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.
What is acting?
A CUTE STUDENT raises her hand.
Acting is about listening.
No. Anyone else? No? Acting.
Acting is about yelling.
A BEARDED STUDENT nods, takes notes.
Long awkward pause.
The class stands in a circle.
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
Improvise a few more rounds of ridiculous call and repeat
between him and the students.
The students sit in a circle.
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
I thought actors aren't supposed to
share their secrets, just use them
to "get there" emotionally...
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.
Um... I was molested when I was 10.
That is pretty fucked up. I mean.
There you go. Very good. But
that's fucked up. Neighbor, or
A MALE STUDENT does a monologue on stage.
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.
The students all lie on the floor in a cool down.
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.
Begin to imagine just for a moment,
you're in a field of gently
billowing peach trees.
A MEATBALL drops on kid's head.