I have heard it said that imitation is the highest sort of flattery. I know that this is true because people frequently do imitations of me behind my back and at parties to which I haven’t been invited. Despite the growing numbers of people wishing to be like me, this week was the first time I was called upon to act as a Muse for a budding young actor.
I had of course participated in the fine arts as a youth and was widely acclaimed as something of a phenom, but being asked to help mold and inspire a young thesbian was undoubtedly the highlight of my already star-studded career. The young actor in question was slated to star in the upcoming high school production of The Man Who Came To Dinner, and his character, Mr. Sheridan Whiteside, is described as an acerbic critic of epic proportions.
Of course I was initially confused as to why the director of the play would have sent the young actor to me for instruction, given my generous and friendly disposition, but it quickly dawned on me that this was a difficult role and she had simply sent the young man to the best acting coach around. I must confess that coaching this actor in dry wit and caustic observation was a learning process for both of us, but in the end I think that we were successful.
Mrs. RW and I attended the opening night of the play yesterday and I must say that the young man’s performance was not entirely unpalatable. Indeed, so outstanding was my tutoring that it appeared as if he had been taking notes from some expressionless jerk with an acid tongue who delights in making students cry on a regular basis, rather than myself. Without a doubt his performance was one of my finest hours!