Yesterday I auditioned for The Independent Shakespeare Company, commonly referred to as Shakespeare in the park. Griffith Park. In Los Angeles. Not Central Park in Los Angeles east. Just so we're clear.
Before I pat myself on the back, it's not as if they asked me. I signed up on the Equity site. Never the less, an audition is an audition. And, it was in person! That's great news on so many levels, not the least of which is personal.
Here's how it went.
Anyone following the atmospheric river system knows my corner of the world has been getting soaked. Not so much as other parts of Cali, but plenty. Strange in it's own rite because we're used to a smattering here and there and back to eternal sunshine. But eternity will have to wait. We need it.
That leads me to 11:00am March 14, 2023 and my soppy drive down CA 132 to North Hollywood and the Equity center. I hadn't been there in so long it felt like I hadn't been there. Fortunately I found parking, which was odd. Usually it's a jungle scrap to scrape a spot within four blocks, but not today. "Well, I am a little early," I thought.
After a brief prep, out into the drizzle I walked, noticing the rocky gray sky, slick wet pavement and other oddly vacant parking spots. At the door, they let me in to three other auditioners sitting in a sea of empty plastic chairs. Hmmm. Angelenos don't like to drive in the rain. More's the pity.
Never one to look a gift room in the mouth, I sauntered up to the monitor and threw my headshot on the desk. "Can I see your union card?" he asked (I later found out his name was Mike). "Of course," I said, rummaging through my pockets, pulling out my SAG card. "Uh, your Equity card?" "Oh, of course..." Blank stare. Of all things. I made sure my headshot and resume were stapled, just like they asked, my monologue was perfect, just like they "asked" and NO union card? How could I forget my union card at the first in person audition in a month of Sundays? "I left it at home," I plead. "But I know my number." "Well, if it were a full audition I couldn't let you in, but since it's not, I'll put you in the next group." Score one for a gift room.
I don't usually talk much in audition rooms out of respect for the other actors. But, yesterday, I was flanked by kids young enough to be much younger than me. I remember what it was like in the pit of my stomach when I first started. And the kid ahead of me was fidgeting and whispering his lines so painfully, his cheeks so red, I thought he might pass out. So, I said, "You'll be great," which caught him completely by surprise. "Uh, oh, I, uh, I hope so," he stumbled. "You're prepared, right?" "Yeah." "You'll do great." "Thanks, man," he exhaled. I don't know if it made any difference in the room, but I think it did in the line. Like I said, I don't usually, but sometimes...
I'd been thinking about how I can stand out. If you know anything about the Equity center in NoHo, you know there's an anti-room before the actual audition room. So, when it was my turn, I decided to take a beat, rip open the door and start the monologue from the giddy up. I think it surprised, and I hope in a good way, the auditors. As I continued, they were engaged. I felt good, relaxed, in control of that moment. I mean, two minutes is very little time to deliver ones self, but I thought it went very well. Then we shared a couple minutes in small talk, which is unusual. As I left, the artistic director said he enjoyed it. I hope he was talking about the audition. But, I'll take what I can get.
Auditions can be a crap shoot. One day you're on fire, another you can't get your mojo. (Do people still say mojo?) Maybe that's the beauty of it all. The unpredictability of circadian rhythms. The energy flying around the room. The nerves keeping us from getting out of our own way. It's the human condition. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
At the end I walked out into the still drizzle feeling that combination of excitement, satisfaction and relief. First Equity in person of the season, and it was a winner. Now, forget the audition and move on. That's always been the advice. But I think I'll day dream a little about working with that company this summer.
When I got home I had an email from another summer theater. A call back for MacDuff in MacBeth. Strange how I'm getting stage kisses in a film town. But, that's a story for another time. For now I'll leave you with this:
When life gives you stage, make lemonade. Hey, acting is acting, right?
Keep the faith and share the peace. Until next time. God bless.