So, I know that life is not balanced. Not everyone wins all of the time. But my kid has worked her arse off in acting for the last 4 or more years. She has taken monologue classes, private acting lessons, camps, community theatre and then larger venues. She has been in crap plays, excellent musicals, and in a great school play with bad sound. She is surprisingly very talented and poised for her age. I am not the kind of mom to say that she is great at something if she is not. But when I saw her do a scene in fall of 2016, I realized that her energy and charisma were just a part of her appeal, she can freaking act!!
So, she got results last night of these 2 short plays she will be performing in her winter production. She got the lead in one and chorus in the other. This child is way beyond just being in the chorus. Her friend who is a decent actor, but has nowhere near the same stage presence, got 2 roles in one and a role and chorus in the other. There were a couple of other people who have roles in addition to chorus in one or both of the plays. This is not the first time this type of bias or unfairness has happened. And the thing is, she is always on the other end. She gets screwed over.
She was happy to have the co-lead role in the 2nd short story play, but all I could think is- why do they keep passing her over? She has even gotten a character award in her acting group (this same one) for being humble, helpful and not trying to steal the spotlight and for being easy to direct and get along with. People within the theatre group keep telling her that she isn’t being treated fairly. One of her friends who is also talented admitted to getting a good role because of who she was related to. When she did a play with our local community theatre group, someone her same age and size got to move up a level to the teen and adult part of the play. My child who was not yet a teen either, was 5 feet tall. And this girl had no prior acting or singing. Only dancing. My kid has all 3…
So I have come to this conclusion that it is happening because:
The whole overly liberal idea that everyone is a winner, therefore we punish the real winners by not putting them first school of thought.
There is discrimination whether covert or not, because she is biracial.
We don’t know the right people.
I refuse to kiss up.
I am not the kind of person who thinks my child is great at everything. When she took gymnastics for a while, I told her that she should probably continue dance and tennis instead. Honestly she just didn’t have the body type for it but of course I didn’t say that. When she did several other things out of the 11 activities she has tried, we concluded that she was best at: Singing, Dancing and Acting. So, I do not pump my kid’s head up, I was realistic with her. But although she does seem to just be naturally good at many things and a lot of that is because she is confident, she is not good at everything. And that in itself is okay. Our wimpy society has got to start getting more serious and actually rewarding those who are at the top in whatever subject or activity, before they lose interest and feel that their hard work is not appreciated or valued. That happened to me in music. Long story…
I digress, in the D.C. area, not the big professional productions, but community or town ones and even in school, I have witnessed a lot of interesting things. From parents being on the board of directors, to being the biggest donors, or doing free things for the theatre company that is outside of normal parent volunteer stuff, I have seen it all. Also I have noticed if there are several siblings trying out they will all make it to make it “easier” for certain families, even if some of the kids absolutely suck. That goes for adults too. Husband and wife duos, where the husband is great and they don’t want to turn down the off-key wife for fear they will lose them both. I know a family right now as we speak in a play this weekend and 3 of them are great. One, not so much, but she keeps getting cast because of her kin.
There has been very little evidence that taking into consideration the true talent of an individual is taking place. At her school, she made it into the fall play, which she was proud of because not many people in the lower grade make it because he (the teacher) wants to be “fair” to the 8th graders. The same goes for the improv sports among other schools. Only she and one boy in her drama group of 30 people were mentioned and noticed by other schools they have competed with. But the teacher has been unsure about actually choosing a team and instead lets anyone sign up so that everyone can have a chance. When she was cast in a summer camp tour, they told her that she was so talented (actually a counselor leaked it to her in confidence) that they knew she could nail the lead and play virtually any character in the play. But instead she got a far lesser role because they wanted to “challenge” her.
There have been too many cases of this for me not to wonder, and frankly be offended. I have even had other people point it out to me. I didn’t notice it at first. So I know I don’t have the big bucks and that people are influenced when money is on the table. I guess I can’t do anything about any of the reasons that I think she is treated unfairly. My only solution is we can suck it up on this small-scale or shoot for bigger things where talent is actually a consideration.
I am not gunning for my child to be a star. I just don’t want her to settle for less in anything. Work. School. A relationship. A friendship. You get the point. I don’t want her to get used to the idea of thinking that she is mediocre or accepting treatment that would suggest that she is. If she was, she wouldn’t win the student of the month twice since she has been in school or have 100s in classes or be referred to state choir,etc. Thanks for reading my vent. Sometimes it just feels good to say it. I just wish typing the words could change the situation!
image via Youtube Jacksfilms