Whew! Auditions are done, show is cast, most of my crazy week is almost done! Auditions are always kind of exciting, you know?
Everyone shows up, all excited and bright-eyed, and you get to watch them (hopefully! usually!) putting their best foot forward, and then you get to cast some of them in a show! And that’s the best thing, you get to tell people they’re cast. (SIDE NOTE! The only time I ever got to call someone and offer them a part, I was SO EXCITED. See, it’s the director’s job to do that. Because it’s a kickass job. It’s fun, the person’s all excited, etcetera, etcetera. So my friend K. asked me to call someone and offer her a part. I WAS SO STOKED! I got to call someone and offer her a part! And I was all YES I WOULD LOVE TO! So I did, and guess what happened, no seriously, guess what? SHE DID NOT WANT THE PART. No! I am SERIOUS! It was an AMAZING part, and the funniest part in the show – not the biggest, but totally the comic relief – and she was all NOPE. You could HEAR the sneer in her voice.
She wanted one of the bigger parts. Which she was too old for and wouldn’t have worked for her at all. Also the part was a lesbian and she was like, “my husband’s a big deal in the community so people wouldn’t like it if I played a GAY PERSON.” So I had to call K. all, “she said no?” and when I told her why, K. was all, “UGH DEAD TO US” and I agreed – K. and I are very simpatico, yo – and we offered the part to someone else. And listen! Sometimes the stars align. Because the person we gave the part to? WAS that role. She was PERFECTION. She was hysterical, she was sympathetic, she was gorgeous, she was a joy to work with, she totally lit up the stage every time she walked on, and she’s still one of my favorite theater people and when I see her she gives me these huge fierce hugs. Oh, also? SHE PLAYED A LESBIAN WITHOUT BEING ONE! I know ZOMG, right? Heh. She had to eat a BILLION TONS of food onstage every night. Like, a BILLION TONS. I’m totally exaggerating. But lots. Her character was supposed to be nervous, so she had to eat all the finger foods at this wedding. So every night, I had to make this huge plate of like olives and berries and brownie bits and cheese and things that wouldn’t crunch and she could eat quickly and say her lines.
[SIDE NOTE WITHIN A SIDE NOTE: due to some terrible experiences, K. and I, every year, look at the list of shows we’re going to do and are all, “UGH THIS ONE HAS FOOD.” We hate shows with food in them. Seriously. All you have to say to K. is “remember the eggs?” We had TWO shows with eggs. We have MULTIPLE BAD MEMORIES OF SHOW-EGGS. Eggs, left even a day, SMELL, you guys. Never do a show with eggs. Also, if you are watching a show and eggs are involved, please give kudos to the stage crew; they deserve them.] She didn’t even complain! Not at all! Except she asked for more fruit and less brownies, because she was worried she would get fat. Hee! She’s about as big as a minute. I love her. ANYWAY! This isn’t even a side note. It’s like a whole blog post of its own. I tried to offer someone a part once, they declined in a weird way, and we ended up winning in the best possible way, so it ended ok after all. END OF THE STORY.)
Let’s start a new paragraph. Palate-cleansing-like. Anyway, the WORST part of auditions is sending out the regret email. Because then you’re crushing people’s hopes and dreams and I hate that part.
I mean, yeah, sure, not everyone in the world can get a part, I know, I KNOW IT, but it still is my least favorite. (I hate it especially much when I have to send regret emails to people I’ve worked with before and I love to death. That kills me. Because I LOVE them. And they are WONDERFUL. And I want to HUG THEM UNTIL THEIR HEADS POP OFF and they are JOYS to work with and they are SO SO TALENTED. But it’s not my call, it’s the director’s call…and who am I to say who he picked isn’t right for the show? The cast he picked is absolutely wonderful. There aren’t enough parts to go around. It’s the nature of the beast. I hate hurting my friends, is what it boils down to.) There are three types of people who audition (well, other than the ones we cast, of course): a., people who are very good and almost make it, but not quite; b., people who are kind of middle-of-the-road, but not delusional, and they know they’re not going to get the part when they see the talent they’re up against (this was me most of the time I acted, I can admit it); and c., people who are DELUSIONAL AND THINK THEY ARE THE BEST ZOMG.
Luckily, this time around, we didn’t get any Delusional Diedres. Or Delusional Dereks, I guess. Everyone was calm. We’ve had some weirdos in the past. I don’t want to…um…what if they’re reading…I can’t call ’em out. Rude rude rude. Um, well, what can I say. We’ve had crying in the lobby. We’ve had people who DEMAND to read for another role after we tell them we’ve seen everything we need to see from them and they can go home. We’ve had people send me mean, mean emails in reply to my VERY NICE regret email. (Yes, yes, I know it’s still a rejection, even though it’s a regret email…but be GRACIOUS. There aren’t as many parts as auditioners. There never are. And even if there are, some people aren’t right for roles.) We’ve had people show up for auditions who are forty years too old for the part and be SO UPSET when they weren’t cast. We’ve had people show up blitzed-off-their-face drunk and almost fall off the stage. Once someone (who I think was…um…home-challenged? FINE I THINK HE WAS HOMELESS HE HAD A SHOPPING CART FULL OF CANS AND ALSO FOR SOME REASON CARPET REMNANTS, NO, I am NOT making fun, I am AWARE I am almost homeless myself, thank you very much, I AM REPORTING JUST THE FACTS) showed up with a bunch of weeds and was all, “here are some flowers, cast me!” and they were CRAWLING with bugs and I was all immediately bug-covered and I was trying SO HARD not to scream and was like “thank…you?” and when he went into the theater (after asking me to watch his cart) I threw the weeds into our backyard and washed my hands a billion times.
Oh, and once a lady body-checked me into a wall because she was walking into auditions but not auditioning, and I didn’t know if that was ok with the director, so I asked her to wait a second while I ran in and asked, and she was crazy with lipstick that went outside of the lines, and she said “I WAS TOLD IT WAS OK BY THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR!” (I’m the artistic director) and body-checked me into the wall and ran in. Then came back out a few minutes later with a handful of gum-papers and rolled-up programs and tissues and said, “I found this on the floor in there; it is trash. Hold out your hands, I’ll give it to you,” and I was like, “Um. No. Garbage can. There,” and she was all “HUFF HUFF TRYNA DO A NICE THING HERE.”
So…yeah. I know you’re all thinking I’m super-glamorous and I’m wearing all black and a beret and oh, I don’t know, snapping to show approval like a beatnik and shit, but really we sometimes have to deal with a lot of lunacy. And the BEST part is we have to be nice because we can’t piss off a potential patron because theater is not rolling in dough, you know. So you deal with the craziness and you paste on a smile. A BIG OLD SMILE. And then sometimes you run into the kitchen and you hide behind the fridge.
But also let’s say 98% of the time it is totally awesome. And I do own a beret. I don’t wear it, but I own it. I got it at this awesome thrift store and it was totally brand-new and it’s wool and it has a little dragonfly on it and it was three DOLLARS. I mean, even to never wear it I had to buy it. I WANT MY THREE DOLLARS.
Anyway, I sent out the regret emails and we’re all cast with a great cast and the show’s going to be wonderful. And I so so SO hope that some of the people come back and audition for our next show which I’m stage managing because this show only had 4 people, and our next show has LOTS of people, and also I’m stage managing it and there was a LOT of talent at auditions and I’d like some of that on my stage in February!
OK, this is getting long and I have things to do like watch Project Runway and eat a popsicle and pet Dumbcat who got a billion times needy for no apparent reason today and also hid in the pots and pans cupboard and meowed from INSIDE there today and made me think my kitchen was haunted. Happy day, cactus flowers! Do something fun!
(Title from “I Hope I Get It” from A Chorus Line…which has one of my favorite auditioning songs, “Dance 10, Looks 3.” Hee!)