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An Actor Prepares

by Brhmsj

Copyright on this story text belongs at all times to the original author only, whether stated explicitly in the text or not. The original date of posting to the MMSA was: 19 Jan 2018

An Actor Prepares

Mike was a young up-and-coming actor. He already was getting regular work which was praised by directors and critics alike. Audiences always found him engaging on stage. Still, Mike felt something was missing. Specifically he felt that he did not learn roles as quickly as he felt necessary for good rehearsals. The few times he mentioned this to colleagues the response always was that he was doing fine and should not let this bother him. Still, it did bother him.

As did all actors, Mike read the various show-biz journals regularly along with perusing various relevant online sites. One afternoon his attention was caught by a posting. Having trouble preparing for a role? Learning lines? Developing a character? Experienced coach offers a proven method to help actors of all ages. An email address was listed. Without giving it much thought Mike wrote an inquiry and sent it off.

In less than twenty-four hours he had a response. It was from a man and Mike sensed that this man was making a point of letting him know that fact. What did that matter, he thought. A coach is a coach. A few emails went back and forth ending with Mike making a firm date to visit, was given an address, and said he looked forward to it.

The address was in an outer part of the city, an almost suburban neighborhood in some ways. The man’s house looked inviting and Mike happily walked up and pushed the bell. A brief wait and the door was opened by the man, Mike guessed around 60 with a professorial look to him. Quite fit, too, for someone Mike saw as an older man. Mike was invited in.

Good afternoon. I’m George Watson. Professor Watson. They shook hands and Mike introduced himself. The fact that the man identified as a professor made Mike feel quite comfortable with him. A professor of course would be experienced in how to help younger people learn, and this one’s age could only mean quite a bit of experience.

Mike was ushered into a comfortable den. Professor Watson indicated the couch and Mike sat down, the professor taking his comfortable easy chair. A lengthy discussion ensued in which Professor Watson learned of Mike’s career, his successes, his concerns, and what specifically brought him here.

I’m never satisfied that I learn roles quickly enough for optimum rehearsals. I get there, but feel my time early in the process could be better spent than fussing with a book onstage.

Hardly an original problem, young man, Professor Watson said warmly. I’ve had many an actor, of all ages, here to address just such a concern. Many years ago I developed a method which has proven quite successful.

Mike was intrigued and excited. He would learn some techniques that would help. The man’s next comment caught Mike’s attention.

As I said, I’ve used this with men of all ages. It is flexible and can be tailored to each individual. Apparently he only mentored men. Interesting. Are you interested in learning about it and, I hope, trying it?

Yes, sir, his enthusiasm continuing.

Very good. One might say my method is drawn from the experiments of Pavlov, simply made suitable for humans. A smile. Mike was paying close attention. I give you something to associate with mistakes, specifically missed lines in your case, which motivates you not to make such mistakes. Now Mike felt a bit baffled. What did this mean? When a script is brand new I will provide the usual coaching, reading through the role, perhaps a few times, with you to get you started. You, of course, will do most of your work at home, as I’m sure you do now. When you have made a good start then we put my method into practice.

Still baffled Mike just nodded. He was becoming more curious as he listened, but something felt different, not what he expected. He was about to learn.

Are you stilled interested? Again Mike nodded. He was, unusual for him, at a loss for words. Good. Come with me. Mike was led into another room in the house. It appeared to be a guest room, with a comfortable looking double bed. The only thing that seemed out of the ordinary was that a side table had a small array of paddles of various shapes and sizes.

The process is very simple. You hand me your script, undress, and lie across the bed face down. Missed lines will earn you a swat on your butt. If I deem that there are too many or you are not properly prepared I will resort to these paddles. He indicated them. All of this as if this was nothing unusual. Mike now was getting a bit red with embarrassment. Not that he minded being seen naked; he’d long since stopped worrying about that, especially in crowded dressing rooms where privacy was nonexistent. However, he’d had limited experience with spanking in his life. His parents rarely resorted to that and, as best he could remember, the last one had been when he was around ten years old. Never on his bare bottom. He’d had one boyfriend who liked giving playful swats, but never a spanking.

A pause on the part of a newcomer was always part of the routine and Professor Watson patiently allowed any actor new to his method time to consider.

This, ah. . . this isn’t what I expected, Mike said.

No, I’m sure it was not. However, as I said, it has proven most effective with men of all ages over the years. Again he said men. Was that significant? Did it matter? Mike was gay, comfortable with his sexuality, so it really made no difference to him. Just curious, that’s all. Do you have a show coming up?

Yes, sir. We start rehearsals in two weeks. I’ve been reading over the script and was planning to start really memorizing this week.

Excellent. Do you have the script with you?

Yes, sir. Why was he saying sir? Oh well. Mike produced the script. They returned to the den. Professor Watson had a sizable library of scripts and this one, which was fairly popular. Back in their respective seats the read-through began. Mike had made no commitment, but thought that if nothing else, this man likely could help him get a good start. Then he could decide.

Read-through done Professor Watson said excellent work, young man. I can see why you’ve done so well in the profession.

Thank you, sir.

It will be a pleasure to help you with this. Shall we set up a schedule?

Um. . . I’m not sure. This is all quite new.

I understand. Go home and think it over. Mike was handed a business card with all of the pertinent contact information. Mike thanked him, made his departure, and on his ride back to his apartment considered the situation. He had no idea who he might ask about this man. He wasn’t sure he wanted to be spanked, even for motivation.

Over the next ten days Mike applied himself diligently to learning his role. Overall he felt it was going well yet whenever he’d take a break his mind turned to Professor Watson and his method for aiding actors. He felt good with his initial work, better than he usually did. Perhaps just the idea of a paddle giving a reminder was enough to provide incentive.

As the first full-cast read-through approached Mike began to have the familiar feelings of anxiety. He always tried hard to channel this productively yet it also always was upsetting. Now it took on a new dimension as his thoughts turned again and again to the help Professor Watson could provide. Monday morning was the first cast meeting. Today was Wednesday. Mike worked hard all day, not feeling much better by dinner time. Nervously he took his cell phone and dialed the number on the business card.

George Watson, the voice announced at the other end. Mike stammered a bit, but got out why he was calling. You know I’m glad to offer my help, young man. Can you report here at ten o’clock tomorrow morning? Mike could and it was set. Right at ten o’clock he rang the bell. His host appeared after a brief pause. Mike was ushered into the guest room, a sinking feeling developing in his stomach as the reality of what was about to happen sunk in fully.

When they arrived in the room the older man said please hand me your script and remove your clothing, his voice firm but not threatening. Mike handed over the script and began to undress. Watson’s practiced eye told him that any hesitation on this young man’s part was due to fear of the unknown, not modesty. Watson found the false modesty of the younger generation unnecessary and foolish so always was happy when a young man showed no signs of that.

Naked, Mike stood awaiting instruction, making no effort to cover himself. Watson took a moment to assess the young man in front of him. A handsome physique, likely aided by regular visits to a gym. Satisfied with what he saw, he now instructed Mike on where he was to lie on the bed, then sat down on the bed, positioned such that Mike’s bottom was within easy reach. A fine bottom it was, too, one that the man was eager to swat.

Act One. Professor Watson read all the other lines, Mike responding with his own. The first few minutes went well with only one swat to Mike’s exposed posterior. He knew he’d missed a line, knew he’d get the swat, yet it did make him jump. By the end of the act he’d received about a half-dozen, not enough for a real sting or color. A break was had. Mike was comfortable rolling over to face Watson who again appreciated the lack of unnecessary modesty.

That really was quite good, young man. All too often at this point I have a young man with a very sore bottom lying there.

Thank you, sir. Mike wasn’t sure if this really had been such a success, but appreciated the encouragement.

Act Two, Watson announced. As Mike rolled over he remembered that this was a three act play. He hoped his bottom would not regret it when the figurative curtain came down. It did not take much of the second act to make him suspect that, yes, he would regret it. Only a couple of pages into the act and the swats were descending quite regularly. Not that he was lost, but he didn’t have his lines down quite accurately, which warranted a swat. He accepted that as his agreement but still did not enjoy the mounting sting.

Not quite so good, was it? Professor Watson said at the end of that act. Mike wasn’t sure but guessed he had received at least fifteen swats, maybe more. He could feel it! He was a bit more careful as he rolled over this time to discuss things. After a few minutes the older man said shall we finish up? Mike said yes and resumed his position. Third acts were always a problem for him. Before he rolled over he noticed that Professor Watson was reaching for a paddle.

Sure enough, before the bottom of the first page of act three had been reached, Mike had felt an authoritative swat from the paddle. That did hurt! He let out an ow for the first time that day. He’d let out with more. He was secretly relieved that this was not a long act. Nonetheless by the end he felt he’d been well paddled. Yet, he also knew quite clearly what needed attention as he memorized and prepared for rehearsals to begin.

He was allowed to lie there for as long as he wanted. Professor Watson believed this was always good as it allowed an actor to reflect on what needed work and he could leave ready to do the needed work. When Mike did roll over, gingerly, he was told he could get dressed.

Do you think this is helpful?

Yes, sir, I guess it is. I feel like I know what needs work.

Very good. That’s what I like to hear. Shall we do this again in two days?

Mike surprised himself by how quickly he acquiesced. There were far fewer swats the next visit. He reported one more time, on Sunday. The first rehearsal was Monday morning. When rehearsal was done he was most pleased with himself that amongst the cast he was the furthest along with lines. By the end of the first couple of walk-throughs he was off book. Those who knew him noticed his new preparedness and confidence and complimented him on it. He was pleased.

For the next few years there was not a production he was in when he did not visit Professor Watson.

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