188. The human face is a wondrous tool

“The human face is a wondrous tool,” the actress told a class full of drama students. “If you know how to use it, that is.”

And she knew.

Faye Astor had been the most bankable movie star for three years running, her comedies delighting crowds all over the world, her drama roles tugging heartstrings from the East coast to the West. She was that rare actor who not only spoke to the casual moviegoer but to the film critics as well: charming yet profound, down-to-earth yet mysterious.

Her face was more recognisable than that of the president of the United States, they said. And though it was that elfin face with the piercing blue eye and the curly blonde locks that had catapulted her to Hollywood stardom, it was her mastery of facial expressions that had made her endure.

That had lured hundreds of drama students to the faculty’s on-campus theatre on a dark, wintery evening. They not only wanted to meet her, they desperately wanted to be like her.

“You must not be afraid of grandeur,” Faye Astor told the students. “As long as you don’t forget the subtleties. It might be the elegant gowns, the sumptuous hairdos the audience first noticed, but it’s the twinkle in the eye or the slightly raised eyebrow they’ll remember. Your face is a muscle. Exercise it. Every day. Your acting will be all the better for it.”

Standing in line at the movies the next day, Gillian and May-Ann, two aspiring actresses themselves, were still talking about it.

“What an actress,” Gillian said.

“What a woman,” Mary-Ann added. “And who knew she was German?”

“Yeah, pretty thick accent too. But what an actress.”

“What an actress…”

The box office window opened.

“Two tickets for The Jazz Singer, please.”



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4 thoughts on “188. The human face is a wondrous tool

  1. Ryan says:

    Who knew she was German?…. “yeah, pretty thick accent…” …I don´t know why but that cracked me up. Good one, as always.

  2. Is there a punchline/twist to this one? I didn’t quite catch it!

    Reminds of two books we’re reading in my Disability and Memoir class now – Cry of the Gull by Emmanuel Laborit, and Mean Little deaf Queer by Terry Galloway. Both of them are actresses, but use their versatile, expressive physicality (faces, Signing and other parts) as ends to different means. (The former, self-expression and subsequent immersion in the Deaf community; the latter, as inclusion into the Speaking Community)

    Also reminds me of some of my favorite actors, including Benedict Cumberbatch. The things that man can do with his face is amazing.

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