The greatest acting I have ever seen is hands down from my youngest daughter, Amanda. Her sister is the one that is pursuing a degree and career in the theater, but Amanda’s performances with her father put all other Tony winners to shame.
Part of what makes the “performance” great is that she is a quite a blunt little person. She is not afraid to tell you exactly how she thinks or feels. Yet she does it with a wicked wit that makes it hard not to admire its brilliance as she tells you unflattering truths about yourself.
Her relationship with her dad is one of a typical teen toward a parent, where the teen is trying to express herself and the parent has other ideas. She does truly love her father and will begrudgingly admit so if pushed hard enough. When he comes over to visit, for her it is combination of being genuinely glad to see him and “Oh God, why is he here?”
Like all daughters, she knows how to push his buttons. When it comes to getting what she wants out of him, which is where she excels. She knows that her father, like most will also see their daughters as that little girl going off to school on her first day. She uses this knowledge to great effect.
First, she will constantly refer to him as Daddy. Normally, it is Dad or Father when she’s annoyed or angry with him. (When I hear her say Mommy, the first words out of my mouth are “What do you want?”) This and everything that follows from her lips is said in the sweetest voice that she can muster and still sound sincere. Then, she makes a point of telling him that she loves him. (The other thing that once she says it to me has me wondering what con is trying to pull on me, as she is not known for verbalizing her feelings.) Her coup de gras is “the hug.”
This is no ordinary hug. Her usual way of hugging person she cares about but doesn’t wish to be openly affection with, aka family is to come in at a 45 degree angle, put one arm around their back, give two quick pats then part. I have seen here give that hug. I have been given that hug. Hell, her dad has received that hug, which makes what she does she does to him all the more entertaining.
She comes in on the side with both arms. She bends her head down in a as if she is looking at the ground. When she puts her arms around him, it is gently, with the slightest bit of pressure. With her head still down, she turns it just enough to look up at him and so he can see those pleading puppy dog eyes. At this point, he is toast.
When I asked her about it once, she said everything about it is to make him think of her as 5 years old. The head down is to make her appear even shorter, and give a slight snuggle effect. The light squeeze is to conjure images of someone small and fragile. The eyes, well, that is the same look she’s been giving him since she was a toddler.
For someone who is not into the performing arts, she is quite the entertainer.