13 December 2011

Ode to the Butterflies

Recently I was asked to Assistant Direct the school musical where I teach. (It's not the same as being on stage, and the show is one that I would do just about anything to be in, but it's a step warmer to the stage than I've been for the last year!) Auditions start today. This particular show will involve approximately 25 people - 1/3rd the number of the show from last year. You can feel the anticipation so thickly in the air you can cut through it.

I remember back when I auditioned for my first school play. I was a seventh grader, seasoned from years of pretending to be various characters in my living room and bedroom. I was sure that the director would cast me. Why shouldn't she? I was, quite obviously, the best choice. I remember watching the clock slug its way on all day, waiting for the cast list to be posted. A mere nine people in the entire school were going to be involved. I knew I was going to be one of them.

Except that I wasn't. My first (though certainly not last) great defeat. I was crushed.

The next year things went better. I managed to scrape by as villager number two and snagged myself three short lines by virtue of the fact that I went to every rehearsal whether I was scheduled or not.

Since then I've been involved in many shows and will, I'm assuming, add to that list. But I am very happy to say that my years of auditioning as a student in high school are behind me. Auditioning in community and regional theater is hard, but auditioning in school is worse. So, so much worse. You can't escape it. If you get the part you want, you're walking on air, but if you don't - and the odds are infinitely not in your favor towards getting what you want - then you watch another person do what you wanted to do, and, if you don't get cast, spend the next several months praying for the show to end so that you can move on. You're surrounded by it. Happiness you so wanted, but won't get. There's nothing worse.

So, dear auditioning students, know that I feel your pain. That I have been there. And that I do not envy you even a little. I too will be auditioning at least twice in the next few months. It's hard. It's embarrassing. (It's addicting.) But it is so, so worth it.

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