The other day at our lovely County Fair I stopped at the booth of our local community theater. They had costumes you could try on and information about upcoming plays and the Spring Musical. They also had several flyers for auditions for above mentioned plays.
I have been tempted lately to try out for a play or even the annual Spring musical, but then chicken out at the last minute. As I perused the “looking for” listings on the table I was overcome with a vivid memory of my one and only audition to date. It made me smile, giggle even.
Turn back the clock about 25 years, I was a gangly, slightly odd looking teenager. We had just started our senior year at high school (Switzerland only has 9 school years, so we were all 15 and 16 at the time). I had a huge crush on one of my classmates, a crush that had been going on three years by then, but it was unrequited puppy love. Actually it was more than a crush, I was head over heels for the guy! He had blond shaggy hair and dreamy blue eyes, I mean, who wouldn’t have a crush, right?
Our teacher announced that my class would do the traditional senior play at the end of the school year during graduation week. He had picked a modern play in Swiss German and we all eagerly read through the script. It was basically a love story between the two lead roles, go figure! The teacher announced that we could all look through the characters and that he would have auditions for the male parts on Wednesday and the female parts on Friday.
I was rather timid and picked characters that only had a few lines to audition for. Wednesday rolled around and lo and behold, my crush landed the lead male role! Something clicked in me and when Friday arrived I had decided to audition for the female lead instead. I was nervous as it can be, but I absolutely gave it my all and I nailed it! I got the role, I had beat out my stunningly attractive and talented class mate. I was ecstatic!
About two weeks later it got serious and after reading through the script on book for a few times, the teacher gave us sections of it to memorize as homework. That’s when it got real! I spent hours sitting outside on our staircase reading my material over and over and getting my downstairs neighbor to practice lines with me. Every once in a while I started to really doubt myself. What had I gotten myself into? My brain felt like it was about to explode.
My shyness and anxiety really kicked up though when my costume was picked out! I was supposed to be a bartender so it was vaguely sexy (as sexy as a school play would allow), mini skirt, cute top and high heels. The complete opposite of what I usually wore. I was a jeans, t-shirt and lumber shirt kinda gal. I felt so exposed wearing that skirt! I was considering to back pedal on the whole thing and give the part to my runner up (who was my understudy). My Mom told me to be brave and just go for it, that I would regret it otherwise.
The day of the premiere arrived, I was a nervous wreck. I couldn’t remember half of my lines. It didn’t help that the day before I had spontaneously gone to the hairdresser and had my hair cut short into a pixie. I was worried that it would be an issue for the play, but my classmates almost flipped out (in a good way)! The new hairstyle went so much better with my role and it even made my costume look good on me! And when my crush told me that I looked really cute, I was flying high!
As I waited behind the curtain for my cue, I felt this surge of confidence washing over me, I was ready! I stepped out onto the stage and all the lines came back to me instantly, I had them all memorized perfectly. I didn’t notice the audience, I was Anja, the bartender for an hour and a half and I had a blast! And of course I got to hold hands, hug and get a peck on my cheek from my crush while in character. It couldn’t get any better! But it did as we got standing ovations for all four performances.
Back to the present me standing in that theater booth, remembering that awesome feeling of having performed successfully, the rush that came with it! I took a flyer for one of the plays with me, determined to go to the audition the very next day. I chickened out yet again…