Friday, May 14, 2010

Two Child Stars and Acapella Groupies

Do you know that I know two child stars? Like, right now. I am actively friends with two child stars. Neither of them are from this country which may explain why they are so relatively well-adjusted. Compared to our child stars. None of whom I know, personally.

Both are ageless. Both are incredibly warm. Both love children. Both are still actresses. Both have beautiful accents.

I have not worked with either of them, but I would very much like to.

The universe has asked me to think a lot about getting older in the last few weeks. First, I wasn't cast in a play because (among other things as well I'm sure) I am too old to make the production work. Then, I went to see an absolutely brilliant high school production of "Hamlet" directed by my absolutely brilliant friend, Sarah, starring an absolutely brilliant high school senior whom I once had to nearly fail in a 9th grade acting class, but that was just because he was lazy and this famous actor's kid was dragging their whole scene down by being a jerk. Not because he wasn't talented. So I went backstage to congratulate this kid, who will be famous in about five years, mark my words. I was standing outside the dressing room waiting for him to emerge, when another cast member breezed out with all the casual confidence of a 15 year old New York City prep kid. I asked him if Hamlet was still in the dressing room. He hovered briefly in flight, looked me up and down and said, "Are you his Mom?" May I remind you that Hamlet is a high school senior. Oh hello nice to eat you.

So then I got an audition. I have been getting a lot of little TV auditions for character roles. One line in a TV show...two lines in a movie. I show up, and as a young "character actress" I find myself in a waiting room full of old ladies, fat African American women, and weasel-faced, frizzy-haired forty-somethings in sweatshirts. I guess I fall into the latter category? And may I say, thus far I have thought to myself "If I were casting this, I'd choose the old lady, the fat African American lady, or that frizzy-haired chick in the glasses over me in a heartbeat." And may I further say, I have not been cast in any of these roles. But then I got this audition for a one-act play festival. I got the script. I read it. And the whole premise of the play is that the character I was auditioning for was devastated because she's too old to be hired as a topless dancer. Really? Really really? I mean, not that I'm looking for employment in that line of work, but really?

Thank you universe.

When I was 20, I was in a beautiful play in college called "Abingdon Square." Funny, I now live in the city that is home to Abingdon Square. I was cast as Aunt Minnie, a white haired, old lady--wig and all. I have been a "young character actress" since I was 11 and cast as Mrs. Fuddy in the 5th grade winter play, "The Christmas Elf." During rehearsal for "Abingdon Square" I remember getting a piece of advice from one of my teachers, a brilliant actor who happened to be performing in the show as well. He told me, "Stop trying so hard to play her age. Don't act your idea of what it is to be old. No one feels old inside. I am surprised every day when I look in the mirror and I don't see a 25 year old looking back at me." This to me, at 20, was a revelation. And some of the best direction I've ever gotten.

So then tonight we went to this crazy event. The United Glee Club of NYC, this 114 year old group of rich white guys from fancy-schmancy colleges who, like, rent Lincoln Center so they can still wear tails and sing with other rich white guys like they did in college (and to their credit also do a lot of wonderful charitable work) had a concert. The acappella group Doc Hubby sang with in college was their special guest group. I fell in love with Doc Hubby when he was the leader of this particular group. I was their biggest groupie in the early 90s. I have a soft spot. So this group was there and singing and bouncing around and being 20 and doing a lot of the same exact stuff they were doing 20 some years ago and I thought...wait a second. If we went up afterward and talked to them, and told them who we were, and who Doc Hubby was, and how awesome they were...even if I'm the only one hip enough (or lame enough) to be wearing jeans to this event, and even if I have a good haircut and don't really look my age, these sweet faced boys would smile benignly and nod and think, as we did in the late 80s, "Man that dude and his wife are ancient." And if they bothered to do the math, or if we simply said what year Doc Hubby directed the group, they might scratch their shaggy heads and go on to say, "Dude, I wasn't even born then."

What they don't know, is that I still wake up every morning and look in the mirror and wonder why I don't still look like I did when I was singing the first tenor part of "Somebody Loves Me" to myself in the shower in my senior dorm.

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