“Oh my God”
NUMBER 329 STEP FORWARD PLEASE!
I made sure to check and recheck the three big numbers on the white sticker firmly glued on my shirt.
I step forward.
“That will be all for today, the people who stepped forward see you at the callbacks tomorrow, congratulations and thank you everyone!”
The same scene keeps playing over and over in my head.
To put things in perspective my mother had put me up for auditions in a big musical. At first I thought it was a horrible idea, as a growing teen I had turned away from the “Camp Rock” and the “saying yes to my parents” vibe. But she pushed me to it anyways. So I stuck my number tightly on my blouse that day and head on to an air-conditioned room full of sweaty parents, sweaty teenagers, and SWEAT in general.
I remember trying not to focus on how the girl with such dark beautiful red hair was so extremely unbelievably flexible. She was running from one corner of the room to the other, jumping in mid-air to fall directly into the muscular arms of what looked to be her partner in crime. The two looked like leads in Grease. In fact the few surrounding these two looked like an already formed cast. All with strong bodies, firm arms and tall postures. My slouch started to feel a little too discomforting so I reposition myself.
Okay breathe, they’re all good. But you can sing! That’s something! I think.
“Females 13 to 19 in one line please!”
And we squeeze each other tightly following one another until arrived to a HU-GE room with blue carpets on the floor and mirrors on all sides of the wall so you are able to see yourself in every possible wrong angle. Basically your mistake will be seen four different times, from four different perspectives. Face, left side, right side, and ass.
Oh my God the red-haired goddess of flexibility is in my category: and she was the first one to start.
And she did. She sang something I didn’t know, some kind of opera piece I would swear on it. Or was it a normal song her loud and firm voice had made it sound like it was sung in a ballet.
She finished and I breathed till it was my turn. I started singing, and I wished I had chosen another song I knew better. I finished and felt just good about it.
The dancing auditions came and with, came the disasters. The stepping on hot coal and spitting on fresh paint. Dancing comes a little hard when you have to learn steps, let alone “freestyle”.
So I freestyled the best way I could, the way I do in my room in front of my mirror, only here there were four mirrors, and all four showed off every bad move and angle proudly.
Okay maybe I’m overdramatizing the situation. The dancing wasn’t actually that bad. I did get a callback. And I didn’t know what that meant until the next morning, where suddenly I was only surrounded by the talented bunch I saw the day earlier, not the short newcomers and young boys: the tall beautiful looking ones jumping and rehearsing the routine, step after step, left foot right foot all at the same second, JUMP. I didn’t exactly want to start rehearsing if I were anywhere near their sight.
“Some of you will become leads today!” said the woman with long brown hair.
By the end of callbacks, hoping my 329 being shouted loudly, searching for its owner. It didn’t. Instead I was part of the ensemble. Glad I was still in a member of the cast I couldn’t help myself feeling that bit of disappointment I felt when I wasn’t part of the leads. The taller-than-real-life-leads.
With that came the best month of my life. No joke. I had never felt more at home with people I had just met. I would like nothing less than to wake up extremely early in the morning to push my vocal cords and my body to their limits. To learn new routines everyday. To make new friends with so many unbelievably interesting people, in love with dance and music. Imagine everyday you would walk in a room full of devotion. The ambition is bouncing off the walls! The rough sound of speakers and takes and synchronized motion of dancers, laughs and moves in the morning, songs in the evening, if this wasn’t how life was supposed to be spent everyday I wouldn’t know how to spend it any other way. In a big brightly colored nutshell, I fell in love with the production every step of the way. The feelings only get more overwhelming by the time you reach ShowTime. Ten shows, ten standing ovations, and a lifetime supply of adrenaline and general happiness and appreciation for everyday.
Every bit of it changed me and will probably stick to my memory for the long time to come.
I would want to go back in time to relive every breath, but what I would prefer is to do it again, in another context, another time, another age, playing another character. Replaying so many times because I know my ears would never get tired of the raw silence that would come out that theatre when everyone head out for lunch and you and your friends decided to take the stage by storm, letting no background music or other people’s voices shadow your own, you would only hear your steps on the wooden floor, and your own echo filling that entire theatre of soon-to-come-audience.