Adelaide

I am so angry! I’ve never had an audition like that. In failed auditions before this, I’ve been able to take responsibility and, though bitter, there is some comfort in that. But there is NOTHING I COULD HAVE DONE TO WORK WITH THE ARROGANT ASSHOLE THEY HIRED AS ACCOMPANIST!!!

I am 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’d crossed out the melody, and showed him myself 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 here,” 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 commune 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. 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. I sped up, denied every characterization I had prepared 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.

I’m seething. The arrogance of that man! I might be a volunteer, but he was PAID TO PLAY MY MUSIC THE WAY I PREPARED IT. I insulted his sensibilities, asking a glorified talent such 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.

He was the professional, but I paid for it.

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 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 “35 – 45 years, strong comedic role.” I don’t look my age. 😉 I have 10 years yet to get that part somewhere. And I will.

Angels

There’s a character who’s rather a fixture of Salt Lake City life. He’s everywhere. He calls himself Conde Kilateen Kargon, identifies as Sufi, and dresses like a desert dweller on Broadway. Think “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and you’ll have it about right. When you meet, he tells you how old he is in months. He has smiling eyes and a grin as great as the salty lake that gave our home its name.

Yesterday, I boarded the bus and there he was, happy to report that he is now 777 months old. We chatted a bit about numerology. I told him my love of 222.

“Have a nice day,” I said when I reached my stop.

“Have a lovely day and may all the angels fly your way,” he smiled in return.

In my backpack was Sylvia Browne’s “Book of Angels.” I wanted to grab it for him, but I was hurriedly nervous heading to my audition and not wanting to waste passengers’ and the driver’s time with a cumbersome search.

“Oh well,” I thought, regretting my decision as I walked to the theatre, “I haven’t finished it anyway.” That didn’t seem to matter. I really wanted him to have this book.

At my work, we receive thousands of books from our loyal patrons. We can’t possibly sell all of them. They’re recycled into insulation by a local company after the last word is read. Or I take them home. (I was going to downsize after this move!)

Sylvia Browne was my favorite psychic. When I heard her spiritual philosophy, I felt almost kindred. “If what I say resonates with you, keep it. If it doesn’t, toss it!” When she continued speaking – and truly, some of her knowledge was off the rails for me (trolls, for instance) – I continued to feel that glowing belly thing that tells me what I know.

Like me, she’s not an “all or nothing” type of gal. Pieces of truth can work for you and not for someone else. I’ve never understood what was so threatening about that, specifically regarding my religious upbringing. Having learned a little about her, I know that Sylvia Browne was a deeply religious woman. I am not. I enjoy being so fundamentally different and, yet, so fundamentally the same. Let’s be kind to one another, look for opportunities to learn, and have some fun! Someday, we’ll all head back to Source, whether it’s God or dirt. What’s the fuss?

I was delighted when “Book of Angels” landed in my refuse bin. I took an detour from the book I was on for a read that felt like a hug from my Cheerleaders on High.

Yesterday, I stayed at the theatre after my audition. I was to attend the matinee of “Sound of Music” that afternoon and had a couple of hours to kill. I finished the book and thought of Conde, wishing I could pass it along. I considered that I will, of course, run into him again. “Ah,” I remembered. “When? I’m not planning to carry a giant hardbound tome on the off-chance I’ll see him this day or that.” I wished again I’d taken that moment on the bus.

The show was good. I walked to my stop. I was tired after a long day and a lackluster audition. I sat down and, 2 seats in front of me, there he was! I’d walked right past him! How had I missed that turban and quilted rainbow dreamcoat?! My tummy started dancing (“Thank you thank you thank you!”) and I dug around in my backpack.

“Hello, Conde!” I beamed.

“Greetings!”

“Have a lovely day,” I said, presenting the book, “and may all the angels fly your way.”

“Oh, wow! Thank you! That’s amazing!”

“That’s the angels.”

“Yes, it is,” he agreed.

 

Not Bad

Not bad at all!

Marko and I pulled into Millcreek Bar and Grill, and I freaked out. “Why is it packed on a Thursday night?!”

It’s strange how the nerves never lessen.

Thankfully, by the time I sang I’d had two beers and the main dinner crowd had gone home. The remainder was a room full of mainly gratis musicians and their friends, and they beamed at me. What a wonderful place to push through fear. This is the best audition practice I could have hoped for! (March 22nd, “Children of Eden”… Wish me luck!)

Speaking of musical theatre, a friend from “How to Succeed” came to see me! I had posted on Facebook, of course, mostly just to congratulate myself on being brave and awesome, and Keith, who played Biggley in the other cast, showed up! Biggley was my “romantic” (wealthy) lead. (Hedy was a gold-digger with a heart of gold. 🙂 ) Keith and I performed together twice, my opening night and his closing. I was touched beyond words. I didn’t expect (or really even want) anyone to show up (yet), and I certainly wouldn’t have expected someone I only met in a show months and months ago. How kind!

It was a great night. I was calm up there! I remember thinking at one point, “Wow, my arms aren’t giving me any fits at all.” Haha! I seemed self-assured and very comfortable. My voice quivered a time or two and I hit one sour note, but it was a quick one and disappeared nicely behind the ending crescendo, which we nailed before bursting out laughing to great applause.

I have walked into something rare, indeed.

See you next week!

Image by Shaun Anders

SONY DSChttp://imagebyshaunanders.com/

I didn’t mean to have my hair in a ponytail, but it’s the one I like best. By a long shot. He asked if I had an elastic almost like an afterthought and said, “Pull your hair up for ‘Soccer Mom,’ and we’ll do a couple more.”

“Oh good,” I thought, “we’re done,” having no expectation of a haphazard up-do for my headshot. I guess that’s what it takes. Convince yourself it doesn’t matter, and get the pic. Photoshoots are, for me, as bad as auditioning. Worse, maybe. Auditions are over in 30 seconds. Photoshoots take hours! With that lens, always that lens finding every flaw.

This was among the last ten, I’d say. I think it took all that time to bloody relax.

(P.S. Shaun was great to work with, I have to say. This was the least painful photoshoot I’ve ever done. In fact, there were several other shots that were flattering, expressive, interesting, and/or evocative. The truth is, my hair was ghastly! Blerg. I cut off 3-plus inches a week later, which won’t affect the relevance of my headshot, as the ponytail looks relatively the same. I’ve been resisting/pretending, but I acquiesce: I don’t get to have long hair anymore. Mid-length at midlife for this old broad! That sad truth aside, Shaun gave great tips on how to beat the nerves, and helped me understand angles, mood, even the market, what’s current. He knows his shit. It was… fun. Almost.)

Airheaded Bombshell

I’m not the ingenue anymore, but I see I’m still being type-cast… the vampy ditz who knows a thing or two, haha! Call-backs are tomorrow. Wish me luck!

It’s good the email came, because I was starting to get sour. I got dumped-ish yesterday, and as the hour neared noon I began to feel like I’d yet again merely humiliated myself in an audition. It wasn’t the best, but that’s success for me. Historically, I bomb auditions, so any improvement is notable and necessary.

As for being dumped… The Climber and I have been seeing each other since we met on my 40th birthday. Our date Saturday changed everything. (Best hike ever. I can’t remember laughing so hard, and that’s saying a lot.) I liked John all along, but I was never giddy to the point of distraction. In fact, I was just beginning to worry about it. “Shouldn’t I be thinking about him non-stop by now?” I asked myself. Well… I am.

So, seeing the obvious change in the way I look at him, he texted Sunday telling me he definitely doesn’t want kids at his age (45). Being honest when it’s difficult makes him more desirable, of course, and all he has to do is hang around for the next couple of years. If I don’t find a breeder to take me on, he’ll be back in the running. Except… he never wants to live with cats again, and that’s my family whether I have a baby or not.

“He could be the perfect guy except for one deal-breaker, and that one deal-breaker is enough.” -sage fatherly advice from a friend’s dad

Next. Yet again, next. Sigh.

****

Wed. June 12, 2012

I worked really hard at that audition. I’m proud of myself for showing up and getting through, and I’m glad it’s over. I learned a lot.

Ugh!

Rats! Curses!

It’s hard to feel like “Success is showing up” when you show up with quivering voice, forgetting your breath, ruining your phrasology and musicality. It was… not good.

First, the age-old problem of hands. What the hell do I do with my hands? Amateur! You never clasp your hands. If you can’t engage in a natural way, they hang at your side!

Next, eye contact… I could NOT look at them. So I tried the over-their-heads trick, but then I thought, “No, you’ve already broken the fourth wall. Too late to sing to an invisible audience now. PERFORM! Look at them and sell it!”

So there’s ME have this internal dialogue – not a character, not a professional – lacking any joie de vivre! I was completely removed, talking to myself, not to them.

You know what’s worse than singing a big song? Disappearing inside of it. “You Can Always Count On Me” is such an easy piece to love, but I was a frightened little girl, certainly no woman known by “lots of smirking motel clerks who call me Mrs. Smith.”

They did let me finish. It was hell, but the girl before me was cut off. I think they could see that I can sing; I was nervous. They gave me ample time and opportunity to relax into my performance. I didn’t! In the second verse, I made exactly the same mistakes with my breath as I did in the first. Only this time, rather than cheat the breath in, I just ran out and faltered weakly at the end of the phrase!

I’m disappointed. But resolved, I suppose. Voice lessons it is. I didn’t practice sufficiently. That’s all there is to it.

They liked my joke. 🙂