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Dr Frangione

Today I wear my first stethoscope. This is a right of passage. All I need is a cop and a lawyer role and I can die knowing I have completed the Canadian actor trifecta. On this particular TV show there are a lot of new actors and non-union, so there is a bit of anxiety in the green room about proving one’s legitimacy to each other and putting up a front of confidence. I sit quietly in the corner and let a woman with lip injections go on for quite a stretch about working “all across the USA” and her film opening in San Francisco and “oh yeah, this is what I do. This is what I am, an actor.” Well…when pressed for specifics from an American, it seems she may have done workshops in LA and NY, not gigs…workshops I’m sure she paid handsomely for. And the film premier…maybe she was a face in the crowd. You never know, I could be wrong but…I do detect some posturing. Anyway, today she is playing the unconscious patient. There are wide eyed young actresses with thick shiny pony tails laughing at all the jokes. There is an older gentleman who is a helpful authority on many subjects and has a voice cultured for radio. All pleasant people you know, but some of them a little ramped up.

I listen for about ten minutes and then I have to nap. This sort of jostling exhausts me. When I wake up an hour later, it’s much the same thing.

IMG_1111Nobody asks me about me and I’m okay with that. I’m in generic scrubs. They think I’m SOC. When the doctor who is a real doctor asks what I do…I simply say, “I do a bit of live theatre.”

At lunch they serve a nice set of fresh salads and shepherds pie. I am the first to eat because my scene isn’t until later. Nobody joins me when they arrive five minutes later. They all sit at another table together. I chuckle to myself. How different this is from last week when I was having lunch with Ciaran Hinds. It’s fine. A crew member asks me, “Are you an extra?” (which would mean I should eat elsewhere) “Nope” I say, and smile.

This particular medical show always plays a recently shot episode on a big screen while we eat. It’s really not the best idea. It’s either puss or blood or phlegm…I lose my appetite.

Back in the green room, props comes around with my stethoscope and name tag and…the actors that are in the room realize I am playing the other doctor. I can see the full lipped “I work across the USA” shift uncomfortably, not currently comatose. I might just know she’s bluffing.

We get called onto set. I only have one scene today and as I approach, the director gives me a big hug and kiss. “Ah, Lucia, we don’t have you crawling out of the ceiling today! Welcome back!” (I crawled out the ceiling on a different episode last year) We shoot the fun little doctor scene in one take. “Whoo that was good!” He says. They give me a little clap because I’m wrapped. It’s an easy day.

Back in the dressing room, the unconscious patient is there. I smile warmly at her, assuringly,  “It’s nice to have a day away from doing maid work…” She breathes with relief. “San Francisco is so lovely. Have a great time at your screening!” (mentioning maid work is my first generation Canadian Italian way of giving the “horns” to the eye of envy)

Being wrapped early means I actually do have time to go home and make supper…haha…I would have rather not. But that’s okay. I hand back my stethoscope reluctantly and return to being a Mum today. The props lady gives me my doctor’s name tag and says, “For your daughter, for dress up.” I smile. It’s Mommy who got dressed down and dressed up today.

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2 comments

  1. Jane L

    Ah Lucia, you’ve described so many times I’ve been a daily on a set. How the room shifts when it is discovered you are not one of “them”. I’m so happy to hear how you took the high road and just tuned out when you needed to. At least you weren’t bum rushed with questions about who your agent is and if you could connect them though you’ve just met them.

    Yes, this is the business we call show, all right! As an actor of Asian descent I have played more medical roles than I can remember. Doctor, radiologist, morgue attendant, coroner (apparently they’re different), lab assistant, OR nurse … all with differnt coloured scrubs. I think if I get to play a firefighter that would round out MY Canadian career! <3

    1. Lucia Frangione

      Opening scene: Firefighter Jane doing chin ups in a white undershirt, her biceps bulging. Aerosmith blasting in the background. Oh yeah. She’s old school like that. “47, 48, 49, 50” She drops, having pushed herself to the max, sweat trickling between her glistening pecs. Call comes. Fire on Broadway. She grabs her water bottle, squirts it into her mouth and over her head and throws it across the room.

      JANE
      Let’s quench this bitch.

      Tall handsome Brian races over to her with her gear.

      BRIAN:

      You got it, Captain.

      They jump into the fire truck and race off into the night.

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