A(ck!) Is For Auditions

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I haven't been entirely honest. 

When I structured this experiment, I didn't consider that auditions are often a sensitive subject. I am not a natural auditioner. For me, auditioning is very different than acting, and it's a skill that requires near-constant practice. 

Before, I could always a read a room. I knew if my audition went well. I always knew if I was getting a callback. I was never wrong. Lately, however, I've been wrong. And for that reason, I've let a few blog posts go by because I just wasn't ready to talk about it.

But, that's what the experiment is about! This experiment was born from my frustrations with auditioning, so it's necessary that I talk about my experiences here. 

Yesterday, I had an audition- a big one. Let's get to it!

THE EVENT: Every year, Seattle casting directors gather for three days for general auditions. Actors have a strict two minutes to show them what they've got. Yesterday was mine.

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THE BROKEN RULE: I could go on and on listing fashion rules for auditioning - particularly for musicals. Here's some I've heard often, and broke yesterday:

  1. Don't wear patterns. 
  2. Wear a bright, bold, jewel tone.
  3. Show off your figure, but not too much. (Isn't that a fun and straightforward rule?!)
  4. Look your very best. (HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? WHAT IS MY VERY BEST? ISN'T THAT SUBJECTIVE?)

THE OUTFIT: I have obsessed over this outfit. I bought a new dress for it, which ended up looking horrible. I wanted to emulate powerful women, and abstract ideas, and not follow rules, and it all got very muddy and overwhelming.

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In the end, I asked myself what I felt best in. The answer was easy: my poppy print dress! Traditional audition attire is a fit and flare knee-length dress in a bright color, and my dress is not that. It's maxi, it's patterned, and it's mostly black. I do think it flatters my figure, but it also covers most of it. And I love it. 

I wore it with my green granny boots, not the traditional heels. I straightened my hair, and skipped the traditional curls, and I wore a nude matte lip color, not the traditional red.   

And I felt pretty damn good about it. 

THE EXPERIENCE: I wish I could say, "The outfit did the trick! I had my best audition ever!"

I can't say that.

I wasn't very happy with my audition. I don't think I bombed it, but it didn't meet my own, very, very high standards.

It began well. The accompanist told me I had a great entrance walk (thank you green boots!) but after that, it was just sort of meh. It was the shoulder shrug emoji. I left quietly, and while walking to my car in the cold, pondered how soon was too soon for wine.

Once at home, I took off the dress and put on some cozies. I refrained from the wine for a solid three hours until we had dinner, so that in itself felt a bit like an accomplishment.

Remember how I said my ability to read a room had gone all wacky? A few hours into being back at home, I received a Facebook message from a friend. She'd been timing the auditions and thought mine had gone great. (Thanks, friend! That's exactly what I needed.) 

So, for me, it seems down is up, and up is down - hopefully not for too long! 

THE CONCLUSION: I am too jaded to think that my outfit can have any magical powers over my auditioning ability. I know that part is up to me, and not my clothes. However, yesterday, even if I wasn't jazzed by the final product, I felt authentic. 

In previous years, I opted for humorous audition material. It seemed easier to be a ham in two minutes, than attempt deeper emotion. This year, I did a dramatic monologue that really resonates with me. I sang a song that is occasionally discouraged, but I rearranged it into something new. And I wore a dress that I love, even though it isn't what's expected. 

I attribute these changes in perspective to this experiment. Reevaluating how I present myself to the world has seeped out of just clothing, and into other facets of my life. It's an outcome I didn't expect, and I'm pretty excited about it.

So, yesterday may have not been my day. But there will always be more auditions, and more rules to break at them.

Until next time!

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