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An Audition Monologue, part the Fifth and Last

So. Your Humble Blogger did, in the end, audition both for Earnest and (with the Coriolanus monologue) for the local semi-pro theater, one right after the other.

The Earnest call was the evening before. It was an open audition at what is very much a community theater; anyone who wanted to came in, filled out a little form, and read from the script. We were all in the house watching and listening to each other. The evening took an hour and a half, maybe more. I met four actors I worked with the last time I was in a show at that theater and another three or four people I had met during the course of the run. We chatted, filled each other in on our lives, and noshed on the snacks provided. We ran through the scenes in various combinations, sometimes going through one scene four or five times. I read one scene three times hand running, with different people on the other end of it. I absolutely killed as the Reverend Doctor Chasuble (my metaphor was drawn from bees), getting laughs from my assembled competitors. I got to read Algernon, despite being twice his age (Point of Fact: Your Humble Blogger is not twice the age of Algernon, being only forty-one; Algernon does not, as far as I can remember, state his age, but his buddy Jack claims to be twenty-nine), and even better, I got to read Lady Bracknell. I had mentioned to the stage manager that Lady Bracknell was the part I would really want, and he passed that along, and the director kindly indulged me, and we all had a good time. Well, at least I had a good time, and the other people seemed to have a good time, is all I can really say.

Anyway. The other call was the day after. I had my appointment at 4:05; I ran through my monologue at home a bunch of times—

Digression: One of my methods for cramming this piece was to record myself doing it.

When I have very nearly memorized a speech, there isn’t much point in running through it without somebody holding the text and pouncing on the word substitutions. Otherwise, I’ll finish it and have no idea whether it was correct or only mostly correct. Well, and I had exhausted everyone in the house, so I spoke the text into a recorder, and then listened back with my eyes on the text. It’s slow going, but I didn’t want to lose a part because somebody listening had been involved in the play two years ago and know whether it was witness of or witness to. And they would be completely correct not to cast some guy who can’t even properly memorize his two minute monologue.

I considered recording the actual audition, but figured I didn’t need the distraction. End Digression.

I went over to the theater to arrive at 3:50, which I judged to be eagerly but not inappropriately early. I met the woman with a 4:00 appointment, who seemed nice and vaguely familiar, and she seemed to find me vaguely familiar, and we laughed about that while we were sitting in the lobby filling out the form. Then the flunky brought her in to the house, and I looked at my monologue text again. After five minutes or so they brought her out and the flunky brought me in and introduced me; he gave the first names of the half-dozen or so people there, but not their positions in the theater or the show. Somebody asked me what are you going to give us today, just like in the movies, and I said Coriolanus, and the director (who I was able to identify because he was sitting in the middle, and because I had looked up his name beforehand, and because he was the one who responded) said we don’t see that very often! So that’s all right.

I went through the monologue. I don’t know whether I made the small errors (witness of instead of witness for) that I was making over the previous days, up to that morning, but I didn’t dry altogether, and I am pretty sure I didn’t butcher the thing too badly. That is, I think anyone who didn’t know the piece well would not have spotted any errors I made, if I did, in fact, make any errors at all. I had not sufficiently prepared my body—I had no prepared gestures, and had only vaguely decided to walk two or three steps at a couple of transition moments—but did not feel overly amateurish. The Director asked me about my availability (my handwriting on the form was evidently sufficiently illegible to make that necessary), said I gave a nice reading, and then I went away. I was gone from the house a total of half an hour; even granting that I live in the neighborhood, that’s a quick event.

I am bothering telling you so in such detail because the whole thing was so stereotypical of the two kinds of theater. One was fun, time-consuming and unprofessional; one was tense, brief and professional. I enjoyed the silly one; I respected the proper one. They are both doing what they are doing—back in my callow proverbial, I thought of community theater as simply amateurs doing what they can’t hack at a higher level. I stopped doing it largely because I found it so unprofessional. Since coming back to it, I have started appreciating community theater more for what it is, and being less critical of it for what it isn’t. I think community theater is more or less evenly about community and about theater; it’s really about maximizing the fun quotient between the audience and the cast and the crew. An efficient audition process does not do that. The silliness of the auditions for Earnest and R3 doesn’t actively prevent good casting, and it does to some extent select for people who will be enjoyable to work with. The efficiency of the other audition selects for people who it will be efficient to work with. People who are inefficient to work with can be an irritation of community theater, but in a professional context would be far worse. People who are unpleasant to work with can be an irritation of professional theater, but in a community context would be far worse.

So. Doing the two very different auditions within twenty-four hours made me think a little bit about what kind of person I am. Is YHB a community theater person, interested in community as much as in theater, maximizing the fun quotient, being silly? Or is YHB an Ack-tore, interested in the theater more than in the community, keen on the Next Step, the best show possible, the efficient production? I’ll tell you: I don’t know.

But I can tell you that when they offered me a part in the professional production, I took it, and withdrew from consideration for Earnest.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

Comments

Hey! Nice twist ending there; didn't expect that. And congrats! Can you describe the part?


Wait for it… I hope to post something tomorrow with more info. I have to decide how much detail to go into, or how to go about pseudonomysing it. At the community theater level, I figure it's not a big deal, but I am still thinking about how to blog the process at a professional place whilst retaining my own pseudonymity.

Alternately, check Facebook, where my real name is associated with my real life! Brrrrrrr.

Thanks,
-V.


Woot!! Congrats for you!!!


Congratulations!

I suspect (for my part never having met you of course) that you are a Man With A Mustache, as it were, and whether it is a handlebar or a walrus, you will wear it with aplomb; thus as a paid-on-an-efficiently-professional-stage or an unpaid-member-of-the-happy-community, your personal happiness will be maximized by wearing a mustache. Getting paid I'm sure is a feather on the proverbial, or as my old pal Chris used to say, "icing on the gravy."

Actually, he still says that all the time.

peace


YAY!!! Congrats!!!


Mazel Tov!


Congratulations!


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