Playwright and composer – creator of the musical Group


The Commercial Audition

On a whim, you shave for the first time in months. Before even putting down your razor, you receive a text saying that you have an audition tomorrow. You silently pray to yourself that the role is not titled “the bearded guy.” That exact scenario happened last February.

It’s for a dad, a J.Crew casual, average build dad. That’s basically who you are on a daily basis, but you immediately decide to get a haircut and go shopping for new clothes. You confirm the audition and look for sides. There are none posted. This means that you either don’t have any lines or that you will only have a few minutes to learn the lines once you get there. It is always the latter.

You don’t need directions because every commercial casting director uses the same five spaces. When you arrive there are eight commercial auditions going on at the same time, including what must be a call for Harley Davidson biker dudes.

It’s easy to figure out which room you’re supposed to be near because it’s surrounded by people dressed exactly like you, who are two inches taller than you, who are a little more attractive than you, who did not shave yesterday.

You sign in and find the script. Turns out you do have lines. You’d like to say them out loud before going in there, but quite frankly it’s weird to say random lines out loud surrounded by a room of strangers, and there is no time to go outside. So, you sit there reading to yourself imagining what you might sound like saying these things… these things about pancakes. You literally have to say “mmmm” at one point.

They call a group of you forward and explain how the audition will go. The guy running the audition for the CD gives your group an almost / sort-of line reading. You try to block out his inflections so that you can put your own spin on it, but you will probably end up saying like him because now that’s in your head.

You look around and wish there was a water fountain and hate yourself for leaving your water bottle at home. This happens every time. Your mouth is suddenly dry and you actually have to say things in a dad like cool voice. So what? You can do this. You’re talking about damn pancakes. You did Shakespeare in college.

You try to decide if you have enough time to use the bathroom before they call you in and you try to remember an audition in which you didn’t have to pee the whole time. You decide to stay close on one of the carpeted benches and pretend you aren’t whispering the lines to yourself over and over when they call your name.

You slate your name

They take your photo

You try to act cool and professional and not at all desperate

You do the lines

They give you directions

You do the lines again trying to remember everything they suggested

They smile and nod and thank you for coming

That’s it.

Two minutes, tops

You leave thinking of all the different ways you could’ve said the lines and try to shrug it off. It’s out of your hands. It was never in your hands. You showed up and did your job. There is nothing left to do but distract yourself from thinking of the money you could’ve had if you booked it. And who knows? Maybe you will get a chance to say “mmmm” for money. You did do Shakespeare in college, after all.