The Audition, Part 3: After the Generals
Monday, February 13, 2012
By Julie Antti
The support that I have received from my friends and band-mates throughout the process of TBA General Auditions has been so important to my success. And by success, I mean looking professional and getting the auditors to laugh at me and, most importantly, me not blanking in the middle of the monologue…my biggest fear.
Once my monologue was chosen, I spent a good week studying it, editing and memorizing. Several friends were thankfully patient and sat with me while I learned the piece line by line, flailing to do it over and over again. During that week, I decided I should watch the video of Lily Tomlin performing the piece. That's when I started to lose hope. The way she did the piece was not how I heard it in my head, and it wasn't funny. I watched this comedian who I admired doing a part that I thought was really funny, but then it wasn't. My heart dropped. It was too late to choose something else, I already memorized this one. I just had to do the best I could with.
Actor Julie Antti. Photo: Martin Cooper
With so much doubt, I signed up for the dress rehearsal and felt that it would force me into learning the piece sooner so I would be that much more comfortable for the audition. And maybe I would get help making it funny. Additionally, I would have a chance to be in the space ahead of time and get a feel for the theater. I blocked the monologue the Tuesday before the dress rehearsal, and tried performing it for some friends the Thursday and again the Friday before. I could barely make it through. I was so nervous. I lost my lines, I couldn't remember my movement, it was insane, I could barely perform it for friends.
Dress rehearsal day, I wake up at 6:45am. The rehearsal was at 10:00am and I wanted to be 30 minutes early, just like we were directed for the audition. Surprisingly, I was able to eat breakfast, but only half and took the rest with me to go. Indeed I was there early and got to talk with one of the other actors. She was very friendly and didn't seem to mind sitting with me. She had done General before, and seemed to do a lot of shows. There were so many people in the class, and the instructor spent a lot of time in the beginning with people, and they got to do their monologue twice. I was actually terrified that I would have to do it twice. I hadn't been able to do it twice yet. I could do it once and then I forgot everything. So, when we were getting toward the end of the 2 hours of me sitting there anxious as hell, my leg was in serious pain (maybe just from sitting too long), which really sucked, and my heart pounded every time she called the next person. So, the instructor realizes that we are running out of time and she can't spend as much time with the remaining people. I'm torn, I don't want to do the piece twice, but I knew that I needed to. She finally calls my name, and I walk up the stairs, go back stage, I come out and introduce my piece. I take my opening position and start, two lines in I blank. I can't remember my line. I can't remember anything, "Just say something! Say something! Say anything! I'm doing some exercise, which is part of the monologue, and I just keep exercising. When, what felt like an eternity passed, something finally came out of my mouth. I don't remember what, but I said a couple more lines and ended the monologue, not in the right place. I knew I bombed. I did get a laugh, which was definitely a sign of encouragement. But the other actor I met before we started scurried out without saying goodbye. I knew it could be so much better, but I only had a week. The instructor gave me some very helpful notes and encouragement, as did another actor, which I heeded and I think definitely contributed to the final outcome of the piece.
I knew that I had to do the piece in front of people until I was comfortable with the movement and the words together. I called friends, roommates and co-workers to watch me, and I got more and more comfortable. Wednesday before Generals my director from my last show helped me out, and that's when the funny seemed to really come out. I had two days to get used to my new blocking and that really didn't seem like enough time.
Through all this I had new headshot taken and had to pick one. It seemed so crucial to my success to pick the right one. There were so many, and a lot of good candidates. I called out to my community for opinions and through that I was able to narrow it down to the one I thought was best. Several friends and my Mom helped me narrow it down and I really like the one that I ended up choosing.
The resume on the other hand fell to silent ears. No one seemed to know exactly what it should look like or what it should include, until my first blog went up. I received an email after just a couple days from a complete stranger who was appalled that I didn't receive help. I sent her my resume and she, having had volunteered at TBA Generals before and having some experience, helped me completely revamp my resume. I now feel so much more confident. Unfortunately, the monologue, I'm still not sold on, and will start looking for more options to build up my arsenal.
I have thus far received two requests for additional auditions as a result of TBA Generals. I am so happy I went through all of the stress, and thank my friends and family for their support.
Julie Antti is a Bay Area performer with a background in gymnastics, dance and comedy, and was recently the star of ShEvil Dead. She also loves playing music with her two bands: Bugs in Costumes and The HoneyBelles. firstname.lastname@example.org