The Weather

Notes On Your Big, Fat, Poopy Baby Scene

Good, very good. I loved the commitment, especially the part where you screamed, “I’m a big, fat, poopy baby!” and then pooped in your diaper. I think I can speak for everyone in this acting class and say that you took us on an emotional journey, gripping our hearts and never letting go, not even when you so elegantly went number two all over the floor. I do have some thoughts on your performance though. After all, I wouldn’t be much of an acting teacher if I did not strive to improve even a truly great big, fat, poopy baby scene.

 

One: I think you can go deeper into your character. Remember, we’re not interested in creating big, fat poopy baby caricatures, but living, breathing big, fat, poopy babies—the kind of big, fat, poopy babies we see in every day life. Acting is living life on stage, and to do that, you need to experience the stinky wittle life of a big, fat, poopy baby. Go out and sit in the park and watch the adult men in diapers and bonnets waddle by, their diapers made heavy by their giant, yucky ca ca. These real big, fat, poopy babies will give you valuable insight—don’t just mimic them, become them. When you’re at home, take off your shirt, put on a pair of Huggies, and cry for mama and dada. Until you understand what it’s like to be a big, fat, poopy baby who made a big, fat, smelly mess in his diapers, it is downright insulting to portray one on my stage. I taught a young Marlon Brando, and he spent years living as a big, fat, poopy baby in preparation for his big, fat, poopy baby scene. He legally changed his name to Gavin Smellcloud, and burned all his long pants in a bonfire. Years after he was famous, he would come back and live in my apartment as Gavin Smellcloud, shaking his baby rattle and drooling on his binky, hungry for milk from my breast.

 

Two: I saw too much acting up there and not enough reacting. Acting—true acting—is all about being in the moment with your scene partner. There is nothing else. So when you toot your pooper, I need it to feel truly spontaneous and not something you did just because it was in the script. Yes, you heard me right—I said you can ignore the script. The script is a guide, people, not some odious taskmaster. The writer wrote the big, fat, poopy baby, but you ARE the big, fat, poopy baby. Don’t be afraid to relish the silences and have an action—instead of plowing ahead with lines like, “WAAH! I MADE A POO POO AND MOMMY NEED TO WIPEY!”, take a moment to really feel the yuck yuck from your bum bum. Sandy Meisner once told me that an ounce of behavior is worth a pound of words, so let’s see that diaper gain an ounce of mushy gushy dookie.

 

Three: I cannot stress how important it is for your big, fat, poopy baby to have a moment before. When the scene started, and you had a widdle uh-oh from your tushie, I got the sense that you didn’t know what you were doing before the lights came up. This ruins the realism of the big, fat, poopy baby—remember, acting is a serious craft. The big, fat, poopy baby is played differently if he was previously sucking on a juicy lolly, or if he’s getting a teensy-weensy bit of wee-wee on his mee maw when she’s powdering his bright red bottom.

 

Lastly, I must say, the tiny bits of melted Snickers bar and droplets of lemonade that ran down your leg was an ingenious touch. I remember seeing that from Sir Al Pacino in his days at the Stella Adler Studio. Now, don’t go getting a big head—Al Pacino’s big, fat, poopy baby made everyone cry and wee wee their short pants simultaneously. But when I called scene, and your diaper was a pastiche of urine and excrement, I was transported back to seeing Al Pacino in nothing but a cloth diaper—his lower butt cheeks all nutty and brown, soaking in pee pee and our applause.

 

And that, my young student, is what you can tell your parents when they ask why they’re paying 450 dollars for acting class.

Matthew Brian Cohen is a writer and performer at the UCB Theater in New York. He has written for Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update, College Humor, The Onion News Network, and McSweeney's. His podcast, Lifescrapers: Tall Stories of American Lives, can be found on iTunes and BreakThru Radio. He also wrote a novel called Danny Disaster, available on your Kindle or Nook. Follow him on Twitter: @TheMatthewCohen.