Cut!" Roger's disembodied voice rises from the darkness beyond the set. "What the hell are you doing?" Sean and I look at each other. One of us is in trouble with the director and I have a feeling it's me. "Are you deaf, kid?"
Yup, it's me. But before he can start in with a lecture, I want to nip this "kid" stuff in the bud. It was annoying enough when I was merely a spectator, but now that I've joined the cast, it's got to go.
"My name is Leigh," I call helpfully toward the directors' chairs grouped around the monitor, where Roger and the producers sit to watch the scene.
"Your mother said it was Veronica or Viola or something."
"She calls me Vivien, but it's really Leigh."
"I don't have time to learn a hundred names, kid, I'm a busy man. Let's stick with 'kid.'"
Obviously, there's a production-wide conspiracy to prevent me from being treated like an adult. "But how will I know you mean me?"
"Do you see any other kids on this set?"
I consider pointing out that Sean isn't exactly mature, but resist the urge. "No."
"So it should be easy enough."
"But it would be just as easy to call me Leigh. Both words have one syllable."
A low groan ripples across the set and Colleen, who's standing beside the camera, shakes her head warningly.
Roger immediately appears beside her. "Is that an attitude, kid?"
"No." It's a lot harder to have an attitude when I can actually see his face. He's not looking too friendly right now.
"Good, because I don't allow attitude on my set."
I can't see my mother in the gloom, but I can feel her smirking.
Colleen steps to my defense: "She's new to set protocol, Roger."
"Okay," Roger says, "a quick lesson on set protocol for the kid: I am the boss. The boss makes all the rules. And rule number one is that anyone under the age of twenty-one calls me 'sir.' Even Sean, who's twenty-one, calls me 'sir' when he's pissed me off. Right, Sean?"
"Yes sir," Sean says, on cue, looking like he's enjoying the exchange.
"Have I made myself clear, kid?"
"Yes sir." He was so much nicer yesterday when I was doing him a favor filling in for a sick actor during rehearsal. Now that I'm part of the cast, he's treating me like on of his slaves.
"That's better. Now, could you please explain to me what the hell you were doing when we were rolling?"
"Pouring beer. Sir."
Roger taps his script. "It says here that Sinead pours Danny a glass of beer, hands it to him, and sits down. What's with the second glass?"
"I'm pouring one for myself," I explain patiently. Roger, being from L.A., obviously isn't aware of how advanced Irish culture is when it comes to teenagers and alcohol. Even Sean has invited me out for a pint. "You know, to be sociable."
"Really. Does you father encourage you to drink beer at home to be sociable?"
The crew chuckles and my face starts to flush. "Well, no, but this is Ireland."
"Children do not drink in Ireland, either."
"But teenagers do."
"Teenagers do, sir, and I'm sixteen."
"There's a mumbled protest in the shadows and it's coming from Mom's lips.
"Kid, do you know where this movie will be airing?"
"In the States, sir?"
"Correct. And legal drinking age there would be?"
"In the northern wastelands of Canada, maybe. In our country, it's still twenty-one. Either way, Sinead is only fifteen."
"I see your point, sir. Thank you for explaining it to me."
Acting is turning out to be a little too similar to school for my liking.
© Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout