Monday, 19 September 2011

Mind Readers

Actors are mind readers. This is apparently a universal fact that is widely known throughout the acting community. It's just a shame that no one bothered to tell us. Of course, no one thought they needed to because we should've picked it up from someone else's thoughts already. Stupid us.

Sorry. You're probably all a bit worried by my pessimistic opening when my blogs are usually so upbeat and cheery (quiet you.) But today was a day of 'Bad Audition.' These come round every so often and are as inevitable as chuggers on a high street. But today's audition wasn't awful because I messed up my lines. I wasn't running late and I didn't fall over when entering the audition room (you know the drill by now...all of these things have happened before.) No. It was bad because I wasn't the mind reader that they thought I was. Apparently I was supposed to know the whole script, the complete breakdown of the character that I was up for and also the full rehearsal schedule. I mean, they only sent me four very vague sentences to learn so really I have no excuse. Slap my wrists and call me useless.

To be honest, I didn't really get off to the best start. Despite the waiting room being run by maybe the loveliest man alive, I was instantly annoyed by someone using the word 'champion' upon finding that there was a jug of tap water. I was then called up to the audition where the director and I both recognised each other from a previous audition years ago. I attempted polite conversation about this (despite remembering that I wasn't a fan the first time round) but I was completely ignored. I performed my speech, was given feedback which came from a voice balanaced precariously upon a knife edge of annoyance about my lack of knowledge of the play. I did it again. I asked questions about the rehearsals and was basically told to leave and bother someone else with my pointless queries. Never has my stock exit line of  'It was really lovely to meet you' been so insincere.

The lack of psychic ability has been an issue in the past. I had one audition where I found myself in the horrible, almost pitch-black, basement of a director. There was never any mention of the character needing to be able to speak another language and although my CV held no mention of another language on there (believe me, I'd love to have something to put alongside lonely 'English') he got annoyed when I didn't have a song prepared in a foreign tongue. My punishment was that I then had to hum the whole of 'Happy Birthday' while sat 2 inches away from the camera lens. The lesson from that audition? When someone asks you for a song, ignore the stupid voice in the back of your head screaming 'Happy Birthday!'

The worst though was for a very well paid feature film and I was somehow up for the lead role. The casting director had contacted me directly and provided no information about the film or what it entailed. When I arrived for the audition, they gave me a scene to look at for ten minutes which was of two women discussing their hopes and dreams for the future. All pretty simple you'd think. But no. Just as I was about to perform the scene for the audition panel, and I mean just as I opened my mouth to say the first word, the director mentions that I should be aware that the two characters have just escaped from a mental asylum. I don't know if this was some cruel trick to test my acting ability or if they had genuinely forgotten to tell me but it threw me. It threw me out of the window, over the rooftops and into the Thames. My brain made the snap decision not to go for a stereotypical 'madwoman' and played it in the way I felt was right. Oh how wrong I was. Never did I think that I'd actually be told off in an audition. The director proceeded to tell me that I could never hope to have a career if I continued to play safe and that they'd wanted me to go 'mental' in the scene. I then had a two minute lecture on my attitude towards acting, was made to read it again and I left feeling about as low as I could get. If only my psychic powers had been working, then I'd have known not to go to the damn audition in the first place.

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