the ingenue is a freakout

starlets can’t help sparkling even if they’re singing songs about cockroaches, even if their celebrity will one day be cockroach-like, even if they weren’t constitutionally designed for it like even if they had to soupsalt fast & pass out to pass into technicolor.


sometimes it’s impossible to watch the girl go glamorous when it’s clear she prefers rehearsal props & the magic if of the method kiss when she knows the light better when it’s off & doesn’t have to practice the simple steps anymore her body just knows how to do it like an eyeroll in feathers & studio capsules sink in into the stomach lining like a harmony.


all ingenues are starlets but all starlets are not ingenues & this is a cause of great anguish & confusion for the young sequin in the side dressing room crying over her sidekick costume but it’s nice when you can just sing a song without having to try very hard because it’s the story of your life & it’s in your key & someone’s given you a microphone & a stage so why not says the starlet in question : this is the ultimate issue : one day you’ll get to sing the last song but for noe you can have the mid-act pause.


can you spot the ingenue in this picture?


the ingenue doesn’t know how to freak out because the ingenue thinks every spotlight is friendly & she’ll just stand there all eyes & emoticon-faced, fixed at the stop of the staff. if barbra streisand told her to kill herself she’d probably just smile & retreat to her powder room to pout at the impertinence of egyptian-style eyeliner in this day&age.


the modern ingenue:


the main difference is that the ingenue doesn’t know how to shout although she is especially adept at shrieking but if there was an arrow bearing down on her right shoulder & all of the fury of a woman scorned is welling up inside of her because she is not the kind of girl who gets to sing the descant in the romantic duet she would just crack.


the thing about ingenues is : you can be kicked in the head by a horse & slapped by your mother & left alone downstage in the spotlight & still see the sun shine on the styrofoam antiquities & sing about it princess-style even if you’ve fucked the stepson & cockteased the husband even if you’ve doublebooked every dance you’re still gonna land the leading man.


the ingenue’s freakout is a streetwaif at an armed robbery the kind of skinny that comes from being too sweet for general consumption the starlet is a little lean mean thing but she’ll scrap where the deer will just stand there & wait for a pair of arms to appear in time for the keychange which is to say the freakout cannot be posessed by the ingenue because she is the antifreakout which is to say she is meringue.


the thing is, with that equisitely expressive brow, she’ll have wrinkles before she’s thirty. the ingenue’s beauty is designed for youth. divine contentment! who could be sad with a megacheek like that! surely there are lips enough to brush it blushless,


even at the apex of her petulance

even when she just wants to kiss the noble boy

even when pappa’s a prude & the score’s a bore

even when the single tear is in relation not to heartache but a missed light cue


this is the great dilemma of the ingenue –

at the end of the big song there is a transaction & she knows it

(this may be, in fact, the only point in the play at which she knows anything).





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