September 5th, 2012
A star has been born in our family. Yes, yes, I know Bridget is my child therefore I’m partial. But this is not a subjective opinion, there is scientific proof that she is a star. There is the measurable charismatic wattage that emanates from her pores when those klieg lights go up. There is also the quantifiable precipitation that flows from her mother’s eyes when she sings passionately, albeit a tad off-key. There is the surveyable adulation transmitted by the audience. This is science, people! (Dear Universe, why have you done this to me??)
Here she is in her first role as Sandy in Grease:
And while I am loathe to cheat the world of Bridget’s singular talent, when she queried about acting professionally my unequivocal answer was no.
And here’s why.
During the 7 years I attempted to earn a living as an actress and couldn’t even manage to get run over by the Crafts Services truck as I tried to scale the walls into studios the worst part of that time was having to audition with children.
It broke my heart sitting in the waiting room memorizing lines as the mother of a child in a dog food commercial. Surrounding me were the stage moms in their various incarnations: The You-Will-Be-A-Star-My-Exceptional-Child-The-Rest-Of-These-Kids-Are-Twaddle moms, the I’ve-Had-A-Boring-Life-And-Want-To-Live-Vicariously-Through-My-Child moms, the We’re-Broke-Maybe-I-Can-Pimp-My-Kid-Out-moms, the What-The-Hell-Did-I-Let-Johnny-Talk-Me-Into? moms.
Then there were the kids; some of them with stomachs tied in knots with the inchoate understanding that they WILL FAIL because already – at 7 – they are Losers, some of them miniature 40-year olds reassuring their moms everything will all be alright, a very few of them wanting desperately to be stars.
And that was just the waiting room. Auditioning with these little people was even more heartbreaking as they sought to please un-pleasable people. Granted I was in there too, shuffle-ball-changing frantically to hide the certainty that my neurotic interior monologue could be heard:
“Pick me, pick me! If you pick me I’ll be able to pay off my car, pay my rent, be finally and forever loved and validated as a human being. Oh please pick me! Not that I’m desperate. Because I really don’t care if I get this job, because there are lots of other jobs lined up, so it’s cool with me if I don’t get this job. It’ll be your loss …. pick me.”
So for many years hence I must deny the world my daughter’s sweet freckles and enthusiasm. No child actors here. She’ll perform in school plays or drama camp. And maybe one day when she can drive or begins sprouting mid-life whiskers, whichever comes first, she can audition to her heart’s content. But for just a little while longer I want her to feel she like she has nothing to prove.
Share and Enjoy