Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bitchy Boy

Jalen (not his real name) was so bitchy. I met him in rehearsals for one of the shows I did this past year. Sometimes, he complained about the rehearsal process. And he was critical of everything in the entertainment industry. But he adored Britney, so we bonded over that.

Actors and performers who were not la Spears, though, were subject to his immediate criticism and disdain, whether on stage or in the media. He had an opinion, usually low, about anyone's and everyone's performance.

Jalen, himself, was a marvelous performer and rather awkward looking. He was a good "character type." You just knew that adolescence must have been absolute hell for him. It was easy for me to forgive him for his bitchy attitude, once I surmised that it must be a defense technique, built up over the handful of years of his young adulthood.

We shared a brief, memorable moment. On opening night, Jalen and I answered our call to places, squatting behind a set piece before revealing ourselves in the first number. In the dark, just before the curtain and the lights went up, I whispered to him: "Magic!" Jalen responded with a friendly, brotherly squeeze to my shoulder.

Before rehearsal one afternoon, I saw that I was right behind Jalen's car when we had both exited the freeway. His car was closest to the homeless person holding up a cardboard sign. I saw Jalen's hand reach out of his car window, a folded bill in his hand.

I never told Jalen that I had witnessed his act of kindness. But I am inspired by him to continue giving what I can, when I can.

Bitchy Boy has a soft spot.

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