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Lj Idol Season 9 - Week 20 - Shibusa

Adair Whelan, Actor

The bright lights surrounding the mirror of the dressing table hid nothing as he removed his thick stage make-up.  His natural skin was a bit paler than the make-up and somewhat pasty in color.  His eyes, bright beneath heavy, dark brows, were deep blue, set almost too far back in his head, and the rake of lines at the corners were noticeable now.  His forehead had a natural furrow even as his muscles relaxed.  His nose was not large, nor was it small.  It wasn’t perfect either thanks to a small bump on the bridge, a souvenir from a childhood hockey game.  The mouth was a little pinched and wrinkles cupped it like a duplicate set of parentheses.  Laugh lines or frown lines, it didn’t matter; both looked the same.  He wasn’t enamored of his own looks, nor did he dislike them.  Some called him beautiful.  He could see it, but he also knew the flaws.

Stage make-up removed, he donned the black, tattered, long-coat that had become his trademark.  The media tabloids had dubbed it “thrift store chic” and he hadn’t bothered to correct them.  The truth of his Grandfather, the original owner of the coat, was too personal and dear a memory to be tainted by public adoration.  He wound a red wool scarf around his neck and exited the Theater to the alley.  He turned the corner onto the street, snowflakes glistening as they fell in the pool of light from the street lamp, silently melting into the tam that covered his head.  He hunched his shoulders against the cold and disappeared into the darkness that claimed the night.

This is my entry for therealljidol Week 20.  It is an intersection with mezzominty, whose entry can be found here. I will link as soon as it is posted.  The entries can be read in any order, but chronologically his comes first.  Shibusa is a term that is new to me.  If this is the case for you as well, you can read more about it here.  This is my interpretation and is also a tribute to the great Robin Williams, who tragically passed away a few weeks ago.  I'm not a "squee! Fan Girl!" of his, but his body of work was ever present in my lifetime and it was sad to lose him.  There will be many other entries this week, posted here if you would like to read them.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 7th, 2014 10:05 pm (UTC)
*nods* Most excellent.
Sep. 8th, 2014 03:31 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Sep. 9th, 2014 12:36 pm (UTC)
It's hard not to see the flaws in ourselves or to not focus on them. This was lovely.
Sep. 13th, 2014 09:15 am (UTC)
But the imperfections make us just as much who we are as the perfections. :) Thanks.
Sep. 9th, 2014 05:36 pm (UTC)
I always enjoyed the subtle differences in actors in and out of their makeup. This is a nice study of a face.
Sep. 13th, 2014 09:16 am (UTC)
I'm not an actor, but I wonder how much the make-up helps them get into character. Is it truly another face they put on?
Sep. 9th, 2014 10:54 pm (UTC)
There's such a strong sense here of the way in which we often fail to impress ourselves, and notice our flaws more than our strengths.

I'll sure miss this wonderful guy.
Sep. 13th, 2014 09:17 am (UTC)
I think age helps with that. The older you get, the more you appreciate your flaws rather than hate them.

Me too.
Sep. 10th, 2014 08:31 am (UTC)
I especially like this as a companion to the other piece - a nice, solid short play; funny, blatant, has a point to make but a satisfying end ... and then there's this, which is about the hidden parts of humanity, the flaws you look at in the mirror, the makeup you take off, the significance about things you won't reveal. Or even hint at. It's the exact opposite of acting on stage.
Sep. 13th, 2014 09:21 am (UTC)
I really like your take on it. I did intend for there to be significance to what he didn't reveal. It was a part of the definition of Shibusa that spoke to me and I tried to focus it.
Sep. 10th, 2014 11:46 am (UTC)
He could see it, but he also knew the flaws.

Don't I know it...

And there's the Pagliacci-the-Clown aspect, which applies not only to actors, but to all of us who have to hide our own sadness and loneliness before the world can see us (and feel like we're exhaling when we don our black coats and red scarfs after the performance is over.)
Sep. 13th, 2014 09:23 am (UTC)
I think that we do all put on a public face, whether we intend to or not. I like your expression of "exhaling when we don our black coats and red scarfs".
Sep. 10th, 2014 03:48 pm (UTC)
I love that he wore his grandfather's coat. AW
Sep. 13th, 2014 09:24 am (UTC)
It's something he treasures.
Sep. 11th, 2014 07:22 pm (UTC)
I like the idea of keeping a memory close to you -- too close for journalists.
Sep. 13th, 2014 09:25 am (UTC)
I imagine that a lot of famous people have things that they keep close and don't fully share with the press and public. I couldn't imagine having your entire life on display all the time.
Sep. 14th, 2014 10:06 pm (UTC)
I love the idea of applying shibusa to a human face, especially when it is a personal appraisal of one's flaws. Very well done.
Sep. 14th, 2014 11:42 pm (UTC)
A vivid word sketch. I am a Robin Williams fan, too, dating back to "Mork and Mindy."
Sep. 16th, 2014 06:04 am (UTC)
The truth of his Grandfather, the original owner of the coat, was too personal and dear a memory to be tainted by public adoration.

I like that.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


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