Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Callback

So, it looks like I am in a show! I wanted to write a bit about the two "rehearsals" I've had so far (I put those in scare quotes because both of them have also been auditions.)

Last Thursday evening I had a callback. I knew that all other "Adult Actresses" would be present because it said so on the schedule. That was scary, but I was looking forward to seeing who else was in the show.

When I pushed open the door, the little room (same as last time) was already filled with women in tiny, rickety chairs, perusing notebooks. The director greeted me warmly and introduced me to the others, a racially and chronologically diverse mix of seven. There are men in the show, and a couple tweens, but I don't know them yet. "Was there a lot of traffic?" the director asked, sweetly but meaningfully. I inferred that I was somehow late, though I'd arrived on the dot of the time I'd been e-mailed. Turns out the time had been changed and I hadn't heard about it. Oh well. I tried not to let this increase my nerves.

Everyone was in shorts or jeans and flip-flops, but I was once again dolled up in a dress, tights and heels because I figured I was still being scrutinized. I was even introduced to the group as a "possible" cast member. The director (I'll call her "D") passed out a sheet of lyrics. I was beginning to get the idea that we would be doing a lot of a cappella in these rehearsals. She took us through the song a few times and we sang it together. We sounded quite good like that, I thought.

Then she asked people to sing part of it on their own, and started at the other end of the line from me. As we went along, I started noticing that while everyone's voice was nice, no one seemed to be a belter like I am. When she got to me, I sang as loud and clear as I could, trusting that I remembered the melody. When I finished, there was a noticeable difference in the molecular structure of the air. Everyone kind of leaned back, gasped, laughed or murmured something. That was nice. But even nicer was the next thing that happened. D called on the gal next to me to solo.

"Me?" she said. "No," said D. "The man behind you." "I mean," said the girl. "You want me to follow THAT?" Everyone laughed, me the most, probably. I can't adequately describe the feelings I was having.

Is this entire room of people liking my voice? I mean, enough to be surprised by it? I mean, ME? The same me who blew it royally when I had to sing "Happy Birthday" at the Diversionary and completely forgot to breathe (and in fact almost fainted) when I auditioned for Chess? Is my voice actually SURPRISING? Readers, this is no false modesty. I couldn't get my mind around it. It's like in one moment every painful stab of inadequacy that has dogged me for the past two years of grudging, minimal or totally absent praise was enveloped by a big, juicy wave of love, and I was left standing there, astonished, dripping, smiling so big it hurt.

Now I was ready for anything. Soon we were asked to rise and move chairs so we could learn the choreography. "Singers in the back row," D announced. "Non-singers in front, where they will have most of the choreography." I was standing in the front row, and I stayed there. I hadn't been told differently. Suddenly, one of the gals said "What are you doing in the front row?" "Me?" I asked. Everyone looked at me, including D. "Well, I'm not a singer. I mean, I haven't been asked to be a singer. I didn't want to presume."

"PRESUME, girl!" said D. "Get in the back row!" Everyone laughed, me the most, and I moved. Well, I thought. Seems like maybe I am getting cast.

Compared to last week, I felt I was picking up the dance quickly. I was much less nervous, and I had the whole front row to watch. As it happened, I was able to practice a lot, because the main dancer in the middle was struggling and we did it over and over. I didn't mind a bit, since it gave me time to learn. But I didn't end up having to perform on my own. A very cute tween-ager showed up (her mom brought her) and D didn't want to keep her waiting. We wrapped up for the night about 90 minutes after I had arrived.

As I was gathering my stuff, I was approached by Brianna, who told me she had just seen me in Twelfth Night. "No way!" I crowed. How cool is that? Turns out she was interested in PLAW, and a phone call to Dave yielded a suggestion to check us out. Brianna said it was a blast. She also said she was looking forward to auditioning for Steel Magnolias, which she'd heard was coming up soon. "Don't hold your breath," I said ruefully, turning away. "The show is already cast. They have their table read in a couple days." She was surprised, and a bit sad, I think. I can certainly relate to that.

D approached us, and told Bri "this is your cashier." By which I gather I will have some lines--the same ones I read at my first audition--in another scene with Bri. By which I also gathered that I was almost definitely cast. But as I was leaving, D looked at me meaningfully and said "I'll e-mail you." She added, "I really meant to do some more auditions tonight, but I just didn't have time."

I was a bit crestfallen at that, thinking she meant a new group of prospects, but as I was driving home, I remembered the cashier comment and deduced that she was actually talking about auditioning for other sketches in the show. I felt hopeful that I'll progressively have more to do as the weeks go by.

When I got home, there was an e-mail from D saying she'd love to have me in the show. I wrote back, "Yes, thank you! I had a blast tonight!" And so it begins.


Jen said...

Oh, GOOD for you!!!! Congratulations. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall to see you shine like that. :-) Can't wait to hear how it all goes.

Stephanie said...

What a fabulous night with all the drippng praise and singing and dancing. Way to go!

Logical Libby said...

Woo hoo! And good for you for dancing! I once walked out of an audition because my dancing was so bad...