TEN Rehearsal Recap #1: Menstrual Cups, Merkins, and Murder

After being put up to the task of interviewing myself nine days ago, I hope that you’ll forgive my abrupt shift to first person today. It is only so much third person a person can take. Since I’m playing a historian in TEN, it seems appropriate that the powers that be have appointed me to keep a detailed record of our experiences throughout the production. Furthermore, it is the perfect opportunity for me to immerse myself fully in my character. I will be following the method acting school of thought from here out. In precisely 20 days, we will begin shooting TEN. What follows is an account of our first read-through of the script, our first nearly full-cast experience.

It took place the night before last on the 14th of November in the year 2012. It was the first bitterly cold evening after a string of unseasonably comfortable days, but as we crowded around Michael and Sophia’s kitchen table, we found the atmosphere warm and inviting. The vegan chili was hot, the apple cider was sweet, and the discussion of menstrual cups was educational. In fact, the evening really came full circle in terms of the female anatomy as we ended the night speaking of merkins and non-merkin options for achieving a look described as the “full 70s bush.” I assume it does not surprise you, dear readers, to learn that a room full of seven women (and one unfortunate man) spend an awful lot of time talking about menstruation and shaving habits.

For your reading pleasure and for the purposes of thorough documentation, I will provide a selection of choice quotes overheard at the meeting.

“Every good movie needs a close-up of a sweating brow.”

“Do I want to put this on my crotch?”

“So, how are your pubes doing?”

“I’m going to have to make the executive bush decision.”

When my colleagues satisfied their disgusting impulses to discuss such subjects, we each presented our thoughts on the script: the things that excited us and the things that confused us. We ironed out complicated plot details, clarifying who is where when and for what purpose.

Several cast members were unable to attend, so while we all became our characters, several also became the characters of the absent cast members, leading to an intriguing situation that could easily trigger loss of self. One person, for example, presented a conversation between two characters as well as stage directions, likely losing herself for a moment in the process. Perhaps we all lost a little bit of ourselves around that table and replaced it with a little bit of our characters.

We picked our characters apart with a fine-toothed comb, helping each other understand the motivations that drive our characters and the evolution of our personalities and needs. We shuddered at the creepy stockpile of pig-related props slowly taking over Michael and Sophia’s space. We admired the costumes, some of them truly beautiful vintage pieces. Others are less beautiful and more functional. I, for one, look forward to curling up with a good book in my cozy corduroy.

I am also looking forward to watching each of the cast members further embody their characters. Specifically, I am excited to learn more about Jade’s second favorite lighter, watch Karin commune with the dead, hear Dalya talk about cannibalism, see Leah take names and bust heads, listen to Sophia’s catchy tune about exsanguination, feel how hard Susannah jabs me with her hypodermic needle, and do some Bible study with Molly.

I’ve been told there was bicep measuring at one point in the evening, but it must have occurred while I was out of the room. Next time, I’ll have to make sure not to miss anything, or my accounts will suffer empty spaces, pieces of history lost forever into what some may call the ether. Still, it is lucky for the others that my biceps weren’t available to be measured as mine would have put theirs all to shame. No one expects much in the way of impressive muscle mass from someone who spends so much time with her nose in a book, but no one is who she seems.

After four hours and 15 minutes, we emerged into the darkness to return by car or bus to our own homes, contemplating what we had learned and what comes next. We learned, for example, that Jade Sylvan’s bicep is a full inch larger in diameter than Michael J. Epstein’s. We learned that clothing that appears to be a jacket when on its hanger could very well be a dress on the right person and with the right tights. We learned which brand of menstrual cup each cast member prefers. We did not yet learn how to turn this knowledge into a Diva Cup sponsorship of the movie.