Yesterday I fronted up to a closed down high school in the suburb of North Ryde at the ungodly hour of 6am to appear in an episode of Home and Away as an extra, or as they politely called them on the set "background artists".
My exciting role was as a high school teacher, there were five of us "teachers" and a huge swarm of youngsters all dressed up in school uniforms playing the kids. It was a bit confronting for me, even though I am in my 30's I still like to kid myself that I am, indeed, a kid myself. Failing that I've always fancied that I would be seen as a bohemian, a rebel, or even a femme fatale, not someone the kids want to call "miss". But there you go, I guess I have to deal with the fact I look like a responsible member of society.
So there we are, on a freezing cold morning in the dark. The 'kids' swarm into a trailer wearing jumpers, jeans and ugg boots and emerge wearing cotton summer school uniforms, goosepimpled legs and unhappy faces. I giggled at their misfotune and snuggle down into my jumper before getting a call to wardrobe myself where it was deemed that I would be wearing sandals, light cotton pants and a flimsy sleeveless cotton top, oh my god I am cold. Y'see apparently it is never winter in "Summer Bay" the place where Home and Away is set so although the crew were rugged up in overcoats us 'artistes' had to suffer.
And suffer we did in more ways than one. Out first scene involved us teachers evacuating our students because of a fire alarm. I was assigned my own gaggle of "kids' who followed me up to the classroom. I said to one diminutive blonde in my best 'patronising adult speaking to child' voice "arent you lucky to be having a day off school" to be told "errr I'm actually in second year University." Whoops! Guess the uniform was having the desired effect. My own teacherlike demeanor was also given a boost when one of my other kids said "you seem just like a teacher, are you a teacher in real life?" Geezus, talk about being typecast. Another kid got so confused he called me "miss".
So for the next ten hours me and my kids silently acted out little hearts out, trying to pretend we were scared of the fire, that we weren't suffering from hypothermia and ignoring the directors pleas to "not look cold! It is NEVER cold in Summer Bay". In between our silent mouthings I also got to watch some of the 'actors' on the set, spunky young Aussie teenagers who will probably release crappy pop singles in the UK to much acclaim one day but in the meantime throw their fake tanned bodies about dramtically and cry out immortal lines like "oh moi gawd, where's Salleeeeeeee!!!" it was gold. Cannot wait for my debut on National TV in a few weeks time.