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10:27 pm - Mon 9/23/02
The Geffen: Part II

The Geffen: Part II

Today I felt more like an actor than I have maybe since I got out here.

And I don't think it's a coincidence that this was also one of the best days I've had in quite awhile.

(On Friday, I spent the afternoon at the Geffen, hoping to be seen by the casting directors for that theater and the Pasadena Playhouse, during their Equity "Open Call" auditions. But I got there too late, and time ran out before my number came up. I wasn't going to go back today--Auditions were continuing today and tomorrow--until Tony B. offered to work for me. Thanks Tony!)

I got to bed at 1 a.m. this morning, woke up three times during the night (The third time shortly before 6:00, when my alarm was set for 6:45), and was feeling so exhausted--You ever have one of those nights that leaves you thinking, "Why did I even bother going to bed?"--that I actually considered just skipping the audition altogether and going back to sleep.

But of course I couldn't do that, so I got cleaned up, packed my bag--with Pop Tarts, Combos, a couple of apples, and two bottles of Diet Coke "with lemon" (Love that new flavor!)--made sure I had my book, my journal, and my two headshots, and headed to the bus stop on Wilshire and Catalina (The #21 bus runs almost straight to the Geffen theatre, it turns out).

(The bus was a great idea, by the way. No spending $7 on the ramp, or having to feed the meter every two hours, or move the car. Under the circumstances--Nowhere else I had to get to, no big rush to get home--it was a totally "stress free" transportation alternative.)

I'd planned to get to the theater around 8:30, but I actually got there shortly before 8:00, and was surprised there were still a few people there ahead of me. But they were Equity people, and I was the first person on the "Non-Equity" list.

Shortly after I got there, a couple of women I recognized from Friday showed up (Some of the other Non-Equity folk I'd "bonded" with).

Yvonne, who I'd hung out with for a good chunk of the afternoon on Friday, approached me, surprised I was there (Since I'd told her I wouldn't be coming back).

She had another audition at 10:00, so she signed the "pre-list" that was out, and asked me to sign her up after me when the Equity audition monitor people got there (Turns out you can't actually do that. But she didn't come back anyway, unless she came back in the afternoon after I'd left).

The other woman, Catherine, had been at the audition Friday with her friend Etienne (Who couldn't come back today, because she's vacationing in Mexico). She'd been five or six spaces in front of me on Friday, and was #5 on the list today.

We chatted while waiting for the monitors to arrive--at 9:00--then once we got on the "official" list (The auditions didn't start till 10:00), we went to a nearby Ralphs (She thought there would be a "Seattle's Best" coffee bar there, but there wasn't), then to Starbucks, where she bought a decaf, nonfat something-or-other, and we walked back to the theatre, which was open at that point.

Catherine was a big part of what made my day. I didn't know how the day was going to go initially, but I kind of expected to spend maybe the whole day at the theater (I was pretty sure I'd get seen, but thought it might not be till mid-afternoon), and I just assumed I'd have to keep myself entertained while I waited.

We talked a lot about "the business". We talked about mailings, and unions, and agents, and commericials. We talked about our people back home (She's from upstate New York, and knew where I was talking about when I told her about spending time in Liberty and South Fallsburg in the Catskills). We talked about "divas" and the like, and the wisdom of "just showing up", and how, even if it was very unlikely that we'd get cast from this audition, it was good to just get to audition (And at a theater you'd actually want to work at, where you'd both get seen and have a shot at working with the best of the best), and besides, who knows what might happen?

She was pretty--Between 5'6" and 5'8", long sandy-blonde hair, green eyes that turned down at the corners, and a really nice figure--and I spent a lot of the time we were talking trying to figure out who she reminded me of, but could never quite decide (I also couldn't really tell how old she was. I guessed in her mid-to-late 20's, but I feel like I'm really bad at guessing age, for some reason. But my sense was that, while not a child, she was still perhaps a little on the "young-ish" side for me).

And while I was definitely jazzed to spend so much time hanging out and talking with a very attractive woman, I think the more meaningful thing was that I was getting to spend a lot of time being an actor with another actor.

We ended up hanging out with Juanita, another of the Non-Equity people who had shown up on Friday and not gotten in (I wasn't sure about Juanita at first--We started talking when Catherine had stepped away at one point--because the first thing she did was to bitch about the "unfairness" of the way we were being dealt with, and I couldn't really "go with her" on that; I mean, it's an Equity thing, so there have to be some perks of membership. But she ended up being pretty cool, and she thought I was a laugh riot, which always tends to win me over to a person).

So the three of us hung out at a table in the lobby, and when my name was called, they were my little cheerleading squad, and after I was done, I hung out until after they had gone (Three auditioners, there very different monologue choices; I was doing something contemporary, Catherine was doing something she'd written herself, and Juanita was doing a very heavily-accented Lady MacBeth).

I had periodically excused myself to go out into the courtyard to do my monologue, and I actually think the audition not happening till today did me some good; I did my monologue for Tony at work, and he zapped me for lacking specificity (Who was I talking to, what are the circumstances, etc). I was a little wounded, but it was totally valid criticism (I have a very bad habit of thinking the work is done one you've memorized the monologue), and I think it helped immensely.

Anyway, I got called as the last of a group of five sometime maybe between 12:15 and 12:30. I was a little nervous, but between my fatigue and my awareness again of the lack of anything really being at stake, I wasn't too bad (My biggest anxiety? For some reason, I was really afraid I was going to bobble a line).

(Regarding the fatigue, I was able to tell myself something I thought was very positive and very true; "Jim, you only have to summon about a minute's-worth of energy here, and you can do that...")

When it was my turn to go, I went in, introduced myself and my monologue (One of them repeated the title of the play as she wrote it on a piece of paper in front of her). And off I went.

And I felt like it went well. After Tony's criticisms, I decided I should envision someone I I knew in front of me, someone I could imagine in the circumstances in the play, and I think that really helped (I sort of put the person in front of me, and in between the two casting directors. I was also fairly close to the two of them. Not so close I was in their laps, but close enough that they knew I wasn't afraid of them).

When I finished, I said "Thank you", and the woman--there was a man and a woman--chuckled and said "Thank you" (I thought that was pretty cool...unless she was chuckling at me and not at my performance. But my sense was that she had found my monologue amusing, and that fact that I had gotten any kind of response was very gratifying.

(Well, the evening has gotten very far away from me, so while our story is almost done, I'm going to have to conclude this exciting sage tomorrow. Good night all...)


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