I am parked outside the studio waiting for my turn to audition, nervous as shit, (Don’t know if shit gets nervous, but I imagine it does.) trying without avail to memorize this fucking monologue that I have chosen for today. I was supposed to have memorized a two to three minute monologue but my memory is shit. (Not the nervous kind!) I have spent the better part of the week trying to memorize this two minute piece, but I’m still fucking up the lines half way through. I’ll be grateful if I don’t totally embarrass myself. Maybe they will let me just read the damn thing.
I get out of my car five minutes before Showtime, and started to look for 10 Wiltshire. Merde! I was looking at 53 Wiltshire and now had just 4 minutes to reach the rehearsal hall. Shit.Shit.Shit. Walking briskly now I reach my destination with one minute to spare. I knock on the door as per their request and was escorted by the stage manager into a small room where I signed the requisite forms and waited for my turn.
The stage manager pointed to a closed door. “You’re up darlin'” she most definitely did not say, but it’s what I heard in my head. In reality she just said “Push that door open, they are waiting inside.”
I walked into a darkened room lit with a spotlight in the center, and a trio of babes sitting on a long bench in the back of the room. They looked like Charlies Angel’s waiting for a call from Charlie.
“You’re up” said the blond one.
“Can I read my piece?” I asked hopefully
“Sure” said the one with the long brown braids.
“Phew” I said to myself and the ghost of Joe Greenbaum, my Dad and fellow thespian hopeful who never took his chance to be in the spotlight.
I read my monologue and Braids laughed and Blond Girl chuckled and the Kate Jackson of the trio said nothing.
The blond one introduced herself as Jen, and the girl with the braids was Evangelia and Kate Jackson’s name has escaped me.
“Okay” said Jen “Can you please read your piece again? I want to see how you take direction.”
“Black, one sugar” I said (Oy! Why did I say that? I’m trying too hard!!)
Luckily all three ignored my faux pas, as Jen instructed me to be more “In the scene and in the moment and…”
Jen suddenly stopped and said:
“Umm, I’m sorry to interrupt but a mouse just dropped from the ceiling!”
I turned to my right and sure enough there was a cute little mousie running stage left.
Evangelia calmly tried to capture the mouse with her plastic Tupperware bowl, but mousie had escaped to live another day.
I have ten thousand issues but cute mousies aren’t one of them.
“Interesting development” I said to break the tension.
“Anything can happen in the theatre.” said Jen
“Have you ever read the Angelina Ballerina books?” I asked.
“They feature a dancing mouse named Angelina, and since Angelina is my middle name, this mouse must be my power animal!”
The trio surprisingly had no comment, other than to say ” Proceed and try your best.”
I tried my best to do just that, because this was my chance to have a life re-do.
I was eight years old in the summer of ’64 when my parents sent me to Camp Wahanowin, where all the cool kids were supposedly going. My parents were determined to have a child popular with the ‘In’ crowd. Sadly I was not even a member of the ‘Out’ crowd, but at eight years old I had no agency, so off I went.
That summer we were doing the play ‘Li’l Abner’ and I was trying out for the part of Daisy Mae. I knew my parents would be happy if I snagged the lead. I was so excited when the Drama Counselor offered me the prime role of Nurse. I was going to be on stage the entire time! Unfortunately Nurse said not a word throughout the duration of the play. Was I given this role because I spoke differently? I was born with a rare syndrome named Moebius that affected my tongue and speech. I tried not to think about how different I looked and felt, but the shame of being different and then given the silent role of Nurse, stopped me from pursuing my dream of acting until now.
Because now, I can. Because I am the only one who need approve of me. Because shame is toxic and exhausting. Because I am determined to hold my little eight year old’s hand and say to her “I got you!”
After my second go round the trio talked about the theatre troupe’s auditions, telling me that 99% of who they had auditioned so far were seasoned actors.
“Well there goes that” I said silently to myself.
I told the trio thanks for the memories and left the building, only to get a message from Jen late last night asking me to come in tomorrow with a 3 minute memoir piece of my own.
I stood up way past my bedtime of 9 p.m. with my IPhone stop watch trying to make sure my piece fit the requisite 3 minutes.
This morning I walked in faux confidently and read my poem. Jen said that she will call me by Wednesday and not to wait frantically by the phone.
“It’s okay” I said.
“I can wait.”