A week and a half ago, I got an invitation for an audition with Second City. If you’re not familiar with them, SNL got their last two cast members from Second City’s Chicago branch. So yeah, acting’s going kinda good!
You Don’t Live Here Anymore
En subway, I started to feel nervous, but it didn’t feel right. It was almost as if the ghost of who I used to be was trying to make a guest appearance in my life, but my current self just looked at those feelings of apprehension and doubt like they were complete strangers.
So, I countered my feelings of worry with an admiration for my new jacket from the set of I Need A Girl Part II and thought of the song I wrote,
|I need a girl to make roti
I need a girl to make curry
I need a girl to make bhagee
I need a girl to buy Grand Priiiiix!
How’d the audition go? I bombed the Warm-Up.
Just to clarify, the Warm-Up is where you are preparing to go on stage by building rapport with your fellow improvisers. My eye contact was bad, my Who-What-Where establishment was turrible, but at least it was only a warm-up, right?
Before the Monologue
We had to deliver a prepared monologue, and I was the last one to go up. Big Norm Alconcel and Anto Chan, both great stand-ups, had the best sets.
When I considered what the others were doing on stage, my immediate reaction was to think about changing my set to try and beat them at their own game. But, I remembered that what I wanted the most was to be myself. Plus, my act was completely different than everyone else that went up, so I convinced myself to stick to my guns.
Sarcasm: The Ultimate Yes And NO
When I went up, I was myself, but I’m not sure if that was a good thing given the short amount of time I had with the Casting Directors. Case in point, a few of candidates prefaced their performances with,
Here’s a piece I wrote last night…
It was the acting equivalent of a stand-up comedian going,
I just wanna try out some new shit.
So, I went up and reacted,
Perhaps I shouldn’t have been sarcastic to the people that I was suppose to be cooperating with, but I just couldn’t help myself. I often feel that I have to warm up to an audience. Weird.
The reception was fair at best. At one point, I noticed the female casting directors furrowing their eyebrows and curling their lips as they struggled/disagreed with the point I was trying to make, but I’m not sure if that’s entirely a bad thing. The only thing worse than being unliked is being forgettable, and I kept them interested the entire time.
Lessons From Shakespeare
A couple months ago, I decided that I wanted to start acting. So, I figured that if I could learn a bit of Shakespeare, memorizing scripts would be a piece of cake.
Fast forward two months later, and I now had the perfect oppportunity to use the opening speech from Richard III! You never know what life has in store for ya. I bet they never expected a brown guy with glasses wearing a green Forrest Gump t-shirt to utter the phrases, ‘Strong cocky mek de gyal dem weak‘ and ‘Now is the winter of our discontent‘ in the span of 15 seconds.
But that’s me: I’m the nerdy friend of the coolest Jamaican in high school. I used to think that I should decide which one to be on stage, the nerd or the guy from the hood, but after watching David Suchet and Patrick Stewart decide how to treat the inconsistencies in Shakespeare’s Shylock (jump to 13:09), I think it’s possible – nay, critical – for me to present every side of my character:
After I left the audition, I started to feel down on myself. But again, just like when I was en subway to the audition, it didn’t feel right. I’ve been listening to a lot of Ram Dass lately, and I’ve finally started looking at life as a game, rather than a serious drama that needs to be picked apart moment by moment. Wait, isn’t this entire post me just picking apart every moment? Fuck. Oh wait, spiritual work is all about acknowledging, observing, and letting go. Um…yeah, kind of. Shit. Anyhoo…
As I exited the underground, I felt the sun’s embrace, and felt great. The audition seemed to be a lifetime ago. I think I’m slowly starting to find the beauty in failure and embarassment. Now, instead of worrying and agonizing, I’m just trying to be as present as possible. If there’s joy, I’ll feel it. If there’s tragedy, I’ll feel that, too. And when the feeling’s gone, I’ll let it go.
I’m not upset that the audition didn’t go the way that I wanted it to. I made a decision, felt good about it, and ended up with an undesired result. However, I did say what I wanted to say and I improvised, which I hope will give me a glimmer of hope since we didn’t have enough time to improvise a few scenes.
I’m hoping they saw enough potential to throw me a Second City scholarship. And, if not, no worries! It’s another audition under the belt, and there are tons more of those to come. Namely, a Casting Director from a show for the Comedy Network said that she would cast me in something, and I secured another role from an audition I did a few weeks ago.
Jay Martin Endorsement
Sometimes, I read these diary entries and feel like a whiny bitch who’s always talking about how everything’s a struggle for him. There’s a small interview I did with Jay Martin, one of the premiere comedians and producers in Toronto, where he talked about how badass I am…six months ago! Sweet Sassy Molassie!