was wondering, would you be so kind to leave it and go? This is my property. I would be very grateful.'” And he tells me to try to be at least a bit angry, but he asks me not to overdo it, because it’ll be artificial.
I said, “Well, ok, I’ll try.” During the rehearsal I gave 90%. The director jumped out of the car, where he had his equipment, he came to me and said that that was exactly the character that he’d imagined. The assistant director was also over the moon. He took my number for the future.
“The actor’s a bit short.” Well, as a janitor in my school was saying: “Short, but he jumps where he wants!”
The truth is that I can play many characters. Maybe you can’t catch it when you look at me but that’s the truthiest truth. I can play Hamlet in Cockney. You’ve seen it. I can play Shylock from The Merchant of Venice. On the stage, I can do almost everything. Nowadays, for example, a theatre, in which actors run around naked, is really popular. I can run as well, seriously. I’ve never done it before, but if it makes sense, I’ll do it. Why not? Yea, maybe that’s my great opportunity. Excuse me, is there any director here? I’m sure there is. For today’s performance I’ve sent invitations to all theatre directors in the area. Dear Sir or Madam … I’m talking to the directors now, I can play a happy person. [The actor poses as a happy person.] I can play an unhappy person. [The actor poses as an unhappy person.] Or I can play a traumatized person. [The actor shows trauma.] I can do madness as well. Oh, I know; naked madness. [The actor starts to undress. Before taking off his boxer shorts he disappears behind the wings. Sinister music starts playing. Red lights are lit. The actor without clothes runs across the stage. He can be barely seen. The music stops.] Excuse me, could anyone be so kind and pass me my clothes. [Silence.] Oh Sophia! [A lightening producer answers]: “Sophia is on here break!” Hey, guys, can you turn off the lights and play the sinister music again? [The actor crosses the stage again running. While he’s running, the lighting guy makes a joke and turns on the lights for a split of a second. The actor screams: Ej. He comes back on the stage while dressing up.] As you all see, I’m also a very flexible and brave actor. Thank you.
[He speaks to the lighting producer with a threat in his voice. Music starts or gong.]
Marcin Zarzeczny is a professional actor based in Warsaw, Poland who has cooperated with many Polish theaters in the past. When his big chance was cancelled, a feature movie which he was to act as the lead, Marcin became jobless. He wrote his very first literary piece in life ‘Jobless Actor Confessions’ which became a great success in Poland. After almost 60 shows of solo acts he played in his mother country, he made a premiere English version of it in the National Theatre in Reykjavik, Iceland, his first solo show of International Tournee of Jobless Actor.
Marcin still is looking for a job, no matter where, to act.
“Jobless Actor Confessions” was translated by Patrycja Trzoch