This week, I've been turning my attention to women's bottoms.
I've spent hours on the Internet searching for a certain item of clothing. My boyfriend was puzzled when he came home from work to find me staring at an array of scantily clad female bottoms. Once I'd purchased the item, eBay kindly displayed a selection of 'related products', including pimp hats and glittery jockstraps.
If I were to have listed my Top twenty things I'll be least likely ever to do, 'catwalk modelling hot pants' would definitely be up there (somewhere below 'base jumping' and above 'moving to a freezing cold country').
I guess you know where this is headed... Last week, I said I never change costume. That was a little white lie. I have one minor costume change. Said item – in shocking metallic pink, from Insanity Clothing Ltd – arrived on Friday. I tried them on... never had there been such an incentive to lose several kilos of thigh blubber. The supplier requested feedback. What should I write? 'Super-fast delivery, item as described, only fault lies with my butt.'
No, that's the wrong attitude. Nicki fancies herself in her hot pants, therefore I must do, too. If there's one thing I've learnt in all these years of treading the boards, it's this: fear is the actor's greatest enemy. And I don't mean stage fright, I mean fear of looking stupid.
When people hold back on stage, the reason they often give is, 'I don't want to look stupid'.
Yet the actors who confidently throw themselves into the stupidity don't end up looking stupid – even if they technically look ridiculous, dressed as a pantomime dame or whatever – because if they're fully committed to the silly action, then so is the audience. The audience guffaws at the character's antics, and later congratulates the actor on how marvellously stupid they made their character look.
(I'm focusing on comedy here, but the same applies for serious scenes.)
But if the actor isn't committed, if the actor shies away for fear of looking stupid, then the audience isn't committed either. The audience notices the hesitation and is reminded that this is just an actor trying – and failing – to convince them. And it's then that audience members start to shift uncomfortably in their seats, and later snicker at how stupid the actor looked.
More than that, I've also realised that this isn't just an attitude for the stage, it's one that applies to everyday life, too.