Following the other week’s cabaret event “Don’t Judge Me By My Accent”, I wanted to go back to the process of preparing my part of the show, and what I discovered on the night.
In May, Beatrice Mori, a talented actress, singer and producer, asked me if I wanted to perform a monologue at her event. She first mentioned a German accent, which I don’t quite feel comfortable in at the moment. After growing up in France, I feel that my oral muscles are able to speak naturally in English with a French accent, so I suggested that instead. I then started looking for French actresses who also act in English for inspiration and a script. Cotillard came to mind, as well as Gainsbourg, but I chose Julie Delpy and remembered the final voiceover in her film “2 Days in Paris” where she describes her relationships with men and deep love for her boyfriend Jack.
I had a month to prepare, so I took my time to learn the speech inside and out, but until the day of the show, I didn’t really know how I would interpret it. It’s funny, sad, provocative. There were things I could relate to, but others I couldn’t. Moreover, presenting a monologue out of context on a cabaret night is not like an audition, it needs to entertain the audience and tell a story from start to finish, right? I broke the text down multiple times, going through the intentions, thought changes and the overall arc. Beatrice told me that she once felt completely lost just hours before performing a piece, and this reminded me that sometimes things need time to click.
And that’s what happened. I arrived at the venue early, where a few of the performers had the chance to rehearse in front of each other. I walked on stage, started talking, and then realised where the speech was going. I found the humour, the rhythm, and noticed that even though the piece is not that funny, I brought my own humour to it. It was the first time I was speaking this text in a big room, and it made all the difference.
The atmosphere and the audience that evening were magical, and we all had a great time, it felt like a collaboration although we had all more or less just met that afternoon. During the show, Beatrice spoke about the origins of this show that embraces all accents and encourages us to be ourselves, to use what makes us unique instead of trying to fit into a box.
You hear this a lot: embrace what makes you unique, don’t try to fit in but communicate in your own voice. After close to a decade away from France, my French is shifting, so is my English, which I’ve inherited from my American mother – not to mention my German which is underused at the moment. But that’s who I am! To quote my friend Margot, I’m a “Euro-merican”, and the movies and plays that move me are those that have characters who don’t just identify as being from one culture. Inside ourselves, we are a rainbow (quoting Maya Rudolph here), and if we work hard enough and keep pushing, I believe the industry will become interested in that rainbow.
On another note, an exciting and dark short thriller/horror shot in 2016 called “Echoes of the Passed” is out on YouTube! This was my third short film with filmmaker Scott Lyus. I loved the experience of acting in this, as I feel I made friends, got to have fun with my three co-stars, and had my first experience with night shoots. Working with Scott is a true pleasure and on this film, it was a real collaboration.