Dress Like You’re Nine Different People

Dress Like You’re Nine Different People

A huge shout-out to Tara Therese and Michael for participating in the Vocabulary Juxtaposition challenge. They were the only two ‘entries’ I received before the deadline of yesterday, but given that it’s not a competition as such, deadlines mean nothing. If you want to tackle it at any point just to get your writing muscles going, I’ll happily read anything that you link me to. :)

Since I finished my exams on Friday, I’ve divided my time between four activities.

1) Sleeping. I slept until nearly 1pm this evening, and while that only resulted in about twelve and a half hours of sleep given that I didn’t go to bed very early, it’s the first lie-in I’ve had in a long time. Throughout study leave I woke up fairly regularly at around half eight or nine. Whether that was because of noise in the house or because my revision-stressed brain refused to allow me to sleep, I don’t know. But if it’s the latter, it seems to have adjusted pretty quickly.

2) Rehearsals for Fame!. I’m a dancer in my school’s musical, and we’re at the stage of having a huge number of rehearsals. I spent all day yesterday at a rehearsal that didn’t even involve a large amount of dancing on my part, but still managed to totally exhaust me. I think that’s because I was surrounded by people all day, whereas Saturday is usually my day for getting some alone time. I’m always tired out by noise and people, which is certainly something in large supply at rehearsals for a musical.

3) Clearing out my wardrobe. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I’m not someone who pays a huge amount of attention to what I wear, but I reached a point where my collection of ill-fitting disreputable clothes that I’ve had since 2010 weren’t actually making me feel comfortable or confident in my body. I mean, it’ll take more than a few new outfits to manage that one, but it’s a start, right? I’ll be braving the shops soon, trying to find some jeans that fit, which is going to be … traumatic. I hate shopping.

4) Watching Orphan Black. By which I mean I watched three episodes on Friday evening and four yesterday evening until my brain felt like it was melting, my nose had a permanent glasses-groove, and my eyes were burning from staring at a laptop screen. My original plan was to watch series one in time to watch series two before it goes off iPlayer on the 9th July, but I don’t think I need to worry about that.

Oh. My. Hamlet. This show.

It’s a masterclass in acting / lying / pretending to be someone else (delete as appropriate for your circumstances), I promise you. For those who aren’t aware, it’s a show about cloning. The lead actress, Tatiana Maslany, plays nine characters, at least in the episodes I’ve seen so far. Nine. And yet despite the fact they’re clones, she makes you think they’re entirely different people.

cosima
This one is Cosima.

It shows the importance of clothing: while Sarah might dress like a “punk rock ho”, Alison’s much more into pastels, all collared shirts and v-neck jumpers. Oh, and of course, hair makes a huge difference. Cosima has dreadlocks and glasses, Sarah did have highlights before she dyed them to look like Beth, Alison has a fringe, Katja had dyed red hair, Helena’s got wild frizzy blonde curls…

But the real gift is in Tatiana Maslany’s way of using the characters’ mannerisms. Helena’s gait and way of walking is so different from the others’. She’s awkward but there’s a weird, predatory grace to it. Alison, on the other hand, is very upright; Cosima is relaxed and confident; Sarah slouches. Cosima gestures (like, a lot) and gets way too excited about science.

This one is Alison.
This one is Alison.

And then they impersonate each other. Sarah spends half her time pretending to be Beth, who died in the opening moments of the first episode, but she also spends a bit of time being Alison, who returns the favour by being Sarah. Helena pretends to be Beth, too — less successfully. Somehow they adopt each other’s mannerisms without ever losing their own, so that the viewer knows they’re an impostor even though the other characters don’t, necessarily.

I forget, while watching it, that they’re all played by the same actress. It’s phenomenal. If you’ve ever wanted to know how to pretend to be someone else without drastically changing your appearance, you could do worse than watching this show. I mean, I confess I didn’t realise that Sarah’s accent was meant to be British — she sounds borderline Australian to me at times.

This is Sarah.
This is Sarah.

But the acting isn’t even the only good thing about it. It’s an engaging show with a gripping plot — I can’t wait to see how it develops, since I’m only seven episodes into the first series, and series two just finished. Other non-clone characters are just as interesting, like Felix (Sarah’s foster brother) who kind of reminds me of how Grantaire is characterised in a lot of Les Mis modern AU fan fic; Keira (Sarah’s daughter); Mrs S (Sarah and Felix’s foster mother, who looks after Keira); and Paul (Beth’s boyfriend; it’s complicated now that Sarah is Beth).

It’s well-paced. I’m seven episodes into a ten-episode series, and I neither feel that it’s going too slowly or that it’ll have to be rushed to reach any kind of resolution in episode ten. Each episode is 45 minutes, which makes it slightly less ridiculous to marathon the way I have been, but I’m always left wanting more, hence my lack of moderation.

I don’t know, guys, if I haven’t already convinced you that it’s great and you should go and watch it, I’m not sure what else I can say. But if you like shows with female characters (there are lots of those!) and queer characters (it’s got some of those too), I can’t recommend it enough.

A warning: there’s some ‘mature’ content, including some pretty nasty scenes with blood, self-surgery etc. There are a few sex scenes, though they’re not horrendously graphic, which might upset some viewers. So use your discretion if you’re of a sensitive nature. But otherwise, it’s a great example of intelligent storytelling and brilliant acting.Oh, and a few great one-liners, mostly from Felix.

He ends up hiding in the closet. Which is pretty entertaining.
He ends up hiding in the closet. Which is pretty entertaining.

Go check it out! :)

7 thoughts on “Dress Like You’re Nine Different People

  1. I need to watch this… if only because my brain BOGGLES at the idea of one actress playing nine different people!
    Also Cosima is super cute. Just saying.

    Is it on Netflix?
    P.S. I found Being Human (the UK version – well, both versions actually, but I’ve been told that your version is better) on Netflix so I’m gonna start that soon! :)

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