No part for a child star

I’ve been acting professionally for most of my life — so why didn’t I get a good part in my school play?

You’re a professional, says our elder, so take the small part you have been given and make the most of it.

Dear EWC

I am 11 years old. I have been acting professionally since I was two years old. I have been in lots of plays, and even a movie. So, when I auditioned for my school play, I was confident that I would get a good part. However, that didn’t happen, and I ended up getting a small part with almost no lines. I am really disappointed and I don’t know how to get over it. Please give me some advice. Thank you!

Folk replies

I am sorry you did not get the part you really wanted in your school play. I know you must be very disappointed. But, as a professional, you know that actors do not always get the roles they want. When this happens, it doesn’t mean that the person who got the role you wanted is better than you. Sometimes it just means that the person who was chosen had more of the “look” the director had in mind for the part. What’s important is that your teachers clearly saw something in you that they liked because you got a role!

You auditioned for your school play because you love performing. And you still have a chance to do exactly that. You can take the small part you have been given and make the most of it. There are no small roles, after all, just small actors. And cameo appearances can sometimes be a lot more memorable than full-length roles. Did you know, for example, that the character of Urkel in Family Matters was only supposed to appear in one episode? But studio audiences loved Jaleel White’s performance so much they started chanting “Urkel! Urkel!” and he was added to the show as a regular character. Likewise, Mimi Bobeck was only supposed to appear in the pilot episode of The Drew Carey Show, but when the show’s producers discovered that test audiences laughed the hardest at the scenes she was in, Kathy Kinney was hired as a regular cast member.

That said, if you’re genuinely unhappy that you did not get the role you wanted and have the choice to not participate, then be professional: Quickly make the decision to not accept the role. Let your teacher know right away, so the role can be re-cast. I am sure that someone who did not get any part at all would love to have your part.

But if you truly love the theater and love performing, I strongly urge you to stick with the show. No matter what role you’re cast in, every show is a new chance to learn more about your craft and have fun. There will be plenty of other opportunities for you to get juicier roles in the future, so be a team player and use everything you have to help make this show a big success. You will be glad you did. Because just think: someday when you are a famous actor appearing on a late-night talk show, you will have a great story to tell about how when you were 11, you didn’t get the role you really wanted. Good luck!

Letter #: 453467
Category: School

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