Friday, May 20, 2011

I'm Only A Simple Woman!

A month or two ago I got wind that the local theater was getting ready to post auditions for the Fall musical.  They were deciding between Jekyll and Hyde, Singing in the Rain, Evita and Gypsy.  Everyday I checked their website to see if a decision had been made and to get the audition details. 



I kept fretting about which show they would choose.  Could I audition if it was Gypsy?  I love that show but it's about the most famous stripper who never actually stripped.  Even though it's a clean program, the subject matter would keep my kids from being able to see the show.  Singing In The Rain is darn near a ballet and my dancing skills...well, you know.

The director of the program is the music teacher at my sons school.  Yesterday I was up there for the Recorder Recital (which was a lot less awful then I thought it would be) and she told me that they had chosen Evita and that auditions were to be held June 11th.  I was so thrilled to learn it was Evita!!!  I almost cried I was so pumped!

I have a friend from high school choir, Christina, that is an equity actor (i.e. professional live theatrical performer, gets paid) and has been living in New York doing her thing on local stages and even in tours.  I caught up with her on a trip to NY.  Seeing Chris and Olivia really working and pursuing their dreams on the stage woke something in me that I had kept dormant for years.  I am a wife and a mother.  I did not see how other dreams could fit in with my family.  But why not?  I'm never going to be a Broadway performer (I'll never even be on that stage to wipe up sweat) but I could perform locally and for fun! 

As soon as I heard there were auditions for White Christmas I got weepy and nervous and knew I had to pursue it.  I called Christina who took on the role of my mentor. 

"First things first: your goal is to audition.  Don't worry about getting a part.  If you audition you will have completed step one in becoming involved in local theater.  Then the next time there are auditions you will have that experience under your belt." 

Her wise words pulled my head out of the clouds a bit and gave me an attainable goal.  She helped me choose a song and taught me how to present myself as a professional and not as some housewife who had not been on any stage but that of her church's.  She took my endeavour as serious as hers and shared with me the details of her current auditions.  We were in cahoots.  I felt like I had someone in it with me even though she was under the flashing lights of Time Square and I was in a carpool line. 

Christina also explained to me that there is so much more that goes into a casting decision besides ones talent.  Are you the right age for the part?  Was there a guy who auditioned for the part opposite yours that would look right with you?  Women are often at the mercy of this factor because there are not many men who are in theater anymore.  (Stupid homo-phobes.  Come on guys!  Man up!)  In a small local theater it may be as basic as whether or not they already have costumes that would fit you. 

For me my boobs are a factor.  I'm not going to get the role of innocent Madame Librarian because the knockers kind of ruin the look of an ingenue.  That seems wrong and rude but it's the facts.  Picture Marilyn Monroe as...I don't know...Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.  Not gonna work.  Like wise I will likely never be cast in a role that Audrey Hepburn, Debbie Reynolds or Natalie Wood were cast in.    Not that I would get Marilyn Monroe or Jane Russel roles either.  Being over 30 puts me in a funky class of people.  We are probably too old for the ingenue and to young to play their mama.  Though the mama role is more likely attainable.   Being 5'0" has it's effects in the casting decision as well.

I think I could look like Evita, don't you?
 So now I'm looking at this Evita audition not knowing how to portray myself.  More than likely I will be cast in the chorus.  I had a small part in White Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it!  You give it your all when you're on stage and then back stage...Whew!  So much to do!  It was great helping with the quick changes and props.

Of course what I'd really love is the lead role as Eva.  She was short...check, she was Hispanic....check, she's cast as 25-35....check with an "eek."  She was sort of frail due to poor health...wa-wa-wah.  I'm a bit too "healthy" looking.  I would love this role but I don't want to audition for the wrong part and look like I don't know the show.  However I just saw Billy Elliott with an Asian you just never know. 

Christina has again been "coaching" me via the Internet.  She has big things happening for her in all aspects of her life but she is still kindly and genuinely taking interest and helping me out. 

She closed her last message with:
"So, my friend, we rehearse and wait, hand in virtual hand. We can do it! It's the same game, no matter where we are playing it."

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