Auditions give editor butterflies

Auditions give editor butterflies

Auditions give editor butterflies

Two weeks ago, the production team for the spring play, Praying for Rain, held auditions in the Black Box. Theatre majors and enthusiasts had to bring an résumé, be prepared to answer questions and perform a 90-120 second monologue for the director. Easy enough, right? That’s what I thought.

In order to give readers of The Chart a better understanding of what the audition process is like at Missouri Southern, I signed up for a time slot. I acted in about a dozen plays and musicals throughout my adolescence, and I’m pretty confident in my on-stage abilities. So I made some calls to old theatre pals, found a decent monologue and then did what all cocky college guys do best: put it off. That was the worst mistake I made that week.

An hour and a half before my audition, I thought it was high time to start memorizing. After checking to make sure none of my roommates were home, I stood in my living room, monologue in hand, and practiced my lines, my movements, my facial expressions, until I knew it all by heart.

“Piece of cake!” I thought, sitting at my computer to watch the latest installment of The Office online. “I’m going to nail this thing.”

Later, on my way to the audition, I thought it would be a good idea to recite my lines in the car and then check foggy spots in my script. It was as if I hadn’t even read my monologue before. Was my heart beginning to beat faster?

Still feeling fairly confident, I showed up in the audition room, résumé in hand, and signed in for my audition. I was going first out of all the candidates. And, of course, I found out then that the director was pulling an old test of the wit – the waiting game.

“Do my palms always sweat this much?” I thought to myself.

So I waited. Using my journalistic powers of observation, I looked around and noticed others chatting across the room.

“They must be theatre majors,” I said to myself. “Look at how they don’t seem nervous at all.”

Right about the time my stomach entered my throat, the stage manager told me I could go on in. So I walked into the “black box,” which is a box-shaped room painted entirely black. The director sat in the middle of the risers and smirked politely at me.

“You may begin whenever you’re ready,” she told me.

I have always been good at making things up on the spot, but usually I at least have a starting point. But what do I do if the part I need to make up is the starting point? So I froze. I had forgotten every line. Eventually I realized my facial expressions would not get me through this monologue, and I would need to say something. I mumbled a few things and jerked my body around in movements that I thought felt stage worthy. After a brief conversation with the director, it was all over, and I was on my way home.

The anxiety never left, however, or at least not for a couple hours. I found myself thinking all night whether or not I was good enough. I had the stomach wrenching feelings that one gets when his online RPG character gets randomly deleted from its server. My self-worth and confidence plummeted like the dollar bill in the world market. At last I realized: I only auditioned to be able to write this article.

The next day, the stage manager contacted me and told me I was invited to the callback.

“But everyone gets called back,” she politely added at the end.

Needless to say, I did not get a part. And even though I went into the ordeal honestly hoping I would not make it, I was surprisingly bummed when I saw the posted cast list hanging on the callboard without my name.

Praying for Rain will play January 22-26 in the Black Box. Southern students may book two free tickets, while, for others, tickets are $3 for adults and $1 for senior citizens and those under 18.

I definitely recommend seeing the show, keeping in mind the torment all the actors went through to get on that stage, and maybe in the future, go through an audition process on your own. You never know – you might find something you enjoy.