Home Poetry On Audition: Embarrassment and the Three N’s

On Audition: Embarrassment and the Three N’s

by Stephanie Alfaia

So there’s this blonde, she walks into Walmart and asks the guy for computer curtains, he tells her computers don’t have curtains and she says “Hello I got Windows.” After that hilarious joke, I ran off the stage and never looked at my acting teacher the same way again. I have a feeling this incident caused my acting “career” to completely freeze through nearly all four years of high school. Perhaps it was the joke itself, I should have stuck to the one about the jew and the priest. I’m sure my jewish teacher would have cast me with that one. No, maybe it was the fact that I stood there, dumbfounded, trying to remember my name for the audition introduction. Right, and after two minutes of silence (my joke was over and I was still smiling) the girl to his right gave me this unmistakeable look. She may well have screamed, “Is this bitch fucking serious?” That was my cue to “be out.”

Earlier that month, Mr. Bennett announced that auditions for “The Odd Couple” were right around the corner. He explained that whoever was interested in auditioning should come on any of the three available days, take a number, and once called upon, simply go on stage and either: perform a monologue (which is nothing more than an uncomfortable five minutes of speaking while the audience stares), make up a speech as if from the character’s point of view, or tell a nice joke (again, in character). After class, he advised me to audition for the 40-year-old “funny lady” that was vain and sarcastic. I wasn’t sure, but that may have been a compliment.

I spent two weeks memorizing a monologue about a woman trying to think of a way to kill her rich husband, and whether burying him in the neighbor’s backyard would be a good idea. I figured it fit the required vanity and my chosen character, Lola’s sarcastic tone. When I showed Mr. Bennett the monologue, he said: “Whenever in doubt, tell a joke.” Fair enough, a joke was a decent idea, the problem was that I have always been well aware that I am not a funny person. I mean, tripping and falling flat on your face while leaving Muvico Palace in heels with your date, definitely falls into the embarrassing category – nothing funny there. Besides, people who find spongebob funny are down right disabled when it comes to humor.

There I was, tagged number 36. Great, I had 36 chances of not getting the part. There was something wrong with the theatre hall itself. I’m still not sure if it was the strange group of “emos” standing first in line soaking up each others’ depression or the obsessive amount of colored paper arrows taped all over the corridor floor and walls with “ODD COUPLE AUDITION THIS WAY” written on them. No shit, Sherlock. I felt like I was in McDonald’s again, staring at the red footsteps that shows kids the way to the playroom, as if they can’t find the oversized playground on their own. That hall gave me the creeps. Where was the compulsive person that writing belonged to? Was she okay? I couldn’t help but pray she wasn’t in the audience. Being judged is hard enough. Being scrutinized and analyzed by a crazed person holding sharpie markers, would be a level of exposure I sure as hell wasn’t ready for. Time was up. I was finally next in line. From this point on, it was all a blur. My crooked memories make it hard to distinguish what came first: nervousness, numbness, or nausea.

I was center stage blinded by the light, Mr. Bennett gave me the nod that meant “start” – this was nervousness. I forgot my name and introduced myself as my character Lola, and gave her birthdate instead of mine; this was numbness. Then I blurted out the blonde joke (note: the student casting director next to Bennett was blonde), and after a confused sound that was definitely not clapping, I ran out. Picture five people looking at each other, trying to decide what to say or do. I ran, ran to the nearest restroom; this was nausea. No, I didn’t get the part. Personally, I think you can reorder the three N’s but that doesn’t change much…

© 2013 Stephanie Alfaia Gomes All Rights Reserved

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