Friday, May 16, 2008

Talk about Hot Actresses makes me hot under the collar

This week a theatre blog where the talk is generally serious got OT onto rating performers on hotness, and some playwrights and directors I have respect for got drawn arguing re: who they fantasize about and who they think is skanky or "past it".  I took  time off my heavy rehearsal schedule to rant against this: 

Must we have this conversation?  It is vulgar and offensive and most of what passes for evidence is junk science.   We just don't know enough about primate sexuality or the brain/body connections in humans to accurately describe what is going on in the parings and rankings we observe-- or even our own responses 

 The folk saying "it is just as easy to love a rich person as a poor one" is is true only so far as assuming any rewarded behavior is "easy".    If "attraction", or "hotness" refers to the sending and reception of hormonal signals (which are probably olfactory) we haven't figured out how to measure it or control for other variables. 

Marilyn Monroe said in an interview that when she was walking around the Village in glasses and a scarf and not "performing" Goddess Marilyn, nobody looked twice at her. Acting is believing is data. I do know that hotness, like other emotional signals, can be acted.  I'm not attractive, but I can play it on stage.  Imagination releases the hormones, and audience-- and scene partner's-- hormones respond.    Our ancestors called it "casting out lures".  Sometimes the effect carries over into "real life".  It happened to me recently: I performed in a show I first did 21 years ago, and managed to cast the necessary sensual spell.  As I walked down the street afterwards, men's heads turned and I felt that response I just don't get in my day to day existence.    I'm in my sixties, and I know what signals are no longer appropriate.  But it was really fun watching a month or two back  Jane Fonda turn them on for Steven Colbert and reduce him to a quivering  mass of  protoplasm.

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