Friday, May 30, 2008

New Horizons, Narrow Streets

I mentioned a few weeks ago I thought about auditioning at the Winchester Little Theatre. They were having a 24 hour, cast, rehearse and perform extravaganza. Well, my niece's sweet 16 is tomorrow. BUT...they were also auditioning for their monthly reader's theatre talent pool. So I went anyway, and tried out for that. More on the audition in a moment.

With the help of GPS I found the a very confusing little town for out of town drivers to get around in. Few road signs, and the lane arrows are faded.Yikes.

But once I actually got there, and signed in and all of that, things improved. The guy in charge recognized me from The Lion in Winter and a few other shows I have done at theOpera house over the years. It's nice to be recognized.

For most of the preliminary time, I knew nobody at all, personally. Some looked vaguley familiar; possibly from times when my theatre group crossed paths with others, at some show or another, who can say? Or maybe i saw them in the local papers before.

Either way, not being an extrovert (listen to my latest radio show for more on that one), I sort of hung back, and reviewed a speech they had sitting out for prospective auditioneers. (That's not a word, but...)

Later, someone who was in Dearly Beloved with me last year was sitting right next to me...and I did not know it until she said absorbed was I in said speech. Then, "Mummy", from the Lion in Winter showed up, whom, blog readers will know, I have worked with various times and have known for years. So it was nice to see a familiar face.

Finally, we all gathered into the performance area. Very intimate modified thrust construction. (Seats on three sides of the performance space.) I liked it. I thought right away that it would be a great place to do some Shakespeare.

I kept batting back and forth in my mind as to whether to present the Robbie speech as my auditioning. I ran it several times today in my head, and even as I watched some other people audition. (Some with a prepared monologue, others reading from scripts provided.)

I had just decided to go with the monologue, (a big step for me, as most auditions I attend have not required them), when they called me up next. I think I was the third or 4th person out of 22 or so to go. Quite early, for me.

This set up was unique as compared to most other places I have auditioned. Not only were multiple writers casting for the 24 hour thing there, and not only were all the potential directors of the monthly readers theatre present, but so were all the other actors. I usually have to audition with a few people in my other venues, a small group. This time, the whole set of actors was present. So there was in fact an audience of about 40 people total.

I said where my speech was from, not knowing if anyone had ever heard of it, (I hadn't until I read it the other week). Then I just started.

The delivery was strong, but it was a little different than I have been doing it with myself this last week or so. I felt more of a pained sarcasm trying to come through in the character, but ultimately taking a back seat to the anguish of the suicide attempt, and the eventual joy of recollecting his decision not to. This organic weariness come forth as I recited it, which, if I dare say so myself, added depth to the speech that I did not think at this point, I had been able to summon.

Perhaps the intimate setting had to do with felt like an excellent environment for such a speech, for some reason. This closeness was fertile ground for this very confessional sort of speech, and I just went with it. I could have done some technical things better, I feel, but I was proud of my use of the whole stage. I walked around, but my foot on a platform, addressed different parts of the speech to different people. All and all, I am rather proud that I did not succumb to the temptation to stay in one place for the thing.

I was a tad nervous, because I had never auditioned for any of those people, and on top of that had used a piece I had never tried out with before...fresh from "offbookdom" just days ago. I think that added an edge to the delivery that I usually had not felt when reciting it...and I think that may have added some of the depth to it as well.

Overall, I did very close to exactly what I wanted to do with the speech. I might have slowed it down a bit, but everyone seemed pleased.

Then I sat down, and was not called back to read again for 45 minutes. Many people went up multiple times, (some to do some really wacked out improvisation, which they were usually pretty good at), before I was called down one more time to read a scene with someone. I seem to have done that was the 5th time a group had presented that piece, but people were still laughing. I suppose I did something right.

Then, after a few more people went up, that was pretty much it. The readers theatre types had their picture taken, for future reference, and I left. (Only to get lost in the extreme VA backwoods for a while on the way home...thank God for GPS.)

My understanding is that notes were taken on each person, as well as a picture, for future reference. Whether or not they will select certain people to be in this readers theatre pool, and said group will do all the shows, or if they just reference today's audition notes each time a readers theatre comes up, and call people accordingly, I am not quite certain. I could have asked, but they had enough things to do, what with getting reader for the Train Wreck. Ergo, I figured, if they want me for any given thing, I will get a call. And if I can do it, I will, and if I cannot do it, i will apologize.

I may in fact be automatically in the talent pool just for showing up, for all I know. I know that only 4 people were reading exclusively for readers theatre, with most of the others reading for both. (A few just for the Train Wreck.) I also know that the amount of people who tried out for the Train Wreck was pretty much the same as the roles everyone who tried out for the Wreck will get to be in it. That is nice. I do wish I could see it...and really think it would be a fun thing to be in. But, it was not in the cards this year. Perhaps they will do it again next year.

So there you have it...never theatre, new city, new speech in front of new people. Such a great deal of newness, I think I will go watch an old familiar movie just to recalibrate.

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