Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Life Imitates Art

I've been trying to attend a certain "How to Audition for Musical Theater" workshop for three years now and I finally made it last night. The hosts were the artistic staff of Seattle's Fifth Avenue Theater, one of the producers of the Broadway mega-hit, "Hairspray."

For three hours, we all learned to look at auditions from the OTHER side of the table, but the lessons weren't limited to the audition process. Artistic Director David Armstrong had just as much to say about life as he did about try-outs. Here are some examples:

1) Don't dread an audition. Think of it as an opportunity to do something you love: to perform for an audience and show them what you can do.

It's a great metaphor for life. My ex used to HATE going to work. When I tried to describe to him how many people he helped every day in his job, he could only focus on the redundancy of it all. Frame your experience in a way that makes it irresistible. Then you can't wait to get up in the morning!

2) When you walk into the audition, assume everyone there wants you to succeed.

What a great life philosophy: everyone's on your side, everyone's rooting for you, and the world is a supportive, generous place. (I want to make an important note here: the workshop was led by three male musical theater directors and they were NOT feeding the theater stereotype of being bitchy, catty, and jealous. HAAAA-LAY-LOO-YAH!)

3) When the director writes on your resume while you are singing, assume he is noting how fantastic you are.

Assume the best about people. They might disappoint you later, but give them the benefit of the doubt. It always pays off.

4) When someone stops you in the middle of your song and asks you if you have anything else, assume it's because you did great on the first tune and they want to see how versatile you are.

Again, don't go to the "dark side." Instead of letting your assumptions define your experience, give yourself credit and show the world your best.

5) If you don't get a call-back, assume it's because they don’t have a role for you this year, but next year, it might be a whole different story.

This goes for all relationships: don't work too hard to be accepted or liked. Approach each one as if this is the first step in a long-term experience. Theater (like life) according to David Armstrong, depends a lot of "stick-to-it-ive-ness" and honing your skills and if you are committed, you'll be in it for the long haul. In other words, life is short, but it's also long and if you want to do it well, don't ever stop trying to do better, whether it's in a dance class, as a parent, or just being human.

I walked away a very happy customer. I'll pay just about anything to see a good show, but this was a real bargain. Our fifteen bucks bought us more than just audition tips, we got a healthy way to look at the world. What a deal!


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