Friday 16 August 2013

Stage-Fright?.......Shhh don't tell anyone.

Actually that title is a little mis-leading. This is more about pre-stage-fright (if you can get your head around that made up concept). We performers go through a lot before we actually get a job and the chance to do what we trained to do. So, yesterday I had an audition. Auditions are like gold dust at the moment and it has been a while since the last one so I relished the opportunity to get back on the horse and do one. Or so I thought.

I have never enjoyed auditioning. Who does? (Actually there are probably a few of you out there who positively love it but that makes you weird in my book.) I just don't think I am any good at it. Put me in front of an audience to do something I have rehearsed to within an inch of it's life and I am a happy girl. Put me in a room with 2 or 3 people scrutinising my every move and I turn into a nervous wreck. My leg shakes, my voice gets all quivery and you can forget support, I left that at the door when I walked in the room (I was told by my sister, sorry, editor to explain myself here. If you are unsure about what I mean by support it is, basically, how we singers control and help the breath maintain an even flow, and consequently keep pitch and volume steady. I hope that makes sense). Add to all of that the idiotic, involuntary things I am prone to do in auditions:

1) Waving at the panel as I walk in or out of the room (I do that a lot).

2) Stopping mid song because my mind has blanked and I can think of nothing whatsoever to sing in it's place.

3) Giggling uncontrollably because everything is so ridiculous.

4) One time I did an entire audition with my skirt caught in my tights only realising when I was 5 minutes down the road after leaving the audition.

And then there was yesterday's debacle;

5) Having stopped mid song twice (yes that's right, twice) I proceeded to tell the panel that the stopping was due to the stress I had endured trying to pay for the parking for my car. I must have been about 30 seconds into telling them how the machine was broken and I had to phone up but my credit card had expired before the voice in my head screamed SHUT THE F**K UP!!! (3 exclamation marks are justified I think but sorry for the language.) 

I kid you not, all these things have happened to me.

Sometimes these odd little happenings work in my favour. I remember doing an audition in a ground floor room with a gargantuan window thrown wide open to the street. I was singing "Brimstone and Treacle" from "Mary Poppins" and had just got to the big finish. As I hit my high A (possibly A flat, I can't remember but will check before I sing it again) with full force a cyclist went past the window and promptly fell off. We laughed for days and I got that job.

However, I digress. Auditioning is a necessary evil but something that I have never been adept at and, if I am honest, as I get older, I am getting worse at. I have never been an arrogant performer and have little self belief (although I do believe wholeheartedly I am supposed to be a singer). I rarely believe I should be offered any job. I do know when I am right for something but, unfortunately, the panel hardly ever agrees with me. I can count on one hand the jobs I have got that I knew I was right for but it would take both hands, both feet plus someone else's hands to count the jobs I didn't get but knew I was right for. It often comes as a surprise to people when we start rehearsing that I am as good as I am (that isn't meant to sound arrogant btw, especially having just told you I am anything but). This is because I constantly apologise for my existence when in an audition. Not literally (although yesterday I think I did).

I know I am not alone in feeling this way which is why I am telling you all my thoroughly shameful audition stories. So many of you have probably been overlooked because an audition did not go to plan. For us performers stage-fright is tantamount to a disability (this is not meant to be flippant). Stage-fright renders me unable to get a job (sometimes) and that is a problem. Is it worth putting myself through it anymore? I don't know. I still have the will to go on trying and have not started making inane excuses not to go to auditions so, for the time being, I will fight the fright and hopefully, eventually, get another job (which will probably encourage the inevitable "Wow you are actually good. Who would have thought" type statement on the first day of rehearsals. As long as I get the job they can say what they like!).

P.S. If anyone out there feels like sharing any of their own embarrassing/funny/heartwarming/terrifying audition stories please, please, please comment below. I, for one, would love to hear them.

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