Sometimes I am terribly impulsive. That's how I ended up with a black leather motorcycle jacket that I think I've worn maybe 3 times. Last week I was poking around on line, reading a few blogs, checking out some recipes, and researching some theater. In the midst of this, I got a wild hair and scheduled myself an audition for a new play. Now, it has been approximately 4 years since I have set foot near a theater as anything other than a patron. I have felt both too rusty to audition, and scared that my weight would turn directors off. Have I been working on audition pieces? No. Did I have a current resume? No. So, I was a foolish woman, basically. But I wanted to do an exercise in getting rid of the fear. You never know unless you try, yes? So no more namby-pamby being scared crap. After I did it, I ran into the bedroom and told Mr. Black, and he said good! What's it for? I spent the week kind of being freaked out about it - and besides Mr. Black, discussed with no one. I wanted to keep it a secret in case I failed miserably, of course. Mr. Black let it slip when we had dinner with some friends on Thursday, and he pointed out that I needed support and people in my corner. Good point, Mr. Black. I got great advice from my friend who works at a theater. Remember that the director wants you to be good - they aren't there to judge you and make you feel inadequate. I kept that in my heart this week.
So Saturday I went out there and just did it. I had classic nerves - heart racing and dry mouth. This is not effective when you are planning to talk for 2 minutes. It was scary and thrilling and kind of fun all at once. I got through my pieces, and was complimented on ending at 1 minute, 58 seconds, as they were going to literally cut people off at 2 minutes. I felt like, okay, you did it, you didn't bomb, you didn't get cut off, you didn't go blank and just stare into space, you got through it. Good girl! Then they asked about the singing roles I've had. "You sing a bit, then?" Hm. My usual approach to singing is to try and look cute so that no one can hear how weak my voice is. Instead of telling the director and her crew that, I told them that I don't read music very well. (read: at all) and so when I have a song to learn, I have to schedule extra time with the musical director. I patted myself on the back for being honest, and prepared to go home. They asked me to sing. Dear god. I didn't have a song prepared - audition 101 - always have a song prepared if you're auditioning for a show with music in it. After looking at my panicked face they kindly suggested my soulful rendition of Happy Birthday. Fabulous. So I sang. Loudly, clearly, and tried to not have my annoying nervous vibrato come through.
I felt being asked to sing could be both encouraging (we like you so far - let's hear what you can do) and a killer (oh - that's what you can do, eh?). But whether they called me back or not, I walked out of there feeling like I didn't embarrass myself, I did as well as I wanted to. I faced my fear, flexed the old muscles that have been dormant for so long, and felt confident that if this was something I wanted to really work at again, I could. I always have an easier time dealing with rejection if I feel as though I did the best I could. And this wasn't about getting into the show, it was about challenging myself. Although I'd be lying if I didn't have some fantasy thoughts about being called back. Also, I noticed how much heavier my face looks in my old head shot. My face has really thinned out and I was tempted to say - hey, I'm 66 pounds lighter than that picture shows - really!
Today I DID get called back to read from the script. I am thrilled and proud of myself, and excited. Tuesday evening, I'll be hanging out with actors, fighting dry mouth and feeling nervous all over again, and I can't wait. The show has 40 characters, and they are looking for each actor to play between 5 and 10 roles apiece. Fun! Hooray for a risk that paid off.