You might be interested/disgusted to know that I'm typing this with my right foot stuck in a pan of hot, salty water. There's something wrong with my big toe, I don't want to talk about it. Kayt told me to go to the doctors but I WILL NOT.
It's been a ridiculously long time now since my last drama school audition, but y'all know I like to be consistent... so here we go.
After I got dropped off at the gates by the lovely red-haired couple that restored my faith in humanity and showed me the Meaning of Life (all in a day's work), I wandered off again because I still had two hours before my audition. I was worried the couple would spot me and think I'd been lying about my audition, a lost fantasist, roaming the streets of London pretending to have a drama audition, killing time until her Weekend Pass expires and it's time to go back to the mental hospital...
I read my book on a bench (why does it feel so weird doing that in London, when it's perfectly acceptable in Paris?) and then my cousin Sophie came to meet me for a bit. She said she'd been reading up about the drama school I was auditioning for and thought it was the one I was most suited for- they encourage applicants to be themselves in the audition, not a character. I definitely like that idea but I struggle with it- I don't want to be myself, I want to be a character, to be somebody else. It is something I really want to work on though.
The auditions were held in the student union. After being buzzed in, I made my way downstairs to see a group of nervous people waiting silently in an empty bar. They were all sat together on a big banquette but nobody was talking. As nobody else was talking I thought I better keep quiet, but it was so awkward that I kept smirking and wanting to laugh.
Not long after I sat down, we were called into a room by three ex-students. They explained what was going to happen- we would have a workshop to warm up, then we would wait in the room until we were called in for our audition. After everybody had auditioned we would be told who had been successful.
If we were successful, we would be asked to go for a second audition the
following day, which was a Sunday. I'd known this beforehand but still
decided to book my Eurostar back to Paris on the Sunday. It's not that I
didn't think I had a chance of getting in but... yeah, I didn't think I
had a chance of getting in.
I was one of only three English people auditioning and after the ex-students explained that the second auditions would be held the next day, I understood that the school had
organised it so that anyone coming from abroad only had to stay in
London for one week (the third, final round of auditions would be held the following
Friday), rather than travel back and forth each time. In't that nice?
I'd forgotten there was going to be a workshop. We did a lot of exercises we used to do at uni: walking round the room, making eye contact, filling the space; then we had to stop in front of someone and look, 'really look' at their face and tell the other person something we liked about their face. (I told one guy I liked his eyebrows.) We had to mime carrying a cup of tea to the audition panel, spilling it, mopping it up etc. They asked us to line up against the wall, then walk forwards and tell everyone our name, where we were from, what made us laugh, what made us cry and finish the sentence 'Acting is...'
After the workshop we went back into our waiting room. I was last on the list, so I had a long wait until my audition. Everyone was a bit chattier after the warm up and I asked the two English guys if they lived abroad as well- one said no, but that he'd had 'a problem' in his first audition and so they'd told him he could audition again, and the other guy told me he was a popstar in Vienna... That's really not what I expected him to say.
The other European people were from Sweden, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands... and there was one French boy. I spoke to him in French for a bit, but only a tiny bit so he wouldn't figure out that I actually don't speak French. I felt very international. That night the Eurovision Song Contest was on and we joked that we were like a mini Eurovision...
It's hard making jokes in a group that speaks six different languages.
Eventually... I was called in to audition.
Unlike other drama schools, the audition panel told me before I started to perform my pieces to them, rather then look over their heads at an imaginary audience. One of the ex-students sat in the room so I would have somebody to make eye contact with, in case the audition panel had to look down and make notes.
I did my contemporary speech and my Shakespeare speech first, I thought both went quite well but then I'd already performed them in my RADA and LAMDA auditions, then they asked me for my third piece, which I hadn't practiced at all. They asked me to sit in front of them and do the piece as naturally as I could, as myself, not in character. After my first line they stopped me. I guess I was adopting a character, a slightly posher version of myself, without realising it.
"As yourself," they reiterated.
I did again, as myself, or as much as myself as I could. (I don't really know what my real accent is, it depends on who I'm speaking to but I don't change it on purpose.) Luckily the monologue was somebody describing a night out to her friends and the character was my age, so it was easy to be chatty and naturalistic.
When I'd finished they asked me for 'my song'. I'd had no idea there would be a song until after the workshop and the ex-students has asked us to write down what song we would be doing. The audition panel stressed that it wasn't about my singing (which is good, because I can't sing) but that they wanted me to tell a story.
I secretly enjoyed doing the song, because I LOVE singing but I can't sing in my shower because all the neighbours can hear me. I do sing under the roar of my hairdryer however and I always sing 'Silver Dagger', so that's what I chose to do. (When I'd finished they said they really liked the song and asked me what it was, I was surprised they'd never heard of it.)
At the end of my audition they asked me what I was doing with myself, why I wanted to go to drama school etc. Then it was back into the waiting room.
We didn't have long to wait. They came into the waiting room about ten minutes after I'd finished my audition, with a list of who was coming back for a second audition. Before they told us who was on the list, they told us not to be disheartened, they told us how there were two thousand people auditioning for just twenty five places, so it didn't mean we weren't talented... There were just three names on the list.
And mine wasn't one of them.
I can't even remember who got through now, because I was sat near the door so when they'd finished I just said thank you and then we were all standing up to leave. I walked out of the building with the French boy and this Italian girl I'd been chatting to. We all had comedy sad faces, pure disappointment pulling our mouths down, eye to the ground.
That's it then, no drama school for me.
I always knew it was a long shot, I always knew it was a lot to do with luck.
But I felt lucky!
After my audition I went straight to Sophie's and had a long chat with my mum on the phone. She was out of hospital by that point and everything was fine (the moral of the story is- if you feel really sick, for no reason, for two weeks, you should go to the doctor's).
It's hard to talk to my mum about what I want to do with my life because whenever I say 'nothing, really' she gets annoyed, but she was really nice on the phone. She suggested I move back to England and do acting classes for a year, then apply for drama school next year. A lot of people apply three times before getting into drama school, I guess I would have been extremely lucky getting in on my first attempt.
But It's hard to think about the fact that I didn't even get a second audition, anywhere. Not getting in is one thing, but not getting past the first round?
Nobody's ever told me I'm good at acting.
As it was my last audition for my last school, of course I felt a bit shit because it meant the drama school dream was over, but after talking it through with my mum and my cousin, I felt ok about the whole thing, I guess. Although saying that, as soon as I got to my cousin's house we went to the pub and I've been drinking nearly every day since. It's been almost two weeks of drowning my sorrows and I feel like absolute shit.