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The Actor

by Horton Foote
taken from 'International Connections -
New Plays for Young People'

Published by Faber and Faber

(Extract taken from "LAMDA Acting Anthology, Volume 1", Published by Oberon).

HORACE lives to perform in school plays and decides that he wants to be an actor when he leaves school. This is not as easy as if sounds for a teenage boy living in 1930s Texas. HORACE is sure that his parents won't understand and is too scared to tell them of his hopes and dreams. Instead, he reveals his inner thoughts to the audience.

HORACE: Everybody's applying for college that can afford to go. Next time someone asks me about college I think I'll just come right out and say I'm not going to college ever. Not ever. I'm going to be an actor. Yeah. I bet you will. I can't even tell my mother and father. I'm almost scared to, because how my daddy blew up at the store when Dude Arthur told him I wanted to be an actor. I tried last night to tell them. We were sitting together on the porch and there was no moon and it was pitch-dark. I could see lightning bugs everywhere and I thought, I'll tell them now because it's dark and I don't have to look at their faces when I tell them, but dark or not, I couldn't get the words out. My daddy was going on about the Depression and how hard a time he was having and how bad he felt that he couldn't send me to college this year, and I was saying to myself the whole time, I don't want to go to college, so don't worry about it, but dark or not, I just couldn't get the words out. Mama said, 'Are you feeling alright, son? You seem so quiet.' 'Yes, rna'am,' I said, 'I feel fine.' And my daddy started on about college again and he kept saying over and over he's going to work extra hard at the store in the fall when the crops come in, and he knows Roosevelt is going to work a miracle and lick the Depression and we'll all have money again like in 1918 and he'll be able to send me to college next fall .'Yes, sir' I said. 'I appreciate your concern,' Then he said, 'Well, I'm going to bed. I have to work tomorrow. You better get to bed too, son. You have school tomorrow,' 'Yes, sir,' I said and Mama said, 'Kiss me goodnight, son,' and I did and went to my room.

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