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Auditional Treatment Modifications Log - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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August 7th, 2010


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01:39 pm - Auditional Treatment Modifications Log
Last Thursday, I was idly perusing the San Francisco East Bay Theatre & Auditions page on Facebook when I came across auditions for Picasso at the Lapin Agile, the Steve Martin play. I looked at the character descriptions, and there were several that seemed to fit me. It was the first fall show I was interested in whose run dates didn't conflict with the AMWA conference, so I could potentially do it! Except they wanted a short comedic monologue. And the auditions were that Friday and Saturday. I'd never done a monologue before, but I thought, what the hell. The other problem was that I'd be gone for two weeks in September, but I asked one of the directors and she said to audition anyway.

So I Googled "comedic monologues" for a while until I found this one from I Hate Hamlet. It looked easy enough to memorize in 48 hours. And, in fact, I had it pretty well memorized by that night, but I hadn't figured out my acting choices. So I enlisted Jaime's help, and she gave me some tips, and she even gave me some coaching on Friday night and told me that I wasn't supposed to look at the auditors, which I totally would have done if she hadn't said so. I'd never done a "real" audition like this, so she told me the drill. (Incidentally, the monologue I picked was the first monologue Dan ever used in high school. Yeah, I picked a high school-level monologue. Awesome! I had 48 hours, okay?)

No, seriously, almost literally 48 hours after I discovered the existence of this audition, I arrived at the theatre. They were holding open auditions, and it looked as if only eight other people had come that day, so...maybe my chances were good? They were a new theatre company, and this was their second show. After I filled out my information sheet, they called me in, and I walked to the X onstage as instructed and introduced myself and my monologue. And then, even though I had delivered it so well in the parking lot, I fucked up nearly every line. I forgot phrases and inserted them afterward; I skipped lines and said them afterward. Thankfully, the monologue was one that could accommodate that, and unless they knew the text, they wouldn't really notice that I was blowing it.

One of the directors—there were two women—commented on my Threadless shirt. I hoped that would score me some points.

The directors discussed and then handed me a cold read for Einstein, which I did okay with. Then one handed me another side for Einstein with a little more meat to it, and I enjoyed it. Then one director appeared to be satisfied, but the other wanted me to do the Sagot monologue. So I did it, and then she asked me to do it again, this time slower and channeling my inner cheesy used car salesman. I did not know I had one, but I found him in there and did my best. That was that, and callbacks were Friday.

Days passed, and I tried not to get my hopes up. Final auditions were on Wednesday, so I figured I'd hear about callbacks on Thursday. I tried not to think about it, and, honest-to-God, right at the very moment I had given up hope, my phone rang. They were very excited about my audition, and they wanted to see me tomorrow at 4. That was difficult since I worked till 5. They wanted to see me for at least an hour, so she said to come at 6.

Jaime told me to read the play so that I would better know the characters and the context of the cold reads, so I got it from the library and read it. That night, the director also sent me some notes on what they wanted to see from me at callbacks. Much more confidence, stronger choices, moving around and using the space, and slowing the fuck down. (That last one is a paraphrase.) All valid comments and things I knew I needed to improve. Regardless of the outcome, however, I got a callback with a monologue I had learned in 48 hours.

When I showed up to callbacks, there were several people there. I wasn't sure how things were being run. They appeared to be on a break. Also, they all appeared to know each other. Were they all in the last show? Were they all friends? What was I doing here? When they saw that I'd arrived, the directors called me over and asked if I could do an Elvis impersonation. "Not really?" I said. So they sent me away. Alas, if I could, I could at least be a candidate for the Visitor. Later, they called me over—"Come closer so everyone doesn't hear your business"—to ask about my two weeks in September and how set in stone it was. I said the dates I gave them were conservative, but it was looking like I probably would be gone that long. They sent everyone out so I could do an individual cold read with them as Picasso, whom I was supposed to read as very sexy. I did make one of the directors chuckle.

They brought everyone back in to do scenes. I was not asked to do any scenes. And then, thirty minutes before the end of callbacks, they announced they had cast the show. Unsurprisingly, I was not in it, but it appeared that most of the people in the room were, which led me to believe that they had only called back their very top tier of people they liked. Also, I gathered that the callbacks were actually from 4 to 7 with EVERYONE, not specific one-hour slots. Or maybe they had been sending people away throughout the session, I don't know.

In any case, I felt a little awkward, but before leaving dejected, I thought I'd go ask if they needed someone to run lights. As I approached, one of the directors asked if I was interested in doing tech, and I said I was about to ask if they needed someone to run lights. They were very excited and told me I was awesome and gave me high-fives.

She said that just so I knew, I was "outrageously talented," but it was being gone for two weeks in September that killed me, which I completely understood, as I'd been upfront about it. (I didn't understand the "outrageously talented" part because, what? I am moderately talented at best!) The other director said I seemed like I'd be a joy to work with, and they definitely wanted me to come back for future shows.

In the end, this wasn't really an audition for this show but for this theatre company. They're looking to build a company of actors, and they wanted to see me again at callbacks even though the odds were against me, even though I think the show was pretty much cast by the time I walked in. I returned to the theatre after dinner with Seanan for a really funny improv show featuring one of the directors and a few of the actors, but I declined to join everyone for post-show Denny's since I felt like an outsider. Come hell week, however, I'll be a part of a new theatre group.

And all because I decided to learn a monologue in 48 hours.
Current Mood: rushedrushed
Current Music: Lords of Acid - The Crablouse

(26 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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From:scifantasy
Date:August 7th, 2010 08:45 pm (UTC)
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There is a lesson in there. I'm not sure if it's "'what the hell, why not' is a valid approach to things" or "don't bother to have monologues prepared," but whatever.

Oh--and yay.

Edited at 2010-08-07 08:45 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 7th, 2010 08:50 pm (UTC)
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I'm pretty sure I subscribe to the former quite often.
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From:sjester
Date:August 7th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)
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Yay! That show is awesome; I stage-managed a production of it in high school. And congratulations on working your way into the company.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:August 7th, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC)
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It's a way to still be a part of the show without the weeks of rehearsal! Win-win!

The script is pretty amusing, and I'm sure it'll be even funnier onstage.
From:sainfoin_fields
Date:August 8th, 2010 09:58 am (UTC)
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I had to drop out of my final high school play because I had mono, and coming back to assistant stage manage and do sound effects was so much more fun than I had actually being in the previous play. Win win indeed!
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From:behindpyramids
Date:August 7th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
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You go! Congrats. :) I look forward to reading all about your theater adventures.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:August 7th, 2010 10:16 pm (UTC)
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Heh, I never wrote about my theater adventures in June and July! I can't stop having them! They're too much fun!
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From:ashfae
Date:August 7th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
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Love that play. And whoooo for you doing theater! Yay techie! And you are SO outrageously talented!
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From:spectralbovine
Date:August 7th, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC)
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My first theatre experience was running sound, and I ran lights for a couple G&S shows in Ann Arbor. It's a good fallback when I'm not cast in something!
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From:spectralbovine
Date:August 7th, 2010 10:06 pm (UTC)
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I find it weird to be considered brave and courageous. I am timid and shy! Except when I'm not, I guess.
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From:chrismarlowe
Date:August 7th, 2010 11:12 pm (UTC)
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You knocked on that door of opportunity. Not too many people can even approach the door!
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From:latropita
Date:August 7th, 2010 11:39 pm (UTC)
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Cow!! That is super exciting, good for you!
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From:lodessa
Date:August 8th, 2010 02:00 am (UTC)
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That is a fun play. I was in it one time Also good job for going out there and making things happen.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:August 8th, 2010 02:07 am (UTC)
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Oh, cool! Who were you?
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From:lodessa
Date:August 8th, 2010 02:44 am (UTC)
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I played the countess and the female admirer (aka the two small girl parts).
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From:spectralbovine
Date:August 8th, 2010 02:52 am (UTC)
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Fun times! To my surprise, they actually cast those roles separately. Female Admirer comes on for one paragraph and leaves! I...guess she won't have to come to very many rehearsals.
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From:lodessa
Date:August 8th, 2010 02:53 am (UTC)
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They probably wanted to get as many people as possible involved.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:August 8th, 2010 03:00 am (UTC)
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I agree.
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From:sterope
Date:August 8th, 2010 04:51 am (UTC)
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Yay! Doing new and random things is great!
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From:ahtrap
Date:August 8th, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
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Nicely done, Sunil!
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From:incidentist
Date:August 9th, 2010 06:36 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I picked a high school-level monologue.

I don't think there is such a thing as a high-school-level monologue, except maybe pieces where the character is that age, but even then, monologues for kids aren't necessarily easier than ones for adults. High school kids tend to stay away from monologues that are waaay older, but characters in their 20s and 30s are fair game. Anyway, we did a lot of Shakespeare too, and my Julius Caesar monologue wasn't exactly "high school-level". :P
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From:ethanvahlere
Date:August 10th, 2010 12:35 am (UTC)
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Very cool. And I agree, it's a good play (when Martin's not doing stupid comedies, he's actually a very talented writer). Hope you have a good time.
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From:prophetkristy
Date:August 10th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
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That is so awesome!! And definitely should tell you that you're outrageously talented. *\o/*

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