The Audition of a Lifetime: My Big Break
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September 15, the day that everyone has been talking about-at least everyone in the crowd I run with-since the end of school last year, has finally arrived. The day of auditions for the fall musical Legally Blonde.This year I have decided out of nowhere after 3 years of avoiding participation, to try out for it. The entire summer, I’ve insisted to myself, this is just for fun, there’s no need to be worried, and yet the feelings of anxiety are there, gnawing at my stomach. I try not to think about it much during the day, about how I have to get up in front of people and sing on my own for the first time, how I probably didn’t practice enough, or that I don’t exactly have the lyrics to my song memorized. Flashing back to last weekend when I spent a lot of time not preparing. What even is a bar? And 16 to 32 of them? That seems kind of a lot.
But I don’t know, I’m new to this, I’ve been surrounded by friends in drama club my entire high school career, but I’ve managed to tune them out well enough until this year. Now I hear it all. All the gossip, all the worrying, all the anxiety, all the literal drama that goes on. Deciding to immerse myself was a big decision, and I’ve been comfortable with it and excited since I made it, but now the regret and the instinct to run has kicked in. I want to back out, it’s too much, am I really going 6th?? That’s wayyy too early.
Somehow I manage to stick around, hands shaking, listening to the screechy sounds of other drama kids greeting each other, and the general chaos and discord that comes from three or four teenagers trying to give directions to another much larger group of very loud teenagers.
We have to fill out papers, what part we want, what our experience is, etc. I’m embarrassed and self-conscious at how short my list is, while having war flashbacks to my one acting experience, a very uncomfortable summer in an apprenticeship program at Summer Stage. I thought my show business career had begun and ended there, and yet here I am. I’m intimidated, everyone here knows what they’re doing, they’ve done it before, they know the director, they know each other, I feel very uneasy, almost like I don’t belong. Not to the fault of anyone else, it’s just my own insecurities, but the feelings are there.
Through the commotion and tumult, we find out the order, get our forms filled out, our pictures taken, some semblance of control has been restored. With the help and reassurance of perennial theater friends, I am calmed down, told that it’s all gonna be okay. Maybe somewhere inside I actually believe them.
Panic sets in as auditions begin and people start going in and out, it seems to go very fast, too fast. Then it’s my turn. I make the long walk down the aisle of the auditorium, it’s very imposing, couldn’t we do this in the chorus room or something? I greet Ms. McCool and Ms. Montgomery and the two student representatives, they ask me to stand on stage, I’d rather die, but I do it anyway. And I sing. It’s not great, it’s not bad. I mess up on the high notes, my voice sounds thin and shaky, even scared. I do that stupid thing where I mess up and try to play it off by half-laughing. For my first-ever audition it goes about as expected. I’m not happy or sad, just relieved it’s over.
But the feeling doesn’t last, more worry sets in, about dance auditions and callbacks and I start to analyze everything I did. I feel kinda glum about it, deep down I was hoping that I would blow everyone away with my secretly amazing voice, but alas that did not happen. I was hoping to shock everyone by coming out of nowhere and scoring a part even though it’s my first year doing this. Unrealistic, but a small part of me still couldn’t help but hope. I start to beat myself up, but am once again reassured by drama veterans, but this time I actually do feel better. I remind myself why I got into this, to actually have fun and do something different and out of my comfort zone my senior year. And this is certainly out of my comfort zone. And although they may seem intimidating at first, drama club is a very welcoming place, the people who auditioned me were very kind, and everyone involved is very exuberant and loud, but also very nice.
My nerves are still jangling, thinking about the coming weeks and what they hold. However, I am a little more relieved, I have been assured by multiple people that it will actually be fun, despite the incessant complaining they seem to do. Going in blind is very unsettling, but drama club is a place where they encourage you to join in and feel welcome, so I feel as if I won’t be on my own in an unfamiliar place like I might have feared.