When I first moved to New York, I went to every audition I could find. Was I right for the role? Sometimes. Sometimes I would go just to get “seen.” Getting “seen” is really important to an actor because it makes her feel like she’s taking positive steps in her career that are being acknowledged by other industry professionals. In reality, getting “seen” can be very annoying to casting directors who have to smile politely through a nice white girl’s 32 bars when they are casting Once on this Island. The actress believes her eyebrows are “ethnic” enough, while the casting director believes this actress doesn’t know anything about the show she’s auditioning for or who she is as a person.
It was a sunny spring day, far enough after Memorial Day that I was wearing a short white dress. I looked adorable. I was “seen” at two auditions and decided to keep going.
I walked into the holding room of lucky number three, which was completely empty and was able to head into the audition space almost immediately. The first thing that hit me in this small room was the smell of halitosis. It was nearly overwhelming. The second was that the elderly man leaning over the piano was only wearing grandpa pants (up to his nipples and pleated) and a white undershirt. This guy kind of looked like the molester character on Family Guy, but I’ve met enough creative people to know that not everyone with talent looks (and smells) like George Clooney.
I sang a few songs as he accompanied me on the piano. Then he turned to me and looked me up and down. “You look strong,” he said. Feeling a little uncomfortable, I giggled something about liking to work out and started wondering where all this was going.
“I’d like to wrestle with you sometime. I feel like you could beat me.”
Praying that this would not be the next part of the audition, I said nothing, so he went on. “I’m not sure if you’re right for the role of the sixteen year old Polynesian girl, but I like your style. I’m definitely going to keep you in mind for callbacks.”