I, an Actress is a 1977 film directed by George Kuchar.
Kuchar was an underground filmmaker who made hundreds of independent short films over a decades-long career. At this time he was teaching at the San Francisco Art Institute. One of his students, Barbara Lapsley, asked Kuchar to give her a screen test which she might use to further her acting career. Kuchar gave her a sampling of ridiculous dialogue and then, over the last ten minutes of an acting class, filmed her. Lapsley attempts to deliver Kuchar's dialogue in a straightforward manner, but the performance gets sillier and sillier as Kuchar keeps urging her to go further and further over the top, continually jumping into the camera's view as he gets more and more hammy.
Compare Hold Me While I'm Naked, a similarly campy Kuchar film from 1965.
- Camp: Camp distilled down to its essence, as Kuchar gets Lapsley to get more and more ridiculous, spitting out her lines, dropping to her knees in front of the dummy representing her lover, fondling her breasts for the camera.
- Camp Gay: George acts more feminine than Barbara does.
- I, Noun: I, an Actress
- Large Ham: George is effortlessly hammy. By the end of the short Barbara is dissolving with laughter as George pushes her to be more and more hammy.
- Melodrama: The dialogue that Kuchar has Lapsley deliver is completely silly."When I cheat its not for sex, its for revenge!"
- The Oner: Done in one take with one camera.
- Real Time: This is an actual, unrehearsed screen test as given over ten minutes of an acting class, which Kuchar slapped a copyright on and called a film.
- Your Cheating Heart: The scene Lapsley is given to play is a hysterically overwrought confrontation between two lovers who have each been cheating on each other.