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11:00 am - Sun 9/22/02
Fun with Acting

Fun with Acting

...I don't know how to start here...

On Friday, on a whim, I went to an "Equity Open Call" for the Geffen and Pasadena Playhouse (They do general season auditions together). I saw the notice in Backstage, figured it was my day off, and thought "Why not?".

(These are major theaters, and I didn't really hold out much hope that something would actually happen--"Open call" equity auditions are pretty much a formality, and these are major-league theaters, where tv and movie stars go when they want to take a break from being tv and movie stars and just be actors--but I thought it would be good for me just to get some audition practice, and who knows? Maybe lightning would strike.)

The auditions were being held from 10 am to 5:30 pm. I saw the notice around 11, so by the time I got a monologue together, got cleaned up and dressed, got directions off Mapquest, drove around and around the general neighborhood--Le Conte, the street the Geffen is on, seemed to come to a stop one block before I needed it to--and then parked in a very expensive ramp across the street at UCLA, it was 1:30, and the auditioners were at lunch until 2:00.

I'd thought "open call" meant that that any Equity people had already auditioned, and now they were seeing non-Equity people--That was the main reason I thought I could follow my impulse here--but that wasn't how it worked; Basically, Equity people were put on a list, with specific audition times, while non-Equity people were put on another list, to go either after all the Equity people, or to be "fit in" if there were time slots left open (But even then, if a non-Equity person had been waiting since the beginning, and an Equity person breezed in at 4:00 and there was a slot open, the Equity person got it).

When the auditioned resumed, and I realized what the deal was, and found out the first person on the non-Equity list--Who'd showed up at 8:30 that morning--still hadn't been seen yet (I was #42 on the list), it seemed pretty doubtful that I was going to get in. But I'd gotten myself there, paid $7 for parking (In "Jim terms", that's a matinee, a Diet Coke and a Snickers Bar), and had had an honest-to-goodness positive impulse, so I felt like I had to see it through.

So I hung out. I wasn't nervous, exactly--there really didn't feel like there was anything to lose here--but I didn't know what to do with myself. And I wasn't very well-prepared for a long wait; I didn't have my Power of Now book (I didn't want to end up with it in my bag if they told me I had to give it back at work), I didn't have any food--and was afraid to go anywhere, for fear I'd be called to audition and miss it--and at least initially, I felt shy and uncomfortable about approaching other people who were waiting (You don't want to bother people who are trying to work on their monologue or whatever).

So I tried to read (They had copies of the most recent Angeleno magazine, so I read articles about Jason Lee and Giovanni Ribisi). Then I paced around. Then I went out into this courtyard area and did my monologue (From Key Exchange, one of the few plays I have laying around the apartment). Then I paced around some more. Then I tried to write in my "book journal".

Eventually, I started talking to people, as the group of non-Equity folks started bonding somewhat over the passing time and the anxiety of "Will we or won't we be seen today?".

The answer to that question, for me, was "We won't"; The last group was sent in shortly after 5:00, and I was still maybe ten people down the list.

I was pretty bummed--$7 on parking, my day off shot, in order to wait in a theater lobby and not get seen--but right towards the end, something interesting did happen; Who should come out of an office but Steve Weller, a guy I did Hair with in Lansing (Back in 1982), who I hadn't seen since.

He'd moved out here 17 years ago, and other than being bald on top--balder than Yours Truly--He looked exactly the same as he did way-back-when (He was a very big guy, and he continues to be a very big guy).

We talked briefly, then he gave me his number (I haven't called him yet, though I definitely plan to).

To be honest, I was mildly annoyed by an exchange we had; I said it would be good to talk to someone who knows the deal, because I still feel like I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing.

He said, "Well, you don't start here...", which I knew--I just wanted to audition somewhere, and I know Equity open calls are fairly meaningless--and I wasn't really into hearing that, not after I'd just blown the afternoon waiting to get in.

But he's a good guy, he'll undoubtedly know some good stuff, and I'm going to call him and see when we can get together, maybe have a breakfast meeting or something.

Well, when I got home, I thought I was pretty much done with this little adventure, but when I went to work yesterday and told Tony B. about what had happened, and that auditions were continuing Monday and Tuesday, but that I wasn't going, because I work in the afternoon, and didn't want to sweat missing work, all for an audition that probably wouldn't mean much anyway, even if I did get in, and Tony said that he would work for me Monday, if I wanted to do it.

So Tony is working for me Monday, and I'm going to do it. I'm going to take a bus, so I don't have to sweat the parking (It's too far away to ride my bike, and I'd have to start out too early), and wait as long as it takes, because I think the thing that frustrated me the most Friday was the feeling of "incompletion". I want to at least be able to say, "For whatever it's worth, I did it".

And now, for whatever it's worth, I have to get to work...


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