It was too early on a Sunday for me to be out, yet there I was walking down the street. I had called the company a few nights earlier to ask about auditions, and this ungodly hour was the only slot they could offer me. To think about it, I would’ve danced half-naked at midnight to the audition. That was how much I wanted this role, this dancing role that would show everyone I can dance. Besides, this was the only big production to be done in our town for the next few months.
The bus was late yet again, pulling up fifteen long minutes later. Cursing under my breath, I shoved my ticket money into the machine slot and nearly fell on my face as the bus jerked into motion. Good thing I had gotten up extra early to make sure that I won’t be late. Sitting down on one of the many empty seats, I stared blankly out the window. In my mind my prepared routine replayed over and over, and my feet tapped out the rhythm of the song I would be dancing to in half an hour. I wasn’t worried about the dancing component of the audition, not really. I knew I could dance, and dance well at that. But the singing part terrified me. I have not sung in public to anyone, in fact I only ever sing in the shower or when I’m home alone with my guitar.
“Your stop, kiddo,” called the driver from up front, “Regent Theatre.”
I thanked him as I jumped off the bus with my duffel bag in my hands. It was only 6:30; I had half an hour to warm up before it’s my turn. Walking in through the back entrance, I was overwhelmed at the size of it all. Rooms lined the little corridor for at least 200m, and here and there rack upon rack of crazily colourful costumes blocked the floor. A yawning man pointed me towards a room halfway down the corridor after I showed him my ID. Carefully dodging clothes and shoes, I walked to my prep room and opened the door.
It turned out I did not have that much time to prepare myself, because the audition previous to mine was cancelled. I grabbed all my dancing equipment and followed the middle-aged man up to the stage, squashing down butterflies in my stomach as he told me briefly what they expected in my audition. Sitting before me were four grimfaced people, three men and a woman. Clearly they were no more thrilled about getting up at this time on a Sunday morning than I was. Good thing I was auditioning for ensemble and not a speaking part, otherwise all of us would’ve dropped dead sleeping from the sheer length of the audition. I asked to dance first, and did my contemporary and tap routines to the songs from the musical. All the judges sat up straighter by the time I finished, and my heart leapt at the considering looks in their eyes.
“You said you wanted an ensemble part, yes?” asked the woman.
“Could you sing us excerpts from the finale chorus?” asked the man next to her, “And also, are you alto or bass?”
“Of course,” I said, “And I sing alto.”
At the nods from all four judges, I picked up the microphone from the stand.
“If you reach for the stars, all you’ll get are the stars,” I sang hesitantly, then stronger as the woman’s eyes widened, “but we’ve found a whole new spin. If you reach for the heavens, you’ll find the stars thrown in...”
I’ve never recalled singing so much at once in my life, moving from song to song just singing the chorus part. If I had an ounce of acting talent in me (that is, acting through dialogues) I would’ve told them that I’d like to audition for the role of Bert. But I was happy enough when they as good as told me I got in. Although I was to check the audition results like everyone else, just so that there would be no hard feelings going around.
As I walked back to my prep room, my throat crying out for a drink of water, a girl appeared in front of me. She was tall for a girl, almost as tall as me, with flyaway blonde hair in a pixie cut. She had on similar clothes to me: trackies and a sweatshirt. Although hers was slung over her arm, toned and tanned arms that ended where the blue straps of her singlet began.
“Good audition?” she asked me, “Don’t tell me the judges are nasty.”
“Yeah, went well,” I said nonchalantly, “You auditioning for Mary? Or another part?”
“I wanted Mary, but apparently I’m too young to try out for the lead role,” she told me, bouncing from heel to heel, “And too old to be Jane! It sucks being fifteen! But I’m hoping for ensemble. What about you?”
“Yeah, ensemble,” I told her, “I can’t wait for the results to be released.”
“You’ll probably get it,” she told me as she picked up her dancing shoes and headed towards the stage, “I heard you sing, you were real good. Well, wish me luck!”
I did, although she didn’t need it. A mere fifteen minutes later she had skipped out of the audition and bumped into me again. Unable to contain herself, she made me promise to not tell anyone her big secret. The producers had told her that she was in, just as they told me. I shared my big news with her too, and waited around as she packed up her stuff. We were going for coffee after, because after all I’ll be working with her for the next year or so at the very least. As we walked down the quiet street to the coffee shop, Eliza Walker (that was her name, I saw it on her bag tag) linked her arm through mine. It was just a friendly gesture, a girl’s friendly gesture, but it reminded me of something big that I forgot. I was supposed to meet Payton half an hour ago for coffee to celebrate our one month anniversary. Crap!