out of the comfort zone, into the fire

Today I auditioned.  As an actor.  First time in years.

Yes, I’m the maven who dispenses audition advice – good, useful advice.

Guess what!

Terror coursed through every cell, every molecule in my body.  I breathed low, which relaxes your throat (and gives you something to think about) – didn’t do the whole yoga in-through-the-nose, out-through-the-mouth part because, hey!  it was an audition!  I needed some energy!

The good news is, I didn’t die.

Either physically or metaphorically.

I also didn’t wow ’em, although they gave me lovely attention, laughed and gasped in the right places.

Here’s what I did wrong.

They were really welcoming, and although I said hello, I also got right down to business.  I’m thinking (Mother called it ’20-20 hindsight’) that if I’d smiled and flirted a bit – not sexually, the kind of flirting that says hi, hello – I’d have garnered an introduction to the director I didn’t know, the one directing the play that I came out of my comfort zone to try to score?  But no.

Quick digression, “but no” always makes me think of Danny Kaye singing Sylvia Fine’s The Lobby Number, which is peppered with “but no”s and so funny, so well-crafted that I still laugh after listening to that recording for something like 55 years.

Back to the audition.

I said a quick hello, introduced myself to the director I didn’t know, announced my monologue, and said I’d sing a little if there was time.

Not quite a digression: the stage manager was very very verbal that once we began our work, we had exactly two minutes, and if we were running over, she’d hold up a red card to tell us to wind it up.

I was doing such a short monologue that I thought, no worries, so when the red card was raised, I stayed with my work (no, it wasn’t a *bad* audition), finished, didn’t take my ‘moment after,’ and said, “Oh, well, no song!”

Mistakes #2 and #3.

The stage manager was out of the range of the directors’ vision (on purpose, I’m sure, these are very savvy folks).  I didn’t want to violate the rules of the audition but ! I could have finished the moment.  I could have asked if they’d like a bit of the song.

Which I didn’t.

What I did was, flash a smile, thank them (at least I remembered that much of my manners), and leave.

Without a callback.

Without singing.

Without showing the director I didn’t know, who I am.

I’m fun!  I’m easy to talk with, a hard worker, interested and interesting over a beer at the bar after rehearsal, exactly the kind of person any director would love to work with.

Which the person who doesn’t know me still doesn’t know.

Please, please learn from my mistakes.

And remind me, if I ever tell you I’m auditioning again.

One final word, from my dear, smart friend Candace:

Don’t look back — it’s not the direction you are going.

Avanti!  Allons-y!  Onward.

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