A few years ago, I auditioned for a musical called, “Anything Goes.” It was a horrible audition and I failed miserably, so much so that I left early, feeling completely dejected. I remember flopping down on my bed and screaming into my pillow, “Never again!” I felt humiliated and disappointed, but in a strange way, relieved. I resolved to never audition for a musical again. And that was a relief. Unfortunately, my resolution failed when an audition notice came around for Stephen Schwartz’s “Godspell.” I auditioned fairly well, received a callback and went through a grueling call-back audition process. The words, “never again” once again escaped my lips when I was not cast.
However, a week later, I found myself at an audition for Jesus Christ Superstar and, thankfully, this time was offered a part. Musical theater had been redeemed, as had my ability to deliver a semi-decent audition. I grew up in musical theater, it was my introduction to the stage and I have been in numerous productions. But the older I have gotten, the more my confidence has waned and the more difficult and stressful auditions have become. I would have been very happy to never be in a musical again, even stated that Superstar was to be my last hoo-rah...
I’ve also stated that I would never leave my house without wearing makeup or go on a blind date or take a red-eye flight again or fall in love, and yet… Saying “never again” in some cases, has proven to be profoundly false for me. Learning and growth is not a result of getting knocked down. It is, instead, directly correlated with getting up; back on the horse, as it were. I have friends and former colleagues that have been out of work for a long time, and some that audition over and over again, hoping for a break. And others make it to the very end of a grueling and lengthy interview or audition process only to stare rejection in its very ugly face.
We fear failure, we fear rejection. Why? Because so much of what we base a strong self-image is our work or our accomplishments. The greatest failures have led to the greatest discoveries: the automobile, the computer, the airplane, the list goes on and on. I like to look at any failure as a step closer to success. “Anyone could spell it right the first time, it takes a real genius to figure out an alternate spelling.” A genius..., I suppose that is compensation for being a poor speller.
Whether it’s an audition or an interview, the process can be full of dread and easily destabilizing, if we let it. I have learned to just remember that only I know what I know, only I truly know my ability and where my experience has led me. At some point, confidence has to reign and an understanding that most auditions and most interviews are not personal, they are about filling a specific gap, a space. And perhaps my square peg will never fit in a round hole. And that’s a "never" I can live with.