UPDATES ON MY UK ADVENTURE HERE!
I know, I know. I’ve been terrible at updating this page. I guess you can say that life got in the way. Training took precedence and everything else went on pause. 9 months later, I finally have the time (sort of) to breathe and take everything in. I have so much to say but so little time. Spending the last few hours of my Spring break eating chocolate, taking medication for my hay fever / allergies, TRYING to learn the Irish accent and writing bits and bobs to update my blog. Sorry po, tao lang. :p
THE CONUNDRUM OF CASTING, AUDITIONING AND THE EVER ELUSIVE BIG BREAK
About a month ago, I played one of the lead roles in our devised musical entitled Traces. Together with eleven other people, I wrote the libretto (book and lyrics) of this brand new musical. At the end of the process, we had our first public performance at the Main Theatre of the Ivy Arts Centre.
In it, I played wife to Alzheimer’s stricken James (I know right? What are the odds?), and mother to two very white children. I mean no offense. They were just very white. Both blonde, in fact. Ha-ha. It took me a while to wrap my head around the fact that I had two blonde children with a Brit and brunette husband.
Anyway, the experience got me thinking about the process of casting in general. False modesty aside, I knew that I was up against very talented people. In fact, I was up against the triple threat in our class. She’s someone I often call, West End-ready or Broadway-bound. Hence, I had my white flag ready and up in the air. By some weird twist of fate, I was given the role. It came as a surprise because:
1. I didn’t see myself in the running. Hence, I didn’t even try that hard.
2. I knew my singing had improved vastly but still did not merit a lead role.
3. I guess deep down, I was still an insecure little shit.
So, that was that. The show happened. To cut the long story short, I got ill, lost my voice, gained it back and managed to power through the shows. Still, it seemed surreal to me that I was given that role. I gave myself a pat on the back for bagging a lead role after years of waiting in the wings.
Then along came Carrie and The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. The auditions and recalls happened the same week we were performing our devised musical. Yes, I was all over the place, but to my mind, I did quite well during the auditions and even better during the Carrie recalls. I felt particularly proud of myself because I had read for multiple roles and seemed to have impressed the director. In fact, at the end of the long recall session, he said “Thank you for coming in. I would say that was an excellent audition. Well done!”
I will be honest. I thought I had it in the bag. After that callback, I was expecting a supporting/named role at the very least. Thus, when the cast list came out, I was disappointed to find my name at the very bottom of the list (as part of the ensemble). Then again, I was pleasantly surprised that people normally on the wayside, were finally given the chance to shine. Was I disappointed? Yes, of course! Happy for others but a little bit down on myself? Yes, without a doubt! More so because I hadn’t done that well in auditions/recalls in YEARS. YEARS. For the first time in forever, I didn’t flinch at the opportunity. I just walked in and delivered my best.
All this brings me to my conclusion that auditions (whether gone right or wrong) DO NOT always determine your fate. Add to that, this preoccupation with castability still puzzles me. Should I have gone for another role? For an older/supporting role instead? I don’t think so. I have no regrets and in every sense of the word, proud that I went all in. Besides, why box yourself or preempt one’s castability when the people behind the desk will always have their own casting and vision for the show anyway?
While things didn’t turn out the way I had hoped, looking at the cast list with an air of maturity (and a lot of humility) made all the difference. Years ago, I would have been pulling my hair out, complaining, crying and lamenting the experience of waiting in the wings. I would not have taken it well. To have looked at that list and be at peace with the results and myself, that was a major milestone in my theatrical career and life in general. It felt like I had unlocked a new level of adulting. Ha-ha.
Over time, I’ve learned to become more process-oriented while keeping my goals in check. I guess I just grew up and grew a pair. Ha-ha. After all, this industry, this path, this life I’ve chosen for myself is not for the faint of heart. You leave your ego at the door and brace yourself for constant rejection and failure.
Being an actor means living through a series of hits and misses, and striving to hit the target no matter what. Roles and shows may come and go but it’s the kind of artist you become that will carry you through and conversely, the kind of person you turn out to be that makes all the difference.
Tomorrow, we begin again. Here’s to failing, trying, beginning and working towards my next big break. 😉
As in all firsts, you’re overwhelmed and uncomfortable. You try to act all cool and chill but in truth, all you really wanna do is shit your pants and run for your life.
I had my first vocal assessment earlier. We were all under the impression that we would walk into the room individually, sing for the panel, get a few comments, and head out. To our surprise, we were all told to stay in the room and sit through each other’s songs.
I wasn’t bad… but I wasn’t good either. I just knew in my gut that I should have/could have done better. I get it. There is no such thing as a perfect performance but still, I could have done SO MUCH BETTER. I sang “Gimme, Gimme”, something I’m normally comfortable with but today, it was just…not comfortable. I was breathing all over the place and using/pushing all the wrong things (my throat, my nose, etc). To make matters worse, I’ve been getting my lisp back. I’ve been having a hard time enunciating because I’ve been stumbling on s’s. The semi-lisp had me spitting (Yes, I could see my laway’s trajectory) and struggling to bite into my words.
You can imagine the self-loathing that went down there after I finished my song. It took me hours, a pint of beer and LOADS of food to get over it and get over myself. I pigged out. Think 2 cheese croissants, hot chocolate, gummy bears, a pack of cookies and popcorn. I was sad, okay? Pity parties are never good for my diet. Huhu. Oh well.
Moral of the story? Suck now, succeed later. I truly believe I am meant to be here and that there is no other way but up. I know there will be days like this when I’ll feel absolutely horrible and wallow in self doubt and pity, but I shall shake this off now and power through. I will be the best possible version of myself after all of this.
Let this post serve as a reminder that it can only get better from here. Rock bottom is kind of a good place to be in. It’s almost always the foundation for success.
Now…. to work my ass off and soar.
Apparently, Guildford School of Acting (GSA, University of Surrey) topped the recent list of universities for music. As for drama, it’s currently at no. 2. It’s at number 4 for the overall ranking of UK unis. Absolutely honored (AND PRESSURED) to be where I am. Here goes!
Top UK Unis For Music
Top UK Unis for Drama
Top UK Unis (All subject areas)