How to improve your life without sounding slightly like a mediocre pop song.
I have always been a "risk taker." Of sorts. I am not one to jump off of a perfectly good bridge but I am risky nonetheless. I have always done impulsively things that most people wring their hands over and budget and try to talk themselves in and out of. Not this gal. If there is something I really want to do, I have to just do it. If I do the whole "thinking it through" thing – NOTHING happens. I freeze. I give myself 8000 reasons why it won't work and I stop moving.
Because of this I have had some wonderful opportunities and I have also spent a great deal of time dusting myself off again.
Sometimes though, things are such a big deal (at least to me) that I actually psych myself out so much that I talk myself out of it as it is going on. Yesterday had the potential to be one of those days.
Yesterday was the Intiman Theatre mid-year Equity General Auditions.
Those of you who know me probably know two things about me:
- I am not Equity. . .yet.
- The Intiman is my dream theatre, my Mecca, my Holy Grail, my perfect pancake, my . . . (well, you get the idea)
I had not yet auditioned at Intiman because those two factors kept me at a standstill. I was terrified. I wasn't "ready." I was not "good enough yet." I was thinking it through and over-thinking it to the point of getting nervous just walking past the building. I am way too hard on myself and so I wanted conditions to be absolutely PERFECT before I even considered auditioning for them
So . . . of course . . . I hadn't yet. Lived in the area for FOUR YEARS and still hadn't.
Well, enough was enough. I had a day off of rehearsal (luckily) on the day of Generals so I was going to go – Damn it!
I jumped through 700 hoops to make arrangements for the care of the kidlets (since I would potentially sit there for 5 hours and never get seen), I prettied myself up enough to look like I was making an attempt without trying too hard, I bought myself a sandwich (because of the aforementioned potential 5 hour wait) and I went to where the auditions were being held.
Things started to go south almost immediately. Even though I had NEVER heard of such a thing, it turns out that the Intiman allowed non-Equity actors to get put on a waiting list so before we even started (and in spite of the fact that I was the third one there) I was already 14th DOWN on the waiting list.
Now (before we dive too deep) the way the waitlist works is if an Equity actor who signed up for a slot doesn't show up, one of the waitlisters gets to be seen in his/her slot. Sounds ludicrous, right? Why would they NOT show? You would be amazed at how often actors don't show up (and YES, directors do remember those people who are consistent no-show-ers).
So now I had to hope for FOURTEEN irresponsible actors . . . or a miracle. Damn.
Nope. I already have the kidlets taken care of and I don't need to be anywhere else. I am staying.
Then about 30 minutes after arriving, I decided to eat my sandwich. NONE of the waitlisters had been called in yet so it felt pretty safe to eat something and try to relax. So, of course, the sandwich I bought (a gyro) was NOT "easy on the sauce" like I had requested and I looked down to discover about a full ounce or two of gyro sauce had found its way on my black shirt and WHITE pants! I grabbed my things and RAN down the hall to the restroom to try to assess the damage. The shirt was not savable (neither was my sweater, I discovered). That left me with just the blue tank top that I had worn UNDER my black shirt. . Thank god. The pants were . . . okay. The sauce was white and after about 10 paper towels worth of soapy spot cleaning, the only person who could tell that I had splattered myself was me. But I was enough.
Maybe this is the Acting Gods trying to tell me something.
NO, I am here and I am staying here.
As time wore on and the crowd diminished, I began to seriously doubt my odds of getting in. Actors who were leaving the audition began to shoot pitying looks at those of us waiting. Friends who had arrived AFTER me (but had smartly gotten themselves on the list) went in and auditioned and left – leaving me sitting there with my stained pants, undershirt and increasingly wrinkled headshot.
Finally at about 4:15 p.m. (45 minutes before the END of auditions and almost 4 hours after I got there), they ran out of schedule Equity actors and were going to do the waitlisters only. At that point I was 11th on the list. 11 actors in 45 minutes? Not impossible but not a definite either. I began to get into my headspace. I told myself that all I wanted was a callback. A callback was the goal. Odds were against me since I "lowered" my expectations just a bit, it soothed my nerves significantly. I also knew that they would NOT go past 5:00 and that there was still a chance I would not get seen.
What I did not know what that 6 of those people in line ahead of me had gotten tired of waiting . . . and LEFT. So at 4:45 p.m., as I was the LAST person waiting, I was called in. I tried to ignore the nerves, concentrate on the fact that I was ready and I went in.
There were two people sitting at the table and they both looked worn out. I could tell by their expressions that they weren't expecting much. I introduced my pieces, found my focal point and dove in. I was about 10 seconds into the first monologue when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed one of the guys perk up, he shot a glance at the person sitting next to him. I tried to tune him out and kept going. I finished that piece and moved on to the Shakespeare. I saw the perked up expression grow into a full smile and by the time I was done, they were both grinning at me.
"Wonderful," the gentleman on the left said. "Thank you so much for sticking it out."
And I left what felt like one of the best auditions of my LIFE. And for the Intiman so . . .
Yes, Sami, thank you so much for sticking it out.