As always after a show, I am immediately itching to do another. The absence caused by rehearsals is hard on the boys and so, my Readers know that, I have a One Show A Year agreement with my family. That, I must say, is starting to be stretched into 2 a year and/or maybe a chorale performance snuck in here and there.
After Jekyll and Hyde, I performed with the chorale for Christmas concerts. It was very fun but still…I yearned for a full musical production. I scoured the audition notices on-line but was finding nothing of interest. Nothing that would be worth the time away from home, anyway.
I got a call from my friend Lesley and she mentioned that she and Her Man were planning to visit in June. “I wished we could’ve seen you in Jekyll. Maybe you could arrange to be in a show during our visit,” she joked.
I didn’t find it to be so funny though. I found it could be quite do-able! In fact, a local theater (even closer than the one I usually perform with) is planning to run Spamalot. For those unfamiliar, it’s a musical based on the Monty Python and the Holy Grail film. How great would it be to go from a tragedy to a comedy?! Plus is it would run in June! It was perfect except for one itty-bitty-sort-of-major thing: my friend Becky’s wedding is during one of the performances.
It is not ideal but lots of shows will allow ensemble cast members to miss a show. It requires everyone to work around it but it’s usually not too huge of an issue. I emailed and gave full disclosure of my conflicting date. They encouraged me to audition anyway. I always learn something new at every audition so I figured, if anything, I would get a little more experience under my belt and was certain that a lesson was awaiting me!
For this audition we were asked to prepare 16 measures of a song in the styling of the show and a comedic monologue. The lead female role in Spamalot is Lady of the Lake. She sings a hysterical number called Whatever Happened To My Part, also referred to as The Diva’s Lament. I don’t know Spamalot but apparently she has a very present role in the first act but by act two you hardly see her. The song is a funny rant as to where her character has gone. I debated performing the number because they specifically asked for a song in the styling of the show not a song FROM the show but knowing that I had a schedule conflict it pretty much put the nail in the coffin for my ever getting the lead anyway, so I figured what the hell!
The comedic monologue was a bit of a challenge. Most of the female monologues I came across were about break ups or Why Can’t I Find A Man pieces. Really? Boring. I consulted a few friends in “the biz” and found a great monologue from a show called You Can’t Take It With You. Thank you John!
The bit was about a woman who found a dead cat and she was having a sort of memorial service for it. Towards the end she realizes that the cat she was cradling in her arms is actually a dead raccoon. It was the first monologue that I read that was stand alone amusing. The delivery is key for these but most of the monologues were inherently dependent on the delivery alone. It was also not a letter or a diary entry.
John recommended it just before I left for Iceland. I had all these intentions of memorizing it on the plane but…no. Didn’t look at it once. So I got back on Thursday night and began to prepare on Friday for my Saturday audition. Luckily, the monologue was short enough and entertaining enough that I could at least loosely memorize it and could deliver it like I was retelling a story a friend told me.
Yesterday was my audition. I wasn’t nervous at all until my drive up. I knew the musical director and the choreographer. When one auditions you always walk in and introduce oneself. I walked in and the music director and choreographer greeted me right away.
“Hi ladies!” I said in familiar recognition but it completely excluded the director who was not a lady. “And….gentleman….” I sheepishly added.
I worked a bit with the accompanist and then we jumped into the aud. I don’t really look at the casting…people…so I never see their reactions really. I felt tight on the end but over all it went well.
“OK. Let’s see the monologue,” was all the director said.
I got on my knees, as my character was in prayer, and began my piece. They laughed, which is a relief if nothing else! I heard someone say, “She’s a natural” and “hilarious.” There was good chatter after about the piece and the show that it came from. How I wish I actually KNEW the show!
The music director had me sing some scales to showcase my vocal range. I felt good about the whole thing and was ready to skip on out the door when my “lesson” arrived.
“Go on over to the piano, if you would, and learn this brief part from one of the numbers in the show,” the director said.
It was Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life. How lucky! My BIL and his friends used to pester our whole choir by singing this song on loop, when we were in high school. I had some memory of it. There were some words I didn’t know. I stood behind the pianist, squinting to read the words.
“Don’t worry to much about the words,” the director said comfortingly. “What we really want is for you to dance to it.”
“To…dance?” I asked. Crappity-crap-crap! No! It’s OK. I worked with this choreographer in Jekyll and Hyde. She knows, with work, I’ll eventually get it.
I was ready for the choreographer to come down and teach me a few counts.
“Yes, just dance. You make it up!” she said.
No. Not OK.
I’m not good with learning choreography but I do appreciate the structure it gives me. Do this. Not that. I really can’t stand when the choreographer says, “in this section, just free dance!” I don’t free dance. Nothing about it feels free. I completely tighten up like the Tin Man. There’s some movement but it gets tighter and smaller until…rusted.
I tried to just keep smiling and seem almost excited about it but I think the director saw right through me.
“You can’t make a mistake. It’s Monty Python!”
“Yeah,” the choreographer encouraged, “Just do whatever you want! But no lap dances…” she teased, alluding to my last role.
“But that’s the dance I know!” I joked back.
But they had me pushed to the end of the gang plank and it was time to jump. The pianist began and I found it in me to do a jaunty little side step with jazz hands and a ridiculous smile. I threw in a couple of box steps singing the parts I knew and then when I got to the lines I didn’t know I, for some god-awful reason, attempted to moonwalk. Badly. Oh it was so bad! And since I didn’t know the words I sang, “Gee, I sure wish I knew how to do the moonwalk right now!” and then returned to some pathetic side steps with the scared shitless smile plastered to my face.
“Great. Thanks,” the director said, bringing the “dance” portion of the audition to an end. Praise be.
I left feeling pretty good over all with what I offered. I am very doubtful of a call back since they forced me to show my hand and know that I’m a disaster on my feet plus, the scheduling conflict. Surely, they can find someone who is both able to dance and available the full run. I really enjoyed it though! I have such great ideas for that dance now! I can see a whole My Little Buttercup routine, ala The Three Amigos! It would’ve been great!
You can’t get called back to all of ’em.