In the bustling world of theater, the Original Poster (OP) lands a significant role in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” only to grapple with internalized imposter syndrome amidst unexpected backlash from fellow cast members. As he navigates the delicate balance of seeking validation and confronting stinging prejudices in a new city, a stolen script unveils deeper tensions and secrets among the troupe.
A Dream Role in Paris
OP lands the role of Captain Phoebus in the musical “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” He especially wants to showcase a breakout performance when he sings “Place of Miracles,” so he spends half his wages on weekly singing lessons to prepare for it.
Filled with enthusiasm and passion, OP prepares for rehearsals, hoping this role will bring new opportunities and friendships in a new city. He feels as though his career is finally starting to take off.
Throughout his life, OP finds himself consistently cast in significant roles within theater productions. His talent, or perhaps luck, has always placed him in the spotlight, even when surrounded by a diverse cast.
The Minority in Theater
OP begins to recognize a distinct pattern. He and another actor are the only straight white males among the cast. Everyone else identifies as gay or is a woman, making him feel like an outcast in this community.
While sharing a meal with his fellow cast members, OP, feeling vulnerable, confesses his imposter syndrome, hoping for some empathy or reassurance from his peers. However, the cast’s reaction is far from what OP expected.
A Dramatic Reaction
One of the actors at the table openly mocks him, pretending to cry about being a privileged, attractive, straight white male with daddy’s money and mommy’s love. The actor dabs at his eyes while he describes an ideal childhood and expensive acting lessons leading to fame and success as an adult.
A Silent Departure
Instead of comfort, they reinforce his doubts, suggesting he perhaps doesn’t deserve the significant roles he’s often given. Overwhelmed by emotions and feeling cornered, OP decides to leave the dinner.
Majority to Minority
Not wanting to draw attention, he excuses himself, mentioning tiredness, and quietly makes his way out. He doesn’t want to whine about his white maleness, which is usually a strength in every other setting he encounters.
Yearning for Acceptance
OP wishes he had a supportive group of friends that would build him up instead of tearing him down. It’s one of the reasons he is so drawn to the theater because it is so full of vibrant personalities he thought he would blend in with.
Echoes from the Past
This isn’t the first time OP has felt isolated or ridiculed. Memories from a previous theater show resurface, where he was made fun of for being a straight white male. No matter where you go, you can always be ostracized for not fitting in.
Disregard for Stereotypes
OP doesn’t tie himself to stereotypes. He likes to express himself boldly through singing and acting and enjoys other hobbies and passions that aren’t typical for straight white males. He openly accepts everybody and hopes they do the same.
Struggling to Play the Part
The criticism starts to impact OP’s performance. He’s supposed to portray a confident soldier, but self-doubt and anxiety are becoming barriers. Typically a high-achieving individual, OP now questions his intellect, skills, and accomplishments.
City of Loneliness
Being new to the city and seeking companionship, the theater was OP’s sanctuary, a place to connect. Many view OP as confident and extroverted, but deep down, he’s battling anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
Was The Man’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posts his story online, not knowing if the public will view him the way his fellow actors did or show him some sympathy. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “Not sure why the other actors are bringing sexuality into this, but it sounds like a couple of other people wanted to be a lead and used some mental gymnastics to find a way to pretend that they were being discriminated against.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “Whoever oversaw casting saw something in you. I doubt this person had a checklist of ‘straight,’ ‘white,’ and ‘male’ and ignored everything else, such as your acting ability while making their decision.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “These people are not your friends. They are jealous and kicked you when you were down. Hold your head high and get back at it. Don’t let anyone bring you down. Follow your dream.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “This is strange to me because theater circles are almost exclusively the most accepting groups in existence. In this case, it seems the more catty of the group have taken control somehow?”
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on their actions?
What would you have done in this situation?
This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.