Friday, May 23, 2008

Born to Hand-Jive, Baby

Yeah...umm..not quite.

My audition was today. 6pm.

I showed up about a quarter after five so I'd be close to the front of the list to audition and could hopefully get out of there earlier.

5:15 - I make my way upstairs and fill out the audition info sheet, mark down my experience (that was the easiest part. I have NONE!), list time conflicts (again, super easy - NONE!) and take my head shot. I am number 8. My lucky number!! Yay! Wooho....wait. 8's not my lucky number. SIX is. Shit.

5:30 - the lobby has begun to fill up with young girls and boys. Okay..not 5 or 6...but 18, 19 yr-old kids. I felt SO old and fat. Their parents should all be investigated by DHS - I dont think they're feeding their children! What the HELL have I gotten myself into? Oh..and they allll seem to know each other. I must figure out how to break into this social circle and use this camaraderie to my advantage.

5:45 - Tonia, my dear friend who has been kind enough to drive me to Des Moines learns that this audition that I thought might take an hour or two is now looming toward being a FOUR hour audition. We overhear that the choreographer isn't even scheduled to arrive until 8pm. Tonia groans inwardly, I know it...she's fighting a migraine as it is. Bless her heart, she decides to not leave me stranded. *kiss* She does, however, choose to retreat to the silence of the parking lot.

6:10 - we all enter the inner sanctum. The red velvet curtains are closed, the directors are sitting at their table in the back of the auditorium and the accompanist is at her assigned location on the stage. Smiling and encouraging is she.

6:15 - the first of 63 people begin to sing.

6:40ish - I garble my way through the first verse of "When you're good to mama" I project well, I think. I do fear that my legs knocking together distracted the directors. Not all bad. Maybe they'll see that I've got rhythm. Bonus. :)

7:10 - the only other tone-deaf person in the audition bumbles his way through "Mr Cellophane." Ironic that we both should choose a "Chicago" song to annihilate.

8:13 - Break. Yay. I can go call my husband and tell him how COMPLETELY out of my league I am and let him convince me to come home and skip the dance part. His voice is kind and encouraging. Bastard!

8:20 - I step back into the auditorium to see all these pretty, pretty princesses who were dolled up for their singing are now slouched out in knit capris, leggings and these nylon sock-things that only cover their toes. WTF? Can't their parents buy them full socks? Where are their shoes? Who's raising these children...wolves?! I refrain from tsking my tongue and instead "stretch" out my legs a bit.

8:30 - we're herded up on stage. All 63 of us. I'm short. I can't see Allison, the choreographer. I miss a step. Shit.

8:31 - I hear in the loudspeaker of my head - Fat and Clumsy - party of one! My table is open. Great.

8:32 - I trip my way through the first part of the lesson. Not bad - the chassé isn't bad, but I still can't get my knees to do that closed/open/closed/knee fold thing. I'm too old for this shit. This is *NOT* the hand jive, Allison!! Fortunately, there are about 15 other people on stage with me, so I can watch the Barbie in front of me. Whew.

8:53 - I fumble to learn a move where I spin, do a jump up with jazz hands, then crouch to the stage, stretch out my feet behind me like a push up, roll over and pop back up on my feet. Oh, NOW we're talking entertainment. I hit the stage and my wrists pop. At least something popped, cuz it sure wasn't me. Oh wait...was that a popping sound my knee made when it slammed into the stage? Maybe.

9:14 - "We'll have you come up on stage in numerical order in sets of 3 to audition. Listen for your number." Whoa. WTF....sets of THREE? What the hell was the last hour? Weren't they paying attention? Why are we doing this on such a big stage with such a small number of people? Awww crap.

9:26 - Me, some bubbly young guy named Andreas (part of that elite group of neglected children I mentioned earlier) and a Barbie with legs that go all the way to her neck head up on stage. Andreas now identifies himself as Satan by setting his feet firmly upstage...putting me in the front. I try to bargain with the Devil. He stands firm. You little shit. I will hunt you down.

9:27 - The music starts. I chassé, I shimmy, I windmill...and I panic. I know it showed on my face. I insert a quick hand-jive move to improv. I hear the choreographer giggle. I pick back up - step, giggle, turn, kick, mutter "crap" under my breath, dig, jump up, jazz hands. WHAM...fuck. Hard stage. Face first. Roll over (yes...this is supposed to be a graceful hop belly first to the floor) jump up. Handjive. Where the hell did I go wrong? I had the chassé and the handjive. Everything in between is a blur.

9:28 - Allison tells me she liked my little ad-lib. Great. She's amused.

9:41 - Repeat 9:27, except leave out the shimmy, kick and dig. I think you can leave out the jump up, too.

9:44 - I'm OUTTA here.

9:46 - I realize as I ease into the car just how much pain my body is in with all this popping and slamming. I burst into tears because I've just made a COMPLETE ass of myself in front of 63 people who know what the hell they're doing (and are able to recognize that I don't) and 4 directors who choose my fate...Rizzo or the third chorus girl from the left.

10:05 - I text the friends who encouraged me throughout the night via cell and tell them that I've completed my goal - I've auditioned for Grease! and won't be doing it again for quite some time.

I am now heading to bed with a muscle relaxer and a newfound contempt for the hand-jive.

Born to hand-jive, my ass.

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