16 May

War in the Audition Room

So child #3, the sweet, chatty one was invited to audition for a role in The Bodyguard, the musical. Today marked the third time I’ve been in a high-pressure environment with boys and their mums.

Typically the boys sit unperturbed,  playing with their phones or consoles- except mine of course, this is not a playing matter. I’m a novice but the other mums are not. They are busy shooting poisoned thoughts at each other, each one is sheathed with a thin smile. Behind the smile a debate with self rages;

He’s too tall for the role, didn’t his mother read the brief?

Nope, not cute enough, my son is cuter.

I bet he can’t act, see his buck teeth.

Hmm, this one looks confident, I wonder if he has been to stage school.

As if on cue, the internal debate s politely interrupted by the voice of the confident one’s mother. She says a bit too loudly;

‘Yes he’s been in 3 plays and a movie, and a couple of adverts’.

She speaks loudly because with each decibel her ego is heightened- so much so that she is now being quietly revered by the other mums. A hierarchy which previously did not exist is formed and she is at the top. In this game no one wishes anyone luck, why pretend?

The second time was in a less combative environment. This was when the selected few were called back for a second audition.

I engage in a tête a-tête  with a parent I meet in the waiting area and within 20 seconds I discover something about him I don’t like; he is a name dropper. But he must be dropping T-list celebrity names since I don’t recognise any of them. No, I don’t know the actor that plays golf with your father-in-law, or the newsreader that shares the carpool on the school run with you. I don’t know them and I don’t care to either. His next sentence infuriates me. I ask him to repeat the name of a stage school he just mentioned, he does- then quickly adds- ”you need to be able to sing and dance and act- all three excellently to even get in”. I nearly punch his already crooked nose but take a deep breath and count to 100 instead.

Today is the third time. They want an African or Afro-Caribbean boy. A dark-skinned boy. Like my son. They are very specific. We walk in and see one mixed-race boy. I feel my confidence rising. More children arrive, all mixed-race. The hierarchy is being formed and guess who’s at the top? More children arrive, all very light-skinned. No shaking. Then a couple of dark-skinned ones turn up. The battle lines are being drawn- but I shan’t be moved.

The assistant announces that she’ll start collecting our completed forms- which I forget to bring. She’ll also collect the passport photos. I of course forgot those too. I have 4 sons, a husband and a demanding business, in fact I’ll be silly not to forget them.

The woman next to me produces her completed form, photo and CV- for her dark-skinned 10 year old. Yes a resume. She apologizes for not stapling the form to the resume. I take the unanimous decision to dislike her. The hierarchy has been rearranged. I start to rehearse my non-commiseration speech to child #3 which will go like this;

Next time when your parents tell you to practise, I hope you will”

Shey you’ve learned your lesson now abi?

Whose fault is it that you were not picked? Mine? Did I tell you to watch looney tunes while you should have been practising your lines?

You’d better not cry or else…

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Stop by my other blog, Inspireme, a blog for the faint-hearted