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  1. Pay To Play By Rhonda Hansome

    Thursday, March 7, 2013


    Where we left off last week: I was having trouble staying focused in what I hoped to be a dynamite meeting with a hot shot casting director, since at this point in my life only dynamite could break the log jam in my career…

    I watched Twinkie make marks from the top to the bottom of the paper in front of her.  From my side of the desk I guessed she was either constructing a six-set Venn diagram or designing a need- to- know flow chart of secret drone missions, on my resume. What the hell is she doing?  I was already uncomfortable with the whole pay to play with a casting director phenomenon that became a cottage industry in its self during my hiatus from comedy and performing.  Wasn’t that the purpose of showcase after showcase, the opportunity to be seen by an influential gatekeeper like herself? 
                                                                                                  

    Yes I am an unforgivingly old school by-product of the previous century, but faced with the prospect of being a non-income generating, middle-aged non-performing, performing artist, I sucked it up and stuck my toe in the now.  Paying to meet Twinkie was the iceberg tip of my adjustments.

    It was a huge adjustment returning to the place of my birth - Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy - after homesteading, raising a son, reveling in Tribeca and then leaving divorced.  My lovingly supportive yet oddly passive aggressive marriage, to my high school sweet heart- fiancĂ©- husband- parenting partner, began to chafe in its third decade.  In the fading afternoon sun of our art filled, book lined, homey apartment, Phil and I exchanged words that could not be snatched back. I was deeply in love with my husband.  Somewhere along the years I stopped liking him.  Our Dartmouth educated son was grown and leaving the nest.  Soon I’d be the next to go.  I’d grown apart from the man I fell in love with when I was 14 years old.  It felt like time to leave the most significant man in my life.

    At the time I was acting in a production directed by the renowned Woodie King Jr., on NY’s Theater Row.  I had in the offing an epic blues cantata, written by a longtime friend, sure to make my mark as a theater director of note.  I did not have a second thought about the comedy career I’d left in the dust.  But how do you adjust to leaving a lifetime of love?  I clutched my rising possibilities as an actress and director on the dramatic stage. In less than a month I was out on my own.  My timing was impeccable. I left Tribeca for Bed-Stuy, I signed the divorce papers and then right on cue, came the recession, years and years of recession.



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  2. 5 comments:

    1. you are one of the brave ones who know life ain't worth anything if it isn't truly yours. whatever happens, happens. when i read you, i feel like you are flying (no matter if things are happening at that moment or not).

    2. loislane911 said...

      GORGEOUS writing!! Apt analogy per secret drone missions... I just watched the Oscar nominated documentary, "Gatekeepers" about Israeli intelligence officers -- keep thinking how different it would have been if it were about Pay to Play Casting Directors, however it would be no less ruthless in its politics.

    3. Sharon Renay said...

      So sad but inspiring. Thank you for being so candid.

    4. Lisa Harmon said...

      Love your writing Rhonda. Evocative is the word I'm looking for. I think! I don't have the command of the language you do! lol

    5. She So Funny said...

      "began to chafe in its 3rd decade" = hilarious! ~S

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