Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Audition Chronicles- The Bad Accompanist

Since I have recently separated my professional website from my personal ones, I think it is time to talk about the things I don’t necessarily want everyone to see- strange, bad, funny or annoying experiences I have while working towards my goal of being a full time performer.

Audition Chronicles- The Bad Accompanist

I went out for an audition today, and was feeling pretty good on my way there. After all, I had a fantastic voice lesson yesterday with my new voice coach, and I felt like a million bucks. I walk into the audition and find myself waiting in a stairwell with several other hopefuls. I fill out my conflict sheet, which lets the producers know what my conflicts are for the dates they have rehearsals and performances. I change out of my flip flops and into my cute (but uncomfortable) ballet style dress shoes, and I wait for my turn to sing.

When they call my name, I go into the room where there are 5-6 people, and the first thing they do is ask me how tall I am (5’5“) and tell me to take off my shoes. Instead of a piano, the accompanist sits behind a small electric keyboard. I give her my music and ask her to follow me through the first section (noted as “freely” in the music, which means the accompanist follows the singer’s tempo) and then I set a faster tempo for the more brisk 2nd section. I introduce myself to the group, tell them what I am going to sing (“Not for the Life of Me” from Thoroughly Modern Millie) and nod to the accompanist that I am ready. For those of you who don’t know the song, it starts out hesitant and contemplative, and I use the slower pace early on to really set up the character and play the action of the song. Then the character becomes resolute, the pace picks up, and the song becomes fun, fast and furious. It is a well known song in musical theatre circles.

The accompanist starts, and from the beginning I know I am in trouble. Instead of following me “freely” and playing the accompaniment, she plays the melody line and plays decisively. And SLOWLY. It’s kind of like if someone tried to play along with your speech, It’s very difficult to match notes with the words at the exact time they are spoken- trying to do so is kind of like a train wreck. This was what the audition was like. At first, I try to slow down so the accompanist can catch up, but then I realize that she is plunking out notes and there is no way I can match what she is doing. So, I decide to just push forward and hope that the producers know what is happening. The accompanist comes in and out of playing the music, and never fully catches on. Finally, the song ends and the directors just sort of stare at me before saying, “Thank you.” (Read: “Not a chance in hell.” ) I said “You’re welcome.” Read: “Your accompanist was awful, didn’t you know?“

Luckily, it only took up 15 minutes of my day, and I got to go home, brew some coffee, and snuggle up with my dog. No harm, no foul. And only 4 more hours before my next audition- this time, it is for a NYU grad film. No accompanist- it should be a breeze. =)

1 comment:

  1. Well, at least you can rest easy knowing you won't have to work in the actual show with that accompanist!! How'd the NYU audition go? It's making me itch to audition!


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