DEAR ABBY: We have a niece who spent 12 years in Hollywood trying to become an actress. The only job she ever managed to land was a TV commercial that showed only her hands. After spending tens of thousands of dollars and having five different agents, she finally gave up and moved back to Kansas.
She has now written a play in which she is the producer, director and sole actor. She has rented a venue and now expects all her friends and family to pay $50 each to come and watch her perform. We feel this is nothing more than a hobby of hers and question the level of talent and entertainment that will be presented. We rarely attend even the best of Broadway plays, but now feel obligated to go to keep peace in the family. How can we get out of this without causing resentment? -- NOT A FAN IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR NOT A FAN: Shame on you. This production (for better or for worse) is the culmination of 12 years of effort on your niece's part -- not to mention her heart's desire. If you care at all about her, spend the 50 bucks and invest an hour or so of your time in her production. Her level of talent may surprise you. But if it doesn't, at least you will know you did the right thing for the sake of the family.