Bad auditions. As actors we’re guaranteed to have a few along the way -only a couple hundred if you’re very lucky.
Recently I was fortunate enough to have a catastrophic one. I’m talking about forgot-my-lines-ran-out-the-room catastrophic. But you read that right, I did say fortunate because no single audition has taught me more. That day I dragged myself home under a black cloud of misery because sometimes I need darkness to appreciate the light of a new day. After an hour of beating myself up internally and banging my head against an acting book externally, I did what I do best- regrouped. I took out a pen and pad (papyrus fan over here) and spilled my guts out. I wrote down everything that bothered me and by the time I was done I had an essay front and back. Having purged I called my Mom to tell her about my absolutely awful day, maybe expecting a few words of comfort, and wouldn’t you know it she broke out laughing. Straight up busting-her-breeches laughing at me because she thought it was the funniest thing ever. I felt so silly I couldn’t help but laugh too. Leave it to my Mom to remind me not to sweat the small stuff. She always says the only thing in life you can’t fix is death, everything else is cake. I hung up still chuckling and looked at that long list again. I had two choices: I could sit there and stare and whine or I could pick up my sorry behind and re-work those monologues. I chose the latter. I held myself accountable and fixed those things that needed some mending and some patching. Two days later, different audition, same monologue and I hit it out the ballpark. So I guess it’s like a roller coaster ride and after a low there’s always sure to be a high.
I taped the list next to my bed and if you can believe it I was even a little forgiving of myself. Right next to each thing I’d written down I also added a small victory I’d achieved. Just to balance things out. One I was particularly proud of was finally kicking those last 10 pounds to the curb. I certainly don't think every actor needs to be a skinny actor (not by a long shot!) but once you step into that audition room you want to do it feeling your absolute best; some people get there by doing spine roll-ups in the waiting room, I do it by not reaching for that second Oreo. Already feeling lighter in both body and spirit, I set off for my beautiful Miami to celebrate my Mom’s birthday. As I sat in my Tia Olga’s patio, the sun quietly setting behind two tall palm trees, I looked around at my large Cuban family and all my worries were light years away. Tio playing the bongos, my baby cousin dancing in his diaper, my mother’s loud unapologetic laughter, my sister shoving me to get her more mariquitas… I belong to these people and they belong to me. They love me not because I’m “talented” or because they “like” me or because I can memorize lines but simply because I exist. They love me just because. A deep happiness welled up inside me and a most clear realization. I already had everything I could ever want and anything that comes after that is just a perk. A call-back could only be the double-stuffing to an already delicious cookie.