ambush (chapter 22)

(Mother and Child in a Boat by Edmund Charles Tarbell)

Mae’s costume is anachronistically modern.  The idea was that her character Edna was to appear to be evolving much more quickly than her environment.  At the start of the film which is set at the end of the 1800s, Edna’s distinction is signaled by the colors she wears—while everyone else wears washed-out shades of white and grey and brown, she wears vivid blue—and by the end of the film she’ll be wearing a dress from the mid 1920’s with a 1960s flourish. 

Before they begin shooting the scene, Lang catches Mae in her trailer fiddling with her clothes, the long skirt cinched tight at the waist, short jacket with rounded shoulders,  vivid patterned blouse with a complicated asymmetric bow at the neck.  Mae wears that nonchalant look that Lang has learned to interpret as apprehension.  

“Don’t be nervous,” Lang tells her.

Mae clenches her jaw.  “Why should I be nervous?”

“Of course you’re not nervous.  I just said that reflexively.”

“I’m just not crazy about improvisation.  I wish I had a couple of solid lines to hold onto in this scene.”

Lang pours them each a glass of water, sits down at the table, and motions for Mae to join her.    They have a well-established rhythm now.  The longer Lang talks, the further Mae falls under the spell of this thing they are doing together.  Although Mae has a knack for pulling those chords, Lang’s role is not exactly maternal; she’s prefers to think of herself as a surrogate or midwife or coach, she’s not quite willing to step any closer because she knows the director must always retain her objectivity.   But Lang is willing to go through the requisite motions and before each scene, Lang hovers behind Mae, whispering in her ear, squeezing her arm for emphasis.  Like real intimates they have learned what needs to be said or heard.  They inhale what they need to get under the surface of the scene. 

*

The rest of this chapter is closed for renovation.

 

 

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About Anna Fonté

Girl in the Hat, aka Anna Fonté, is an author who writes about invisibility, outsider status, everyday monsters, and her attempts to befriend the neighborhood crows. The things she writes want you to look at them.

6 comments

  1. I love the way the relationship between the director and actress comes across – it’s extremely realistic and heart-warming.

    Your writing is so fantastic – it really, truly, is.

  2. Is it just me, or do I feel
    like the author is telling
    me what they intend to
    write about rather then
    offering a finished story?
    Your style is very unusual,
    disorienting at first, but
    nothing I can’t handle.
    I found the part where
    the director is working
    with the children to be
    the most interesting. Is
    that how it really
    happens?

    • Sometimes I get a little to cerebral and perhaps this was one of those times. I was trying to get into the idea of how it’s done but I don’t know if this is how directing happens– this is one of those times when I had to make things up. I applied what I know as a mother to Lang here– see how she influences Mae and the kids as a mother might. Director=Mother. And then inside the scene, how things never go exactly as planned. But Lang knew this would happen and that’s what she was going for.

      • Given the age of the children.
        Her logic makes sence, though.
        I’ve heard that the tecniques of
        Directors can very greatly. There
        may be lots of wiggle room when
        it comes to making this realistic.
        I aways wondered how they
        worked with such young children
        – getting them to just be themselves
        seems like a good idea.

  3. Second time around – I now understand the weird tence at the beginning. Now
    that I know before hand it’s refering to a movie. I think this was the last chapter
    I read before discovering your earlier ones – and it made me vary curious about
    your book. 2&4&12B 9 18A 14B 22 12A 18B 20B&7&16A&16B 14A 15A&15B 11
    3B 3A 19A&19B&13&21A&21B 20A 6 10 21C 8&17A&17B&5&1

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