Thursday night I went over to Southern Illinois University and I audition for a part in the upcoming productions of MacBeth.
Part of me still can't believe I did it.
I mean, I've always had an interest in drama and theater, but other than acting in a play in high school and doing some skits in a youth group I was with years ago, I'd never really had the change to try my hand at acting. I read about this online and I said, "You know, you should try out for something!"
I drove over to the campus on Thursday night, I had left early to give myself plenty of time to get there (not just to show up early but it had been snowing that day,, so I wanted to be extra careful on the road.). I made it to campus okay, but once again, I got lost due to a combination of going a slightly different (but I figured shorter) route than I usually do and the fact it was night.
As I've said before, night changes things. Areas that are pretty familiar can radically different with all the lights out. I ended up PASSING by the theater where the auditions were being held and when I decided to turn around, I got stuck in an iced over parking lot. Luckily, three generous Samaritans happened to be passing by and helped me push my car enough to get back on my destination.
Anyway, I got to the building, wasn't sure which entrance was the closest (ending up picking the longest route to where I wanted to be, oh course), and managed to get to the sign up table around 7 o'clock. (The auditions started at 6:30.) After filling out some info, young lady at the table lead me to theater's side entrance, and entreated me to go in and have a seat.
The theater ceiling and walls were painted black, a sharp contrast to the orange, yellow, and red seats. Near the front stage, the front rows had about twenty-five or so of my fellow auditioners, most of whom seemed to be college students (of course.) As I walked in and sat down, a guy was on stage (not sure, but I think his name, ironically enough was Art) and he was doing the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, with him playing the part of Juliet. Then he said, "And now I'm going to do the Tri-Lambda song from the original Revenge of the Nerds." And he freaking song the song that the Nerds do in the talent show.
I was like, "Whoa... that's just funny/awesome."
From there, I sat, watching a variety of people getting up and doing their bits. For our auditions, I was told we were supposed to prepare two monologues, one minute from a dramatic play, and one minute from something in verse. Now, I had my dramatic monologue pretty much down (so I thought) but I hadn't really had a poem ready. So, hear I am trying to mentally rehearse my acts while other people are talking from the stage. I wasn't the best of listeners at times, but I'm willing to bet everyone was at least a little bit preoccupied with their own upcoming performance.
Well, after a bit, my name got called up. Amazingly, I wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be. My heart wasn't even thumping crazily or anything. I got on the stage, introduced myself, and said I was going to be doing a bit from the play "The Unwanted" by Walter Wylkes (still not sure I pronounced the guy's last name right, should have looked it up.)
Before starting, I said, "Since my scene takes place with the characters sitting on a couch, I am going to sit down as I do this." And then I sat on the edge of the stage. (There were chairs off to the side, I guess I could have grabbed one of those, but, you know, I just thought it best to get right to the scene. For the most part I think I do okay on the first run. I think maybe I should have faced the other direction while I was talking (most of the audience was on my left, and I faced right, as though I was talking to another person on the couch, but I made sure my voice carried enough.) And I left a few bits out when it came to the lines but, I think the overall spirit of the piece came through okay.
Well, that was the first part. After I was done, I thanked everyone, got off stage, and there were a few people after me. As I walked back to my seat, I even got a "fist bump" and a "Good job!" from the RotN Guy. Then the director said we were going to have a ten minute break and then we would come back for our second audition.
I went outside and chatted for a bit and then we all marched back in.
This time the director told us he wanted us to have fun with the parts we're doing, and that he'd be mixing things up a bit, not just having us do our monologues but maybe even interpreting them in different ways. Maybe with singing and dancing to determine our range and whatnot.
So, even came back up one at a time, and they'd give a line or two from their previous monologues, and he stop them after a bit and say something like, "Okay, do this like you're a salesman, trying to get us to buy something." Or (to a female performer), "Okay, now you're an evil seductress.." etc. Then he'd occasionally have some of us sing a song, any song. There was a lot of really talent in the room, good singers, and some great actors, but, crazily enough, I didn't feel too intimidated by it (well, maybe a little), but I mainly just keep reminding myself I was there to outperform anyone, just to do my best and see what happens.
Then it was my turn.
Now, I have to admit, I think I got a pair not so great scenarios. First I had to redo my lines as though I was Speaker of the House, so I did with a serious, but somewhat biting tint. Then he asked me to do my lines as though I was the President, so I delieberately kept shifting my gaze straight ahead, as though reading a teleprompter, and tried to keep my gestures from being to elaborate. I don't know, didn't really see how could I "do" too much with those roles, in hindsight, yeah, I could come up with several different possibilities, but under the gun?
Then he asked me to sing.
I took a second, earlier I had been considering this possibility and had been going through the list of all the songs in my head that I might try, and had seriously considering doing the song "Skeletons In My Closet" from The 7th Guest, but at that moment, another song jumped in my brain, so I decided to run with it.
And so I song the opening lyric to "Hemorrhage In My Hands" by Fuel
Believe it or not, I've actually this song several times on my own in the car, but I think I had an easier time out of it WITHOUT the singer, because I didn't have to sing the "falllllllllllllllll" as long as the guy does in the song, making it easier for me to catch a breath between lines.
Then the director asked me to sing a rock song and dance to it. So, I started in with "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns and Roses, doing various gestures and steps to accompany the lyrics.
I got to, "I'd probably break down and cry," when the director said, "Okay, don't cry just yet, please. Alright, thank you!"
And then I was done.
I should know sometime early next week if I've gotten any parts or not. They said that for one of the productions they'll probably need just about everyone, even just as extras. Anyway, I'm not really after a huge part, but I DO want to be involved, even if it's just helping out behind the scenes.
Gosh, I'm still kind of amazing I actually went through this. As withdrawn and isolated as I've been socially over the past several years because of my job and other circumstance, this is a real breakthrough for me. Just typing about is giving me a bit of an emotional high.
And on a sidenote, Holy, crap, there were a lot of lovely looking young ladies in the group. Hoping to get to know a few of them as well. :)