Last year, I wondered aloud what theatre companies were looking for when calls for general auditions are put out. I still don't really have an answer, but I do know that since receiving my full CAEA status this past summer and putting down a Toronto address, I've received an answer to two out of five applications. After years of sending these out into a void, those are some pretty damn good results.
Yesterday, I finally put my foot into the door of the Toronto theatre scene with a General Audition at the Tarragon Theatre. I was asked to come in with two contrasting Canadian monologues.
Sitting around in the waiting room, staring at past show posters, I realized I had already seen quite a few Tarragon productions while they were on tour in Ottawa. That said, when I was considering monologues, my only familiarity with work on their stage was the shockingly beautiful If We Were Birds. I saw this production during a trip in May where I got to meet the wicked cool SMLois in person for the very first time. I went in knowing nothing about the show and, if I remember correctly, we saw it on Mother's Day.
Now, if you are at all familiar with Erin Shields' script, you might quickly realize that this probably isn't a show you want to see on Mother's Day. But you would totally understand why, for my audition, I decided to pull out what I like to call the "dead baby" monologue (from hereon called "DB" for short because I just don't really like typing "dead baby" all the time).
Along with the DB monologue, I also came in with a piece from Daniel MacIvor's See Bob Run, an awesome and completely underrated little show, you know, for levity's sake.
I walk in and there's a little bit of chitchat and a comment that made me think everyone and their dog comes it with MacIvor, so I'm asked to start with the DB.
Oh, gosh, really? You want to start with that one? Alright.
Of course, the auditionee does not know what the piece is about because it's not called that and, well, why spoil all the fun? (she says, tongue firmly planted in cheek - please don't email me about DBs!)
And as I speak, I see the realization dawning on the auditionee's face as she begins to understand what I'm talking about. She gets more and more uncomfortable until she can't even look at me anymore. For a split second, I think I must really be fucking this up. But only a split second as it suddenly dawns on ME that this is EXACTLY the type of reaction this monologue should get. There was this quiet in the room at the end. I'm not sure she knew I was done.
Mild awkwardness aside, I then moved on to Bob and the mood changed dramatically. Perhaps it was simple tension relief, but I had the auditionee in stitches. When I finished, she gave me the incredible compliment of: "You're very funny! Not many people can do MacIvor well."
(Well, if you're ever looking for someone to remount this show... Ahem.)
I thanked her for her time, she thanked me for ending things on a laugh and I walked out feeling pretty good about the whole experience. Toronto Theatre Audition Cherry: Popped.