Last weekend I went to my first audition in nine years.
I don’t know how that much time got away from me between shows. I have always loved performing in live theatre, but life can get in the way of art.
In other words, when you have five children it can make it difficult to pursue any type of … Well, it can be difficult to DO anything else at all.
Also since my husband has been active duty in the military we have to move around quite a bit, which makes things tough as well. But when I saw that a local theater was holding auditions for the musical, “Showboat,” I decided to try out.
It was when I was getting together a resume to bring to the audition that I realized it had been nine years since I was last in a show. (It was, “Best Little Whorehouse on Texas” by the way. Don’t judge.)
When I arrived at the theatre there was quite a crowd.There was an older lady holding court who claimed to have been in the VERY FIRST production at that theatre, in the 60’s with Bette Midler! “She was kicked out if the company,” the woman confided. “She wouldn’t stop stealing focus! The director warned her, but…” She trailed off ominously.
Well, that puts Bette in HER place, doesn’t it?
“Auditions are like root canals,” the lady said, patting the hand of a nervous younger woman, while playing to the larger audience of everyone else waiting in the room. “They’re always awful. You just have to get through them.”
Everyone nodded sagely in agreement, glancing apprehensively at the door we would all soon be called through,when our turn arrived to be viewed by the director.
I tried to remember all my audition “Do’s and Don’ts.”
When my turn finally came I proceeded quickly (One wants to appear prompt! check.) into a room that had been set up American-Idol style with three people behind a table and a masking-tape mark on the floor for me to stand on. I smiled accommodatingly and tried to agree to everything everyone said.
“Whatever tempo you want,” I told the accompanist. (One doesn’t want to appear to be a complaining diva! check.) I sang my song and then agreed cheerfully to a cold reading.
I’m usually pretty good at cold readings (reading aloud from a script you’ve never seen before) but there was a twist.
“How are you at accents?” asked the director. “Can you do Irish?”
“Sure!” I lied with alacrity, trying frantically to remember what an Irish accent even sounded like. The only thing I could think of was the elf from the Lucky Charms cereal commercial. I read the piece while mentally repeating , “Always after me lucky charms,” to myself.
He asked me to read it again more slowly , and do I tried to do so. (One wants to appear eager to take direction! check.)
Then I was dismissed, with a “We’ll call you.”
If this were a fiction story I was writing, they would have called me and offered me a star part. Unfortunately, this was reality. They did not call. I did not get a part, star or otherwise.
But still, I got through it, root-canal style. And I remembered that “Whorehouse” had not actually been my last audition. It had only been my last show. After that I’d tried out for “Gypsy.”
And I hadn’t gotten called back. So you win some and you lose some, right?
And I probably need to brush up on my accents…