I continue from the last Two Thumbs Up post. I need this reminder this week.
I got to the audition 40 minutes early. That’s typical for me. I don’t think I’ve been late for anything in my life, one time about three-and-a-half years ago. We all know what that lead to.
Being early allows me lay of the land, a chance to scope out the scene like a lioness on the Serengeti. The prey this time? A part.
Never have I wanted a part as badly as I wanted this one. The irony? When auditioning for a writing show like this, you don’t know what “part” you’re auditioning for. You just hope to make the six person ensemble (typically three men, three women).
I noticed two things right off the bat as other hopefuls filtered into the waiting area. First, they were all at least ten years younger than my then 36 years. Second, they were all visibly nervous and trying not to look nervous. This comes across as chattiness, over-friendly attempts at bonding/scoping other people out. Almost manic energy.
From the mists of my own psyche, through some eerie connection to that collective consciousness, I found calm. I knew that my age and my calm (calm, grit, determination, competitiveness, whatever) were going to serve me well.
The other advantage to arriving early was getting my sides (scripts that will be read in the audition) early. The script was for an old sketch from the Mainstage show years ago. At the top, almost casually, certainly without celebrity, was written “Fey and Dratch.”
A quick scan of the script showed that this was the precursor of the Bostonian character Rachel Dratch played on SNL (Denise.) To establish location (the sketch was set at a mall in Boston), the characters were talking about The Yarn Barn and Pat Benatar and a whole host of other words that would let that Boston accent come screaming out. The sketch was between a mother and daughter. THe mother had all the best lines, but the daughter was “cooler” and being very typically a teenager, having alternating moments of rebellion and attachment to her mother. The mother character was down on her daughter, subtly, and trying very hard to appear hip and with it in her middle age.
(This is also where my English background came into play. I can root out subtext like a mofo.)
I hoped I would play the mother.
We were called in a group of about 15. We lined up like second graders behind the runner. Everyone was giggling nervously and making new BFFs while dropping oh-so-casually what level of Conservatory they were in and how many classes at iO and The Annoyance they were in or had already taken.
I was not in Conservatory. I was in Level 2 of intro. I hadn’t taken classes and iO nor the Annoyance.
But I was calm.