Jim the Actor

After church today we stopped in with a friend to have lunch at Magdalena’s Restaurant on the square in downtown Corydon.  Great meal, good service, good prices!  And, as we were preparing to leave the waitress told us that the Hayswood Theater (basically right across the street) was ‘under-sold’ for the next performance (starting in 10 minutes) and they were passing the word for folks to come for free.  Well, we couldn’t pass that up – we’ve been to that theater a number of times to watch live performances and have always had a big time.  So, off to the Hayswood to watch “Man of La Mancha”.   And, just before the show started, they announced that they were having auditions this evening for an upcoming show called “The Foreigner”.  I remarked to Kate that I might be interested in showing up for that and she urged me to do it, for sure!  We sat back to enjoy the show and had our usual great time.

So, 6 PM tonight I went over there to audition, and I thought I’d share some of the experience with you.  I have had ZERO experience in acting, so I didn’t really have high hopes of landing a part but I just did it to see what I could learn about the whole thing.  Upon arrival I was chatting briefly with the director (his name, believe it or not, is George Bailey) – he first said that I’d likely be best suited to try out for the role of Owen, the BAD GUY.  Then he told me to fill out an audition form so I did that and then took a seat in the small auditorium to see what would happen next.

I was rather fearful that I might be called first to do a reading, but luckily that didn’t happen – I got to watch one pair of performers do their reading just before I was called.   They had laid out a number of small stacks of paper – scene snippets, scene numbers at the top with the involved character names also at the top (Scene 5, Bet and Owen).

I got to watch the first pair do their reading and was sort of nervous, wondering how I’d do whenever my turn came.  I tried to watch them to see what I could learn.  As it happened, the first scene was Scene 5, Bet and Owen, so I was watching a fellow perform what I would likely be called upon to do on my turn.  The actor (the other Owen) was very good, very demonstrative, projected well.  He was in my age group, so I didn’t have any qualms about being too old for the part, at least.

They had one more reading pair do their thing, then it was my turn.  Remember, I had NEVER done anything like this, so I didn’t know how I was going to do.  As it happened, I just thought to myself, “Well, this play takes place in the South, and I’ve delivered a number of jokes over the years with my ‘pretty good’ southern accent, so I’ll just do it that way – after all, this IS a comedy!” So, the lady playing Bet took her place and I stood by her and we read off our lines, with me trying to remember to PERFORM the lines, not just READ them!  And, I think my ‘joke persona’ served me well – I was relaxed and had fun with it.  My character (Owen) was supposed to be sorta mean, maybe a little surly, so that’s how I played it and seemed to get a good response from the small audience and from the lady playing Bet.

A little while later I got to perform another Owen scene, and I enjoyed doing that as well.  I got to watch two other fellows doing their interpretations of Owen and I tried to see how their work differed from mine.  One guy in particular was better than I in being more demonstrative with his body movements, so I noted that as an object lesson for ‘Jim the budding actor’.  This fellow came over to me between scenes to introduce himself and give me some tips – he also gave me some leads on where to look for more auditions if I was interested.  He pointed out that fellows like the two of us (older, bearded guys) were in demand and I should have no trouble finding work if I wanted to pursue it.  Food for thought, food for thought.

In conclusion:  I liked it very much, I found out I wasn’t as nervous as I feared, wasn’t struck dumb with ‘stage fright’, none of that stuff.  I was able to ‘get into’ my character for the reading and I was happy with my efforts.  I won’t be standing around waiting for the phone to ring, but…….. who knows?  🙂

Ciao, baby!

One response to “Jim the Actor

  1. Good job for going and best of luck on the part. I was on the board there for several years. I don’t have time these days, but theatre is so much fun it is hard to say in words. I hope you get the part. I’d like to know if you do – I’ll make a special point to come and see the play.

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