Thursday, January 15, 2009

Am I a "lottery" addict?

Originally uploaded by Alta Marie
Today I attended an open call. Not my first, certainly not my last, but each one really is remarkable for many reasons. This was a call for improv actors & tumblers for the Met. You know I'm not a tumbler.... so I was working the improv angle. I had no idea what to expect, so I arrived right at the 10:00 AM call through the winding back alleys of Lincoln Center (other back alleys, not the ones that I was familiar with from Toyland) I saw an alley door closing and ran up and knocked on, and (much like in Oz) a disgruntled person opened the door with a sigh, and said "FINE, you are the ABSOLUTE last one, and I mean it. Hurry up and fill out this card"

I love when people are angry with you and you're not sure why, and will never find out...

Do you remember the angry elf who drags Ralphie up the stairs to see Santa in A Christmas story? She was kind of like that.

Anyway, I was pushed into an auditorium in my parka and arctic snow boots (it was FREEZING today, was it not?) and took a seat directly up front next to a seemingly sweet older woman who turned out to be bat shit crazy. Legitimately. she had shifty eyes, and her headshot was not a headshot, but rather a picture of herself in a bikini at a beach at sunset. This was apparently blown up from a 4x6 print... Her handwriting was like a little girl's but shaky. She was very petite. And completely crazy. (I love when I get to sit next to that person.)

We were all instructed that we would be brought in in groups of 4, and there would be 4 newspapers on the stage. We were to be strolling down the street and then notice the newspaper, pick it up and discover therewithin some shocking news. We were then supposed to spend one minute trying to convince the audition moderators to read it. (while remaining on the stage)

At that point we were shuffled out of the room. I ran into an old friend, and found a new one and occupied my waiting time with some knitting (DARN YOU, men's ties for being so deceptively long!!) My new and old friend turned out to be in the group of four with the crazy lady, and with no prompting from me, returned from their group session to relate that all she did was scream at the top of her lungs for the entire minute-- hair-tearing blood curdling screams. Apparently she ran a bit of her act by my new friend in line, got all in her face to demonstrate her rage, and asked what she thought. My friends said, "that seems great" and then hoped against hope that she wouldn't be turned into a prop in this woman's one-man show....

It's like entering the lottery, doing auditions. I went in this morning having no idea what to expect or what they were looking for, and in the end they called back 25 out of 106 people at that morning. The odds are what, 1 in 4-ish? Better chances than in the lotto, but just as random, really. One person in my group spoke Russian (they were especially interested in Russian speakers) and he was quite good, I was exultant with my news, but no one really looked my way. Apparently, in her group audition, the crazy lady mentioned that she didn't speak Russian, but should she "try out a Russian accent." Oh how I wish I was in her group! and Oh how I wish they had encouraged her to do that. I don't know that her face would have stopped twitching long enough for anyone to be able to discern any kind of accent, but that's now a question for the vaults.

Shame on me for deriving joy from the unbalance of others! But at the same time, should I not notice? I think she must want people to notice, or she wouldn't trot about with bikini pictures of herself.

She also had an offensive e-mail address-- one of those types of things that makes you blush when you see it on your voice student's info cards, but inspires fits of hilarity and concern simultaneously when you see it scrawled in shaky pen at the bottom of a bikini-at-sunset promo pic.

Anyone want to come with me tomorrow on the next one? First time's free...

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