Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Tale of Three Auditions

Last Sunday night, I had an audition for a new, original play, which is to be performed in northwest London, at the end of this month. This was the first audition I have had for theatrical acting in twenty-one years. I only received the script early on Friday morning. I felt unsure how to prepare. I tried contacting Bill Buckley, the LBC radio presenter (97.3 FM, London), because he's experienced in such matters and has been helpful to me before. Unfortunately, Bill was away that weekend. I wasn't too worried about not getting the part, I just didn't want to make a fool out of myself during the audition process. Not having the benefit of formal training in drama, I am usually fine with film and television auditions. This was different. This was theatre and I would be facing people who had training and experience.
I arrived at the location for the audition early. Sitting in my car, I went over the script as much as I could. When it was close to my call time, I went inside. I found one woman waiting, ahead of me. There was already one hopeful inside and we could hear him through the closed door. Things seemed to be running late. The woman ahead of me seemed impatient and kept looking at her watch, then tutting. Soon, it was her turn. I move up a seat and sat next to the door to the room the auditions were taking place in. Remaining quiet, I could make out little snippets of what was being said inside. I strained to pick up any clue as to what I would face in the room. In due course, another person showed up. He looked like his family was from southwest Asia. We made small talk until it was my turn.
Inside the room, I was introduced to the playwright and the director. They put me at ease and offered me a drink of water, or orange juice. I can have water at home, so I selected the orange juice. I read for my part twice, with the director and the playwright joining in. The second time they asked me to attempt a Welsh accent. Oh dear! That seemed a bit difficult. The audition seemed to go well and they said they'd let me know the next day. I walked out hopeful, but the next day, my hopes were dashed.
I had a busy audition week lined up. Tuesday evening, I was scheduled to audition for a short film. More keen to get the film role, I tried hard to prepare. Nothing prepared me for what happened. I never made it to the audition, as I was admitted to the hospital that morning (see "Going to the Hospital," Wednesday 9, May, 2007). After spending the night in the hospital, I managed to get out the next day. I tried contacting the casting person for the film, to see if I could audition on a different day, but she informed me that the role was already filled.
I had one more chance and that was on Wednesday night. There was a comedy talent search being held, in London. Once I arrived home from the hospital, I had a nap, then showered. I felt better and headed into central London. At the venue, I discovered there were close to 100 hopefuls signed up to perform. I added my name to the list, then began to prepare myself mentally. There was no audience, other than the people waiting their turn to perform, a camera crew, and some industry professionals, acting as judges. We were allotted three minutes each. Getting a laugh out of this crowd would be an achievement. Because I arrived a little late, I wasn't performing until the end of the night. The advantage in this was I got to listen to the majority before it was my turn.
After we performed, we learned that there was a prize for the "winner." One winner was selected from the female and one from the male. I won't keep you in suspense, I didn't win. At least I got some laughs. Trying to be objective, I decided that I had probably been in the top third. The winners were given a £500 production budget, each. Surely the talent search wasn't a means just to pass out those two modest prizes? I drove home with a spark of hope. I had been required to leave my contact details, in case the production company wanted to contact me in the future. So far, no call, but you never know.

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