Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Smoked that Audition

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with what I want to write about tonight. But it is hilariously New York, and deserves to be shared.

Moving right along, you might remember my first jaunt online looking for auditions. I went to craigslist. One of the gigs was the film project I was part of (and still will be part of when my director gets around to emailing us with call times to the next shoot). The other, I described thusly: 'a play staged by "The Unknown Artists" looking for a 20-something male, amusing, slightly geeky sidekick character.'

Well, I wasn't totally sure what to expect. I read the description of the character, named Adam Elsis III, which didn't ring any bells. It was a funny sidekick who is chasing after the woman of his dreams and his favorite holiday, and then something about a random year in the middle ages. Then it got confusing. despite the fact that the year only has three digits, Adam apparently enjoys video games and can draw a movie parallel to any situation.

Well, I figured it would make more sense later. So I prepped a couple of monologues, double-checked the address of the studio, printed out my resume and headshot, and caught the subway to my first professional stage audition in New York City.

I felt confident. 'Funny, geeky sidekick' is almost exactly what I played in my last show in Seattle, and I had a good monologue straight out of that. I'd picked up a great dramatic monologue to pair it with out of a play nobody seemed to know. I felt good.

I got from Times Square to Pearl Studios on 8th Avenue in plenty of time. I checked in on the fourth floor, met the stage manager, handed off the resume and headshot, and collected a sheet with a few questions to fill out. At the very top was the title of the play: 420.

It wasn't until then that it clicked. 420 wasn't the random year in the middle ages. 420 was the holiday Adam was chasing after. I was auditioning for the part of funny sidekick stoner.

Any of you who know me personally probably know that, while a huge chunk of my friends partake, and I actually favor the legalization of marijuana, I've never smoked anything in my life, and never intend to. Not cigarettes, not weed, not even hookah. It's a personal thing, going back to a family I saw get ripped apart by drugs. I treat it the way most vegetarians do when it comes to friends who eat meat. I don't make a thing out of it, and I have no real problem with other people's preferences. I just happen to have my own on the matter.

And there I was, about to audition for a play called 420.

Well, I thought, I'm not there to play me onstage. I'm there to play a character. And I think, weirdly, this is one I can play.

They called me in. I gave my monologue. It felt.... okay. Not terrific. They asked me to wait outside. A few minutes later, I was handed a "side" (set of lines to read with a scene partner). In this case, I would read for Adam, while someone else would read for another character named Ryan. These were a couple of Adam's real lines:

"Well, we gotta get her drunk. Not 'there's vomit in my hair' drunk b****, just "I love nine because three times three is nine and I love three times three" drunk b****!"

"I was dreaming that is was 4/20 and that we had gotten apartment 420, and that it was 4:20pm and that that bag of peanuts cost $4.20 and that we were having a small gathering of 4 to 20 people and that we toked up and watched half baked, then toked up again and Watched super Troopers."

I don't care if I'm a straight edge in real life. This was going to be fun. Besides, this is a cold reading. Monologues are a challenge, but I eat cold readings for breakfast.

They called me back in, and I read with the guy already cast as Ryan. By the end, I got him to break character and burst out laughing, even though I'm sure he'd read and heard my lines at least half a dozen times that night alone. At that moment, I didn't care whether I got cast or not. That audition was a definite victory.

So, in my email inbox the next morning, I read this from the company:

Hey Joel. I wanted to say that you gave a really wonderful audition tonight. We have, however, decided to go in a different direction. BUT... I keep a very special file of actors that stood out and call them again for upcoming Unknown Artists projects all the time. I definitely see us working together in the future ;)
Thanks again. Great audition!

Like I said. Victory. Besides... for all I say about how much fun it would be to play a total stoner, I don't know how well I'd actually fit in with a show called 420.

1 comment:

  1. Close, but no cigar:)? Enjoyed the blog post title as well as the blog.
    Sounds like an interesting and positive experience. lv, anonymom