Monday, November 12, 2012

#5. She Kills Monsters

Oh boy! It's always exciting when Company One announces a show with a sizable cast. And especially when it's a show that was written by someone from Vampire Cowboys!

I wanted to a see a Vampire Cowboys show once years ago, Soul Samurai, but it was sold out, so I never did! Which is too bad. These cats seemed to be doing the sort of things I thought I'd like to be doing in Boston.

My roommie, marathon-runner and actress Chelsea told me about it, and we dived at the opportunity to audition. Days later we received our audition instructions.

  • When you enter the audition room you will complete the following fill in the blank:
    "The nerdiest thing about me is _________ ."
  • Next, please bring five images or objects that somehow relate to that nerdiest thing about you.
  • Next, please recite a text that you love to recite. Any text, as long as it is one minute in length or shorter.
  • Last, you will be asked to read from one of the sides provided at the audition.

Now THIS was a comprehensive audition! So much leeway, so many facets to control, so many ways to stand out from everyone else!

Four days later, we got an update. Due to the overwhelming response from the audition posting, in order to make time for everyone, the audition requirement was changed to a two-minute contemporary monologue. Well, I guess I coulda seen that coming.

They also sent out a copy of the script. I thought maybe I'd still audition with something from Speed Racer, which I would've done before the audition change, but I figured if they were playing it safe maybe I would, too. I went with Candy Factory, which seemed more tonally appropriate.

I was early for the audition at the BCA Plaza Theatre, the first actor there, beating even the director. I filled out my availability and my stage combat experience and hung around looking at the various paraphernalia in the lobby. I saw Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo was getting some good press!

Two ladies still went in to audition before me - I guess they wanted to stick to their schedule. It didn't work out quite so well, 'cause I didn't get to audition till after my assigned time. What's nice about C1 auditions is that they're predictable - always pleasantly staffed, always behind schedule.

When I got in, I met Shira, Phil, and Corianna. For my audition I planned on using a chair in the theater - pretending my hands are tied to the back of the chair is my bread-and-butter for this monologue. There was no chair. So I sat on the lip of the stage, with my legs out in front of me.

Thinking back, I guess I shouldn't've chosen a sitting-down monologue to audition for an action-packed show.

Afterward, the director asked me a lot of questions. Where I was from, why I was still in Boston. She was also the first person to ever ask me during an audition what the plot of Another Bad Night at the Candy Factory is: "Two guys are stuck in a candy factory, and at the act break they're tied up waiting for a man from an underground tribe to murder one of them so he can get his big boy pants."

She also asked me about Emerson College. "Honestly?" I asked.

"It's safe here," she said, gesturing to the mostly empty theater.

"I liked everyone at Emerson and I'm happy to have met everyone I did. Emerson itself was not very helpful. It's a small school that acts like a big school. Now that I'm out, I don't feel connected there at all.

"I went to Emerson because, on a tour, one of the guides said her friend was mounting a staged production of The Nightmare Before Christmas. I found out that had everything to do with the people in charge of the production, and nothing to do with the school.

"I did learn a lot about the emotional and creative aspects of acting, but very little about the mechanics. I'm training for voice over now, and I'm learning so much that I thought I would've learned by now for all the money I spent."

I think I spoiled the good will I was given with my biliousness. They were still very pleasant, and I think I was still complaining about Emerson when they said Goodbye.

The two women who auditioned before me were asked to "wait a moment" so the stage manager could check with the director to see if they should be asked to stay longer to read from sides.

The stage manager did not check when with the director after I stepped out, telling me immediately that I was "released".

Message received, loud and clear!

5 headshots remain

Friday, November 9, 2012

Monologue: Speed Racer

My love for 2008's Speed Racer is well-documented. An awesome thing about the film is that almost every major character has a monologue. The truth is, this particular monologue has been sitting in a text file in my Documents folder for a while. I finally built up the nerve to use it.

I've been told using a story as a monologue does not make an effective audition, as the events of the story have already occurred, and the point of an audition is seeing how you can deal with circumstances in the present. I believe that in the frame of this monologue, telling the story is a means to the end, not the end in itself.

Immediately before the text, Speed is offered sponsorship by the president of a gigantic automotive company. Accepting would mean dumping his current manager - his father.

In this moment, Speed paints the picture of a man who, though he may be stubborn and rough around the edges, is driven by the love for his craft and his family. Speed turns down the offer, not because of guilt or fear of reprisal, but because deep down he realizes just how much he takes after the old man.

I took some liberty in filling out the text a little bit to provide some context, since there is no accompanying montage.

This isn't an easy decision for me.

For my family, racing is everything. We eat, drink, think, and breathe racing. I mean, I was taught to drive before I could walk. When my brother died, all that went away. I can't tell you how painful that was for all of us. It nearly killed Pops. He didn't set foot in his shop for over a year.

But one night when I was still pretty young, I couldn't sleep. I figure maybe I'd go out and fall asleep in front of the TV. And I went into the living room and there was Pops, in his beat up robe, watching some old races he recorded.

He barely even notices when I sit down next to him. It takes a moment before I realize it's the '43 Prix he has on. I'm still trying to figure out how far into the race it is, and all of a sudden Pops starts screaming, like he's seeing it for the first time. And then I started screaming.

And as Burns and Stickleton duked it out, heading for the finish, we were cheering our heads off. And the second the black and white came down, we looked at each other, like we're seeing each other for the first time. And right there we realized the naked truth: racing is in our blood.

But for Pops, it isn't just a sport. It's way more important than that. It's like a religion. And in our house, the major sponsors are kinda like the devil.

I don't mean to offend you, sir, and I do appreciate your offer. It's just, I guess I understand his point of view. And after all we've been through, I don't think this kind of deal is for me.