Ingenue bypass

February 13, 2014

I was recently in a play for the first time in, oh I don’t know, more than thirty years? Performing before an audience brought back all the excitement and nervy energy of being onstage as a kid in summer camp musicals, which I’d loved, but failed to love enough to either overcome the recurring disappointment of always being relegated to the chorus or to create the necessary spark that might elevate me to lead roles. I let it go, and somehow the world of theater soldiered on without me. (Just as the literary world has managed!)

Now that I’m “back,” I’m eager to do more acting, and it strikes me that there are a great many juicy roles available to a 44-year-old woman. Such as:

Meddlesome neighbor

Angel of mercy killer

Barren spinster aunt

Comically deluded cougar

Sorceress — or, if ethnic, hoodoo woman

Dust Bowl migrant

Menopausal harridan wife

Boundaryless mother-in-law

Old-timey bordello madam (if buxom)

Meth addict’s girlfriend

Embezzling CEO’s long-suffering executive assistant

Maybe stepping out of the game this long has allowed me to bypass a lot of dreary rescued princess/virgin sacrifice/quirky best friend roles so I can go straight to the pithy character parts. Still, a moment of lamentation for some of the classic archetypes I’ve aged out of playing:

Toxic babysitter

Serial killer’s first victim

Nerdy girl whose cuteness is hidden behind glasses and studious habits before makeover and attitude adjustment net  the guy

Secret sexpot librarian/schoolteacher (again with the glasses)

Hooker with sympathetic backstory

Vengeful mistress

Eliza Doolittle

Black widow


Note: It’s not that I don’t think I could be that last one; I just couldn’t play one on TV.