Maybe this is particular to a certain subset of the population, but I know more than one person who has another name for who they become when they are…er…drunk.
One friend becomes “Dwayne,” a bullish, brute of a redneck. Another turns into “Kitty,” who purrs and swishes an imaginary tail. And me? Well, I’m Lola.
And it’s definitely a farce for me. I don’t get so drunk that I don’t KNOW that I’m pretending to be Lola. Lola who has red hair (even though mine is really blonde) and speaks in a terribly hit-or-miss (and shame on me, stereotypical) Puerto Rican accent. Who dips her fingers into other people’s drinks (usually just my significant other’s), and dances way more provacatively than I ever would. Who sometimes bums a cigarette from a perfect stranger and takes a few puffs, but mostly lets it burn down, so she can flick ashes like punctuation marks in her conversations. Ha ha, right? Ahem.
But Dwayne, he borders on being my friend’s alter ego. Like a “Jeckyll and Hyde” alter ego. Like “The United States of Tara” alter ego. Dwayne likes to fight. My friend does not. Dwayne likes to smash things. My friend has zero idea how his knuckles got busted up. Dwayne doesn’t talk much. My friend makes a living by talking. Okay, so my friend might have a drinking problem, but it is still interesting how much a person can change “under the influence.”
This scenario can lead to a variety of exercises…here are the ones that come to my mind:
- Who is your alter ego? (If you don’t have one, make one up now!) Who are they and what do they do that is different than you? What does this “person” do that you would never do? Create a new character based upon this “alter.”
- Does one of your characters behave differently when they are “under the influence?” Do they transform into a monster or a pussycat? Do they like to drink? Do they never drink? Why or why not? Or, conversely, are they even more themselves when imbibing.
- Create a situation where a character encounters a Dwayne or Kitty. Are they amused, frightened, disgusted, indifferent? Do they set up Dwayne to get into a fight? Do they play along with Kitty and her imaginary tail? Are they completely bewildered, demanding that the “real” person answer them? Does the “real” person oblige, or continue to hide behind Dwayne’s fist or Kitty’s purr?
Have fun with this one. Use one or more of these exercises to explore a new character or create conflict in a scene. Deepen a relationship between two characters, or create a giant rift.
Lola is off to paint her nails, now (I have a date for Valentine’s Day). Good luck!