Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Step, Kick, Kick, Leap, Kick, Touch...AGAIN!
Okay, so I think the audition actually went pretty well yesterday. (There was no dance portion, I just wanted to throw in a little allusion to one of the most amazing but underrated Broadway musicals in existence.)
At 3:00 we all met in Mrs. Maestra's room to fill out forms and meet the full production team. This includes Maestra, HBMLDT, a fellow classmate of mine who is going to be assistant to the director, and a local professional opera singer ("Mercedes") who is going to be "co-director."
So HBMLDT told us all about how amazing the show is going to be and the design concept and how we were going to audition. Then, Mrs. Maestra taught the group one of the best ensemble songs from the show that repeats/reprises at least 5 times: Consider yourself. We sang through it a few times all together, and then divided into groups of five and sang the excerpt for Mercedes and HBMLDT. That was easy and fun.
Then, the lead auditions. The assistant director had us each sign a list to determine the order in which we would be going (most people were very eager to be the last on the list.) After that, my friends and I paced anxiously around the hallway outside HBMLDT's room, waiting for our names to be called. We went over our songs and monologues with each other, giving advice and encouraging words and wishes of broken legs.
My three closest friends were among the group of people auditioning. I couldn't help but be slightly amused/amazed by the audition material they had picked. "Troy" (my closest guy friend, who is amazingly talented and outgoing and with whom I have performed many times) was singing the song Falling Slowly," from the movie "Once" (that's one of our signature songs that we sing at local events in Downtown Small Town). He was doing a monologue from the play "Tribute" about a young boy recounting a slightly traumatizing event involving his father. Troy was very nervous at first, but he came out of his audition feeling pretty confident.
"Angela" (one of my two closest girl BFFs, so named for having a similar hair color to a character from "My So-Called Life") sang the song "Go the Distance" (which, if you were born in the 1990's in the United States, you should recognize from the Disney Cartoon "Hercules"). She also performed the hilarious monologue from "My Fair Lady" in which Eliza Dolittle explains her suspicions about whether her aunt truly did "die of influenza" or whether they "done the old woman in." Listening to Angela practice that monologue was possibly one of the funniest things I have ever witnessed. She was completely freaked out before the audition, and when she came out, her feeling about her performance was, and I quote: "I did really good with the song. You know, like I was all... dramatic and...acting with it and stuff? But I completely effed up the monologue."
My third BFF who was auditioning (KitKat) had some amazing audition material. She sang the song "It's All the Same" from the musical "Man of LaMancha" and she did a great monologue from "Gypsy" in the final confrontation between Louise and her mother. She felt better about the monologue than the song, but I personally believe that both were fabulous.
Then, it was my turn. I walked onto the stage in HBMLDT's room, and there he was, sitting in the make-shift audience with Mrs. Maestra (his classroom is one of the lecture halls, so there are elevated levels on which were some desks, tables and chairs, facing downward towards the stage.) I greeted them both enthusiastically, seeing as I see them both on a regular basis and I know them well. (Plus, if there is one thing I know about auditions, it is this: No matter how scared shitless you are, channel all of your terror into enthusiasm and expression and NEVER show your insecurity on stage.) I asked them if they wanted me to do the monologue or song first and they said I could pick. So, after a two second preparation pause, I launched into my song:
"My story is much too sad to be told
For practically everything leaves me totally cold.
The only exception I know is the case
When I'm out on a quiet spree, fighting vainly the old ennui
Then I suddenly turn and see
Your fabulous face."
I felt confident about how I sang. (Though I might have belted a couple of notes higher than my belting range would normally allow me to. But hey, adrenaline does marvelous things.)
Mrs. Maestra nodded encouragingly afterward, but said nothing, and HBMLDT just sat expressionless at the table, taking notes on my audition sheet, as usual. That's his style when holding auditions: Don't react or show emotion in any way, positive or negative. (Although on rare occasion, a monologue with some humor in it, when performed well, can get him to crack a smile, maybe even a short laugh.)
Then, since I got no further words or comments from either or them, I took another brief pause and then went into my monologue, from the play "The Midnight Caller":
"I'm sorry Ralph, I'm sorry. I guess I'm nervous tonight, like everybody else, because of my 'midnight caller.' I think I'd just better give up the ghost and move away. It would certainly make things easier for Harvey, to do whatever he has to do. And my mother, and his mother, and me. Harvey can't go, or wouldn't if he could. And what do I do? How can I stop a gentleman whose had too much to drink from coming to my yard at night and calling my name? Ask him? I have. beg him? I have... Oh it all began so long ago that I don't remember the beginning, and so how can I possibly know the end? And I don't know who to blame. My mother? For wanting to keep me and my sisters locked up with her forever? How can I blame her? We're all she had. My father died when we were just babies. we were literally all she had... Of course I don't regret anything about it. You understand? I don't regret it at all. He was lonely, and I was lonely. He needed me very much at the time and I needed him. Of all the people in the world that you would suspect of being lonely, Harvey Weems was the last. And yet, for all his good looks and hi money, he was the loneliest person alive."
During that, I actually did happen to see HBMLDT look up with interest a few times. Then, afterwards, the both said simple, vague things along the lines of "Nice" and "Thank You" and then I thanked them both and walked off stage and out of the room.
As soon as I was in the hallway, my friends crowded around me with questions and encouragements and hugs and congratulations. This was the custom for auditions. Not a single person in the group of auditioners was feeling jealous or vengeful or anything like that. Some people think that auditions are full of people who are hoping that others will screw up in order to create an advantage for themselves, but not us. Or, at least, if anyone did feel that way, they wouldn't show it. Not during auditions, when everyone is stressed and anxious enough already. Theater/music/drama kids are often stereotyped as being vicious and competitive and "diva-ish" but with us that is really not true. We are all very close friends and we just love singing and acting and we look at the musicals as an opportunity to do what we love with our closest friends.
However, once the cast list is up and rehearsals start, all bets are off.
So, now that the audition is over, now comes the hardest part: the waiting. We have to wait slightly longer than usual this year, since Mrs. Maestra and HBMLDT are going to the middle schools, so the cast list won't be up until next Monday or Tuesday, right before winter break. So we all have an entire week to sit anxiously and impatiently in the torturous agony of wanting to know who's in and who's out, who's in the chorus and who's a lead, who to congratulate and who to console, who is going to be ecstatic when they come back from the break and who is going to be miserable.
God, I love show business.