Sunday, June 7, 2009

#4. American Repertory Theatre

As part of its Shakespeare Exploded! series, A.R.T. is seeking performers for The Donkey Show - a retelling of A Midsummer Night's Dream through the great disco anthems of the 1970's, and all sorts of clever twists like double-casting all the lovers as women and swapping out Titania's train of fairy handmaidens with club dancers.

I am great at Photoshop

The Loeb Drama Center by Harvard Square. I saw Anna Deavere Smith perform Let Me Down Easy there. It's a great place, but more often than not it hosts the kind of theatre I can't afford on a regular basis.

My comrade Andres Solorzano sent me a message on Facebook with the subject: "lets be fairies."

His message attempted to persuade Joe Ruscio, Silas Lohrenz and I to audition for the roles of Titania's club dancers.

The audition required a monologue and a song, and would include a dance call.

"I really don't know if I can bring myself to sing in front of strangers again," Joe said. "It hurts everyone involved."

"It's not the fairies or the singing or the dancing which bothers me about this," Silas said. "It's the disco."

"If you're for reals about this," I said, "I will go to the 11 a.m. session."

"Yeah," said Andres. "Let's do it."

I was awakened by my alarm clock on the morning of the audition. Immediately, I went to my computer, opened the Donkey Show thread, and said:

Feet are coldest when you first wake up

And then I went back to sleep.

I woke up again two hours later, regretting my decision to blow off the audition.

Forget embarrassment and fatigue. How the hell do I expect to get cast if I can't even show up to auditions?

"I could make the 2 p.m. session if I left right now," I said out loud to no one.

So I gobbled some Cap'n Crunch, stuffed my track pants into my backpack and hopped on the train. I had my monologue set, and I figured I'd at least try to sing "All the Things You Are" a capella.

I was late. Five minutes. I know you're not supposed to be late for an audition, but that's how it happened.

I walked in on the director, the choreographer, and six ladies mid-dance step.

"Ah!" someone said. "The requisite man."

The choreographer ran through the routine again for my sake.

I guess I should mention that the last time I ever went to a dance call was when I auditioned for Grease in high school. Sure, I got the role of Kenickie back then, but Boston is a lot bigger than Northern Valley Regional High School.

Mostly, I was counting on my training at Emerson to grant me the muscle memory I'd need to rise to the occasion.

And, hey! I didn't screw up that much. And when I did, I acted natural. That's right: I acted naturally!

Then the director asked us to do a little dance and tell a joke. All I had was:

Two peanuts were walking down the street, and one was assaulted. Peanut.

After everyone told their stupid jokes, the director asked me if I had any experience as a DJ.

"Well," I said, "I've hosted a talk radio show."

"But no experience with mixing tables?"

I remember what Ken Cheeseman said about what to do when an auditioner asks about your skills: If they ask you if you know how to ride a horse, say Yes and then sign up for horseback riding lessons the next day.

Of course, you'd run the risk of looking a fool if they take you out to the nearest stable after that.

"No," I said.

"Well, we've got your information," he said. "We'll let you know."

Ah, yes. Of course you will.

I wished the ladies "Good day" and let myself out.

I was the only male to show up and they still had no use for me.

If only I could've recalled better joke.

Andres' plan was to go to this audition as a group, so we could each bolster the other's confidence.

In the end, I was the only one who went. Even with no training in song or dance. I guess I wasn't able to rouse the Latin heat slumbering within me.

Hey, wait a minute! They didn't ask me to sing, or to do my monologue! The two things I was actually looking forward to doing!

And you know? They're still having auditions. Even after two months of auditions, they still haven't filled all of the roles.

I should audition again. Maybe by now they'll have lowered their standards.

4 down. 6 to go.

6 headshots remain.

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