Nightmares Part I

One of the things I both dread and heartily dislike, is when theatres call you up on the day and ask if you can audition for them.

For one thing, everyone in PDX knows that every actor who lives here has a day job, or is looking for one. Furthermore, I personally have no idea how rational, grown-up people can think that other supposedly rational, grown-up people have absolutely nothing scheduled on a day-to-day basis. The brazen assumption that I might have a completely and utterly open day on my hands absolutely eludes me.

Secretly, I dread those few days, in my Book of Days, that occasionally are wide open and unoccupied. They are fewer and fewer, but they do come silently and swiftly by, upon which instances I am beset with creeping fears about my usefulness in a serious world, or the key appointment that I somehow completely forgot to annotate.

Today I got a call from a venerable theatre in town, putting up a production that I am very much hopeful to be cast in (I don't want to jinx my chances by naming things just yet, that's the kind of luck I've been having today). And of course I dutifully juggled and shuffled some important and weighty things around, and I made the time to audition, which is what actors do.

On my list of things to do when I run the zoo, is to absolutely do away with such ad hoc audition arrangements, that only demonstrate how dissheveled and agitated people can be, especially when the stakes are high and at only a moment's notice. My audition was contemptibly overcharged and undercooked, suffering from my nervous agitation that only blew the lid off of all my bad habits all at once. The big mucky-mucks at the venerable theatre were inflicted with an overanimated, brash and slapdash rendition of tired old standby monologues that I've been overworking for far too long, now, plus a brazen attempt at a Parchman Prison Song that was perhaps the highlight of the effort, being novel and strange to their otherwise jaded ears. My tired standard audition pieces are John Donne's XIVth Holy Sonnet (it is something of a faux pas to perform such a thing for an audition), and an excerpt from the prologue to Wallenstein by Friedrich von Schiller, and then the Parchman Song. Taken all together, it was a flaming debacle, which, in any event, is still better than a limp anticlimax.

I should be hearing shortly whether or not I've made the cast. I haven't felt this nervous since last year's Othello. I'm hoping that that's a good sign.



No comments: