The Name

Jan 18, 2010 by     No Comments    Posted under: Attitude, The business, Thousands of Stories, Three Actors

Brief Grad School Auditions UPDATE:

Hello Friends.

Audition 1 of the Grad School experience is complete. Two days ago, I took the Metro North Train to New Haven and performed my heart out for the Associate Department Chair at the Yale School of Drama. It was an amazing experience, if anything, riding a train above ground for the first time in many months. Feeling the sensation of sun on my face as I stared out at the scenery passing by and contemplated my monologues. My goal for all of these auditions is of course to get into the programs but, moreso, it is primarily to experience the grad-school-audition process (and figure out if it is where I want to be). My immediate goal for the entire day was not to cry or to make people laugh or to even get a callback: my goal was to be present. (Well, and not get lost on the train).

A well respected professor at CU Boulder once told me that Grad Schools are not looking for the perfect actors or the perfect auditioners, they are looking for someone with that special something in his or her energy, in his or her eyes. I interpret this as presence. I am present to learn, to perform, to work with you, to grow, and to take on the enormous task of joining a Masters program. Those were the thoughts in my mind when I walked into the very friendly room and inhaled before becoming Mayella Violet Ewell and Luciana (and again, as Hamlet, when they asked for my third piece).

I had prepared two pieces initially and then, on the train ride there, realized that my classical piece was not, in fact, in verse in the original folio versions, so I had to scrap that at the last minute and thank my BFA program for preparing me with at least 5 other classical monologues in my back pocket. Let is slide off. There are some problems, fiascos, moments where you can freak out and let them change your entire perspective on the day or you can breath in (let), breath out (go), and move on. Go with it. I chose the latter and everything went very smoothly.

New Haven is beautiful, by the way. It looks like Lodo in Denver and Boulder, CO had a genius love child and put it next to the sea. It is a place where I would love to live and never leave. I have realized from this tiny day trip that New York City is perhaps not my dream destination. I can stay here and, if I have to, I will stay here, but there are so many other places in this world where I can be happy. In addition (side note), I am planning a trip to India in the spring/summer to learn more about the world, myself, yoga/meditation (in Rishikesh), and get out of this city. New York is incredible but its hard to breath here. And for a girl who already has some respiratory problems, perhaps its not the best match.

I digress: the audition was wonderful! I was myself, I was present, and I feel incredible about the pieces that I presented. I dont think that they were the best contrast, I dont know if they were the most interesting pairings but I did them better than well and I have nothing to regret. There isnt a lot here that I can write about in terms of how to audition for grad schools or what to do right or wrong for your personal pursuits. All I can tell you is this:

They want to accept you. They want you to succeed. If you know this, if you believe this, then you WILL succeed. I succeeded. Unfortunately, they called back ONE PERSON from the entire day. They posted the “callback” list and we all, my entire group, rush to the callboard to read: ONE NAME. The Name. It was a dude, by the way. Perhaps I’d feel a bit more upset if it was one person and she was female. But he wasnt. The Name fell back behind the group (I think in a bit of terror for his life to be honest) and we all packed up our things to go our seperate ways. Congrats to him! Well done, sir. However, this, my friends, leads me back to the truth of this industry. Its very competitive and it doesnt make sense a lot of the time. There are no explanations for reasons why you weren’t selected for a role, an opportunity, or a job. But I will say this: from my half of the exchange, there was no reason why I wasnt called back. It was one of the schools reasons – perhaps I wasnt right for that year, perhaps they have enough girls, perhaps they think I am too young, or too precocious, or too brunette. These are things that I am. And these are things that will not change.

So, to you, Yale: next year awaits us both. If at first you dont succeed, try, try again!

I will admit that I am more than a bit frustrated with the world and the state of the industry right now as I feel that I am finally ready for the world… and now it doesnt seem ready for me. Since the New Year and my Bikram challenge, my recent focus, groundedness, and drive have allowed me to consistently put my best foot forward and feel 100% positive about my work (and the casting directors agree and give me incredible feedback and callbacks) and yet… still no bookings or schools. “They” say that opportunities are missed so that other opportunities can arise but I wonder what those will be since nothing seems to be working out. I am not giving up, of course. Two more schools/trials to go and we will see how NTC and Juilliard feel about me. All I know is that I feel great about me. I am just waiting, patiently, until they are ready to accept that I ain’t going nowhere.