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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, And 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 Tonys or Emmys 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 2022

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Date: 11/12/2022 10:51:00 AM
I always wondered where the saying, "break a leg" hailed from prior to performance. It ain't over 'till the fat lady sings. Stage or film? The child's father's father was a British B grade/support actor, in films such as "Where Eagle's Dare", "Stalag 13", "The Saint",, to name a few, later a lead role in theatre, London, Chekov's "The Cherry Orchard" with Dench and Mirren, later he bought a small theatre, directed and acted in it. I wonder if that was your era..60s-mid 1990s. L
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Jim Slaughter
Date: 11/12/2022 11:02:00 AM
L L, thank you so much. I don't know about "break a leg", either, but "the fat lady" reference is from opera, I believe. My era, as you call it, was mostly concerned with stage work; too little film/TV, etc. to even mention.
Date: 11/11/2022 11:58:00 PM
Love your poem. Sounds like fun despite the disappointments along the way:-)
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Jim Slaughter
Date: 11/12/2022 9:25:00 AM
Thanks, Wendy. It was fun...sometimes.