Monday, April 23, 2007

Proofed

Last Friday, I had a callback for the play Proof. Mary Louise Parker played the lead on Broadway (and I saw her in it, and she was brilliant), and Gwyneth Paltrow played the lead in the movie (and I saw her in it, and she was . . .meh.)

I wasn't up for the lead; I was up for the sister. So were 8 other girls. This is our story.

I'd like to start off by saying that it's ever so strange to be sitting with a group of people who are your "type." An entire row of alto-voiced blondes in business suits, all poring over the same part of the same script. Three of us left our chairs and made strange warm-up noises in various corners of the theatre. Two of us flirted with the "Handsome Math Geek" types sitting opposite us. One of us sat swaying to her Ipod, one of us applied lipgloss at regular intervals, and I chewed gum and sent text messages to my husband:

"I'm sitting in a row of girls who all look like me."

Steve texts back:

"Make sure you get their phone numbers, just in case you decide to leave me."

The lipgloss me stands up and walks over to get some coffee. "I'm freezing!" she whispers, settling back down. She's wearing one of the tightest skirts I've ever seen, and an equally tight shirt with a plunging back. Definitely not me.

"Yeah, it's pretty cold."

She looks over to one of our type: the one in the corner making low moaning noises with her eyes closed. She turns her head to me, pointing discreetly at the moaner:

"I could never be one of those. You?"

"Nope."

We talk a little more. I find out she just finished playing a lead in the national touring company of Grease.

"How cool!" I say. "What did you think of that Grease reality show?"

She rolls her eyes.

"Stupid."

"Yeah."

One by one, we're called in to read. The moaner returns from the audition room, looking subdued.

"Fun while it lasted, kids." Exeunt Moaner.

The minutes pass. Then the hours. The slow exodus continues: Goodbye, Preppy Handsome Math Geek! So long, Spiky-Haired Me!

I'm called in several more times to read; each time with a different "sister." My tight-skirted friend remains, but most of the others depart. I watch as one of us downs her 4th cup of coffee.

One of the remaining Handsome Geeks (the one with the soulful eyes), mumbles:

"Do I even want to be in this play?"

We all laugh; a welcome break from the tension. The stage manager glares at us.

"SHHHH!"

My seatmate returns from her latest visit to the audition room.

"Well, I'm outta here. He's 'decided to go in a different direction.' Gotta love it!" She grins. "It was nice to meet you."

"You, too."

I watch the remaining Handsome Geeks check her out as she departs.

Almost three hours later, I've read with one particular "sister" several times. I think we could pass for family - we're both tall. I look up from texting Steve to see the taller of the two remaining dads exit the theatre. I size up the only dad left. He can't be any taller than 5' 6".

I nudge my tall sister, pointing to the Last Dad Standing:

"This isn't good."

She looks him up and down.

"Not good."

We're called in. We know what's coming, but we're hoping it's not.

"Hi, ladies." The director smiles up at us.

"I absolutely love both of you, and I would love to cast you."

Pause.

"But the fact is, you're just too f'in tall."

He thanks us for our time, and we thank him for his. We walk out of the room together, passing the Short Me and the Short Her on our way out.

"Congratulations!" I whisper.

"Thanks!" They beam.

I walk to the parking lot with my tall sister. As she hops in her car, she says, wearily:

"I'm going straight to In 'n Out Burger."

She drives away. I call Steve on the drive home:

"Well, I didn't get it. I'm too tall."

"I'm sorry, baby."

"Yeah."

"Did you get those other girls' phone numbers?"

"You won't need them. I'm sticking with you."

"Good. 'Cause I like tall."

I already know this. 'Cause 3 1/2 years ago, I totally aced that audition.

10 comments:

Azúcar said...

Another great post. I'm so glad there are actors out there because I could never do it.

Sometimes I wonder if our husbands were separated at birth.

Eric D Snider said...

You saw "Proof" on Broadway with ME! I remember it well! 'Twas a fine show, and thereafter we set off in search of a particular dessert establishment that you thought was on 50-something Street and that turned out to be on like 370th Street. We walked for HOURS, or at least that is what my memory has decided.

Ah, memories...

Great audition story, by the way. Sorry you didn't get the part. You'd have been a great sister.

Emmie said...

Azúcar,

Oh, but you did do it. Let me refresh your memory:

"oooOOOOOOK-LAHOMA where the wind comes sweeping down the plaaaaaaaiiiinnnn . . ."

P.S. This whole similar-husband-thing is spooky.

Eric D. Snider, as I live and breathe! I certainly remember seeing Proof with you. I believe we determined it was both "Mathtastic!" and "Algebrarific!" We were funny back then.

P.S. The restaurant wasn't really that far from where I thought it was. 10 miles, tops.

Hillary said...

I wonder what it's like to not get a part because you're too tall. Hmmmmmm...
Their loss. After all, is it better to have the best sisters or the best dad? I only saw the movie (cause I don't get out much)and, honestly, I think you could do the play without the dad. Don't you?

Jannah said...

I got my husband (the antithesis of an actor) to read this blog because I enjoyed it so much, I think it really captures the audition experience.
His first response was "Emmie is a really good writer" (I said he wasn't an actor, I didn't say he wasn't smart.)
His second response was "Why did they do that to her, wasting her time like that? they should have just told everone at the door that they were too short or too tall!"

Regardless of the logic of the director, they missed out!

Emily said...

I think I need more Emmie in my life.

Meg at night said...

Ditto to Emily! °Ü°

Emily said...

Some days, like today, I wander aimlessly through the blogosphere during naptime. And I'm usually just mildly entertained by the minutia of peoples' lives, but I'm so delighted to have linked my way over to your blog--this post was most enjoyable! So enjoyable, in fact, that I went back and read a few of your other offerings to the cyber world and they were equally great.
Oh, and the bangs are very becoming on you!

Emmie said...

Ladies,
Please forgive the tardiness of some of these replies. I've composed responses in my head several times, but never typed them up. Bad blogger!

Hillary,
We tall girls gots to stick together, yo!
P.S. We haven't talked in forever! We need to catch up.

Jannah,
I am truly flattered that your man thinks I'm a good writer. I loved his comment, and I love you. We need to watch a bad made-for-tv movie together very soon.

Emily in Arizona,
I think we should be real-life friends. Deal?

Meg,
I need more you in my life!

Emily,
Your comment made my day! Thank you for saying such nice things. I've been enjoying your comments on Segullah, and I'm delighted you stopped by!

Meg at night said...

Em, I LOVE your new picture! What a beautiful Babe!