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Monday, March 16, 2009

My Own, Private American Idol

I have an audition tonight.

Pirates of Penzance.

Major-General Stanley.

Community theatre.

God, I hope I get it.


(You still take me seriously, right?)

I once pitched a book proposal to an agent in New York City. He was gay, so I was sure he'd enjoy a proposal involving Gilbert & Sullivan. It was a life-imitates-art story about local community theatre group putting on "Pirates" and doing battle with a bunch of scurvy attorneys.

"Please," the gay agent wrote back to me, "I like you, but no Gilbert & Sullivan." He and I don't converse anymore-- Gilbert & Sullivan obviously ruined our relationship.

Thanks, guys.

I am very ill-prepared for my audition tonight, as I am for every audition I've ever had since middle school. I don't have the sheet music. It's all available online, but I'm just too lazy to find it and print it out. I've gone over the solos so much in the car with Mrs. Apron on the way to and from Vermont this weekend that I've got lyrics coming out of my ears-- and not just any lyrics, either: Sir Gilbert's lyrics. Parabolous, animalculous, Heliogabalus, etc, etc. I'm practically projectile vomiting five syllable words.

Mother, help me.

In some ways, I guess I'm over-prepared. In most ways, though, I just show up and pull something out of my ass, throw it against the wall, and hope it sticks. My anxiety manifests itself in bewildering displays of humor and tongue-tied-ness, which often leaves directors cracking up, if for the wrong reasons. My singing is, well, there's a reason I only audition for the doddering, old patter roles.

It's funny-- I teach audition techniques, but, really, I have no idea what the hell I'm doing myself. And I'd never suggest to a student that they do what I do when I walk into an audition.

* Okay, so what you really want to do is walk in, fidgeting.

* Make sure your face is pale, like you're three seconds away from throwing up.

* If you can have your eyes dart around the room, that's always good, too.

* Directors also love it when you make them repeat everything they say to you because you're fucked in the head to listen properly.

* Blather on and on about something totally irrelevant. That's money."

That's me in a nutshell! Miraculously, I have a pretty solid batting average, for some reason.


I hope I remember to do all that stupid shit tonight.

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