Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

They LOVE me

This could be a long and complex post. I'll try to keep it simple, but I make no promises.

See, I was cast (without having to audition) to be part of the public play readings for the Tennessee Stage Company's New Play Festival.

(I used to be on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Stage Company. I had to quit when I got too dang busy with the magazine writing thang.)

I am taking part in the public readings of two plays. One is a drama. One is a comedy with great potential.

Notice how I didn't say the drama has great potential?

Anyway, at the only "rehearsal" of the comedy-with-potential, I was cast as the nosy neighbor, even though I *really* wanted the part of one of the sweet little old ladies.

Dang it. I *knew* I was going to get that silly role. I *never* get the part I really want.

Anyway, while the other actors were reading Act I, Scene 1, I sat there and tried to come up with ways to tolerate the role I'd been given. Once they finally got around to my first scene, I had it: Ham it up.

Dang it. Hamming it up is so pedestrian.

But dang it, it's also incredibly reliable.

The playwright had given me a little bit to work with. All I had to do was throw in a weird voice, a funny accent, and some emphasis on my character's psychological instability to turn a standard, throwaway nosy neighbor into a Tour De Force.

Within three sentences, I knew I never had a chance at getting promoted to a Little Old Lady.

I was killing the other actors. At the *rehearsal*. Every one of my words was *golden*. I kept having to pause to allow people to guffaw at length, wipe their eyes, and get quiet, before I could deliver another line in a stupid voice and wait for them to guffaw, wipe their eyes, and calm down *again*.

Dang it.

I am way too good at making a role my own.

So tonight, we read that comedy-with-potential in public, and predictably, the audience of four adored me. Yeah, I said four. I thought about lying about our potential drawing power for a New Play Festival, but I'll be honest. We were reading in a Knox County public library, and we only had four people there. Actually five, but I don't count my own son Woodrow. There was one stray lady, one wife of an actor in the reading, and a librarian and her husband in attendance.

With great luck, they all loved the play and wanted to know why it wasn't being produced yet.

(I agree with them. All we need to do is some serious trimming, and this baby would be ready for the stage. Seriously. And I happen to know the playwright is easy to work with, so I'm not sure why this play isn't already on the front burner for full production.)

Here's the really satisfying part, though. After the reading, and after the audience gave its "feedback" on the play, as we were leaving, I was waylaid by every single member of the audience, all of whom were eager to tell me how fabulous I was and a bright, shining beacon of fabulosity in the play.

Dang. I do love applause, even if it's just mental.

I don't know how many times I said "thank you." The wife-of-an-actor also grabbed me and told me I was brilliant, and I confessed to her that I didn't even *want* the part I'd been given. She asked me which part I wanted, and then she and her actor-husband both cried that I was too perfect for the role I was in.

I guess... OK, I guess what bothers me about that is... I *invented* my bit-part character. What I did with her wasn't written into the script; I *made* her fun. If I had been given a shot at a little old lady, that role would have been as indelibly mine as this bit part is. They just don't know it because they don't have a chance to hear me read it.

That's why I like auditions. It gives me a chance to show what I can do.

But now the big problem is that I am addicted to this adoration. I love that the audience loves me in the bit part. Yes, I made it more magnificent than it was written. Yes, I made it mine. But honestly, why shouldn't I? It isn't as if I'll get an opportunity to do the sweet little old lady. And in the meantime, I'm upstaging the daylights out of her and almost everyone else in the play -- with the director's blessing.

Is that tweaked or what?

Eh, I don't care. More applause, please.


At 10/3/07 12:09 AM, Blogger Amy said...

Hey! I miss your blog! Are you going to blog anymore?

Amy, whose blog is gathering dust


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