Sued51's Blog

{October 7, 2012}   “All the World’s a Stage” so Some Great Writer Said

I’ve read countless prayers about accepting God’s plan for our lives, in fact I read them just about every day. What if you can’t help feeling like these prayers are to keep you in your place, content with accepting the consolation prize? Yes, yes, better than no prize at all, right? What happens when it is obvious that your role in life’s production is to be an unacknowledged personal assistant to the stars? The one who sets up the backstage dressing room the way the diva wants it, who only gets feedback when the coffee is cold? Maybe that still sounds glamorous. What if you need a little sympathy for your not-truly-glamorous plight and the only ones who will listen are the ones who live on the street, and they think you’re lucky to have that job in the first place? No (sympathy) soup for you!

If that is truly your role, I guess you have two choices: accept it (which I can tell you is pretty close to impossible) while you secretly feel enslaved forever (or like a human C3PO) or fight it and keep getting fired for insubordination. Neither makes for a happy carefree life, though I suppose the former does offer some moments of smug satisfaction along the way.

I remember the moment I first saw the face of my destiny unmasked (and recognized it wasn’t pretty). The play or production mentioned above is not just a metaphor. After being part of the crowd scenes and the chorus for most of the high school productions (if I was lucky I might be chosen from the crowd for a one line part), I finally tried out for the lead in the latest high school play, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Oh, I was sure this was finally my chance — the role of Scout — only the shortest, youngest-looking girls need apply. When my turn came, I read well; I felt confident as I sat and watched the other girls. Some stumbled a bit or sounded flat. This was my big chance I thought.

But I didn’t get the part. It went to the superintendent’s daughter, a doll of a girl with curly blonde hair, a healthy round face and freckles across her nose. I was, instead, a mouse of a girl, dark and furtive. Who would like or sympathize with my character? I remember the feeling of the tears pounding against the backs of my eyeballs as I left the auditorium. I think I remember someone patting me on the back and telling me I did well and “better luck next time.” I felt devastated, but I wasn’t totally a quitter: the next day I signed up for the stage crew. That is what I did for the rest of high school, and I enjoyed it for the most part.

But I honestly can’t say it was a happily ever after moment. Despite my seeming contentment, it didn’t quite take away the unpleasant taste. I had dined on disappointment sprinkled with a little bitterness. From then on I was part of the quirky crowd — the ones who weren’t ready for prime time because there was something about them that made them stage crew: extra weight, vague sexual preferences, or ugly clothes. Was this where I belonged?

Forty years later I’m still forcing the prayers through my parched lips. I’ve relived that “Scout” tryout many times in many forms: looking for dream jobs or trying to get poems published, with the end result being that I donned the jeans and gloves of the stage crew, because the heavy lifting doesn’t take any talent (although doing it quietly does), just a willingness to do the building and painting and hard work, and a willingness to paste on the smile that is never quite bright enough to light up the dark corners. But…it may keep the stars from tripping over props and get them on stage on cue, and one has to be content (but not necessarily happy) with that. I do know that it is better than simply being part of the audience. So there’s that glimmer, that consolation prize. Maybe the prayers work after all — for most of the time.

On the other days I just keep hoping the big director is not sitting out there in the darkened auditorium laughing his butt off.


Wonderful post. To Kill A Mockingbird is my favorite Book and Movie!! Thank you for sharing. It brought back memories I love. šŸ˜‰


sued51 says:

Thanks for reading and commenting Dana. I LOVE the movie…truly awesome!


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