So. I went to the audition, and I gave my monologues, and it was OK.
The monologues went OK, I mean. The experience is deeply lousy—those rooms filled with anxious actors waiting for their two minute slots, those rooms filled with fear and petty envy and calculation and insecurity and arrogance and desperation, those rooms filled with the misery of knowing that most of the people in the room are not going to get a part… how I loathe those rooms. How I loathe them.
This particular loathsome room was far from the worst. Part of that is that the theater itself is only a few blocks from YHB’s house; I didn’t have a half-hour drive’s worth of anticipation and a half-hour’s drive of recollection. Part of that is that I have been in two shows in that space; I am familiar with the layout—and I suppose I didn’t have the hunt for the location or for parking that can wind up an already tightly-wound actor just a bit more. Part of it is that it was reasonably well-run, only fifteen minutes or so behind schedule. Part of it is that I am not a professional; I am not dependent on the money this job would pay, or on using it to get an Equity card, or on keeping in enough work to qualify for the Equity group health plan. No, I don’t really need this job. I would like it—I have talked myself into really wanting to play Brabantio, and if I don’t get the part I will be profoundly disappointed, but I will also be freed up to audition for other, non-professional, plays this year.
Still, once you are in those rooms, those rooms with their atmosphere of competition and fear, it’s difficult to avoid breathing it in, taking it into my mood—I’m imagining one of those terrible Doctor Who plots where somebody inhales the green glowy special-effect smoke with the alien spores. OK, not a good image. Still. I loathe those rooms.
The actual audition, when they let me out of that room and into the theater itself, went OK. I didn’t dry, and if I screwed up a few words here or there, it didn’t throw me off. My big risk—I didn’t talk about this, but I was considering spitting on the ground after such a thing as thou or whether it would seem too affected without an actual Othello present, and not having come to a decision beforehand, I wound up doing it—seemed to work out all right, with an apparently positive response from the fellows in the seats. I started out the second side too loud, from nerves I suppose, and wound up declaiming the apprehend and do attach thee a bit more, you know, declamatory than I really wanted to. And afterward I realized that I had not worked sufficiently on making my years sound in my voice—I think I look my age but don’t usually sound my age, and sounding young would presumably work against me for this particular role.
Digression: I happened to see a tiny clip of the courtroom scene in Love Among the Ruins, filmed in 1975 when Laurence Olivier was a mere lad of 68 or so. He sounds forty. This is actually a tiny bit of a problem, since the character is supposed to be old and superannuated, but if I remember correctly (and my recollection of the film is vague at best), he acts older when not in wig and gown, recovering some youthfulness from his task. Anyway, it was noticeable to me, as I was thinking about not playing Brabantio old enough, that the venerable stage actor might himself not have been playing old enough for his role in that film. End Digression.
After I finished the second side, they thanked me, shook my hand again, and ushered me out. I asked the fellow out in the room (have I mentioned how much I loathe those rooms?) when they would be in touch, and he said Wednesday. And then I went home.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,