I had an audition. It may be a simple sentence, but it holds a ton of weight for me.
For those of you new to these parts, I have a degree in acting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After graduation I moved to Chicago to follow my dream. Seriously, as cliché as it sounds, that’s what I did! Supporting myself as a nanny, I took a class, joined a theatre company, and performed in many shows until a sudden back injury (and then surgery) forced me to take a break. A while later I got engaged, married, moved, and just recently had a baby.
This brings us to the fact that I have been on a LOOONG hiatus from the theatre world. My headshots are labeled with my maiden name. My monologues are rusty, and my resume is looking thin. It feels uncomfortable and scary how far removed I’ve become from the world of live theatre but it is what it is. My personal life has been my priority recently.
About a month ago (after attending a Shakespeare play) I decided to browse the audition listings for the Twin Cities. Well, the pickings were slim or the ones I was interested in were too far away to make it work (Remember, we only have the one car.) Finally, I saw something that seemed plausible, an audition for two Shakespeare plays in rep (alternating) with ensemble casting. Unfortunately, all the auditions slots were taken. I kept checking back for a few days in a row just in case someone had changed their mind and deleted their name (which happens a lot) and still nothing was available. But on the Friday before the audition I finally saw an opening!!
Before I could think about it, my body took over. I signed up before I even knew what was happening. Then I freaked out. In a bad way. What was I thinking?? I started second guessing myself, convinced that I was going to be terrible. What was the point? I’d never get cast anyway! I’m too
old fat weak nervous scared. This wasn’t a simple audition to me, it was a leap back into a world that I had deserted, a world I wasn’t sure had any space left for me, a world I wasn’t even sure I wanted anymore. Deep.Stuff.
I am now an actor with a child. I’m a nursing mother. I have a home and a husband, and it’s no secret that the nomadic artist bit works a lot better when you’re unattached with a free schedule. I have other people to consider before I make big life decisions. But I couldn’t tell if I was scared about being away from The Wee One most evenings for three months or because of the audition itself, so I decided to go for it. Do the thing that scares you, right?
I prepared for the audition by reading and studying both Shakespeare plays so as to get comfortable with all of the female roles. I worked on the scripts every evening after he was in bed and even spruced up my old resume. The desire to be on stage started as a tiny flicker in my gut and by the time I went to the audition, it was a cackling and sparkling flame. I wanted it.
But I also wanted to stay home with my family where it was safe and warm. I kept ruminating on the same thoughts. Auditioning is NOT for the weak of heart or the thin-skinned. Did I really want to jump back into this world of rejection? What is the rush (my baby is only a baby for so long)? Is all this time spent preparing (and not hanging out with The Wee One) worth it?
I’ve been feeling so content and happy lately but stressing about all the things that go along with auditioning caused a few serious meltdowns in a matter of five days. Again, I thought, “Is it worth it?”
My favorite acting professor from college, whom I blogged about HERE, said to us in class, “Some of you want an easy life. You should leave right now.” The nature of the beast is that it’s not easy to put yourself out there as an actor and that peaceful and content feelings do NOT accompany the theatre business so it’s best to avoid it if you can’t handle a bit of craziness in your life.
How did the audition go you might be wondering? It went poorly. I didn’t get to show off any of my preparation but instead had to cold read a random monologue. I guess I misread the audition info because I thought I would have been reading from the actual plays. All that work for nothing. Or was it for something…
I have been really good at taking life one day at a time recently. For now, I’m tiptoeing back into the world of theatre. I know that I will have to jump into the deep end soon enough and attend audition after audition if I want to get back on stage, but for now it’s good. The water feels nice.