Long ago, on a rainy November morning in New York City, I had just arrived at an acting class. I sat my 19 year old butt in a worn out theater seat and took out an apple that I had planned to eat in a casual way in front of my classmates, when my teacher suddenly gave such a powerful piece of acting advice, I almost considered giving the apple to her instead.
The class was in a small black box theater with about 30 seats, my teacher stood on the stage and the young hungry thespians sat scattered where the audience would be, our heads tilted up like the baby birds we were, hungry for tips that would help us get famous.
“Have you ever seen the Disney animated film ‘Robin Hood’?” she said as she leaned against a ladder that was there for no reason other than for her to lean on dramatically, “It’s Robin Hood, only all the characters are different animals. Robin Hood is a fox. Little John is a bear. The Sheriff of Nottingham is a greedy wolf. That’s what you should do every time you get a script, take all the characters and figure out what animals they are. Once you know what animals the characters are, and once you know what animal YOUR character is, everything else will fall into place.”
Ever since that day it has been habit of mine to do this, not only with the scripts I read and roles I play, but also in my day to day life. So, in the interest of both science and theater, I dare to ask the question : What would it look like if the people of Southie were animals?
THE FLAMINGOS OF M STREET BEACH
One of the most talked about species in Southie, they pack the coastline in groups of hundreds, huddled together, mostly just preening and looking around but occasionally stopping to drink. Their pink hue comes from both Irish heritage and expired sunscreen, but it’s also a little known fact that their pink feathers actually come from consuming massive amounts of their favorite food : Ruby Grapefruit White Claw. They are mostly harmless creatures but when in large numbers, their waste can become an environmental issue.
THE APES OF BROADWAY
The Apes of Broadway are groups of young males walking up and down Broadway looking to mate or establish dominance, usually on weekends.They often display large muscles built from pre workout shakes and hours of doing pullups on little kid’s playgrounds. Fueled by Adderall and Bud Light Seltzer they can be seen in light blue shirts that somehow become more and more wet as the night goes on. Most often seen in small groups of 5 or 6, they struggle with cooperation and fitting their entire squad into one Uber. Beware the smallest of the group, he is often the most loud and combative.
THE BULLFROGS OF CASTLE ISLAND
Of all the species in Southie, the bullfrog dates back the farthest in its history. Sometimes seen roaming the Sugar Bowl shirtless displaying their angry facial expressions and large hard stomachs, they are most often seen taking up too much of a bench, shirtless and sunning a large hard stomach. Whether or not they ever smoked, when they vocalize, they sound like they did. Decades of light beer and chardonnay are kept mostly in the vocal sac, leaving the arms and legs skinny to easily get a bartenders attention or point at a yuppie. No one really knows why they have a permanent scowl on their face but many say it’s because they mate for life.
THE BEAVERS OF L STREET
Beavers love to build, and Boston loves to do construction. Between the constant tearing down and rebuilding of homes, condo construction, and the seemingly endless road work, Southie is beaver central. The Southie Beaver can be spotted by his high visibility neon t shirt, Carhartt pants, and dust covered boots. They have been known to survive entirely on a diet of Powerade, chips, and Cumberland Farms hot dogs. The Beavers of L Street can seem standoffish at first but if you leave them alone and don’t clear your throat when they are choosing a scratch ticket, you should be fine.
THE GREYHOUNDS OF DAY BLVD
Always running after an invisible rabbit none of us can ever see, the Greyhounds of Southie live to do one thing : run, run, run. At every hour of the day a serene beachside walk can be interrupted by the sounds of a Greyhound running by, often breathing loudly, coughing, and smelling like a hockey bag. The most alpha of the species display a blue and yellow coat. You will see greyhounds of various ages and weights, but they all have one thing in common: they are wearing less clothing than you would like.
THE DRUNKEN SLOTH GIRLS OF EVERYWHERE
A somewhat rare sight during the winter but common in the summer months, the Sloth Girl of Southie can be seen slowly moving and sometimes sitting, anywhere in South Boston. Their slow and uncoordinated movements come from drinking too much with the Apes on Broadway when all they’ve eaten is avocados. The combination of booze and keto snacks should make them paralyzed but their strong spin class produced leg muscles power them through their evening. If you happen to see a Drunken Sloth Girl of Southie sitting down on a sidewalk, do not approach but maybe kick her iPhone a little closer to her hand.
Will Noonan was once named the Best Comedian in Boston and has starred in over 30 commercials. He’s an avid bowler and Cumby’s regular.
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