Rosalind Russell, a big Hollywood name in the early 20th century, had an acting career that spanned over 40 years and she even won a whopping five Golden Globes. Even so, she said, "Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly."
Imagine then, the fear faced by someone who is not a seasoned actress as they audition, in a room full of people, for a role.
I faced that fear Dec. 14, as I joined a group of 17 hopefuls in auditioning for the Battlefords Community Players' spring productions.
Goaded by my editor, who convinced me my workplace theatrics would translate to the stage, I was filled with the over-confidence of a person making vague future plans.
This confidence evaporated the moment I walked through the doors of the Lions Club Hall, where the auditions were held.
"It's okay," I told myself. "It's not as though I'm seriously auditioning. This is just for fun."
Scripts were handed out among the group and people took turns reading parts.
Shawn Hewitt, of Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun fame, read a part and elicited a number of appreciative laughs.
In the aforementioned play, Hewitt portrayed a mentally handicapped man so well, that apparently someone who had seen the play speculated about how the producers were able to get him to memorize the lines.
I shot him a look filled with jealous resentment. Why can't he save his perfection for the stage, I wondered.
As the directors selected people to read, I reverted back to junior high English class - avoid eye contact and the teacher won't pick you to read.
Eventually, I realized how ridiculous this was. I have no qualms about making a fool of myself in front of co-workers, so why should complete strangers be any different? The next time they switched up the readers, I put my hand up. I read a short part.
Phew. Done. And I didn't even stutter.
I was inwardly congratulating myself when I noticed a silence had descended on the room.
Oh crap. I frantically shuffled through the play, which I had stopped following because I thought my part was over.
With a face the colour of vine-ripened tomatoes, I read the last two lines. I may have stuttered, but I've blocked that moment from memory.
I was back to avoiding eye contact when I was asked to read another part. I should've sneaked out after the first one, I lamented, but I had been in the middle of a conversation with two interesting people. Who needs plays, anyways, when the whole world is a stage? Somewhere, Shakespeare is spinning in his grave over that comment.
As I headed home, I was certain that the only way I'd get a call was if they needed me to play a tree.
Turns out I was wrong. Yeah, that's right, all you naysayers (okay, I was the only naysayer), I got a part.
I know, it's a horrid name, but then again, I didn't pick it. (That's one of my lines!)
So, I was sitting there, filled with the over-confidence of someone making vague future plans, when it suddenly occurred to me that I will have to memorize my lines. And then perform them in front of people.
You, my dear reader, can wait for part two of this tale, or you can see for yourself how it goes on opening night, Feb. 15.