Sunday, May 30, 2010

#5. Boston Actors Theater Summer Play Festival

"Do you ever feel that people are like mannequins?" Glenn asked me. I wouldn't know his name was Glenn until he introduced himself to me two minutes later.

I smiled at him the same way I smile at someone who is complaining about a bus that's behind schedule.

Glenn was walking on the sidewalk in the direction I was coming from when an older, smaller woman mechanically stepped out of his way and resumed walking without acknowledging him as a living person with a destination at the end of his path.

"I did some paintings once," he said. "I painted people, portraits, and I combined them with mannequins. They weren't quite people, but they weren't quite mannequins. I thought that was interesting."

"Huh," I said.

"Does that make sense?" he asked me.

I could have concluded the conversation by telling him that I had someplace to be, which was true, but I didn't have to be there for a while yet. We had both come to a stop outside of Bruegger's Bagels on Harvard Street, which seemed to signify some kind of understanding between the two of us.

Actually, it would be a tenuous assertion to suggest that I understood anything about Glenn or my relationship to him. He could have stopped anyone on the street to talk to them about mannequins. As far as I know he had already done so six times since waking up.

But I couldn't discount the possibility that only at this moment did he summon up the gall to speak his mind about the inability of people in modern society to connect with each other and, by extension, their own selves. I felt it was my responsibility to meet him halfway.

We talked about how social mores, educational institutions and technology kept people from observing their environment or respecting each other. I told him about the transforming campus at Emerson College, that a certain percentage of pre-adolescent girls consider Facebook to be an integral factor in their life. I told him that, as an artist, I'd come to think many of the same thoughts that he had. For some reason I introduced myself as a writer rather than an actor, which surprised me after I had done it - it wasn't a lie, but it felt like one. I must have thought that there were too many stigmas attached.

Isolation and the impossibility of open communication haunted me throughout my school days. I'm mostly through with entertaining such ideas on a continuous basis, but Glenn, a gentleman some years my elder, spoke as though they would decide his actions for the rest of the day at the very least. I knew; Glenn was at a particular point in his life. I might have continued walking past him and left him with his thoughts if I hadn't fallen asleep wearing my contacts the night before, leaving my eyes scratched and watery and my vision slightly impaired. My defenses were down. Glenn and I both were being detached from our realities.

Still, I know the dangers of growing comfortable in discontent, having your dark thoughts validated. I looked at my watch and said "Oh!" and that I had an audition to get to. He bid me Good Luck, and thanked me for taking the time. I told him to take care.

I read one side for all the directors. I don't think they liked the look of my red, scratchy eyes, so that was all I read.

5 headshots remain.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Re: Zeitgeist Stage

Terry -

Recently ran across your blog entry about auditioning for FARRAGUT NORTH, and how you were surprised you weren't given a second side to read.

In the Information Sheet (yellow) you were handed to read, along with the audition form to complete, it states that due to the large volume of people auditioning everyone will receive only one reading. You were encouraged to "Make choices and take chances." We had over 130 people signed up to audition, which does not allow us time to offer multiple readings to those auditioning.

Sorry, you were disappointed that you didn't get a second reading, but we are up-front about that during the audition process.

David Miller
Zeitgeist Stage Company


Thanks a lot for reading. And thank you even more for your clarification.

What I personally like about my Farragut North post (it's not fantastic, but, well) is that it leads with the initial excitement over the material, but ends without even a reflection. I didn't mean to suggest that I was upset or that it wasn't at all worth my time. I just thought it would read funnier with that kind of brevity.

Though I hope to try and use my blog as a young professional's guide to the audition process, my 10 Headshots posts come very much from the gut. It's difficult for me to separate my working actor's mind from my writer's mind, as difficult as it is to recognize the results of my audition as being a reflection of my skill against expectations, or of my own karma against fortune. In these situations it's very easy to write from a "me vs. everyone else" perspective, and cynicism as a writing quality comes very naturally to me. I find that both children and actors have a hyper-developed sense of unfairness, and that theme tends to runs throughout the blog. It's fun, but I'm certain that it's not always helpful as a persisting mindset, to me or to any readers.

I did see Farragut North a few days ago, along with Andres' sister. I thought it was pretty terrific. And I'm not just saying that.

Keep reading, and I hope I see you around.


While I realize it is agonizing for actors putting themselves out there for the audition process, the producers are under an obligation - in my mind - to give everyone an equal opportunity and to be respectful of the actor's time. Since we had so many people come out for our last several auditions, we developed the 'one reading' rule as a way to try and do both. Communicating that to the actors beforehand is also important, I feel.

Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed Farragut North. Keep coming out, you never know when you'll be the right one for a role.