Saturday, June 23, 2012

#2. Whistler in the Dark Season Auditions

Heard of Whistler? You should've! I've written about them once before. And lemme tell you, they're great.

Auditions were for "a play" by Caryl Churchill and "a play" by Timerlake Wertenbaker, and that any actor's audition materials should be in the style of one of these plays. Even though the plays haven't been decided yet!

That was a little frustrating. However, I do appreciate the level of effort being request on the part of the actors. No use falling back on some old monologue, they seem to dare!

So I worked on an all-new monologue from Shaw's Candida. I figured, "Hey, these playwrights are British, sometimes write period pieces, and deal with feminist ideas!" Or in Shaw's case, anti-feminist, but still very penetrating looks into the relationships between men and women and how men-ness and woman-ness can get in the way of that.

The audition place was Charlestown Working Theater, which I'm pretty familiar with now having seen and assisted on a couple of Theatre on Fire. Nate Gundy, a Whistler regular and fellow Freedom Trail player, pointed me upstairs. The actor pen was right next to the audition room, so even though many people wanted to talk, they could not. I said Hi to some familiar faces, including Dakota Shepard and Caroline Price who were in Fresh Ink's phenomenal production of Priscilla Dreams the Answer. Phenomenal because I stage managed it.

When I stepped into the audition room, the directors of the two productions, Meg Taintor - who is also a prolific promotional photographer for many fringe productions - and Mac Young - who I was in Imaginary Beast's Dracula with - both gave me a hug. And then I did my monologue.

AND THEN, Jennifer O'Connor, Whistler co-founder and another Freedom Trail player, stood up and acted as my scene partner when Mac asked me to do the first half of my monologue again, with more of an emphasis on driving my point home and "winning" the argument. So I went again. And it felt so much more natural, especially with someone who - Jennifer was good at this - would let their attention drift if I was not catching it, forcing me to push even harder.

I was disappointed in myself a little for not achieving that level of realism on my first go. Nate Gundy assured me on my way at that at least I could take direction. Thanks for saying those words, Nate Gundy.

Looking back, I realized this is how my first audition with Whistler went as well. I LOVE this practice of doing the monologue again with a new direction and someone to talk to, like you would be doing if you were cast in a goddamn play. It's a brilliant way to deal with the monologue problem -  That is, the problem of everyone hating doing monologues - just make them dialogues! Even if the other person doesn't talk.

This is one of the most pleasurable experiences I've had at an audition. And maybe it's partly because I knew so many people involved. Maybe that means: I'm doin' it?

8 headshots remain.

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