Poor Maria. Our daughter spent three years in theatre school in London. Then, almost immediately after graduation, she got the lead role in a little theatre on the South Bank of the Thames. But since then, nothing.
An actor’s life is misery, as near as we can tell. The work is irregular at best. Rejection is a fact of life…along with poverty. Harrison Ford gave up. He was getting an odd part here and there…not enough to support himself. So, he switched to carpentry, helping to build props and sets for the film industry. Finally, someone offered him a role in a movie. He turned it down; he could make more building stage sets, he replied. The producer gave him an extra $10…and he agreed. Finally, in Star Wars, after many years of hard work, he got his big, big break.
“I don’t know what is wrong,” said Maria. “I work so hard to get the parts. And then, they say I’m too tall…or they want a blond…or someone not so pretty…or someone prettier. I don’t know what to do…but I’m running out of self-confidence. It’s one rejection after another. I don’t think I can take it much longer.”
Maria is working a part-time job as a bartender in a pub, just to earn money. But once or twice a week she tries out for a role in a play or a movie. When the movie calls for an English girl, she puts on her English accent. When it calls for an American, she switches to Americanese. Last week, she almost had the role of a Russian prostitute.
“I was perfect for that part,” she said, almost sobbing. “I had the accent down pat…I looked like a Russian prostitute…I even copied some of their gestures…but I didn’t get it.”
“Daddy,” she began a conversation last week, “this just isn’t working out. I’ve got to do something new. I’m not getting any work here. And I’m at the beginning of my career. If I can’t get any work, I won’t have a chance to learn. I won’t get better. And I won’t have a career. So, I’ve decided to give up.”
“Give up? I thought acting was all you ever wanted to do. It’s all you ever talked about. It’s all you’re trained for.”
“No…not give up on acting. I’m giving up on London. I’m going to LA.”
In September, Maria is setting off…leaving for the West Coast. For the first time in her life, she will be separated from her family for a long time.