Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Audition

The last time I auditioned for something, it was the title role in "Go ask Alice," as staged by the Crimson and Gold Troupe of PHS.  I did not get the part. 

Being unemployed puts you in an audition mode -- it's like dating, only the other party doesn't actually have to be nice to you.  As if this week wasn't full of that already, I took the extra leap of responding to an open casting call for an audio book company I will not name or link to, in case that should become a dealbreaker.  They will recognize themselves soon enough.  And if they are reading my blog and not offering me work, well then....

If you trust film and television to inform you about the world, as I do, you have certain expectations about what a professional audition will feel like.  I am prepared to disabuse you of that expectation.  Instead, it will go like this:

You will drive an hour South for your 15 minute slot, which is 2:30 or so, but you leave early because you are not really sure where you are going and you have no map of Pawtucket (because...why would you?).  You will reschedule your outplacement consultant call in order to get to the library to print your sides (you will call them "sides" in your head and roll your eyes at yourself) because you never did buy a printer.  You will not eat anything, but you will indulge yourself a coffee for the drive and pack an apple for later.

You will get lost in downtown Pawtucket, where Main street does not run in a straight line, and at one point is actually perpendicular to itself.  In desparation, you'll follow a blue parking sign until you find an empty 2-hour/no meter spot on Main St, and determine to walk it out from there.  It is 1 o'clock.  Check your notes and confirm that your audition is actually 1:30.  Somewhere...near here.

X is where you parked; A is where you are going, only you don't know that yet.  You will notice, as you get out of the car, that not one building on the street where you have parked is occupied.  Not one.  Seems downtown Pawtucket has taken the fast train to Suburbia.  But...In for a penny, in for a pound.  So you follow your nose.  (read again "Why I hike."  To train for this)

You will find the address, but not easily, and it will be a bicycle shop with a sign taped to the door that says "Auditions and parking around back."  No matter.  Car is parked, and may still have tires when you return.  You will press on and take 2 tries at finding "around back."  You will notice that Pawtucket is a ghost town at 1 in the afternoon of a workday, and this will strike you as odd, but there will not be time to consider it until later that night when you write on your blog about it.

Around back, you'll follow the hand-written signs to a back door that opens to a fully equipped professional recording studio to the left, a breakroom from a hospital show set to the right, and a gray and sort of creepy hallway in front of you. 

Your brain will sing uncontrollably to the Chorus Line tune, "Down a sort of creepy hallway/to your death like a stolen soul/down a gray and  creepy hallway/ It wasn't paradise, it wasn't paradise..."  Someone calls your name.  You change the tense in the blog you are already writing in your head, but decide to stay with the 2nd person narrative, because you may not live to tell this story.

The Engineer wears long sideburns, and longer pants.  Skinny black jeans that stretch like leg warmers over his black converse.  Behind him stands a blue blazer with a beard. 

"Tre jolie, Coco," you think.  Another woman is walking out, and if there is an etiquette between auditioners, you do not know it.  You ask for the restroom instead.

Down the creepy hallway are doors marked "Boys" and "Girls," and inside the walls are painted with slate and covered in chalk graffiti.  There is no extra chalk, but then you wouldn't want to touch it anyway. 

Waiting in the breakroom, you can hear a man's audition, and his conversation with the director.  You decide to say whatever he says.  From here things happen very quickly.  This posting has taken longer to read than the audition pages.

Into the little room - mike screen, nice, because you have plosive lips and there is nothing you can do about them.  Slate your name.  Marvel that you have never been asked to slate anything before.  Wonder about people who do this every day.

On the second of your 2 pages, the Engineer will say "Thanks.  We got it," which is the first thing that seems to match what you have seen on TV.  They invite you out and thank you very much.  They will call you. 

Maybe they will.  Maybe they won't.  Maybe they will loop your two pages over porn.  Who's to say?  You are now in their stable, and if/when work is available, they will call you.  This experience suddenly feels identical to the one you had at the Career Office the day before.  Today, like yesterday, you will think you could have gone to a matinee instead.

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