I had an audition today. I was really excited about this one because it was for a character I am very interested in, and it also required an Irish dialect. Dialects are just plain fun! I’m so grateful for my husband who puts up with my walking around the house practicing a voice for days, and he doesn’t even bat an eye. He just smiles at me like I’m wonderful. The kids are not so encouraging, saying they just want me to “talk like mommy.” But I was able to valiantly work through the opposition of my opinionated 5-year-old and practice nonetheless.
I’m also grateful for the reminders from God that my focus should not be on the dialect, but on the character’s heart. And this one is a doozy. An actual person who spent her life serving others, rescuing children from slavery of the worst kind. No pressure, right? So I did my research and prayed and read my Bible and asked God for help. It’s very hard to read about someone who lived that kind of life and not compare yourself to them. But I know acting is what I am called and gifted to do, and if I were to leave it all and move to Africa, God would not be any more pleased with me than He is now.
I walked into the audition room speaking as if I’d just arrived from Ireland. They wanted to know if I’d done any research on this individual, and so I proceeded to share everything I’d learned. Talking about her, I could feel the pressure mounting to be an accurate representation of what she worked so hard for. And all that pressure…for three words. That was the audition. Three words. It was more about the action in the scene than the words (hmm, kinda sounds like life), and I found myself tearing up when I quickly read through the scenario. “This actually happened,” I was thinking to myself, and I had to compose myself before saying the words. The scene ended as quickly as it had begun, and then my moment of learning began.
I looked back at the page again and, again, felt the tears. I knew, however, that I could either control the emotion, or allow it. I made a split second decision to allow it, only for a moment, and they asked if I was okay. I was able to squeak out “it’s just good,” as I handed the script back, and then apologize for the tears. They were kind and forgiving, but I was kicking myself immediately for choosing to allow myself to cry.
Acting is about being real, I know that. But I don’t believe this person would have cried in this situation. She would have been strong, she would have been someone a child would feel safe with. Tears would have been saved for a time behind closed doors.
I was also disappointed because, though the emotion was real, the motivation for letting it show was deceptive. Part of me just wanted them to see I could show emotion. So that in itself was an lie. Maybe it sounds like I’m picking it apart too much, but I’m not. I want to be authentic to the story, not pleasing to a casting director, not ostentatious. It is a constant struggle to not be focused on pleasing others.
However, on that note, let’s end this happy. I learned something extremely valuable. And, when all was said and done, they asked if I was from Ireland. BAM! Learning from the good and the bad. I love my job!
Also, by the way, I noticed the the “word of the day” for WordPress was “ostentatious,” so this seemed appropriate.
And, as I was ready to push the “publish” button, I got the email saying I got the part! Ha! God is good despite our screw-ups!