'The Howling Man' is equally unnerving. Those of you who are fans of the show should know this one, so put your head around the idea of four Chinese teens acting out this episode which takes place in a creepy castle. Yes, the fantastic four - the Shanghai 90210 stars - that I talked about a couple of entries ago. Tess, Allen, Max and Miko,in all of their glory, acting, reciting such lines as "I-I-I-I'm not a visitor. I-I-I'm a stranger here." And "They're mad Miss Ellington. All of them. Raving mad." I have not decided who should be who in this teleplay. Allen, I could see as the Howling Man. Tess with her inquisitive looks might be the visitor, Miss Ellington. The narrator might be Miko. Max could be the monk of course, a monk with comic book hair. Sometimes his hair stands straight up. The American teacher Jennifer and I have debated whether he uses products to make his hair do such a feat.
Fast forward to after class - I read part of the Twilight Zone script to the students and they seemed to really be into it. At first, I asked them who they wanted to be and it took me a bit to explain what we were doing and why. Actually there is no 'why' to what we are doing the 'why' is 'because I said so.'
After we thought about it for a few minutes each of them settled into a charactrer. Allen is going to be the Howling Man which will be fantastic. Miko is going to be Sister Vicky the alluring seductive nun which is reinterpreting the part of Jerome the monk. Tess will be the main character Ellington who wanders up to the castle after she becomes lost while taking a walking tour of Europe. Max and his fantastic comic book hair will be Brother Christophorous.
My goal is to videotape them acting this out. Again, you must put your head around the idea of 4 Chinese teens acting out a particularly frightening episode of the Twilight Zone. In class, I was having the best time showing them the fine points of overacting. William Shatner was my muse while I emoted and emoted. I emoted so much that my throat was sore and I had a bit of a headache after class but my thespian fueled pain felt good. I felt liberated.
I asked each of them if they were excited about the prospect of acting in this production and being caught on videotape. They tried to hide their enthusiasm. Max at times looked frightened. Allen tried to howl but did not put the desperation into hers that I put into mine. When I demonstrated the proper howl I howled with every animal urge I could muster. Allen gave me a very ho-hum howl. Her howl lacked attitude and verve. I can tell right now that I am going to have to devote a lot of time to perfecting her howl. I mean gosh darn it since this dang thing is called the howling man and the fact that we do not have a man but we have a woman doing the howling, she has to howl much better than a man could ever even think about howling. She must be the best howler in Shanghai! With that said, I could tell - after all of the remonstrations betweem me and them and then between them and me and general doubt -that they have all been bitten by that mean-mistreater known as the acting bug. Ouch. All I can say, at this point, I smell a Chinese Emmy!
Once we have the camera to do the actual shoot. I plan to tape them all over the campus. This is the perfect setting for a gothic production. We have old bullet ridden buildings and wooded gardens which could be ominous in the twilight when nothing is as it seems and devils roam the grounds. I feel as if I have been given the greatest gift. As they say in real estate Location Location Location. I may enlist other students - Freedom, Heaven, Freestar, Potato - to do storyboards, wardrobe, set design, make-up. This is going to be my Citizen Kane, or maybe it will be my Plan 9 from the People's Republic.
I have a dream and it is to make these gleaming Chinese teens into international sensations with their own cartoon, lunchboxes, cereal, and action figures. But now, I have to do the rewrites, this baby is gonna cook! Potato, where's my storyboard?