11:36 am - Tues 4/26/05
Tues 4/26/05 (6:31 a.m.)
Well, Sunday's audition proved more interesting than I'd anticipated...
I decided to take the car after all–instead of my bike or the bus–because it had rained the night before and the sky had looked threatening all morning (So of course, it never did rain. But anyway...).
As I pulled away from the curb, I turned on the radio...then noticed my car's ride was quite a bit noisier and rougher than usual.
I thought something was caught on the car's undercarriage, but when I pulled into Ralphs (I'd planned to stop there on the way to the audition), I got out and saw that my right front tire was pretty much completely flat.
So, along with the "audition snacks" I'd planned to buy--Cause I thought I might be there awhile (Auditions were supposed to be from 2:00-6:00, with callbacks at 8:00)--I also bought a can of "Fix-A-Flat" (And it took me awhile to find it, too, since I've never used the stuff before).
And while the stuff seems "idiot proof"–You just screw it onto the valve stem and let it do its thing–I somehow managed to mess it up (Some of the "fix-it goo" ended up on the tire instead of in the tire), which left me feeling pretty uncertain about things, driving on a tire that looked about half-inflated.
(If I'd been thinking more clearly–The audition was an "open call", so I didn't really have to rush to get there–it might have occurred to me to hit a gas station and try to pump the tire up a little more. But I wasn't thinking clearly, and I didn't stop at a gas station. Which is an important fact to remember later on.)
But eventually–Between the tire delay, glacially slow traffic on Los Feliz, and no clear signage as to where the thing was actually being held once I got there, I was almost a half-hour late–I did make it to the audition (At a place called Pickwick Gardens, in Burbank).
And the audition itself was pretty...disappointing.
My disappointment started with the "signage issue". It might sound like no big deal, but I see things like that as a sign of how "together" a group is: You've got a bunch of actors coming to a place they've probably never been before, so make the effort to put a damn sign up saying "Yes, this is the place".
More disappointment followed when I saw that, instead of Beyond Therapy, they were doing Picasso At The Lapin Agile (I guess because "Picasso" is more "family friendly"): While I think "Picasso" is a perfectly good show, I didn't go to the time and effort and expense of going to Samuel French and buying a copy of Beyond Therapy to discover, when I get to the audition, that it's all been a waste of time.
And the disappointment just kept coming... Turns out "Uptempo Productions" is not an actual established entity; the guy who manages the ice rink at Pickwick Gardens is an actor, and wants to prove to the "powers that be" that the venue--It's something of an "entertainment complex", with an ice rink, bowling alley, and banquet hall/garden--can sustain theatre (He plans to direct two of the shows, and play "Harold Hill" in The Music Man).
The plan is to have rehearsal for six weeks, two nights a week, then put on–Here's perhaps the biggest disappointment of all–one performance of each show over the summer.
I don't get that. How does mounting a single performance of a show prove anything? To prove a venue's a viable outlet for theatre, don't you actually have to have a run? Don't you need word-of-mouth, and reviews, and more than anything else, a little box office? Don't you need to give an audience a chance to find the place? Don't you need to give actors something actually worth doing?
Or am I missing something?
And how are they paying me if they're only mounting three shows? Okay, I wasn't expecting much, but the notice in Backstage said "pay", so Jimmy wants to get paid something.
If I'm harping on all this to the point of distraction, it's because I was–say it with me now–very disappointed. And I felt a little like I'd been led there under false pretenses.
(An unhappy truism out here–If it's an "open audition", or in any way something you can secure for yourself without an agent, it's likely to not really be worth doing.)
I thought about just turning around and going home, but I'd made no small effort to get there, and would have been depressed if all this buildup hadn't had at least some sort of finish.
So I auditioned (After being there about an hour), and actually, I thought it went quite well (Who knows? Maybe it went that well, in part, because the pressure was off–At that point, it was seeming like not exactly a big deal if I didn't get anything. In fact, I was thinking maybe I didn't want to get anything).
I read a "Paul" and "Cindy" scene from Gillian with two young actresses. Then they had me cold-read for "Mayor Shinn" in Music Man, and for "Einstein" in Picasso (Personally, I don't think I'm very good casting for "Einstein", particularly at age 25, but whatever...).
I actually had to ask them if they wanted to hear me sing something, so I sang "Waiting For The Light To Shine" from Big River (I really like that song), which also seemed to go well.
The only part I kind of screwed-up on was when they wanted to hear me sing something low, because I'd said I'd be interested in being the bass in the barbershop quartet–I could have just hit some low notes, but being a show-off, I had to try and find something to actually sing in a low register, so I tried to do "Lida Rose", but started out too low, and...well, let's just say it wasn't the best finish to an audition.
But I was pretty sure I'd "rocked their world", for the most part.
For something I was pretty sure I wasn't really interested in doing.
On the way home, I decided that, instead of taking surface streets like I did on the way there, I'd hop on the freeway (Which was pretty stupid, really, since I don't know Burbank at all, and as I've demonstrated in here time and again, have a wretched sense-of-direction).
So there I was, going merrily along in the wrong direction, and I doubt I'd gotten more than a couple of miles when my tire totally blows out (I saw pieces of it bouncing off the road).
I didn't freak, thankfully (Though as you might imagine, I wasn't exactly thrilled). I got over to the side of the road soon as I could, found my emergency lights, and pondered what to do next–I don't have Triple-A, and have never changed a tire in my life.
So I called Cary (Not sure what I thought he could do for me in a practical sense. I think I just wanted his calming influence more than anything).
And as we were talking–I think at that point, he was looking for the number for a towing place I could call–A tow truck pulled up behind me.
So I got off the phone with Cary, my first thought being "Okay, this tow-truck guy is a very enterprising businessman, who is going to rob me blind here, but what can I do?". I was just happy I wasn't going to be robbed (As in "robbed at gunpoint") and killed.
But as it turned out, I was actually being helped by the "Metro Freeway Service Patrol", a free service that aids stranded motorists (The better to prevent accidents and traffic jams).
"Hugo" hopped out, changed my tire, put air in my spare, pointed me in the right direction for L.A., and went on his way (He gave me a "rate-this-service" card, which I filled out promptly once I got back home. As you might guess, I gave the service, and "Hugo", a stellar review).
So I got home, left the car at a tire place a couple blocks from my house, and basically called it a night.
As I said when I began, it was a more interesting afternoon than I'd expected.
Post Script (11:23):
I got a message from Sean–the director–about an hour ago.
They want me for Music Man and Picasso (And not for Gillian, interestingly enough).
And I'm not going to do it.
Last time I didn't want to do something, I felt very guilty about it, but not this time. This is not what I thought it was going to be, it would be very inconvenient on a couple of levels, there's just not enough "bang for the buck", in terms of time investment for number of performances, and as I was starting to suspect even at the audition, it isn't going to pay (That actually pisses me off, because the notice in Backstage said otherwise).
The right thing will come along. I've obviously still got game. But I don't think this is "the right thing".
Have a commercial audition in a couple hours, so I think I'm going to try to catch a little nap-time, since I've been up since around 6:00 a.m.
Â2 comments so far