Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mads About You

I’m sitting in an air-conditioned dressing room with Mads Mikkelsen. 

He is performing in a revival of “Godspell” and somehow,  I’m his assistant.

Rather than the typical comic, clown-like ensemble, this particular production has re-imagined all the Godspell characters as famous film murderers: Jason, Michael Myers, the killer from the “Scream” movies, in the Edvard Munch mask.  

In this version, Jesus dies, comes back to life, and goes on a killing spree.

Mads is playing Judas as a young Hannibal Lecter. 

I can’t tell when Mads is in character and when he’s not.  Both seem pretty dour. 

My job is to sit by him in the dressing room and write down random words that he utters every now and then.

He says the word “breathing”. 
I write it down on my note pad.
I write it down.
“Carny rash”.
Scribble scribble scribble. 

It’s not clear how I got this job.  I have no recollection of ever applying.   Was there an interview?  With whom?   Or did I volunteer?  I wonder how much I’m being paid.   

Mads is waiting for his next entrance, which is in a few minutes.  He seems unperturbed.

I can’t pronounce Mads’ first name correctly.  I say it like the plural of “mad”, which is wrong apparently.  Mads has given up trying to correct me.

Outside the trailer, we can hear Freddy Krueger, Teen Wolf and Pinhead from Hellraiser singing “Day by Day”.  Leatherface accompanies them on his chainsaw.

“It’s so difficult, performing for onstage”  Mads murmured, his accent a thick slice of Havarti. 

It’s the first sentence, or complete thought anyway, that he has ever uttered to me.  I break the tip of my pencil off in surprise. 

Mads continued:  “But it’s worth it to hear the crowd  applauding whenever  I walk on stage.  Do you know what it’s like to hear thousands of people applauding for you, just you, night after night?  What am I asking?  Of course you don’t.”

I’ve stopped writing.  It’s clear this isn’t meant for me to write down.  This moment is for me, and me alone.  I feel so honored.

“The other night” Mads continued “Dolly Parton, Rush Limbaugh and Jane Lynch came backstage after the show to congratulate me on my performance.  It was truly one of the pinnacles of my career.  Their kind words, they mean so much to me.   And yet, I must also congratulate this director.  This director, he is a GENIUS.  I have never worked with such talent, such vision.  I am truly blessed.  And humbled.  And grateful.  And thankful.  And humbled.  And humble blessed.  And blessy humbled.  I'm... blumbled.  Hey, I made up a word!  Write that down, before I forget it."

Mads stood and walked to the doorway of the trailer.  His entrance was in mere seconds, yet he turned back to me for one final moment.

"It’s such a blessing to be this talented" he breathed  "And yet, it is also a curse.”

(Note: this was a dream, of course.  I have never even met Mads Mikkelsen.  I'm sure he's not like this at all!)

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