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My Life Upon the Wicked Stage

Thirty years as an actor have shown That it takes more than talent to make a star, Though I tried very hard, I didn't get very far. When auditions were past And I didn't get cast, Here are some of the reasons I've known: I was either too young or too old, A little too ripe or else much too green, Too over the line or too in between, Too long in the tooth, They were casting for youth, That's what my agent said she'd been told. I was either too short or too tall, My navel an "outie" when they needed "in", My hair was too thick and the script called for thin, My skin tone would do But my eyes were too blue, And my dimples too large or too small. I was either too shy or too bold, Too over the top or too underplayed, Too limber and loose or too stolid and staid, My voice was too brassy Or too upper classy, And my love scenes too hot or too cold. I had plenty of talent and heart. With each failed audition I upped my game, And though often rejected, some remembered my name. But I never stopped trying, I kept on applying, And now and then I'd get the part. That life seems a lifetime ago. Three decades and longer I trod the boards, No Tony's or Emmy's or other awards, But I can say without guile For me what made it worthwhile Was the applause at the end of a show. Now my acting career is on hold, As a poet I'm making a brand new start, Didn't have to audition to land the part. I still can be entertaining, And no agent's explaining That I'm either too young or too old.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019




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Date: 11/17/2019 4:29:00 PM
Your sentiments reflect the feelings of many in other profession too! Life is a journey and it finds its own destination sometimes!
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Jim Slaughter
Date: 11/18/2019 12:31:00 PM
Thank you, Krish.
Date: 10/6/2019 12:06:00 PM
Acting has never been a lure, though I was in my high school play. Much prefer foreign actors to American – the emphasis for foreign actors is the acting not the pretty or handsome face. I enjoy writing and I do my best to do it well. Thanks for stopping by. BTW Debussy was a cat lover. / M
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Date: 8/15/2019 10:54:00 AM
Nothing like that applause, is there?! Amazing to me that you stayed with it for 30 years. Here's to your poetry, Jim! :) gw
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Jim Slaughter
Date: 8/16/2019 3:23:00 PM
Well, lets say that I "worked" at it for 30 years...and more, actually...but it doesn't seem like all that long now. A nice comment from a reader now and then does it quite nicely for me now. Thanks, G.
Date: 7/27/2019 4:42:00 PM
oh wow, thank you for the insight into your life..life is hard as an actor and im glad you shared this poem..
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Jim Slaughter
Date: 7/28/2019 7:14:00 AM
Thanks, S O. It didn't seem very hard at the time...only frequently exasperating and often disappointing. But I think my time there was pretty well-spent...for the most part.
Date: 7/27/2019 1:08:00 PM
This is one of the best poems, and I can relate, albeit differently. Panagiota, is one who knows by experience, the grand pleasure of the roar of the crowd, and being asked for my autograph. I was in Improv theater at Second City, Chicago...and did Stand up in Chicago and SF. There were no try outs, etc, but relating to a crowd is so wonderful. Here you are on the poetry stage..,enjoy. Panagiota
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Jim Slaughter
Date: 7/27/2019 3:21:00 PM
Thank you, P. Your Second City experience must have been a hoot. I've only done improv in acting classes. I actually did a show once...twice actually...called "The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Roar of the Crowd".
Date: 7/27/2019 11:08:00 AM
Very good Sir!! Great insight into the trials and tribulations of being an actor. Well done!! Thoroughly enjoyed the read. RT
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Jim Slaughter
Date: 7/27/2019 3:18:00 PM
Thanks, RT.