I have never lost the hope that I will someday be discovered and propelled to international fame and fortune. Notice I say ‘discovered’ – I have always wanted to be famous but have never wanted to try for it, stuck as I am in an ever-vacillating battle between fear and laziness.
I actually think I have a shot, even though I’m a little old for an ingénue. Take a look at my name: Una LaMarche. I have what is surely meant to be a famous name. It’s a good marquee name: distinctive, elegant, easy to make splashy titles out of. I also have an impressive performance resume. To date:
I am featured on the cover of Women’s Wear Daily as part of a feature on sweaters.
No, I was not a child model; I just learned early on how to coordinate my outfits in an attractive manner.
Premiere of Emmanuel Midtown Pre-school Winter Play, in which I am credited as “Sheep/Triangle”. That’s not a typo, my friends. I played the triangle at three years old.
I am the lead-in to a Washington Post Article (June 21, 1983, B4) about the ACLU: “Children's rights, according to Una LaMarche, age 3, of New York City, include the right to skitter up a marble wall, put your toes in the bronze grill, vault up to the window ledge and -- jump. But her guardians, Gara LaMarche and Ellen Chuse, in defense of parents' rights to keep her from killing herself, soon deprived her of jumping rights.”
Oh, and it was in the STYLE section. Perhaps my reputation as a WWD style icon had preceded me?
I am featured in the opening credits of a John Ritter TV movie. This, I admit, was total luck. Maddeningly, I am not credited; my acting debut goes largely unnoticed by the cognoscenti.
At the Waldorf school in Austin, TX, I am the only girl to cross hetero-normative lines on Halloween, and am very fetching as Peter Pan. This groundbreaking event foreshadows some of my riskier future roles, in college, as a lesbian, a small boy, and Eddie from “A View From the Bridge”, respectively.
I appear in a children’s community production of “A Wrinkle In Time” as The Happy Medium. My bright orange turban and flair for improvisation are crowd-pleasers, but my performance fails to garner notices of any import.
In the morality play “It’s All The Fault of Adam” at Public School 282, I am the only African washerwoman not to be given lines. This marks a low point in my career.
1989 – 1993
Adolescence – and an increasingly troubling complexion -- keeps me from the stage.
I headline as Marty in the Park Slope Dance Studio’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie”. I am by far the oldest member of the cast, and so am easily able to command attention, as I am able to deliver my lines without crying.
I am cast, in another breakthrough role, as a Puerto Rican hanger-on in Hunter College High School’s production of “West Side Story”. Despite an unfortunate costume of latex Capri leggings with horizontal stripes, I am able to successfully tap into some Latin flavor.
1999 – 2002
Easily the high point of a distinguished career, I enjoy a three-year period of theater, film, and dance work. Alas, my quasi-celebrity extends only to the city limits of Middletown, Connecticut.
2002 – 2006
Tired of the stage, I turn my attention to “my music”. My rendition of “Flashdance (What A Feeling)” is well-received at Sing Sing karaoke. Looking for a challenge, I take on the Whitney Houston canon in late 2005.
Granted, I haven’t had a really meaty role since, well, let’s be honest, since Sheep/Triangle, but I think I can make a comeback. Surely my daring fashion efforts will be noticed by a WWD stylist again – they can’t have forgotten me! Surely my dramatic exit from the supermarket will grab the eye of a talent scout – they’ll think, “Why, that young woman looks so convincingly angry, look how her arms strain to hold the weight of twelve bags of groceries! And she doesn’t have a car … how tragic! I can almost … why, yes! I can almost see her wearing a schmatta in the desert, carrying pails of water to her quaint and dusty village! Yes, yes, she’ll be perfect. I must call Ridley Scott immediately.”
As a writer, of course, the only thing I can really focus on is my Oscar speech. I know the journey is the point and all that, blah blah blah, but until then since I’m just sitting around waiting to get discovered, I figure I might as well get the ending all worked out. I will definitely start with a few seconds of charming startledness – that will get everyone thinking I’m really cute and unprepared, and will totally win them over. I think I’ll even buckle a little bit under the weight of the statuette and then laugh self-consciously. Then I’ll say something like, “Thank you all so much. I … I really can’t believe I won!” I won’t say that the other nominees all deserved to win, because you really only have to say that if you worried about coming off like a total dick, and since I’ll already have won people’s hearts with my little buckling routine, they won’t care that I’m not gracious to the losers. I’ll thank my Dad, for taking me to see inappropriate R-rated movies that gave me a leg-up over my peers, none of whom had seen Dirty Rotten Scoundrels by the second grade. I’ll thank my Mom and her whole family, for giving me the raw, emotional, and vibrant personality of a true Method actor (Incidentally, my Oscar-winning role will be based on an inconsolable evening in 1992 when I dropped a tray of Christmas cookies).
Then I’ll make a joke or two, and thank my co-stars, and then I think I’ll throw in an a cappella version of “Amazing Grace”. I’ll say that it’s in honor of some marginalized group, but really I’ll be spotlighting my vocal talent for any record execs that might be watching. I’m pretty sure that I won’t get cut off by the orchestra, because cutting off “Amazing Grace” – especially when it’s for disabled children – is in really bad taste. And just as I reach my haunting crescendo, the camera will cut to Jack Nicholson, and he’ll be crying. I mean, he’s Jack Nicholson, so he’ll be subtle, he won’t be bawling like a baby, but still, there he’ll be, Jack, a tear rolling slowly down his leathery cheek. It might have to be Clint Eastwood, I haven’t really decided. But then, you can’t really plan these things. You have to let the magic happen.