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How Do You Measure, Measure…Yourself?

January 6, 2011
Rent (film)

Poster from the movie RENT. (Image via Wikipedia)

So at work today I’ll be breaking into tears intermittently. Last night I cried myself to sleep. (And I know I’ve mentioned it before, but crying myself to sleep results in a worse hangover for me than overdrinking ever has.) I have a headache and when people ask me what’s wrong I can’t answer without crying. Oh sigh.

No, there was no major tragedy.

Nope, no accident.

Seriously, no one died.

I just got my hopes up (really high) and I got them dashed pretty hard this morning. To top it all off I feel like it isn’t that big of a deal and I’m just overreacting. But knowing that I’m overreacting isn’t enough to keep me from doing it. So, I have to take action. I don’t really have a truly positive action to take so it’s time to vent. And, as with the last few times I’ve vented on here, I’m hoping that getting all of this out will really get it out of me and I won’t have to think about it anymore.

Because I’m tired of thinking about it.

And crying about it.

And agonizing about it.

So, this is the story. This week I tried out for a play. A great play: RENT. On Monday I went with my best friend and her sisters and I sang a rock song and I did a good job. Not my best, but certainly good. And I got a call back for Maureen!

They gave me music to sing for the call backs and I spent hours practicing it. I agonized over every little choice that had to the show and/or my call back. What to wear, how to move where to look…everything. I even went to the second night of auditions to check out the competition and I sang for them again (upon retrospect I think I should have sung a different song, but the moment is passed so I’m trying not to dwell).

Then last night were call backs. I was insanely nervous and I had been wondering if I was sexy enough to be Maureen or if I had enough personality or talent to pull of singing the lead for a musical. I was actually shaking, and I wondering all of this until it was my turn to sing – and I nailed it. (At least I thought I had.)

Then they auditioned the Joannes and called up some of the Maureens to sing with them – and I wasn’t one of the Maureens called. I watched, I listened. I put on my reviewer/director’s eye and broke down the competition. I still thought I had done better – or could do better – than the ladies who were up there.

After that they called for anyone who wanted to sing another song. Well, I wanted to sing the duet they had just finished, but they hadn’t asked me to do it so they obviously didn’t want to see that. Right? On retrospect I think I should have asked to do it, but I thought that maybe I thought maybe I could just wow them with my acting chops when we read scenes. And I did GREAT! (At least I thought I did.)

The rest of the audition went on how they go … and then we went home. There were 8 lead roles, 12 supporting roles and a huge chorus. I was still crossing my fingers for a lead role, but I figured at the very least I had earned a supporting role.

I was wrong.

I looked at the cast list this morning and I’m in the chorus. And, as I said, I’m crushed. I had my hopes up so high. And I thought I did better than so many of the other people there. In fact, I thought I did better than several of the women who got supporting roles and one of the women who got a lead role. What had I done wrong? What had I done right? Why hadn’t I at least gotten one solo? I’m thinking about asking an acquaintance who was helping with casting, but I don’t want to cry all over him – or myself again, for that matter. (My mom said that I probably just wasn’t skinny enough compared to the other actresses.)

So I’m swimming in emotion about it all and I have rehearsal tonight. I know I’ll be happy about it eventually but right now I’m crushed. I wanted to be Maureen – or Joanne. Or at least Alexi Darling. But I’m just soprano number 1.

Again.

At this moment it feels like the story of my life. I’m just never quite good enough to make the cut that I want to make. And I really do want to get up on a stage full of people and wail for them. In the past I didn’t have a strong enough voice or anywhere near the confidence. But now…I think I can do it. At least I thought I could do it last night right after I sang “Over the Moon.”

Honestly, I don’t feel like it was fair casting. I don’t think I should have been so low on the cast list.

I sort of wish that I hadn’t been called back if I was only going to wind up in the chorus. It’s like my hopes got up for nothing. Of course, the last show I auditioned for I didn’t even get into the chorus. But there’s like 70 people in this show – how was I not going to at least get into the chorus?

During this process I found myself vacillating between the idea that I was amazing and I could totally do this and that I sucked. I felt the same way while applying for graduate school. One day I would read my sample and think, “Yes. This totally shows how much potential I have.” And at other times I would read it and think, “There’s no way I’m as good as the other people who will be applying.”

This just underlines my basic confidence issues and problems with arrogance and humility and low self-esteem. I have far too much of the bad traits and far too little of the good ones. And somehow, even though they are completely dichotomous ideas I seem to have them all that the same time. I lack confidence and yet I am somehow also arrogant. I’m not all that humble, but at the same time my self-esteem is far too low. How can this be? And how the hell can it be remedied?

Last night my best friend told me that I was acting weird. Like my attitude was bad or something. And maybe it was. I do know that I was being a little catty even though I was trying not to be. I told her that I must have some old demons resurfacing. Something in me that needs to be overcome. And I don’t want to have to fight this fight right now. But I also don’t want to have to feel this way again.

So…I guess the question is what can I learn from this (besides the words for my part in the chorus)? I guess we’ll see. And I guess singing for an entire theater full of people will have to stay on my bucket list. Maybe I’ll get a chance to play Maureen another day.

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2011 7:41 pm

    You tried. It didn’t work out this time. If it keeps never working out as you had hoped, you’ll have to sit down and be honest with yourself as to why…sometimes it’s just crappy luck. It just wasn’t your turn to be lucky THAT DAY. But if it becomes a consistent pattern, that’s a sign something isn’t working.

    I wrote at least four full-length book proposals (a shitload of unpaid work each time) and my agent could never sell them. Hm. His fault or mine? We parted ways. I have a new agent. Things are better…

    Like

    • January 6, 2011 8:40 pm

      Thanks. This would probably make me feel better, buut I just found out that everyone who auditioned got at least a chorus part. Everyone.

      Like

  2. dave c permalink
    January 6, 2011 9:53 pm

    Hey, on the upside…. more blog posts for me to read!

    Wait, I don’t know how that works-out for you, but it works-out for me. 😉

    Like

    • January 7, 2011 8:10 am

      I will make it work well for me. I’m a bright side of life person. It just takes me a day or two to start looking at the bright side sometimes. Thanks, Dave.

      Like

  3. 2blu2btru permalink
    January 7, 2011 5:08 am

    I give you kudos for trying out. I used to be in Theatrical Musical Troupe in middle school. I got writing credits, a part in a play, a part in an interpretive dance, and a song to myself…in the same production. But…I got booed…by an auditorium of six-eighth graders. I cried myself silly and wished I hadn’t ever gotten any of the parts and had just stayed behind the scenes. Nobody’s stories of how the messed up their first time or how I was overexposed by my many appearances meant anything. How could I be good enough to make it so far, yet not good enough to succeed in the end?

    I think all writers and performers who experience/face rejection can feel this way. It comes down to how badly we really want it whether or not we will continue. Possible rejection is the nature of the beast. All we can do is make informed decisions about what to try next and keep bettering ourselves at our craft. Good luck in the future, hon.

    Like

    • January 7, 2011 8:14 am

      Something I’ve realized is that there are things I have stopped trying for because I hadn’t learned to cope with rejection and/or failure (advancement at work, freelance writing etc.). In general I have a hard time when I feel like I have to prove that I can do something. I feel like it always comes down to prior experience and generally I’m trying something new. Besides, just because I’ve done something in the past doesn’t mean I can do it again. Or that I did a good job the first time.

      Anyway, I know that the writer’s life will mean a lot of this (again, part of why I hadn’t tried it before). So, I need to find a positive way to cope with it and retain a realistic sense of self-worth. (I’m open to suggestions.)

      Like

  4. January 7, 2011 7:00 am

    I think it speaks a lot about how talented you are that you got a callback for Maureen. Be proud of that! (I used to be a stage manager, so I know a little about this stuff.)

    Like

    • January 7, 2011 8:15 am

      Thanks. Right now it’s just hard to feel good about how I did when they let everyone in the show.

      Like

  5. Andy permalink
    January 7, 2011 8:34 am

    I am sorry this did not work out as planned. Perhaps, embrace the experience so you can investigate how to be better prepared the next time-if you should choose.

    Like

    • January 7, 2011 10:44 am

      I do plan on speaking with the casting director and asking him what I could do better if I audition in the future. But I have a feeling the answer is to bee in every play the community puts on — and I can’t commit myself to that.

      Like

  6. Andy permalink
    January 7, 2011 11:34 am

    It is tough sometimes when you realize there is a talent that can be developed; however, to become involved in developing that talent in community ventures part time requires a little more time than your available pace will allow.

    Like

    • January 7, 2011 11:41 am

      I’m not saying I need to be in the shows to develop my talent. I’m saying that I’m afraid I need to be in the “in crowd” to get cast.

      Like

      • January 7, 2011 10:25 pm

        You have made to the “in” crowd. Ok, so you are a chorus member but it puts your foot in the door. Your attitude and work ethic will now determine what other parts you can get. People remember how ‘big’ or ‘little’ a person behaved once you are there.

        Like

  7. Andy permalink
    January 7, 2011 11:58 am

    Unfortunately, the problem with small towns and communities where a ‘select’ enjoy running the show. Many experience this. There is always a way. You’ll figure this out.

    Like

  8. January 7, 2011 12:50 pm

    A new endeavor will soon come your way….ha, I sound like a cheesy fortune cookie! Once again the blog is great!

    Like

  9. John Wilder permalink
    January 8, 2011 9:13 am

    The thing to take away from it is that you have to work on your voice more if you want to sing. How many singing and voice lessons have you taken? How much do you work on your voice each day? You don’t get anywhere without hard work. Quit letting this affect your self esteem.
    As I mentioned in a previous post, you need to work on excelling in at least one area of your life that you can feel good about.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wildr

    Like

    • January 8, 2011 11:13 am

      Mr. Wilder, I have a highly trained voice and I sang the audition piece perfectly at call backs. Hence my bewilderment.

      Also, I’m very good at a lot of things. It doesn’t seem to keep my self-esteem in the right spot. Being good at something without recognition is harrowing at best.

      Like

  10. January 10, 2011 9:10 pm

    I personally think it’s awesome that you even took a shot at this. You aren’t complacent with your life, your job, your blog, your whatever… you reach out and try new things and take chances. No, they don’t always work out. But you had so much confidence and enthusiasm to even TRY this. Don’t forget that most people wouldn’t even try. Hell, I wouldn’t try. No way. I would focus on the self esteem you had to even give this a shot, and the talent you had to make it the second round. So it didn’t work out the way you might have hoped. You still are something special!
    (Haha, sorry for the mildly annoying pep talk. Maybe you don’t want it and you just want to be down. If that’s that’s the case – This sucks. The director sucks. Sorry to hear about how this has gotten you down.)

    Like

    • January 10, 2011 11:18 pm

      Thanks Catherine!

      Actually it is pep talk time. I’m feeling WAY better. I had rehearsal tonight and I got to hit some high notes and that always feels good. I also made a new friend. Her name is Elaine and she is AMAZING. I hope I get to sit with her tomorrow night too!

      I also got up the courage to ask the man who cast the play what I did wrong and/or what I could do better next time and he said I did great and there was nothing I could have done better. He said I was very close to getting several of the parts but my face is my problem: I look to sweet. (Convienient answer isn’t it — how mad can a person get about a comment like that?) Well, I can’t change my face so that makes me feel better. But they didn’t think my face looked like it should be in the company of Rent. Boo.

      Although, I do think that several of the ladies who got parts are pretty sweet looking (hello Davis Darlings). That’s frustrating on several levels too, but he said there is nothing I could have done better. He even used the word perfect in one sentance. But I was really emotional so I don’t remember the whole sentance. So that makes me feel good.

      On the other hand I cried when I talked to him. That makes me feel like a baby. But he gave me a bunch of hugs and that helped. Ah so much drama … and the show has just started rehearsals.

      Happy side note: This experience has actually boosted my belief in my personal singing and performing abilities because I was amazing at auditions. I felt it. I had a moment. I think singing my heart out in front of a theatre full of people (not a church, a theatre) is now on my bucket list along with getting a novel published. So that’s two things on the list nwo.

      Like

      • January 11, 2011 7:47 pm

        Crystal,
        I’m glad that you are feeling better now. And wow, to ask for honest feedback… I think I would have done the same, but I think it would have taken me a lot longer. I would need a bit more time to heal. I think it’s awesome that you are having fun and already made a new friend – building new friendships can be so hard as an adult. It’s always so exciting to find a new friend you connect with. I actually get more excited in those situations than finding a guy I sorta like (lol, that’s sad).

        About crying… well, I can’t say much. I’m a cryer. I have been known to cry at the most inappropriate of times. At work, during Oprah, after sex. Okay, just kidding. Not after sex. Yet. Haha. But I cry so easily and it can feel really embarassing. I’ve sort of accepted that it’s how I am built, however someone at work taught me that when she gets upset, she places her tongue on the roof of her mouth, and something about that stops the tears. It works – sometimes. It’s a good tip to try nevertheless!

        And yes, you look very sweet. I’m on the director’s side. 🙂

        Keep hitting those high notes! I will keep singing poorly in the shower and belting out Seal in the car (I really feel like no one can see me when I’m in my car, LOL!). We’ll both bring music to the world. Yours will just be good. 🙂

        Like

        • January 11, 2011 9:55 pm

          You are so sweet and incredibly supportive. I appreciate your perspectives so much more than I can express at this moment. But I had a great time hitting the high notes tonight!

          Your story about singing in the car reminds me of something a Sunday school teacher told me once. She said that God loves us so much that he sees us as perfect and infallible. He hears us that way too. So for him we always hit all the notes and our voices are more beautiful than Whitney Houston or Susan Boyle or whoever you think the best singer in the wolrd is. You are always beautiful when someone loves you. (And I love you dude!). I’d love to sing wiht you in your car. 😉

          Like

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