May 19, 2011
Let’s talk about failure.
I wish I was the kind of person who, when rejected, says, “I’ll show them!” and feels inspired to work harder, try harder, never give up!
I am not that kind of person. I am the kind of person, who, when rejected, tends to doubt my right to exist.
I didn’t get a callback from Phoenix Theatre, and no I am NOT going to check my email again because I KNOW it is going to be empty and that wound will open up in my gut again if I look. Plus they wouldn’t send out callback emails at 9 p.m. Would they?
No they would not.
I don’t know when being in a Phoenix Theatre show became my ultimate dream. But judging from my level of emotional crushed-ness, it has indeed become my ultimate dream. A dream squashed.
I admit, after realizing I didn’t get called back, my first reaction was, “That’s it. I’m done. I’m not good enough, and I’m not doing this anymore.”
Now, I’m not so sure I’m giving up (that’s so Mama Rose circa 1998), but I am still wondering if maybe I’m just not good enough. Honestly, I didn’t think the audition was that bad. I felt a little rushed, and it wasn’t spectacular – we didn’t have any kind of “moment” that I thought ensured they’d remember me…but they did comment on my dance experience, so I thought at least I’d make it to the general dance call back.
But no. So I mean…I must have REALLY sucked, right?
I must have…
I just wish they’d given me the chance to dance. I realize my voice isn’t going to sell out Carnegie Hall, and I am always learning as an actor. But I think my strengths lie in the total package – a dancer/singer/actor. I’m able to shine (or maybe not?) when I’m doing all three.
I just wish I could have danced.
I’m getting older. And I know I can’t get too old for theatre…there will always be wonderful parts no matter my age. But I can get too old to dance. And that’s what I feel slipping away.
Why did I waste all those years being so afraid? …Oh yeah, because of this exact feeling.
Help me feel better by telling me how you have coped with failure in your life.
May 13, 2011
My Phoenix Theatre audition is in just a few hours and I am definitely entering the nausea/fainting stage.
Luckily, I have the coolest daughter in the world. After Moo watched me sing my songs a few times, I had an idea. I had her sit up on the couch, I grabbed my headshot and resume, and walked into the room.
“Hello, Mrs. Director Lady!” I said.
She looked confused a second, and then her eyes flashed. “Oh hello, yes, you’re the next girl to audition,” she said, carefully studying my headshot as I handed it to her. “Yes, this is you,” she decided.
And so I went through my whole audition, four times, under the critical but loving eyes of my dear Moo.
I still want to crawl into a hole/faint/throw up….but not quite as much.
August 23, 2010
Tonight is the second round of auditions for “Bye Bye Birdie.” I received an email reminding me that if I’d been told I was still under consideration (yes, whew), I did NOT have to re-attend auditions.
Ooh, why didn’t I think of that? Show up and just start time-stepping through the hall, singing “Spanish Rose” at the top of my lungs. I could show up in costume, a la Sean Young stalking Tim Burton in a homemade Catwoman costume. I hear that worked out well for her.
No, no, I’ll just sit here quietly. But let’s all uses the Forces of Our Minds to try and ensure that only boys show up for the auditions tonight, and that my blond rival receives a call from a Big-Time Broadway Producer wanting to cast her in the revival of “How to Succeed” in New York.
Or, you know, he could call me. That would be okay, too.
August 16, 2010
I found out that DFT is holding another round of auditions for all roles in ”Bye Bye Birdie” – sigh. So I guess my rival and I weren’t necessarily two great options. Although I can’t blame them for trying to find a more Alvarezish actress, and I suppose it would be really difficult to cast the leading lady without having a clue about your leading man (no one was called back for the lead, Albert). Soooo I’ll just sit here patiently until the next round is over next Tuesday.
I’m still in the running. But my chances of getting the role seem less and less likely as more time goes by - I just become less and less familiar.
More waiting. Tick-tock, tick-tock.
August 11, 2010
I still haven’t heard about the audition. Which is, of course, TORTURE. The director told us we would hear “soon,” which could mean anysecondnow, or tomorrow, or Monday, or two weeks from now… I check my phone and email about every three minutes.
There are only two of us up for the role…unless they hold more auditions, but I think they had two pretty good options with the two of us. And here’s something different than all my past auditions… I think I deserve the role. This confident feeling is so strange and foreign. If I don’t get the role, I think I’ll feel a little pissed off, instead of diving into a black hole of self-doubt. And I would certainly prefer pissed off over depressed.
I mean, I would PREFER to get the role. But I have no idea if I will. Here’s the good news:
- Neither of us look remotely Alvarezish, so I guess that’s a nonissue.
- I was really well-prepared and had my lines and song memorized.
- I think my voice sounded nice – the songs sit very comfortably in my belting range, and I think I acted pretty well, too. The director had us sing a few times and do the scene a few times and gave us some direction to see, I suppose, if we could take direction and to see if we could make clear choices in our acting. I feel like I did.
- I think, of the two of us, I’m the better dancer.
- I looked pretty fierce thanks to a dress I borrowed from Rosalind.
The best news is that, although I freaked out a bit in the lobby when I realized that there are only two of us up for the role, and that the girl I am up against is someone who I know is very talented, respected, and experienced (ask Herbie about my string of eeeek! texts), I overcame my fear. When the director called us in, I went in that room to compete. And I didn’t hold back. That feels good.
Now for the bad news:
- See above re: talented, respected, and experienced rival actress. And she has a looong resume. I have two credits.
- We are completely different in look, style, and energy. I have no idea which type the director wants.
- She has a really gorgeous voice, and she acted well, too.
- The worst news: she knows the director. She starred in the director’s last production at DFT. So…yikes. Familiar actress versus someone totally new? Advantage: Not Me.
So I just sit and wait, I guess. Actually, I don’t sit and wait. I play pretend and wash bottles and make bottles and vacuum and encourage good potty habits and clean up after bad potty habits and tickle tiny toes and glug coffee and fold laundry…and wait.
August 8, 2010
Well, I had stomach cramps and a backache all day, and complained repeatedly to Herbie that I was really, very deeply and honestly concerned about my health, both mental and physical…but the actual audition part went down rather smoothly.
I think my favorite part was practicing with Moo while Herbie and Juice went to Costco. I planted myself in the family room and belted out my songs at 100% performance level. Moo stood there and looked up at me with her mouth open.
“Whaddaya think?” I asked her.
“Welllll…maybe try it again,” she replied.
So I did, and she rehearsed with me, suggesting some moves here and there, until finally when I asked her, “Whaddaya think?” she replied, “GOOD!”
With Moo’s approval, I drove to the audition with a little more confidence than in the past – the fact that I’ve worked with DFT before helped, I’m sure.
I thought I’d left plenty of time to get there, but as soon as I walked in I was told I was next. Whoops! Need to spend less time trying to convince Herbie I’m gravely ill, I guess. Then they called me in, I said hello and went over my music with the pianist and then took my place to sing, trying to look happy and bubbly and thinner than I am currently.
I’ve got to figure out how to set the tempo with the pianist, because that is usually the thing that trips me up a bit. And, as Herbie points out, since I always have that problem, and they are professional pianists, it’s proooobably my fault. Shall I tote along a metronome?
But the tempo-issue only flustered me a bit, and I belted out my notes and tried to be in the moment. So, so hard to just be in the moment at an audition. But I finished, and I smiled, and they said, “thank you,” and I said, “thank you, thank you, and thank YOU, and oh thank YOU!” and scuttled out the door.
Then we learned a dance to the song, “Kids,” and I felt very relaxed since the choreography was simple and I figured we’d have plenty of time to practice. But after only going over it twice with the music, they called us in to dance for the director. Eep! I had to give my head a good sharp shake and call my sleepy brain into action, which must have worked – I think I can say I did well on the dance.
Afterwards, the director told us to just wait a few minutes in the hall to see if they’d like to have any of us back for callbacks Monday night. So we sat a couple minutes and smiled nervously at each other, and then the stage manager appeared with a few pieces of paper, walked over, and handed them to me.
Looks like I’ll be auditioning for the female lead on Monday night!
So now I have a song to learn and lines to memorize – perhaps I’ll enlist Moo’s help again. She just may be my good luck charm.
August 7, 2010
So…I have an audition tomorrow!
Here’s the thing – I love Juice, and I love Moo, and I love being a mother. But I got a taste of filling myself up instead of just letting my children fill me up, and I really want some more. This time around, there’s nothing novel about changing diapers all day long. I want to be a mother and more. I want to stretch. I want to be scared of hitting the wrong note instead of scared about the weird bump on the back of his head (checked it out today – nothing to worry about).
So a few days ago, I read that Desert Foothills Theater is holding auditions for Bye Bye Birdie. OOH. I am sucker for the classics. And the thought crept into my head…what if I tried out? What if I asked our parents for some help in the evenings? It’s not…an impossible idea, right? I tried to shoo away the idea. I mean, I have a new baby – the thought of being away from him in the evenings for 10 weeks should wrench my heart, right? But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I mentioned it to Herbie. And then I asked our parents. And now I have an audition tomorrow.
I really do have such a lovely family.
I have an audition tomorrow! And since I spent most of the week wondering whether I should or shouldn’t try out, I didn’t actually spend any time working on, you know, singing n’ stuff. And I have absolutely nothing flattering to wear.
I would be really stressed out, if I weren’t so damn tired.
May 26, 2010
And amazingly, I was NOT the only pregnant lady they’d seen this weekend – in fact, I was the third!
So much for originality.
I arrived a leetle bit late, because that is what I do, signed in and found a spot next to my friend Sonia and another theatre acquaintance, Alaina. As we chatted nervously, talking but not really listening because OH GOD we have to audition soon, I remembered again how one of the best things about finally putting myself out there is the friends I’ve made. I am very lucky to have the support system I do, and I thank all of you.
As my turn got closer, I went over and over my monologue, reminded myself to breathe, and closed my eyes and tried to envision myself having a great audition. Then I was on deck, and I stood next to the staircase (how cruel to make an already out-of-breath pregnant lady have to climb a flight of stairs right before singing!) tugging on my leggings and trying to remain calm. Then the girl before me opened the door and headed down the stairs. My turn. I climbed the stairs, thinking about Herbie’s text: “KICK ASS!” and my own goal – Go Big. My own personal goal was to not leave this audition feeling like I’d held back. I mean, I’m already physically big, I might as well perform big, too.
So I opened the door and chirped hello, expecting them to say, “whoooa, you’re pregnant!” But it was no shock for them - instead, I was the one saying, “I’m the third one??” We chatted for a second and hopefully I came across as cheerful and relaxed….either that or I was jabbery and loud. I don’t know.
Moments later, I was singing my first song. I got a little off on the music, and will think again before using that song as an audition piece – it must be difficult for pianists to interpret, because every time I’ve heard it played it sounds different. So that may have been a strike against me. But I think my voice sounded fine, and the second song was fine as well. I tried to go big – bigger than I have at any other audition, certainly - I tried to imagine a big audience in front of me and just let go (a little lesson from Lost…but without the heavenly light).
Then I pulled over a chair and performed my monologue, and it went…fine as well. Pretty much exactly how it went every time I practiced it – so that’s…good, right? I guess so. They were very friendly and tittered appropriately a couple times during my audition, and then it was over.
“So, obviously you can’t dance on Thursday,” said the man in charge.
“Well, I could try!” I said.
They laughed at me.
So I told them that I had been in contact with my dance teacher from their summer dance program last year, and that she had said I could drop her name as a reference.
“So if it comes to it,” I said, “she knows what I can do…”
They nodded…and circled something on my audition form. OH I wish I wasn’t so stubborn and wore my contacts!
And then I was done – I waited for Sonia to finish after me, and then we all giggled out the door and thanked God it was over.
I felt good! I still feel good. It feels great to have another audition under my belt, to know that with each terrifying trip in front of that damn table where they scribble their opinions of me, I gain experience and get a little better. It feels great to challenge myself, do something scary and not fall apart. Whatever the outcome, I feel a little more whole than I did a few days ago.
Granted, as I looked over my resume once more before auditioning, I noticed another strike against me – there are only two damn credits on it.
But I’m working on improving that, even at eight months pregnant.
And now, I wait…probably for a long time. The show I’m really interested in won’t hold callbacks until January (I’m guessing), so I won’t hear anything until then, or I just won’t hear anything at all.
So for now, I guess I’ll just work on this having-a-baby thing.
And Theaterworks will hold “Chicago” auditions in the spring…
May 21, 2010
Just when I was feeling better about my impending audition (thanks to some quality rehearsal time and all your support/threats), I got an email from Phoenix Theatre. Reminder about the audition protocol, what to bring, blah blah, and also information about the dance call. So – I knew there wasn’t going to be dancing at this audition, and I assumed correctly that dance auditions will be on a callback basis only, but I did NOT realize that the dance callback will take place on May 27.
So if (IF) I got a callback, I’d have to dance…next Thursday??
I thought they’d be closer to the actual production dates – like, next fall or next spring. Not…next Thursday??!
I think my chances just plummeted. I don’t know how they could look at me and say, ah yes, let’s bring this lady-about-t0-have-a-baby back in a couple days and check out her grand-jetes. First of all, I’m sure they’d be terrified my water would break after the first pirouette. Secondly, I would look completely ridiculous, not to mention I just can’t do what I normally can. I mean, can you imagine? All those dancers in their hot pants and heels, flitting about lightly, and then there’s me, with a 25-pound beach ball strapped on my body, bounding along like a gimpy toad and gasping for breath.
May 17, 2010
I had a dream that I went to my Phoenix Theatre audition (next Sunday), and there were about 10 pregnant women there, including Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga. I have no idea why my subconscious is interested in Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga. But in my dream, I instantly knew that with 10 pregnant ladies present, any orginality or excuses I had about my performance were out the window – plus – Oscar nominee. Crap.
Then it turned out that we weren’t actually going to be performing for our auditions – instead, it was a written test. So we had to write down, from memory, the lyrics to both songs and the text of the monologue. Unfortunately I hadn’t memorized my monologue, and also I had to go to the bathroom. When I got back, they announced that anyone who hadn’t finished was eliminated. I begged to be given another chance (after all, I’m pregnant! I can’t help it if I have to go to the bathroom all the time!) – but the lady in charge pointed at all the other pregnant ladies, and then pointed at the door.
Vera Farmiga got to stay.
I know why I had this dream – because I haven’t been preparing like I should, and because Rosalind gave me a long lecture on Saturday about how I would regret backing out, should prepare as best as I can this week, and basically just stop whining and get some balls. She even threatened to show up next Sunday and drive me there herself. So after the lecture and the dream, I took advantage of some time alone to pick up my monologue and start memorizing.
Then I practiced my songs, and I made a startling discovery. I can’t sing! I have no idea where my diaphragm is – you know, that handy muscle used for breathing – but it’s not where it used to be, and I suspect that a tiny pair of knees is currently embedded in it. So I have to gasp for breath between each rasped note, and I just cannot sustain a note for the life of me. I am going to look like a gasping blowfish washed up on the beach (and wearing sensible heels).
…Maybe they’ll find me amusing?