Adelaide

I am so angry!

I’ve never had an audition like that. In failed auditions before, I could take responsibility and, though bitter, there is some comfort in that. But there is NOTHING I COULD HAVE DONE TO WORK WITH THAT ARROGANT ASSHOLE ACCOMPANIST!!!

I’m so angry!!!

I gave him my music, clearly-marked in red ink, and led at the tempo I desired, as I spoke/sang it at the tempo I desired. He raced through.

“Much slower,” I requested.

“Right,” he lied. I took him at his word and trusted that he was just marking it.

I had crossed out the melody. I demonstrated in person that all I wanted was a simple, rolling beat behind the “liberties I’m taking with the rhythm,” I said over and over and OVER. “I’m not singing it as written.”

He insisted on the melody, as written.

“But I’m taking liberties,” I said again. “I’m playing with the melody and the timing.”

“That’s fine,” he assured dismissed me. And I took the stage. My moment to confer with the pianist was over.

He gave me ONE CHORD and broke into the fastest train-wreck he could engineer, playing exactly as he wished, exactly against my instructions. Apparently, I had offended his magnanimous sense of superiority.

I fought for my tempo; he fought for his. HE STOPPED ME IN THE MIDDLE OF MY AUDITION!!!!!!!!!

“Let’s get this how it goes,” he snapped.

[“It goes how I say it goes! It’s my audition!”]

“Thank you,” I said. “Please. Much slower.”

Naturally, it was as fast as before. He won.

He intentionally denied me the chance to express any character, to introduce myself to the panel, to give them the vision of Adelaide in me. And she is in me!

I asked for a torch song. He played so fast I had to SKIP A MEASURE to get back in time with him! It was the most unprofessional theatre experience I’ve ever had.

As I was leaving, he asked my name with all the theatre snob he could shove into his voice. My headshot was right in front of him, with my name on it. He wanted one last parting shot. It was bad enough that everyone in the wings waiting their turn had just overheard my humiliation – the kind of audition you crane your neck after to see the poor sod with the wrong dream – he forced me to state my name.

I find that so cruel, making someone attach their identity to an embarrassing failure.

“Fuck you, that’s my name…” is the fantasy, isn’t it?

I’m seething. The arrogance of that man! While community performers are volunteer, he was paid to play my music the way I prepared it. But how dare I ask such a glorified talent as Himself to cut out his own bells and whistles and let me shine?

Who was I? The person you were hired to accompany, that’s who!

What I requested was very simple. I could play it. Therein lies the problem, methinks. It was beneath him.

I was so well-prepared this time. I had such delicious comedy juxtaposed against a languid rendering of a “Cry Me A River,” and I was so ready. There would be no beating myself up afterwards for not bringing all the preparation I could to the only role that’s ever mattered to me. It’s no wonder they couldn’t see Adelaide in what I brought to the stage yesterday. What was supposed to fill a full minute took less than 30 seconds. I suppose there’s some consolation in the brevity of my humiliation.

I’m furious, and still mystified as to why they asked for a 60s jazz standard for a famously 40s musical. I should have gone with the other number I keep in my pocket. It suits the show. I sing it as written, and might have avoided making myself an enemy unto God Gary, Piano Purveyor of Cooperation or Catastrophe.

*****

You know what? I’m taken back right now, to last weekend and the honor I had to study under Mabiba Baegne, who communicated so well how one respects another. Another individual, another culture, any Other.

How should I have responded? What could I have done?

At Merveilles Utah, many were inclined to do the moves as we knew them. We wanted to match the rhythms more closely to our interpretation. We wanted our lessons Westernized. Mabiba stopped us every time, without the slightest denigration but with unapologetic commitment to her own integrity.

“Listen,” she said without words. “Watch,” she spoke without breath.

I felt honored to honor her by doing what she showed me, as nearly as I could. I felt humbled and grateful – joyful! – to try what I didn’t initially want to do. I wanted to do an approximation of African, which is more challenging, versus risk looking even more awkward. Doing it in a way my body moves naturally was to cheat.

It felt like respect to risk absolute flailing failure to try to do it a different way.

Gary was an incredible musician. He wasn’t at risk of failure, should he meet my request. This was overt disrespect and sabotage, because I asked him to do it my way.

I appreciate more than ever people who see beyond themselves, and pray that I will always remember this feeling when my own ego comes out to play.

*****

Ha. Know what Mabiba said about jerks? “There will always be people who get in your way. You drink; you pee. They’re in the dirt, behind you.” Go on with your life.

He’s yesterday’s waste. Being robbed a real chance at Adelaide is today’s sorrow, still. I think I’ll have a glass of water. Seems the river hasn’t reached its bank.

*****

Amazing. Journaling works! Or Mabiba’s advice really made a difference. You know how that is: People say things and they sound inspiring until you have to apply them. I wrote that Sunday morning, then went to brunch with my best friend who’s visiting from Texas. We never spoke of my anger or upset, though she knew I’d cried and didn’t get a call-back. We visited with her sisters and parted company. And I was fine.

I tried my hardest to work with someone unwilling to work with me. I treated him with the dignity I deserve. I feel sad that I didn’t get a chance, but I feel good. I’m a decent, talented person. His aggression and rudeness have no lasting effect on me.

I’m hopeful again. The character breakdown for Adelaide is “30 – 40 years, strong comedic role.” I don’t look my age. 😉 I have 5 years yet to get that part somewhere. And I will.

3 thoughts on “Adelaide

  1. I love your anger! You need to be angry – you were cheated the chance to perform the piece in the way you prepared it. Feel it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s