Monday, February 07, 2005
My audition today went really well. Perhaps even a little too well.
I unintentionally found myself doing a bit of method acting, a la Marlon Brando, once I'd decided to take my shoes off for the monologue. There's a part in the script where the girl I'm playing talks about how she imagined that the grittiness of the refugee camp sand on the bottom of her feet came from all the dead people she'd seen returning to the ground. It's a heavy and potentially loaded line, and I didn't want it to come off sounding totally over-the-top or melodramatic, so instead I just did the whole monologue in my bare feet, so when that line came up I could actually pick my feet off the ground and rub off the grit in real life. It worked. Scarily well. I felt so much like I was inside this girl's head that I nearly cried at the part where her father gets shot -- I had spent so much time imagining myself running through a jungle with bullets whizzing past my ears, that when I said the lines, I really felt like I was there.
I didn't think I knew how to do that, but it happened without my even trying. It wasn't really pretend anymore, it was scarily real, and very heartbreaking.
It was difficult to gauge the reactions of the people in charge of the audition. They were all about my age, which was disappointing to me because I always feel that people who are older than me must be somehow more organized and vested with more authority. They were all women, one blond woman who I spoke to via email, one dark haired, very young-looking one in a short skirt, and one very pretty woman, obviously a Muslim, wearing a black headscarf with sparkles on it. She had a beautiful name and she complimented me on my hair, which only seems ironic to me in hindsight (since her hair was obviously very intentionally covered).
The dark-haired one looked utterly indifferent throughout my entire performance. She didn't even look at me most of the time. The blond one also looked fairly neutral, but reacted with what looked like mild approval in parts and she took occasional notes during particularly climactic moments. The Muslim woman had the most satisfying reactions. She looked pleased with my memorization (no one else had even come close to memorizing the text), smiled in parts, and looked deeply moved in others. The only problem was that I was the last to audition (there were two other girls) and the directors had a volunteer meeting for the project which cut into the end of my session. All the volunteers basically walked in the minute I was finished (and one girl actually walked in during the monologue. DUH!), and so there wasn't a lot of time to ask questions like "uh...how'd I do?" and "when are call-backs?"
They basically just kind of ignored me at that point and so I thanked them and left. I don't even know how many parts they're trying to fill, but I do know that the competition (at least today) was very slim. The other two girls (one of whom I knew from high school) were quite reserved and quiet, read directly from the page, didn't project their voices well, recited their lines in a rushed monotone, and basically did most of the things that acting teachers told me not to do my entire childhood and much of my adolesence.
I realised today that acting is a lot easier when you have self-confidence. I had much less of it in Grade 11 and 12 when I was performing in high school plays than I do now. Now I basically don't get embarrassed at the thought of putting emotion into words or doing things I wouldn't normally do in real life. My attitude now is just that if they don't like me, then that's their problem and not mine. How I wish I felt that way when I was 10 years old, or 12, or 16 even. I would have been a great little actress if I had just believed in myself more.
I entertained crazy thoughts today about maybe trying to do what I've been wanting to do most of my life, but have been forced to suppressed in recent years: be an actor for real. I wrote in my journal when I was about 9 or 10 years old that no matter how my life ended up, whether I had to get a "real" job or go to university or abandon acting altogether, I would always be an actor at heart. I guess it was a corny and idealistic thing to write (even for a 9-year-old!), but I wrote it just before people (parents, relatives, friends, acquaintances, even random strangers) started to tell me that I had better have some more "practical" plans for my life, because if acting didn't work out I would have nothing to "fall back on." I seem to have anticipated everyone's reactions to my answer to what I wanted to be when I grew up. Acting was cute and charming to other people when I was little, but apparently it's unrealistic and even offensive for a young adult. How sad it seems to me now to have one's whole life consist of a fall-back plan. How cynical and how repressive.
Maybe I'll just go totally nuts and try to get some auditions next year when I don't have school to worry about anymore. My years off are supposed to be time to figure out what's really going to inspire me in life, after all. And that's really what I want in the end. It's like Dorothy Boyd said in Jerry Maguire (one of my favourite movies of all time): "But most of all, I just want to be inspired."
There is always more to say, but stunting club awaits.
Goodnight, my friends.