On her way out of her Bucktown apartment, a young woman with long straight hair and model-high cheekbones checks herself out in the mirror. The checking turns to looking, then staring, and now her face crumbles and she sobs. How awful! She must feel terrible. But wait. Suddenly she stops sobbing. All business, she widens her eyes, stretches her mouth into an “o,” and makes octave-crossing vocalizations. Aha. It’s OK. She’s not really sad at all—she’s just an actress.
In fact, she’s an actress named Austin Marie Sayre, who plays an actress based on herself in an online video serial called The Adventures of Miss Girl. The vocalizing vignette opens the first of nine episodes written and directed by her fellow actor and former boyfriend Joe Lewis.
Sayre and Lewis came to Chicago together in 2005, right after graduating from Emerson College in Boston. She eventually decided her future lay in LA (episode eight: “I don’t want to be mediocre at what I do.”), and moved there last year. But not before very sportingly taping Lewis’s serial.
Miss Girl’s adventures are basically about the same thing Lewis says his relationship with Sayre was about: the struggle to maintain intimacy while pursuing big ambitions. She auditions, roughouses and dances with her beau, fails to get him to open up (though about what, I’m not sure), and–in one cool rehearsal scene—puts a very sexy spin on a speech from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Still, Lewis cautions, “We took great liberties with the truth.” He sees the serial as more than a video diary: it’s the first in a, um, series of serials he plans to produce about the lives of young actors in Chicago. The next one will be about another local actress. It remains to be seen how much variation Lewis can ring on his subject, but at the very least this seems like a good way to meet girls.