Posted By TBA Staff,
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Updated: Monday, August 11, 2014
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It was a sweltering afternoon at the TBA South Bay Regional Auditions in San Jose—both inside and outside the San Jose Stage Company, although for not quite the same reasons. While the temperature outside was breaking through all possible possibilities of human endurance, the pace inside the audition venue was also scorching.
Group after group of eager actors came filing in at their appointed times to present 120 rehearsed seconds of theatrical performance for an eager, willing and welcoming group of artistic directors, casting directors, casting assistants, et al, from as many as 14 different theatre companies.
Photo: "Audition" by henry... on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.
It all ran like clockwork. Actors would come in and submit their headshots. The group in waiting would be taken outside for a quick orientation of audition protocol. The previous group's actors were filing out one by one from the stage, while the next group’s headshots were grouped for each auditor. After the last actor had performed his/her/their pieces, hands went up for the next lot of head shots. TBA marketing associate Kendra would come in and introduce the incoming group; one by one, like a well tuned program, the actors came in to perform and then left, making space for the next auditioner. And the process continued—for nine hours straight.
San Jose Stage Company has a big stage, a backstage-cum-green room and a beautiful, well-lit lobby. Three worlds coexisted; while performers showed their wares on this beautifully lit stage with audience on three sides, the actors waiting were seated/standing/moving in the green room, paying close attention to who was on stage (and their own heartbeats). The third world was the smiling and welcoming front desk in the lobby, manned by Susan and Dana who would greet you with a smile and a kind welcome.
Actors performing songs would first huddle with the on-board accompanist Samuel, who then played in full support to the artist—keeping in sync with the voice, breath and emotion of the singing talent.
Actors of all shapes, sizes, ages, vocal range and nervousness came forward to an audience that was supportive, friendly, kind and responsive: chuckles, giggles, laughs and finally, a nice, juicy "Thank you.' A special word goes out to the auditors who, even after numerous auditions, remained engaged and warm.
Being in the last group, I did have the advantage of a particularly jubilant audience before our group began—yes, it had been a long day.
Thank you TBA, thank you San Jose Stage Company, thank you auditors, and most of all thank you actors, for having the courage to come and be vulnerable once again, to wear our hearts on our sleeves, and offer ourselves for inspection, knowing that in these 120 seconds—before we hear the word, "time," before they shut the lights out—we could possibly live a couple of lifetimes. The show must go on…
J is a Bay Area-based actor fresh out of the University of Washington's MFA (Acting) program. J also holds an MBA, helped raise $115,143 for the University of Washington and is an activist for gender freedom.