Pontius Pilate, Dr. Seuss, and Me (Part 2)

Pontius Pilatus / Gemaelde 16.Jh. - Pontius Pilate / Paint./ 16th cent. - Ponce Pilate / Peinture du XVIe siecleThis is part two in a memoir that began in this post here.

I oddly wanted this.

I don’t know when this experience changed for me, but the idea of coming in second or third or fourth to another grad student (or worse an undergrad) in auditions felt beneath me. I was Scott freaking Southard and I wanted to be the super grad student! I wanted to be the one that professors would talk about after graduation. A living benchmark for the program. Yeah, I wanted future conversations in the office around history to be like: “Was that before or after Scott was a student here?”

Preparing for the auditions with that lousy script was the equivalent of eating a meal you hated, but promising yourself you were going to eat every drop and love it. Yeah, you were going to smile through the awful meal. Again and again. And I did. I memorized every bit I could of the audition script, bit my tongue as I acted it out in the mirror.

And when the day of the audition came about, I felt ready. Some of my friends thought I was a little crazy for caring so much and maybe I was. Who knows? My brother was an actor when I was growing up, so maybe a part of me wanted to prove it was no big deal and I could do it too. Yeah, I admit there might have been other issues at play in my head. I honestly admit it.

I thought I did great but when the roles were handed out I was not Ponitus Pilate, I was given the second biggest role, that of Caiaphas. I was told in confidence by the theater professor that he only gave the other student Pilate since he had actual acting experience in his past. I could live with that answer! It’s like I was the secret best (but still the best don’t forget).

And that evening I was almost gleeful as I started to highlight the script… until I realized what I was going to be doing and saying.

“Oy vey.” Continue reading

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Why The Littlest Angel is the worst holiday story… ever

The First Cover for the "classic"When The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell was published in 1946 it was a holiday phenomenon. This “classic” story has since been published numerous times (with many different illustrated versions); made into movies (cartoon, musical, and live action); and in the list of best-selling children stories of all time (!) it comes up in the top 20. 

Heck, even holiday crooner Bing Crosby sang a song based on the plot of it! 

I remember the first time I heard this story. It was at catechism. and the teacher read it to us as if she was bestowing a great holiday gift on us children. I can still see her smile. While the other kids casually sat near me with crossed legs, I remember really being bothered by the story. I couldn’t put my finger on it then, but that reaction to the tale has never gone away for me. And that day, I raised my hand for I had some questions.

My hand is still up in the air.

The fact is, after thinking about it far too much, and being haunted by it like Marley’s ghost each year, I can’t escape my problems with this narrative. I have come to the opinion that this Christmas traditional yarn is… just awful. Horrendous. Possibly the worst holiday story. Oh, God, it is just bad.

Okay, it takes a lot for a story to be a worst holiday yarn than the appalling song “The Christmas Shoes” (which for those lucky not to know is the materialistic and disturbing ditty about an ignorant child who leaves his dying mother’s bedside to go shopping, assuming that the shoes he puts on her feet will go with her soul to heaven and there impress Jesus), but The Littlest Angel does it. It does it ten times over.

Grab a cup of hot chocolate and a Christmas cookie, snuggle in by the fireplace, and let me tell you why… Continue reading

Good Riddance– A Letter from the Sinners

A comedy essay for Green Spot Blue about the end of the world (May 21). Share and enjoy –

http://www.greenspotblue.com/world/2011/5/19/essay-good-riddance-a-letter-from-the-sinners.html