The Loh Life is writer/performer Sandra Tsing Loh's weekly take on life, family, and pop culture in early 21st century Southern California.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh

The Audition: the acting bug--- part one

Sandra Tsing Loh's daughter gets the acting bug.

So it comes to pass that my 10 year old daughter. . . has caught. . . the acting bug.
"Oh honey!" I have to restrain myself from saying. "No!"

It’s not so much that actresses have terrible LIVES-- Which they do, even the successful ones-- Look at Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Selena GOMEZ, all those anorexic DISNEY teen STARS zigzagging from jail to rehab, FALLING out of cars in MINISKIRTS, OVERDOSING on pills, BASICALLY cracking up--

What’s disturbing is that, as bad as that IS? Even THEY occasionally had to show up to WORK, to brush their hair--that’s right, brush their hair, and that’s ALL their hair, ALL the way around the head-- Occasionally they had to say LINES in front of, if not a camera, at least another living PERSON--? As in, spoken out loud? This is something I simply cannot imagine my daughter doing.

I mean. . . You know how SOME kids routinely don Santa HATS and ham it UP, running AROUND, for school holiday PAGEANTS? Well, my Maddy will typically place herself in the last ROW on the far LEFT, moving her lips to the songs sullenly and SILENTLY. It takes EFFORT, CONCENTRATION, WILL to be so invisible.

There was the time we tried TAP lessons-- Oh sure! THERE was the classroom full of happy SEVEN year olds, jazz hands waving-- Meanwhile, one wrong step and MY daughter collapses, in slow motion, like a house of cards falling-- For the next 30 minutes it’s silent WEEPING in the corner, oh the dollars WASTED. Forget PERFORMING, my daughter won’t do a TENNIS lesson.

THERE the line of kids bobs, as they exuberantly HIT yellow balls--pop, pop, pop--into the blue. Yonder under a tree my DAUGHTER lies, making an artistic piles of leaves because the SUN makes her EYES hurt. I’ve come to think of my DAUGHTER as a housecat—she eschews ANY activity that requires her to even stand up!

But from SOMEWHERE--some Disney show--"I, Carly," probably-- my daughter got the idea that the THESPIAN life is the only one for her and. . . Well, if you’ve NEVER seen a preteen GIRL proclaim her desire to be an actress? The emotion is so unbelievably PURE. The clouds part, the sun shines-- Your 10 year old BEAMS upon her FUTURE, as though beholding endless fields of Coldstone cotton candy and bubblegum ICE cream, or maybe a real live UNICORN.

In the face of such confidence and OPTIMISM, who am I, her mother, to smash her dream? It will be smashed soon anyway. But--oh my God. Did it have to be so quickly?

Next week: the performing ARTS academy audition. The terror begins.