First, I want to start this blog post off with a big “Happy Birthaversary!” to Dallas Comedy House (DCH). Seven years and going strong, that’s *cue Donald Trump voice* huge! After seven years, DCH has more students, more classes, more shows, and more opportunities to perform than ever before, which conveniently brings me to my next point. This Saturday, Ewing auditions are upon us. With that in mind, I have a shocking (to me at least) announcement. I...am...going to audition for a Ewing team. There, I said it. Now it’s real. This is happening, people. Normally, the thought of auditioning makes me über anxious. In fact, I’m usually the first to play out, in my head, all the different traumatic kinds of fail scenarios that could occur at said audition.
For some inexplicable reason, I’m feeling slightly less worrisome than usual. It could be that I’ve finally grown a pair of proverbial improv cojones, or simply that the mission I’m about to embark on hasn’t quite sunk in yet. Regardless, I know some of you homies may currently be aboard the audition-anxiety train and I understand those feelings all too well. Thus, I thought I would share with you the tale of my most embarrassing audition—not to freak you out, but to let you know that no matter what happens Saturday, your audition experience will at least be 10 times better than the unfortunate chain of events I’m about to report.
Let’s jump right in, shall we.
In high school, people do crazy things. My temporary lapse of sanity happened to be trying out for a musical. I can’t sing, I’m not fond of public speaking, and I’m by no means a great actress. So, why would I audition to be in a musical, you ask? Well, obviously it was because the flyers called for dancers and extras without speaking lines. At the time, I thought to myself, “Now that’s something more my speed. I can dance. I can be an extra. I love the idea of not speaking in front of other humans. Sounds perfect!”
The weekend of tryouts finally came around, and I was a rollercoaster of emotional energy—nervous, excited, and perspiring in multiple undesirable places. After filling out a form to state my desired roles, extra and dancer, the director began splitting us up into smaller auditioning groups, separating the non-speaking role desiring underachievers from the more serious thespians.
Either I must’ve had some really bad karma or I was on somebody’s naughty list, because somehow my name didn’t get called out to go with the other dancer/extras and I was left sitting in an auditorium with what look liked the cast of Glee. And, being my shy and extremely passive self, I kept quiet and didn’t do anything about it. Instead, I looked around at my “competition” and suddenly felt the urge to puke. I came to the frightening realization that I was the blundering William Hung amidst a sea of angelic-voiced, teen Pavarottis.
After what felt like an eternity of waiting, the director escorted us to another room for the singing portion of the audition. (I didn’t even know I was going to have to sing, all I wanted was a non-speaking role!) Called up to the plate first, you guessed it: me. I inched my way up to a music stand in the center of the room, staring at the audition panel and the piano accompanist while trying not soil my pants. I glanced back over my shoulder to see the young Chaka Khan, the little Aretha, and the white Gladys Knight and all her freakin’ Pips giving me major side-eye.
“Please, state your name for the panel and what type of singer you are,” the director requested.
“Lauren. Uh...a good one.”
Apparently that was the wrong answer. I was supposed to say “alto” or “tenor” or “I usually sing baritone, but I thought I’d change it up and try mezzo-soprano today.” Oops, my b.
“How many years of singing experience do you have?”
“A few, but it’s mostly in my shower.”
The panel was not amused.
The pianist started and I began to inevitably butcher my way through what should’ve otherwise been a nice-sounding song. Think a dying goose, a 13-year-old boy going through puberty, and an un-tuned oboe and you’ve got something comparable to the sounds that came out of my mouth. While I’m fairly positive that everyone’s ears started to bleed, I was suddenly more preoccupied by a strange, wet sensation radiating from my crotch.
Yes, my nerves had given in and my bladder had decided to release the entirety of its contents. Hell hath no fury like a nervous bladder holding a Sonic iced tea. At that point, I would say my embarrassment level fell somewhere between Ashley Simpson getting booed at the Orange Bowl and Jennifer Lawrence tripping up the stairs at the Oscars.
Wet pants, hands shaking like I was a Parkinson’s disease patient, and what was likely the world’s worst rendition of Holding Out for a Hero to boot, yeah, I think I made a real good impression on the panel. As the audition went on with the dancing and acting bits, I was shunned by the group to wallow alone in my pee-pants shame. Needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway), I didn’t get a part.
So, whether you’re heading to the Ewing auditions for the first time or the thousandth time, and you’re filled with anxiety, know that it’s OK to feel that way. As you can see, I’ve been there with you before. But lucky for us nervous nellies, the great thing about improv is that everyone is out to support you and nobody’s going to purposefully give you side-eye or expect you to sing pitch perfect like Adele or Mariah. I guess, when it comes down to it, all you really need to do is show up, have fun, and maybe pee before you go in—damn, that’s solid advice, remind me to follow it!
Hope to see all you cool cats at the Ewing auditions, Saturday January 30...OK, now it might be starting to sink in. Eeeeep!
Lauren Levine is currently a Level 3 student at DCH. When she is not trying to come up with witty things for this blog, she is a freelance writer and editor, an amateur photographer, a Zumba-enthusiast, a dog lover, and an 80s movie nerd. In addition, she enjoys all things Muppet-related, the smell after a rainstorm, and people with soft hands.