Today I had an audition for a Principle Male Singer role for a rather ooh-err luxury cruise liner that jauntily sails around the Aegean Sea from Greece to Turkey. I’ve done the cruise ship thing in the past, and it was a bit of an ordeal as a job. Mind you that previous job certainly was not what you would call an ooh-luxury liner. It was more your paranoid schizophrenic with a chip on their shoulder dodgy brothers liner. (Those of you long term readers may remember my Asian Chronicles of 2000.)
So I prepped. I practised with a friend on Saturday at the theatre I work at, going through my chosen pieces. I had to choose two contrasting pieces: on musical theatre, the other contrasting from a pop/jazz/rock genre. So I chose Luck Be A Lady from Guys And Dolls (musical theatre and a little jazzy) and Better Be Home Soon by Crowded House (pop ballad).
I know some of you will grown about the Guys And Dolls song, but seriously, it sits perfectly in my range, and let’s face, I’m now getting to the age where Skye is kind of in my bracket. Plus I’ve known it for years, so it would be easy.
Or so one would have thought.
When practising with George, I got through Luck Be A Lady relatively nicely, and felt pretty confident with it. Better Be Home Soon, on the other hand, required a nice little G popped out in the bridge of the song. Been a while since one of those has been seen, and I was a tad scratchy, I have to admit.
The night before I pressed my clothes. I organised my sheet music in a folder, and in pages taped together so the repetiteur would only have to concentrate on playing.
So audition day, and I am in the waiting room, keeping calm and staying positive, humming away to myself, raising and opening my soft palate, keeping my fluids up. Then they called my name to go in.
With confidence I strode into the room introduced myself and my songs.
I started off with my comfortable piece from Guys And Dolls. Two bars in I missed a note. Oh gee, bad start. Two sentences in and I am completely off key. My legs start to shake. I know I am better than this. Stop talking to yourself and concentrate on your singing. Whoops. You’re not performing at all. Act why don’t you. There goes another note. Am I even in key anymore? Did I really just sing that? Legs are going to jelly, hands are shaking. I am completely useless. You are so busy criticising yourself in your head, do you even known what’s going on and what you have just sung?
Needless to say, it didn’t go well.
I just wanted to stop halfway through and apologise and explain that I am better than this warbling moron that is actually standing in front of them.
Fortunately the two lovely ladies on the panel gave me a second chance, and allowed me to sing my second piece. Yep, the one with the G. Oh Christ, kill me now.
And if by some fluke of nature, I sing through the number, and sail over the F sharp to get out a solid and sustained G. Where the hell did that come from?
Oh and no, as expected I didn’t make the cut.
It’s strange the pressure that performers put themselves under. When you really want a particular job, you screw up big time. Yet recently I auditioned for a standard low paid cruise gig, which I really couldn’t have been fussed to get, and nailed it and was offered that contract. (Which I actually turned down.)
Why oh why do we put ourselves through this? Auditioning has to be one of the worst experiences there is in looking for a job.
Another friend at the theatre suggested alcohol. Got them where he is today in professional theatre.
Where have I put my bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin?