Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Hell Is Other People

When you enter the waiting room for a casting and the other actors are talking about  death, it’s safe to assume that this is probably a bad omen. When one actress is holding court as the others look on sombrely as she recounts the details of someone’s dying moments, you are perfectly within your rights to sigh and yet again despair at your choice of profession. 

I was quite looking forward to this audition. It was for a reasonably well paid job with a wonderfully written script and those making it seemed like thoroughly nice people. So you can imagine how dismayed I was to have my optimism swiped from me the second I walked in the door. Conversations in casting waiting rooms are often dire affairs. If you’ve never been to one then just imagine a whole host of men thwacking their penises on a table and meticulously measuring their length before embarking upon embellished anecdotes about how they arrived upon owning such a thing. Now, replace those men with actors, the penises with half-baked careers and those anecdotes with dull tales of imaginary directors. It’s a tedious affair to not only witness but also because you find yourself having to take a deep breath and become one of these boresome beings yourself. You can keep quiet thinking that you’re emanating an exotic air of mystery but all you’re doing is boosting the other actors’ egos by making them believe your career is as desperate as a turkey with a strong will to survive on Christmas Eve. 

However, yesterday’s audition was an entirely different affair. I think it could’ve been somewhere within the realm of pleasant if it hadn’t been for one actress. The possibility of interesting conversation hung temptingly in the air amidst the water machines and cheap art but this particular actress was keeping it just out of reach. As I posted on Twitter yesterday, I think the following exchange rather perfectly sums up what kind of person she was. In the following scene, she is played wonderfully by Actress 2:

Actress 1: I was told by my agent-


I almost admire her for the fact she could make ever single sentence about her. Now I know that actors have a special knack for bringing conversations back round to them but this woman would challenge even the fiercest of networker. So many times an actor would embark upon a fascinating story only for this One Woman Jackanory to latch onto a particular word like a limpet and force us all down an anecdotal alley that none of us want to be on. But then it was just the two of us left waiting. At first I tried just going along with it. Maybe one of these tales would lead to something utterly fascinating. Or maybe I could get her to talk herself hoarse, therefore helping to eliminate the competition. But neither of these things happened. Instead she just kept going like the Duracell Bunny on speed. I'd already tried getting the other actors in the room to speak but this just encouraged her into further stories. So I attempted the age-old ‘I have my phone in my hand so please give me some peace and quiet while I pretend to be busy’ tactic. But oh no. As I did my bestest acting of looking interested at my phone’s homepage, she continued to talk at me about the string of actors she’d previously worked with. There wasn’t a famous actor’s cousin’s friend’s nephew’s postman that she hadn’t appeared alongside and wow, was she determined to make sure that I went away with her full acting CV imprinted in my now very weary brain. Even looking at the script and pretending that I wanted to do some work to try and ensure I got the job didn’t make a blind bit of difference. Instead she just launched a monologue on her script learning regime. If I hadn’t wanted the job so much I’d have fled the scene, screaming my Shakespeare monologue into the wind. 

But how did it all end, I hear you cry? Well, our Storytelling Actress called me pretty and I smashed the audition in the normal sense and not in my usual way which usually involves at least one member of the production team being carted off to the local A&E Department. Wonder if this actress is available for hire…

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