Wednesday, May 14, 2008

You've Got to Hide Your Love Away

Regular readers may remember my excitement about the chance to pay Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof" at the little local Corydon theatre I've done many shows at before moving to Louisville. Irregular readers may want to look for that entry about two months back...

Monday was the auditions. I hurried home and picked up RedFaery. I warned her to eat, cause I figured we'd be there for an hour and a half, plus I had her bring me a peanut butter sandwich to keep my hunger at bay. We'd planned on hitting one of our favorite little restaurants afterward.

We got there plenty early, and I filled out the necessary forms, plus attached my resume (almost like I'm a professional, huh?). RedFaery pointed out that I still had my weight listed at 240 lbs, so I happily scratched it out and wrote "215" instead.

Now a typical audition for a musical at Hayswood Theatre involves getting the littlest children to do their singing and reading done first, so they can get home in time for bed. Then the adults sing their prepared songs, then do cold readings. Simple, no?

They started out with the kids doing their thing. Lots of kids, so this took a while. Then they started having some of the adults sing. Hmm, ok.

They suddenly stopped with the adults (before getting to me) and had everyone learn a couple of the songs to sing as a group. Ummm, what? Why? What can be learned about the people auditioning by doing that? Who's loudest?

Next, the choreographer works with the little kids on dance steps. As expected, that was like herding cats. Fortunately that didn't take too long, and the kids were dismissed.

We finally get back to the prepared songs, and I finally get to sing. Since Tevye's a baritone role, I chose a lower range song I did at a high school singing contest, "When I Have Sung My Songs". Well received by the crowd and directors, and I'm happy with how I did. They also had me sing the first verse of "If I Were a Rich Man". The directors weren't paying very close attention, and I got to sing more of the song than the others auditioning for Tevye - including the part were he sings the quacking and honking of the ducks and geese. When they heard the laughter from the onlookers, they realized they'd let me go long and said, "That's good, thanks." SCORE!

Next was more group singing, this time older men and older women doing "Sunrise, Sunset". I'm confused as hell.

Now we get to learn choreography. I'm guessing they wanted to see how how we pick up on it - which is great if the choreographer actually takes more than a moment to watch instead of instruct. I'm not the best dancer, but I held my own.

As I return to my seat, RedFaery wonders to me how much longer. It's only then do I find out we've been there two hours, and we haven't even gotten to the reading yet! All the disorganization between two directors, a music director and a choreographer fighting to get their time in running the audition was causing the process to drag on.

In what I'm sure was a pure "diva moment", I decided I was done. RedFaery is always fine with being used as an excuse, so I pulled the director aside and said I needed to get some food in her. She wanted to know if I could come back tomorrow, and I said basically, "No, but you know what I can do on stage, right?" She understood, and off we went. Maybe I shot myself in the foot - but I honestly didn't (and don't) care.

As expected, the restaurant was closed, so we went to a favorite fast food place instead. RedFaery had never been to an audition at Hayswood, and she asked, "Is that how it normally is?" That touched off an hour-long rant of mine about how that was a disorganized mess, and that if rehearsals were run like the audition, maybe it wouldn't be in my best interest to NOT be in this show. Considering how much I want to play Tevye, that's something coming from me!

Today, I get the call from the main director on my voice mail. Despite knowing I was auditioning only for Tevye, they offered me Mordcha in Innkeeper. It's an awesome role, but when you combine my Monday night experience with the long drive, and my selfish desire to play the role I've been pining after for 2/3 of my life, it was an easy decision. And as many of my acting friends have already told me, I've got a shot at that role for the next 20-30 years. I'm a patient man.

Plus, it doesn't hurt to find out that the improv project I've been working on is now on the front burner, and will be televised on a local station. But that's another, future blog entry...


Lee said...

This may sound a bit on the jaded side, but I think when directors pick which musical or play they want to do, they often already have someone in mind to play the lead. You've directed. Am I wrong?


ActingUpAgain said...

Sometimes that's true. I've been cast for that reason myself a few times, and the shows I've directed I've had a "wish list", hoping certain people would audition so I could plug them into the roles I know they'd be good at. If that's what happened here, then I feel even less guilty about walking away - it's just business and not personal under those circumstances.
Regardless, if the last show I ever do at Hayswood was the Cowardly Lion, I'm satisfied that I left there on the highest note I could!

Chad said...

Too bad about the role, Ray. I am glad to hear that the improv project is getting some good attention. keep me posted.

On a different subject. Have you seen Iron Man yet?

See you

ActingUpAgain said...

Haven't seen Iron Man yet - the free time's been to limited. But we'll probably check it out soon.

BTW Chad, you ought to talk to Liz about "Fiddler", this time being an actor. I'm sure they could use you on stage, and I think you'd have a great time!