Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My Day at the AEA Lounge


I spent what ended up being an awesome day at the Actors’ Equity lounge last Thursday, while attending a few auditions. AEA’s Audition Lounge is a meeting place for actors, complete with 3 audition studios as well as dressing rooms, big bathrooms, and a social area that doubles as a waiting room. I stopped by because there were two auditions being held from 1:30pm-5:30pm- one for a musical and one for a play. I arrived around 12:15pm to sign up for a slot (sign ups would begin at 12:30pm) and was dismayed to see at least 75-80 people already waiting in line to sign up... for each audition. I couldn’t really believe the massive amount of people that were there, and I knew right away that I was going to have to make a choice as to which audition I wanted to do, because I couldn’t stand in both lines at the same time. I looked at the audition details and opted to stand in line for the musical because it was being cast by Cindi Rush Casting- Next week I will be meeting Cindi at an audition seminar, so I thought it would be a smart idea to do this audition to increase the number of times this office sees my work.

After 30 minutes in line I finally edge up to the sign up table, and right when I get there and am ready to show my card, I hear the depressing, “The last slot has been filled. We are now only taking alternates.” Drat! I was so close! Actually, getting onto the alternate list can actually be a better option than getting an appointment- alternates are called when auditions run ahead of schedule (to absorb the extra minutes) and in most cases you can get seen earlier than you could with an appointment. Once I became an alternate, I ran over to the other audition to get on their alternate list. Within one hour the first list called my name for the musical, so I headed in to sing. They had asked for an uptempo contemporary musical theater song, and I had chosen what I thought was a perfect song. But when I handed it to the accompanist, he pouted a bit and gave a big sigh. “You don’t like it?” I asked. “Well, I don’t think I can play it well enough,” he said. So, I flipped several pages to the next appropriate song. “How about this?” I asked. He smiled and nodded, and in the 3.5 seconds it took to walk to the center of the room, I completely reworked my audition choices. It doesn’t happen very often that an accompanist would tell you to change your song (this was a first for me), so I am glad that I was prepared with another choice. It’s crazy what a little change like that can do to an actor’s confidence, but I was pleased with my performance and had a lot of fun singing. I gave myself an A for Effort and for Execution!

I got done with that audition at about 2:35pm, and since I was #28 on the alternate list for the other show, I had up to 3 hours to wait (with the chance of never getting called for the other audition at all.) Luckily, I ran into quite a few friends (Brandon, Anna, Josh, Matt, and Marilyn) and we got to spend the next 3 hours commiserating, inspiring each other, and laughing a lot. I also met new people who were friends of my friends, and saw actors I had met once or twice through other auditions or classes. The time crept closer and closer to the last time slot at 5:30pm, and it was looking like I wasn’t going to get to audition. But a miracle happened somehow, because they needed one more actor from the alternate list, and 3 people on the list ahead of me were no longer in the building. So, they crossed them off the list and announced my name- I was the last actor of the day! While waiting to go in, the audition monitor tells us that instead of the just a basic contemporary monologue, they were specifically asking for a comedic piece. And again, I was prepared enough to be able to switch my choices, and was able to give them something funny to finish their day. But I was a little taken aback when I got in the room. My comedic monologue is a cute, if mature, piece about a midwestern girl who goes on vacation and experiences a threesome. To my chagrin, in the audition room there was an older woman (over 65) sitting behind the table, and for a split second I got concerned about doing a threesome monologue for her. But I swallowed my pride and went for it, and she laughed all the way through it. In fact, I think she laughed harder than anyone I have ever performed it for. She thanked me for letting her leave the audition with a smile on her face, and I was happy to have another good audition under my belt.

Another day, another dollar (spent.)

3 comments:

  1. I'd never head of the AE Audition Lounge. Interesting concept (I'm reading about it right now at
    http://tinyurl.com/yumkdl

    I wonder how much the location is funded by AE and how much of the revenue is earned off of the auditions...

    ReplyDelete
  2. OH! It is in the same building as the AE offices... Now I get it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good stuff!

    That's how I started writing plays -- doing audition monologues for actresses I knew who wanted something new and different.

    And it's great to have a repertoire of mnologues. I can't tell you how often I've made it clear in the ad as to the type of monologue I want to hear in a casting session, and an actor comes in and says, "I don't do the kind of thing you want; I have this instead."

    NEXT!

    ReplyDelete

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