Despite my Anglo complexion and demeanor, the abundance of Latino students at my school, and the fact that when I played Sandy in Grease they had to rearrange the curtain call to work around the fact that I can’t dance, I was cast in Fame as Coco Hernandez, an Afro-Latino dancer and singer.
My friend reminded me that I was required to slap him across the face during the course of our performance.
“You walked up to me backstage before one rehearsal,” he recalled, “and said, ‘Ms. Miller said I really have to go for realism on the slap, so I hope it doesn’t hurt too much.'”
From that day forward, apparently, I hauled off and slapped him across the face with all my might.
“You didn’t like me all that much back then,” my friend said.
Which is true. I had completely forgotten all of this, and yesterday I sent some email seeking clarification.
How did I reach your face in order to slap you? Did you have to bend down? I’m sorry that I slapped you so hard. I kind of remember it now. I remember my hand stinging, so how must your face have felt?
I would drop to my knees and sing the part from the song “Fame” that begins “Baby hold me tight” and ends “take all I got to give” as a come-on to Coco who would then lay the smacketh down. You would usually begin your swing at “got” so that impact occurred a millisecond after “give”. I liked it best when you, perhaps for Stanislavskian reasons, smacked me on the “got” part.