Saturday, April 24, 2004

Puffy's a Little l'Oeuf in his Oeuvres

P Diddy's l'oeuf make a very Cocteauesque appearance in his oeuvre recently, which, in due turn, landed him deep inside in the Old Gray Lady today. I know that sounds vaguely pornographic, vaguely French, so allow me to explain.

Check out this strange chestnut from the New York Times, which starts in a P Diddy acting "session" for the Broadway play "A Raisin in the Sun,' with one Ms. Batson, Diddy's acting coach, that goes kind of, uhm, er, haywire and takes us to a very dairy space. Let's start at the acting coaching:

"For about 15 minutes, Ms. Batson made practical suggestions ('Don't fear making it presentational') and mused about the text ('This is life. This is the dream. This is it'). And when she didn't like something, she was brutally honest ('You're just not getting the moment').

"Mr. Combs made a point: 'You have all these other teachers like Strasberg,' he said, turning toward Ms. Batson to check whether he had correctly pronounced the name of the illustrious acting teacher and co-founder of the Group Theater. Ms. Batson, who studied with Strasberg at the Actors Studio, nodded. 'But,' he continued, 'Susan has been able to simplify and make it more direct. Sometimes her help can be as crazy as Dare to eat the eggs. "

"He was referring to an early scene in which Walter Lee's wife Ms. McDonald makes him scrambled eggs. In the first few previews, Mr. Combs left the eggs on his plate, but after that he started taking forkfullsls. 'People have come to see the play; real New York thespians and they're like, `Damn, he's really eating the eggs,' Mr. Combs said. `I can't believe it. He really can act.' "

"The next evening, Ms. Batson attended a performance with a class of her students a group of aspiring stars who jumped to attention when their leader said 'Listen up, troops!' During the show, Ms. Batson seemed to be in constant motion, shifting in her seat and writing notes furiously. But during the breakfast scene, she froze after Mr. Combs ate his scrambled eggs. He started choking, coughing so hard he practically brought the performance to a halt. Ms. McDonald, quick on her feet, brought him a glass of water and, after a few seconds, he recovered gracefully. Ms. Batson shook her head and giggled. "I can see the headline," she whispered. `Coach Kills Combs.' "

"The eggs were still on her mind after the show, when she went backstage to give notes. Mr. Combs was visiting with Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, so she waited in a room across the hall. Kenny Leon, the director of 'Raisin,' joined her. After a long pause, he said, 'He's not going to eat those eggs.'"

Next time, can someone get Puffy a chocolate swirl cheesecake from Juniors, please? Thank you.

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