The Real Struggle of the Audition Process....Part 2

Jennifer Butler

  • OnStage Massachusetts Columnist

If you were to ask some of the people that I am currently working with about the contemplation that I went through when I was deciding whether or not to audition for the fall play, Tennessee Williams “The Glass Menagerie.”  They would tell you how anxious I was when it came to making the decision. 

To audition for this show would have been my first audition in about a year, and I was torn about what to do. It’s a well-known show that most people have heard of-some might even call it a classic. I knew that because of that reason and many others that I was going to be up against some stiff competition. I had debated over and over again in my head about what to do. I would continuously as myself “Can I really do this?” and “Am I ready?” 

This went on for about 2 weeks until the producer of the show asked me why I had not submitted my audition stuff yet. It was in that moment I said without hesitation “put me down for the Sunday time slot.” I did not know if I was ready to say yes but I knew in that moment that I wanted a chance at this opportunity. I wanted a turn to be up on the stage. I didn’t know if I would ready but as Lemony Snicket once said “If we wait until we are ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives” 

That is when I decided I was going to do this and give it my all. Since I had time to rehearse and prepare for this opportunity I thought that maybe with time, I would be ready.   

In the weeks leading up to the audition, I did all that I could to prepare. I met with someone who had been on the stage that I wanted to be on and ran lines with them. I also read the script multiple times and met with someone the hour prior to the audition. Just to talk things over about the character and what direction I wanted to take the role in. I had started stressing out that morning about my readiness for the audition. Had I done enough to prepare for this role and for this audition. You may remember reading in part 1 of this article, that my biggest fear was having to be the first person to read at the audition and that fear had been at the forefront of my mind since before I even officially signed up to audition for the show. 

On audition day I arrived promptly at the theater with my anxiety in full gear. There were a number of people who had arrived before I did but because this one was an audition where you signed up in advance, how early you show up has no effect on what happens in the audition room. You never know what the director and producer are thinking or what will happen behind those closed doors. 

Once we entered the audition room. We took a seat and heard from the director, producer, and stage manager. At this point I am literality shaking in my shoes. I just want to know if I am going to have to go first. Luckily that did not happen. Actually, I went near the end of the group. I was thrilled with how everything went and I believed that I did well. However, I was not fully convinced that I was the best one there. I still held out hope though because I wanted this chance badly. So badly that I still can’t find the right words to describe it. We were then asked to wait in the hallway while the producer and director made decisions about who was to stay for callbacks. A few minutes later, I found out that I was not on the short list for callbacks. I figured at the point that I was not going to be cast but held out hope until I received the official rejection email the next day. I was disappointed, not because I didn’t get cast but for the personal reasons and things that won’t happen because I did not get cast in the show. It is not a complete loss though, I still get to be a part of the production team and will do all the publicity for the show. 

It has now been almost two weeks since the audition. When I look back at that day, I can’t say that I was ever ready when it came time to audition. But, I can say this: that in end I am glad that I went ahead and auditioned. I now know that I would have regretted it had I not gone and that you never know unless you try.