A Failed Audition Story
I know I am not the best in class when it comes to acting but I am sure I nailed this one. But what happened? The long streak of auditions I have had so far did give right taps to hone my craftsmanship though I didn’t make it through any of its final mile. Okay, let me try recreating the scene once again. Perhaps I could find something to learn this time.
Scene 1, Take 23.
April 2021. Weeks after I quit my theatre job where I did almost any role thrown at me. Brother, friend, soldier, spy, assassin, traitor, rebel, homeless, comedian and sometimes even the role of a villain. I lived these spectrum of characters throughout my three years of just theatre work. Nothing could put off my fire. I was neither guided nor mentored on how to embrace and express these roles. Learnt however I could and performed whatever the best came out of me. And when I come back from the theatre to my stiff head-to-ankle short bed of my 1BHK apartment shared among five other strangers, most of my nights went into thinking how a mentor or a coach would have made this journey better and was I really making progress.
I spent my early 20s only at this theatre. It was some great years of exploration. Soon the time had come for me to move on. It had been full of storm waters so I wanted to return to my calm shore for a while. With no job in hand, I returned to my home with blind confidence. About four months into the search of what I wanted to do next, I was quite close to pick up menial jobs.
That’s when she called me.
The day was almost over. I had enough of the day, and just wanted to fall on my bed. Must be around 10. I got a call from a new number. I hear the other side, “Hello, this is Josh. Assistant Director from Director Charu’s office.”
Me: Hey Joshua, hi. And Charu who?
Josh: Charu is the director of the recent Mars webseries. I got your number from the Soro theatre. Heard you are not there any more. She had seen couple of the sketches you played at the theatre. She wanted to let you know about our audition. I tried reaching you yesterday but couldn’t get through.
Me: Sorry about that.
Josh: So she is taking auditions for her upcoming sci-fi drama project. So was wondering if you would be interested.
Me: That’s great! When is the audition? And for what role?
Josh: Thing is audition will be over by tonight. Can you make it? Say by 11? Role will be defined on spot.
swiftly putting on my glass to check the wall clock
Me: I can make it. And thanks for the call, Josh.
Josh: Great! Will ping you the deets now.
Her name was new in the industry to make immediate recognition. I was excited to get this audition call from the director of the series I loved though missed to see it was her work.
For situations like these, my bike has always been my savior. I sprinted hard on the wheels. I reached the spot at 10:57. While I was gasping heavy to cross last five flight of stairs to the theatre room, I kept thinking the odd hour that the director chose for audition because I am a dead meat by 12 and the last time I performed was over three months ago.
I entered the room through the side door, and I saw her. She already started briefing the small batch of guys who came for the audition. As I settle in with the rest of the guys, it didn’t take much time for me to realise — The fierce, creative and passionate director, she is. She has these deep eyes to see the worlds from facade to brick. Its not just her ability to see but also to translate to the audience. Her translation of her words and worlds into her medium of expression is truly a craftsmanship of her own league.
Story and script is already finalized and you are not going to do that. I am looking for someone for one of the male leads. You’d be given out an arbitrary scene, your ability to absorb and enact with raw emotions is my focus. The scene is in a small village-pub, it’s late in the evening. You are with your buddies, chilling. There you see a girl, catching glimpse of you every now and then. Trying to play it cool. But it’s so out there and she’s a bad actor. A while later, the whole crowd was pushed to the corner making room for the dancers there. Destiny it might be, they happen to stand next to each other. There’s a lot of tension and relief that could be seen from the girl’s end.
Rule is you got 5 minutes to both narrate and act your style. Now that you have the scene, act it out. Also, the girl cast was unable to make it to the set today so I’ll take the role instead with you.
There were five of us and given a time of 10 minutes to prepare. There was more tension to act beside the director than the act itself. I was asked to come in third. I saw the first two guys being told that they did great and they would hear back in two days. I tried to fix my unsettling hair, and entered the frame placed at the center of the theatre room. Must say I never did narrate and act at the same time. The cameraman clicked few pictures of me and said, ”whenever you’re ready”.
She steps in to the frame, and I start,
Since this audition turned out to be a twist from the usual acting out from the script, lemme improvise what happens in the scene…
Its a full moon night in the village. So here I am chillin with my “buddy” at the local dance bar sipping our favorite rum by the lounge. This is our usual spot because the dance floor is infront of us and the bar towards the right. He wants to dance with the great crowd we are having today but he couldn’t find a partner. And I see you when a random spotlight hit you while you leave the bartender’s to join the crowd. We lock eyes. I misread that you are actually eyeing on my buddy. I tell him that boy aren’t you lucky “again”. He wants me to double check. As I sip my old monk and casually roll my eyes towards you, I again see your eyes fumbling. I catch you right there again.
My buddy joins the crowd and asked me to be his good wingman.
I stand up without much denial and prepare myself to move towards the bar to you. As I try to navigate through the tight crowd, the song ‘Midnight City’ by M83 starts to get more upbeat, the crowd pushes us closer towards the corner. People are getting more jumpy now.
I see you with your girl friend and approach you,
Heyy, hi, I can’t help but notice that you eye on my buddy jumping like a teenage kangaroo there. Don’t know why would you eye on that stupid creature. But I’m his wing man and… I got one job to do. He kinda look stupid now but sure is a smooth dancer. Just he’s lil shy to come here. Would you ladies be interested to dance with us?
You are getting furious but hiding it really well and you say, “you sure your creature is a smooth dancer?”.
I say, “yes, ma’am”. You give the eye to your friend to tag along. I notice this and tell her, “Well, I’m no good as him but sure have some fun moves”. I whistle my buddy that the double-check is done and we four move to the dance floor where we start to dance to the song ‘Pegate Mas’. You are letting go of my stupidity and having fun with my buddy. You think he’s fun. We are having drinks together and I tell weird stories of my buddy and we all having lot of fun. You both giggle at us and tell us your pick-up line failures.
After a lot of high bass crazy jumpy songs, its almost 1. Breezy songs are on. ‘Its been a long long time’ by Harry James.
We four are dancing. You with him and I with your friend. We both see each other as we dance with our friends. We yet again lock eyes and I see the spark in your eyes. You are dancing with him but your eyes find ways to lock them on me and I see them too.
You notice that I eye you and I eye for you.
You don’t understand whats going on.
I look as if I knew this all along.
You feel everything around is blurring but only I look clearer under the moonlight. As the moon light intensifies on me, you don’t see anything but me.
I walk towards you and touch your cheek and say,
Its been always the same with you. I have met every single version of you in all the parallel worlds that is out there. You and I always find a way. I never thought this was possible but love is the only truth.
You see me levitating and disappearing towards the moon.
And you start to hear the echoes of my buddy calling out to you.
You feel being tapped on your shoulder.
As you get some sense back to reality, you see my buddy who was dancing with you was me the whole time.
The rest is history.
I finish my audition by letting go of my hands from her waistline.
I see smile on everyone. Her too.
A week later, I heard that I didn’t make it.