Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pipe Dreams

When I was much younger, I wanted to be an actress. I used to memorize films and act them out with friends, and as soon as my middle school offered an "Improv Workshop", I jumped at the chance to take it. I made my parents fork over big bucks (and I mean BIG, somewhere along the lines of $60 a class, money that didn't come easily for my family!) for Musical Theater Workshop classes and Summerstage classes at a little studio near my house.

But I was always an extra. The big roles always went to the same kids. I had a few lines at best-- sometimes my character didn't even have a first name.

I gave up my dream my freshman year of high school, after being cast as yet another unnamed extra in the play "Anything Goes". I had had enough.

I quit drama and only looked back bitterly from then on, until in 2001 when I moved to a small town and met a girl who insisted I join drama.

I did, earning *slightly* bigger parts, but still background roles-- a pirate in Peter Pan, the Police Lieutenant in Arsenic & Old Lace.

I gave up after that, again, until one of my requirements for college this year was Acting 1. I took it, and it was interesting, but I didn't do much else other then have fun with it. I didn't give it too much thought. Today was my last class, and we did a final scene.

At the end of class, one of my classmates came up to me and told me he wished he had a brain like mine when it came to memorization. I argued that I had tacked the last half page of my script onto the wall of the stage so I could read it. He told me earnestly that he expected to see me in Hollywood one day.

That one sentence set me back about 10 years.

I realized, after he said that, my classmates had essentially been telling me this all year. The word they most often used was "a natural". A natural? For real? Clearly, they had nothing to gain from saying things like this, so I have to assume they weren't pulling my chain.

I spent the entire drive home today contemplating Hollywood. Could I make it there? Is the dream of stardom one I shouldn't have abandoned so easily? Is there a chance for me out there?

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