In this episode of VHS, Yeardly Tinsley touches his students. Not necessarily in a good way.
By Mitch Magee & Josh Ruben
INT. BLACK BOX THEATER - NEW YORK CITY - LATE EIGHTIES SHOT ON A LOW-FI VIDEO CAMERA: A very serious acting class. Pan across a roomful of serious acting students, young and eager. Bad hair, turtlenecks and scruff. The teacher, YEARDLY TINSLEY, 60s, Irish, a failed actor, paces on the stage in front of the kids. YEARDLEY TINSLEY What is acting? A CUTE STUDENT raises her hand. CUTE STUDENT Acting is about listening. YEARDLEY TINSLEY No. Anyone else? No? Acting. Acting is about yelling. A BEARDED STUDENT nods, takes notes. YEARDLEY TINSLEY NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! Long awkward pause. YEARDLEY TINSLEY Everybody up. JUMP TO: The class stands in a circle. YEARDLEY TINSLEY Put your hands together. Clap 'em. Repeat after me: People like acting. ("People like acting". I like to act. ("I like to act.") It's a good profession. ("It's a good profession." It can be unrelenting. ("It can be unrelenting"). Improvise a few more rounds of ridiculous call and repeat between him and the students. JUMP TO: The students sit in a circle. YEARDLEY TINSLEY Acting is about telling stories. About being an open vessel. You gotta be willing to wear your heart on your sleeve. Se we're all going to tell a secret to the circle. Something you've literally told no one else. BUFF STUDENT I thought actors aren't supposed to share their secrets, just use them to "get there" emotionally... YEARDLEY TINSLEY Maybe if we were learning how to work on our quads and our squads and pecs and whatever fuck at the gym, you would be right. But we are not. Okay, I'll go first. My son tried to kill himself. Well he did kill himself. I blame myself. Next? Secret's safe in the circle. Could be anything. Anything fucked up. GIRL STUDENT Um... I was molested when I was 10. YEARDLEY TINSLEY That is pretty fucked up. I mean. There you go. Very good. But that's fucked up. Neighbor, or father or? JUMP TO: A MALE STUDENT does a monologue on stage. YEARDLEY TINSLEY Stop, stop, stop. Yeardly joins him, and makes ridiculous adjustments - has him try the whole thing yelling, on a couch, holding a folding chair in one hand, his balls in the other. Whatever else we improvise. JUMP TO: The students all lie on the floor in a cool down. YEARDLEY TINSLEY Feel your breath coming through your third eye, out the negative space in your stomach. Imagine you're on a windmill in outer space. As the students relax and breath, Yeardly opens a MEATBALL SUB and sloppily devours it as he walks between the students, delivering direction between mouthfuls of meat. YEARDLEY TINSLEY Begin to imagine just for a moment, you're in a field of gently billowing peach trees. A MEATBALL drops on kid's head. YEARDLEY TINSLEY Fuck.