Poor Dirty River Boys! I really want to write about them because their music is so great and they are such quirky characters BUT Buddy had his first audition Saturday. What Buddy and Bug do always takes precedence!
When I first saw the audition post for Camelot my interest was more to get back on stage and less in the show itself. I could tell that my family was still getting used to me being “back” from my time with Evita. I was considering waiting for getting involved in something in the summer or fall, not the Spring (which is when Camelot runs.) As I perused the list of characters I noted that there was a need for a 10 year old boy, small in stature for the role of Tom of Warwick. Suddenly, my interest was piqued. I happen to have a near 10 year old boy who is “small in stature” AND is fascinated with medieval knights, samurai, and soldiers of any time period really.
I asked Buddy and he was very much interested. We rented the movie and watched it together.
“Still think it’s a show you’d like to do?”
“Why, yes. Yes, I would.”
I explained a little about the audition process. The singing part deterred him some. He claimed to feel shy and embarrassed when singing solos though he had shined as various characters who sang solos in the past.
“They just want to see if you can perform, Buddy. The role itself does not require any singing.” With this reminder he was ready to proceed.
The first time he sang for me…Oh boy. It just was not going to do. Posture was poor. Annunciation was nil. Pitches were off. There was little to no expression. That’s fine. It’s just a practice. Little rusty…
Then we practiced entering a room, introductions, and just how to present himself to the panel.
“Let’s practice. You leave and then walk back in here and introduce yourself to me, perform your piece.”
Buddy left. He re-entered like a lamb headed to slaughter. His shoulders were hunched forward, neck protruding forward, face down, eyes casted up so he was looking through his long lashes.
“Hullo,” he said and he raised his hand about half way and let it flop back down to his side. A wet noodle could have given a better salutation.
“Hi. What’s your name?”
“Buddy,” he said meekly with eyes darting from side to side and his mouth in a slight pout. The kid looked terrified.
“Buddy, that’s not going to work. You look very nervous and fearful. You dont’ look like the character you are wanting to play. Remember that you want the role of a boy who wants to be a knight! He would be a boy of courage. Might for Right! A boy like you. This boy you are showing me now is nothing like that character and nothing like my Buddy.”
We worked on some of those issues and he made some improvements. I decided to call in a professional to give us both some tips. After Buddy met with the voice instructor I asked him how it went.
“Really good! There was a lot that I am doing right, which she pointed out to me and then there were things that I need to work on. Which, she also pointed out to me.”
“Well, how did you feel about singing for her?”
“It was fine.”
“And how do you feel about your audition now?”
“I’ve got it in the bag.”
Uh-oh. There is no way she made that much of an improvement. I was glad that Buddy was feeling more comfortable and confident but worried that it will make not getting a role harder for him. We practiced together some more. My thoughts were confirmed: better but not super.
Then one night we rehearsed with a pianist to accompany us. I don’t know where this Buddy had been but he was great! He stood confidently. Was loud and clear. He stayed on pitch though some of the higher notes were still a little thin to me. He was not embarrassed at all. The kid may have a chance!
The day of the audition we were both pretty cool about it all. Our time was not until after 6 p.m. so we had the day to prepare. We worked on it some that morning, went about our day and then returned to rehearsing together one more time before heading out.
It wasn’t until it was time to go that I started to get a little nervous. NOTHING like I was for Evita but there was still the fluttering in my belly.
“How do you feel Buddy? You nervous?” I asked as we drove to auditions.
“Um…a little bit. Are you?”
“About the same.”
“Hey Mom, there was this one show where the guy…” and he went on and on and on about various cartoons that he thought were funny or some book he read or something he did with Bug. It was his normal banter but it was not helping me. Usually on the way to an audition I get warmed up and run through my songs.
“Buddy, lets warm up our voices while we are on our way. K? Sing this with me…” and we began a series of warm ups of nonsense words climbing up and down scales. “Feel good?”
“Yeah. So, what I was telling you before, the turrets were firing down and…”
“Buddy, we need to start getting our heads into the audition right now. Would you like to sing through your song for me a few times?”
“I think once should do it,” he said. When he was through I sang mine too. More like 3 times each though.
“That sounded really nice, Mom.”
“Well, thank you. You sounded good too!”
“Bug and I really want to go and spend our Wal-Mart gift cards this weekend because there is this Lego set that…”
“Buddy, now is a good time to run through everything in your head. Picture yourself walking into the audition room. Introduce yourself and the music you will perform. I’m going to be doing the same thing so…let’s be quiet now and visualize what we are about to do.”
Finally it was quiet so I could do just what I told Buddy we should do. This is also part of my preparation time.
When we arrived I gave Buddy a hug before we entered the waiting area.
“I’m praying for you Buddy! Break legs!”
We entered the waiting area and grabbed clip boards to fill out the applications.
“Maybe I should fill yours out Bud.”
“No. I can do it.”
When I finished mine I took over on his. Buddy could see into the audition room. There was a panel of 4 people with a table before them. On their table was a box of Cheez Itz, Gummy Bears, Twizzlers, and other snack treats. Buddy started to act like he was going to get the treats.
“Please sit down, Bud. Those snacks are for the directors. Don’t eat their stuff.”
I shut the door between the waiting area and the audition room and continued with the application.
“Do you like to wear tights?” I read out loud. “That’s an odd question. Shouldn’t it read, ‘would you wear tights?'”
“Yeah! ‘Cause I definitely do not like wearing tights but if I absolutely have too then I guess I would,” Buddy said.
“I will mark you for ‘no’ but that you are willing to.”
“That’s fine. I probably would not have to anyway because knights do NOT wear tights.”
“Well, when they were not in their armour they did and your character is not a knight. He just desires to be,” I reminded him.
Applications completed, we were called in.
“You can go together or separate.”
“It’s up to Buddy. Would you like to go in alone or do you want me to come too?”
“I think you should come. Then you’ll know how I did and won’t ask me so many questions after.”
He is SO his father!
So together it was. I planted myself in a corner where Buddy could see me but could also block me out if needed.
“CHEEZ ITZ!!!” Buddy said as though entranced by the box before him.
The panel laughed.
“After you audition we will share some with you,” the director offered.
“Yeh-eh-eh-s….Cheeeez iiiiitz….” he said while leaning toward the box, arms stretched out with reaching fingers.
This is good. He is already entertaining them.
“What’s your name?”
“Wonderful. What are you going to perform for us tonight?”
“Gary, Indiana from The Music Man. I heard the lady that auditioned before me sing a song from the same show. Maybe we should do that one.”
“Maybe we will some time. We are ready when you are Buddy.”
The accompanist gave him no musical introduction (rude) and vocally lead Buddy in. Buddy sang with a smile and even framed his face with a pair of jazz hands on the “light my face” part, just like Ron Howard did when he was Winthrop. That brought on more laughter and then when he was finished they gave him applauses.
“That was nice,” the director said. “You sang loud and clear. Thank you.”
“Thank YOU,” Buddy said.
Next the director had him read some lines. Buddy is a very good reader and does not just spout the words but reads with flare and interest. We had practiced reading lines at home too but I was not very worried about his abilities here.
“That was very good. Now I want you to read this line again and when you say ‘majesty’ keep in mind that you are talking to someone very important,” said the director.
Buddy read it again but I did not hear any difference. There was no sound of reverence on the word “majesty.” Poo. This does not demonstrate his ability to take direction well.
After he read they let him pick from the snacks on their table. Buddy went for a Twizzler.
“‘Cause it will last longer!”
Then it was my turn. The accompanist once again did not play a musical intro which I sort of guessed would happen since he did not even do so for a kid! This made for a sort of sloppy beginning but once we were in sync it went quite well. I was very pleased with my ending!
“Very nice! Lovely!”
I grabbed Buddy and we headed home. We both found the experience to be so much fun! We loved working on our pieces together and having one another for support during the actual audition.
“The only thing though, Mom, if I don’t get the part and you do get one…I really would rather you not be in the show. The only part I liked about Evita was going to see you in it but the rest of the time we really, really missed you.”
“I will take that into consideration, Bud.”
The next day was call backs but Buddy and I did not get a call. Not that I’ve auditioned very many times before but this is the first time that I’ve not been called back. Some other friends from Evita also auditioned for Camelot. They said that they heard there were 150 people who auditioned for the show. One of them received a call back. He said there were about 50 people there. The ensemble was all younger than he (and he is about my age) which is odd. There was no Morgan Le Fey or Nimue which are the roles I’d be interested in so they may be pre-casted. There were also no Tom of Warwicks.
I suppose there is some chance that Buddy got a part since they had him read and that is likely what they would have asked of him at a call back. I doubt so with me. So we wait again though I am not holding my breath.